This is the story of an L78, converted to an L89, 1969 Chevrolet Nova. (Yes, Joe still has the original heads that he exchanged.) Instead of being enshrined in a museum like so many original/low mileage special cars from the past we cannot see, this Nova is driven for the pure pleasure of driving it. Joe Bellamy also drives it from his home in Yorktown Heights, NY, to big shows throughout the area.

Most collector cars are kept locked up, are well maintained and are a good to great investment. Joe has two such cars he doesn’t drive. One is a fully restored 1969 Camaro RS-Z28 with a 302 cubic inch motor with the full complement of Trans-Am goodies that came with it from the factory -- in the trunk not installed. It only has 24,000 on the clock and I doubt it will ever go much past that number. The other is an original, never touched, 1981 Z28 that has an engine that was built just across the Canadian border. The engine actually has some guts and compression compared to the U.S. market engine. This car has 17,000 miles and it isn’t driven either.

Since I pontificated that I would never feature a “Trailer Queen”, I watched for the ‘69 Nova car at the Bear Mountain weekly show several times and it was driven in, not towed over and unloaded. After driving in the car I know exactly why Joe drives it, even though it is a very rare car based on the “L89” package and the color is not common either. Evan judging it as a L78 it is rare with specific options and lack of comfort options except for a heater and an AM/FM radio. It came from the factory with a 4.10 to 1 rear gear in the positraction 12-bolt differential. Going quick is easy on the twisty 2-lane blacktop roads we enjoy in this part of the world.

Joe’s garage, has actually stored nine cars once, with two drive-on lifts. And, with a great workbench and full Craftsmen, three level toolbox Joe can take care of almost anything in his garage. He purchased the two non-driven cars just as they sit. He has little to do, but regular preventive maintenance on them. To say Joe is a Chevy fan might be understating the point. He had wanted the L89 Nova for many years and when his friend bought this L78 the horse trader in Joe took over like a NY pickpocket on a group of tourists. It took a couple of months but they exchanged their cars and both are happy.