Tom Bandy, a resident of the Oakland area of California, piqued our interest when he sent us an email that stated, “I paid as much for this car in September of 1965, as what a double door refrigerator costs today.” We have never compared a Nova to a refrigerator, but like we said, it did grab our attention.
Tom’s ’66 Deuce came with a 194 cubic-inch six cylinder under the hood, and a three-speed shifter mounted to the steering column when it left the factory. Tom said, “I bought it new at FH Dailey Chevrolet in Oakland, and paid $2,464.00 for it.” Tom has been a mechanic at a Chevy dealership for about 52 years, so he does know a thing or two about rebuilding and repairing classic and late-model Chevy cars and trucks. When asked about his Nova, he said, “I used it as a daily driver for years, taking the kids to and from school, as well as frequent jaunts to the store and work.”
In 1972, Tom removed a 327 cubic-inch small-block from a friend’s ’67 Camaro, and then installed a big-block in the car. The friend gave Tom the small-block, and he rebuilt the 327 ci engine using a Comp Cam’s bump stick, an Edelbrock Performer intake, and “202” heads and Hooker headers. When the engine was rebuilt, he removed the six-cylinder and three speed from the Nova, and installed the small-block, along with an M22 four speed.
In 1981, the paint was “going sour” in Tom’s words, but lucky for him, he was presented with a unique opportunity. Tom reported, “At the shop where I worked, the paint supplier that furnished the body shop at the dealership wanted to use my car as a guinea pig and paint it with a new kind of paint (Imron). Since it was free, I said ‘sure’. That is when the color was changed to the Fawn color typically used on a ‘78 Cadillac Seville.”
If the interior looks like a great amount of detail was spent to restore it back to original, you would be incorrect. Tom told us that the interior is all original to the car. The seats, carpet, headliner, door panels, and dash are all the same pieces that were in the car as it rolled off the assembly line.
As he should be, Tom is very proud of his car, and even chuckles when people compliment the restoration. According to him, “I tell them that it’s not restored, and that it was painted in 1981.” One would think that a car that looks this good probably spends most of its time in storage, but one would be incorrect. Tom said, “The wife and I still boogie at 70 to 75 mph on the freeway, and still enjoy playing with the kids in their new Mustangs. It’s sad when a 50-year-old car with a 68-year-old driver beats them.”
Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heros? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the Home-Built Hero series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more, as we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].