Volume III, Issue 3, Page 13

(Ed. Note: You may have seen John’s car in a recent issue of Popular Hot Rodding. Our car builder’s story is about all the stuff that has never been discussed. I know because I wrote the about his car for PHR. I think I like this version better.--RM)  

Getting Started
Ever since I can remember I wanted to build the ultimate Nova.  I wasn’t much interested in Camaros (too common), Chevelles (too big), or Corvettes (too expensive).   

This is the story of my ‘67 Chevy II Nova (which I named II Much).  Much of what II Much became actually began with a ‘66 Chevy II, which was the car I’d had before. I bought it from a fellow in Pasadena (Maryland) and drove it home that day happy as a boy on the last day of school.  That blissful feeling didn’t last long, and I suppose the reasons for that lead to the beginning of why I built the ‘67 the way I did.

After driving the ‘66 for a few weeks, summer vacation was over.  It was time to go back to school.  I took stock of what I had:  The General’s horrible original suspension (like riding around in a marshmallow), brakes (often capable of stopping in time), and suggest-a-steering just didn’t cut it for me. Its TPI-based small-block was the one stand-up piece on the whole car, but it was only capable of putting me in danger where the suspension and brakes couldn’t rescue me.

I removed every piece of chrome on the exterior and either made my own replacement (grille), or had it painted satin black (window trim, mirrors, door handles, and headlight bezels).  The dark wheels are another departure from the traditional shiny hot rod stuff.

That’s where the plan for the ‘67 came from.  I found an Art Morrison Enterprises catalog that advertised full frames for uni-body cars.  That thing was the stuff of dreams!  In one surgical maneuver, I could fix the problems with which GM had saddled the lovely lines of the Nova body. New coil/over-based suspension: check.  4-wheel disc brakes: check.  Rack and pinion steering: check.  And all I had to do was cut the uni out of the Chevy uni-body.  No problem.  I just needed a welder and some time to learn how to weld.  Oh, and some cutting tools.  Maybe some other stuff too. 

To get this “plan” into action, I had to figure out how to finance it.  A review of my meager paycheck and big mortgage revealed I’d have the money shortly before senility would set in.  The only asset I had to raise money was the ‘66, so I sold it for seed money.  Besides, it was just too nice to cut.  I bought one of Art’s frames, found an unfinished project ‘67 Nova hardtop in the backcountry of Virginia, and picked up a refurbished Lincoln MIG welder at my local Home Depot.  I was ready, or so I thought.

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