1966 Chevrolet Nova - Driven!

Grant Reierson’s ’66 Deuce Has Rolled to Hell and Back

Ro McGonegal Mar 16, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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Some of us constantly wax nostalgic for the good ol’ days when just about everyone drove their hot rods just about everywhere but a mud bog, including squirts to the dragstrip and back sans damage of any sort. Our eyeballs bulged blatant at the sight of a trailer. In those days, most of our junk was either driven or, in a few cases, flat-towed to the destination. Now, appearing in the pits at the dragstrip demands a trailer, one that is enclosed and spiffed out.

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The cool thing is that driving everywhere has become the norm for Pro Touring machines and those close to them. Grant Reierson’s a true blood and is responsible for everything performed on his Nova save for the bodywork, paint, and transmission work. That he manages PowerSource Performance, a high-zoot custom car building shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was providence.

I have owned the car for more than 15 years, he says. And I did the basic restoration before I began at PowerSource. Once there, it became obvious to me that I could use the car to help promote the company and the type of high-end work that we are capable of doing. The build was done in phases, the first of which were paint and bodywork and the front subframe.

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Nowhere in his communication did we find the hackneyed label Pro Touring. In fact, the car does lean to that discipline more than any other, but in Grant’s eyes it’s just his hot rod, his driver. In the summer of 2009, I took my first long road trip. First, I went to shows in Sandpoint and Post Falls, Idaho. And then the big trip to Kansas City for the Goodguys Mid-Western Nationals. People thought I was nuts to drive all that way and do the autocross, but I did it anyway.

It got under his skin. He began planning the 2010 trip as soon as he got home. It was EPIC: Des Moines, Iowa, for the GG Heartland Nats and a little more autocrossing followed by the GG Nats in Columbus, Ohio. Along the way, I visited every hot rod shop I could find, including Rad Rides, The Roadster Shop, Ringbrothers, Schwartz Performance, D&Z Customs, Ohio George’s Speed Shop in Dayton, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Road America.

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I built the car to drive and I do drive it, but I’m getting into the autocross thing, so improvements will include splined front and rear antisway bars, more suspension tuning, and a ’cage to stiffen everything up. I don’t consider the car done because I always want to improve it in one way or another. Beyond the obvious, the car has opened avenues to meet people who I might never have otherwise.

Grant pieced his ride together over a four-year gestation, following the paint and body phase with a few interior modifications, then a new engine, which was his first high-performance build. The build continued with the transmission and finally the suspension system, big brakes, and just the right rollers as foils for that blazing red overlay. Driven? How about 20,000 miles on the resto in less than two years? Yes, this guy’s serious about his avocation, maybe even over the edge. Brilliant!

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Grant built his engine on the margin. It is stout but completely capable of blending power and torque and do it on unleaded regular if need be. The stall speed in the converter is paltry, a lot less than you’d imagine, but an overdriven top gear is involved. The Nova’s got a radio delete plate but a stereo monster lurks nonetheless, spreading its tentacles throughout the interior. By keeping his head down and his nose to the ’stone he managed to produce a seeming world-pleaser: Best of Show three times at Driven To Perform (Edmonton), Best Muscle Car/Best Engine Driven To Perform (Calgary), Best Custom Lost in the ’50s (Sandpoint), Baddest Muscle Car Rod Run (Post Falls, Idaho), First Place USACi Sound Quality, and much more glitter from various other venues.

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