Four Nova Hot Rods And One You Probably Wouldn’t Expect To See

We know that a lot of you guys are fans of Chevrolet’s Nova. What started out as a small, economical mode of transportation has become a large part of our hobby. What started in the early ‘60s, the line continued well into the late ’70s. Nearing the end of its run, the Nova shifted focus to become a more luxurious ride.

By creating a continuously transforming ride, Chevrolet provided a series of cars that could appeal to almost any buyer, whether they were looking to buy a convertible, a tire-shredding track machine, or a plush cruiser.

Fast forward to the present day, and the various Nova models need some repairs — they are 30, 40, and even 50 years old now. Luckily, the folks at Classic Industries are here to help enthusiasts keep their hot rods on the road today. While perusing the Classic Industries website, we found a blog showcasing five very cool Nova hot rods and thought you would like to check them out as well.

Nova

This Nova wears a white top, and the interior was reupholstered in two-tone red and white vinyl to match.

The blog begins by highlighting a first-gen drop-top owned by Ron Pinegar, of Huntington Beach, California. His 1962 Chevy Nova convertible underwent a 10-year restoration. Ron says this car is a daily-driver, and this enables him to spend as much time as possible behind the wheel after its 10-year restoration process.

Ron is the fourth owner of this Nova, and the car has lived all its life in California. This is understandable since the state’s warm and sunny weather is ideal for top-down cruising year-round. Under the hood is a slightly more than stock rebuilt small block backed by a 700R4 automatic transmission. It also features a free-flowing exhaust and full disc brake conversion. If you want to read more about this drop-top Nova, click here.

The second Nova on display happens to be from the second generation. Full Throttle Restoration in Costa Mesa, California made some substantial changes to the chassis and suspension system to create this unbelievable ride. Under the car is a Heidt’s independent front and rear suspension with a Ridetech air-ride coilover system, and big Wilwood brakes.

Powering this hot rod is noting stock. When Full Throttle decided on motivation, the guys dropped in a brand-new 427ci LS3 crate engine from BluePrint Engines. With a whopping 625 horsepower. it’s topped with gloss-black valve covers, a sleek black cover over the intake manifold, and a Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine system. Get the full story on this gorgeous restomod.

Aptly organizing the list, the third car showcased is from the third generation, which is perhaps the most closely linked to being considered a muscle car today. According to the Classic Industries blog, “This 1969 Nova was built to keep the original style and spirit of the car while amplifying its performance, according to owner Juan Guerrero. It now features an upgraded 350ci small-block, 700R4 automatic transmission, 3.73 rearend gears with positraction, upgraded wheels and tires, and suspension to maximize grip.

Nova

Juan considers his Nova to be a restomod. It’s easy to see why, as he tried to keep the original style and spirit of the car while upgrading performance.

Juan brought his Nova’s exterior back to like-new condition, with beautiful metallic blue paint set off by chrome trim, new lighting, and all the appropriate emblems. From the front to the rear bumper, much of this Nova has been replaced with original-style reproduction parts from the Classic Industries catalog. Learn more about this blue cruiser by clicking here.

Nova

Next up is a 1972 Nova that was restored by its owner, Graham Reimer, of Canada. Graham wrote a detailed recap of the build, outlining how he purchased it as a rusty inline-six “grocery getter” and converted it into the muscle car of his dreams. It features a built 350ci V8 with fuel injection, an upgraded cam, and Borg-Warner four-speed manual transmission. He attributed much of his success to the Classic Industries parts line, saying that it offered “every part needed and a very large inventory.”

Nova

The car utilizes the factory suspension setup with power steering, power brakes, and four-wheel disc brakes. The wheels are a classic five-spoke design with BF Goodrich rubber.

“I am currently the third owner of the car,” says Graham. “The original owner bought the Nova new and drove it right up until the mid-2000s. The car was then sold to the second owner with plans to improve it. When the plans fell through, I purchased the car in 2016. It was all original with only 52,000 miles. It had a faded green interior and exterior, bench seat, and inline six-cylinder with a two-speed automatic. The car was the definition of a grocery-getter.” To get all the details about this former econobox, click here.

When recalling the heyday of the Nova, many recall the muscle-car heritage the car has created. However, that was not the plan for the model near the end of its run. While it has certainly been a popular platform for hot-rodders and drag racers, the Nova was more than just a muscle car. Born from the economical Chevy II — a simple and practical commuter car with four-door availability that could carry the whole family. In its later years, the model delivered luxury and refinement with models such as this 1978 Nova Custom Cabriolet.

Nova

By the end of the run, the Nova model became more of a mid-size luxury cruiser than a muscle car.

Raul Martinez, of South Gate, California, is the original owner of this car and has held onto it all these years. However, as you might expect, it has needed some work to fend off decades of wear and tear and retain its original luxurious style.

Inside, we find a fresh carpet and seat upholstery. It also has a dash pad that doesn’t show the characteristic discoloration and cracking present on many factory dash pads from that time period.

The original 305ci engine and automatic transmission are still present and have been rebuilt to run smoothly. It’s not a roaring big block, but that’s not what this Nova was made for. The durable 305 is great for smooth cruising on the highway. If you’re into the later model Nova, click here for information on this cruiser.

These cars epitomize the various tastes car owners have when rebuilding their hot rods, and Classic Industries is proud to help all enthusiasts rebuild the car of their dreams.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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