Fifteen years is a long stretch, no matter where you do it. But spending half your young life on an elective, a project, is quite another. In the hot rodding sphere, 15 years might as well be a century. You challenge the cam-of-the-week freaks, the message boards that don’t say what you want them to say, your own temperament, your notions of accomplishment. During that stretch, the plans and ideals for your project might shift 180 degrees, yet the spark is no less strong. You wrap them into one and stand out in the cold and the dark, hoping that your constitution is formidable enough to see it through until the happy ending.
Jay Biondo is experienced. Jay is smart. He began with a body completed. All the metal is original, save for the ’glass cowl hood. That red is a stock ’67 Nova color and it’s been on the body since 1980. Prior, Jay had schmoozed a ’71 Olds Cutlass, then an ’86 Monte with a big-block prodder. At this point, Jay’s sunk about $60,000 in his X-body, all of it for hard core and with racing in mind. His car is clean, straight, and almost too pretty to abuse. But abuse it he does.
The Nova makes no pretense of being well rounded, a car for all seasons. All you have to do is look at the rubber it carries. Skinnies up front dutifully followed by drag radials. At the track the radials are swapped for 10.5 slicks. With DOT-approved rear rubber, Jay does cruise nights and shows that are partly responsible for the 1,500 miles the Nova’s odometer accrues every year. The rest of it he racks up a quarter-mile at a time.
Jay’s drag race theme is engendered mainly by the tire/wheel selection and, at first glance, by little else. In another sphere, it could quite easily pass for a Pro Touring exponent. Your eyes think “stock” until you spy the rollbar hoop stuck close to the (imaginary) B-pillar. Then, it’s on. Jay’s a member of the Midwest Super Stock Mafia (races at Great Lakes Dragaway, da Grove) and the Byron 8-Second Doorslammer Wheelie Cars club. To prepare the red gorilla, Jay enlisted Pat Powers at PMP Fabrication in Oaklawn, Illinois.
PMP laid in the mini-tubs and moved the framerails inward an inch to fit those 10 wides. The center of activity is a narrowed 9-inch that’s been packed with all the tough parts necessary for combat as well as peace of mind. The double-adjustable shocks are easy to manage for various track-surface conditions. At front, the combination came together with an aftermarket front clip that Jay notched to accept a substantial increase in front end travel, led by single-adjustable coilovers.
Perhaps Jay’s greatest feat was disguising his 8-second thrill ride as some hump’s pretty streetwalker. Yeah, so it’s got a long scoop on the hood and big ’n’ littles. How many other cars have you seen like this pumped with a mild 350 hop-up underneath? Jay runs his motor day and night when the weather is right, living the life from a 10-gallon fuel cell. Put another way, that’s about 100 miles of plugging, chugging, and getting some payback—but all in the name of (nasty) fun, dig it.
Jay’s red buddy snorts. Jay’s red buddy peels out. Jay’s thinking about what will come next. Like most suppliants to these pages, Jay claims the car will never really be finished, because “I’m always changing parts and upgrading.” On tap for 2011: “The car will get Hooker’s new fenderwell headers whose primaries have a three-way step and end in a 4-inch collector.”
Jay has not had the car or its small-block engine on any type of measuring device, but computes all the vitals of engine and chassis interspersed with elapsed time and trap speed to a frightful, ear-ringing 1,100 wheel horsepower—on pump gas.