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No Regrets

What Could Have Been...IS

Mike Harrington Jun 3, 2005

Living with regret can be a tough burden to shoulder. The years pass by and the thoughts about the one that got away will surface when you least expect them to. Even worse, regret can be a constant reminder of what once was or what could have been. I can't count the number of times my father has told me of one such regret. He was young and had a high-powered muscle car, but to his regret, he sold the classic shortly before I was born. Then he tries to pass the regret on by saying, "Just think son...if I hadn't sold the would be yours today."

Gil Caton tells a different version about his son's regret. Gil recalls that when his son was still in high school, together they built a '66 Nova. Proudly Gil watched his son drive the Nova all throughout high school and college. But at the end of his college years, the Nova was sold...and regret stepped in. This time, it was passed on from son to father, rather than the other way around. At the time, Gil had a '34 Chevy Sedan, but even that wasn't enough to satisfy his soul. It was plain and simple; he missed the little Deuce.

A couple of years later, Gil started searching for his own Nova to build. As the odds would have it, a '67 Nova that had started out as someone else's project soon found its way into Gil's possession. The car had been completely gutted and the body was in primer; it was a complete was just in pieces. Soon after he bought it, Gil retired and had nothing but time to pursue his goal, which was to build one real cool Nova. Determined not to restore it back to stock, he wanted this car to rock--only top aftermarket performance parts were going to grace this Chevy II.

Every day when his wife would get up and go to work he would step into the garage and quit when she came home. This routine went on for six days a week, eight to 10 hours a day for three months. Finally, he was satisfied with the Nova...almost.

The Nova was torn down and sent to the Body Palace in Huntington Beach, California. When the car returned, it was all put back together again and wearing a new colored skin. Just what happened during those three months in the home garage? The undercarriage sports Jim Meyer independent front clip with a Flaming River rack and pinion. Coupled with 2-inch drop spindles from Superior and adjustable QA1 shocks, the Nova has 5 inches of adjustment up or down. And like most good hot rodders, Gil knows it looks better 5 inches down. Supporting the back half of the machine are 2-inch de-arched leaf springs and Gabriel shocks. A nice California rake gives this Nova its aggressive stance.

Up top the office space is something to behold. The whole interior is custom done in grey leather and suede by Quality Upholstery of Irwindale, California. All the glass was replaced with Pennington glass, the outdated steering column was replaced with a Flaming River unit, and all the instruments were updated to Dakota Digital gauges. The original numbers-matching 327 was balanced blueprinted and built for speed. This rolling piece of eye candy gets the looks going down the highway and, according to Gil, there has never been a moment of regret behind the wheel.


Owner:Gil Caton
Vehicle:1967 Nova
Original 327 bored 30 over, balanced and blueprinted, Edlebrock 202 Performer Heads, ARP studs, hardened Crane pushrods, TRW pistons, Comp Cam, Edlebrock performer intake, fuel pump, double roller timing chain and Edlebrock 600-cfm carb, Chevy 5-quart oil pan, Tuff Stuff water pump and alternator topped with a K&N air cleaner.
Transmission:1987 700 R4 with a Corvette Torque converter.
Rearend: 373 Gears Posi track and Chevy 28 spline axles Suspension
Front:Jim Meyers Racing front clip w/ Flaming River Tubular control arms and rack and pinion, superior 2-inch drop spindles and Hal adjustable shocks
Rear:Chevy 2-inch de-arched springs w/Gabriel shocksWheels
Front:American Torque Thrust II 17X7 with 4-inch back spacers
Rear:American Torque Thrust II 17X7 with 4-1/2-inch back spacers
Front:Nitto Extreme 214X45X17
Rear:Nitto Extreme 214X45X17
Exterior:2003 Escalade Dupont Blue, body done by Body Palace and West Coast Street Rods. All trim has been shaved and filled as well as belt lines and trunk emblems. Hagen fuel door replaces the stock door.
Interior:Stock dash with custom-made air outlets and custom-made billet glove box cover and Dakota Digital Gages. The upholstery, seats, door panels, headliner and trunk are all done in Mercedes Grey leather and suede. Daniel Romero at Quality Upholstery of Irwindale CA, did all custom upholstery.

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