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1967 Chevy Nova - The Fountain of Youth

Jim Lippert’s passion for Novas helped fuel the build for his own personal time machine

Patrick Hill Aug 12, 2013
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Something's been lost with modern times. Well, OK, a lot's been lost. Now don't worry, we're not going to start a diatribe reveling about how everything was better back then—we know better. The fact we get to type out our stories on a computer instead of a punching keys on an IBM Selectric with a bottle of whiteout nearby is all that's needed to keep reality in control. But back to our point.

During the Golden Age of autos, there was a loyalty to brands and makes that just isn't there in today's modern world. Today in our hobby, that dedication still lives on, with enthusiasts like you (yes, you, the people reading this story and others in every issue of Super Chevy) that love their Bow Ties, and particular models of them. Jim Lippert is one of you.

"My passion for Chevy Novas all started back in 1966 when, at 19 years old, I purchased a brand new L79 Nova. What a car! In two weeks I had fenderwell headers on it and 5.13 gears in the rear. Then came recapped slicks, and I was tearing them up on the eighth-mile at Kaw Valley Raceway in Topeka, Kansas.

 1967 Chevy Nova Tire Rims 2/12

"After two years of spending every dollar I made on the car just so I could tear it up, I gave it up. I will forever remember the two years of fun and excitement the little L79 gave me."

Currently in his and wife Judy's stable are four Novas, three '66s, an original L79 car, an all-original 283/four-speed/factory A/C car, and a mildly restomodded Deuce packing a ZZ430 crate engine. But the crown jewel is his latest creation, the beautiful '67 you see on these pages.

Every time I get in the car, I forget I'm 65, and feel 19 again!

It all started when Jim was motoring home one night in the driver Nova of his collection. The car was unrestored but repainted, had a souped up small-block, and was a factory SS. Along the way that evening, a pair of deer decided to leap across the road in Jim's path. One got past, the other didn't. The Nova was still drivable, but had front end and fender damage that had to be repaired.

Jim took the car to Keith Bright at Bright Built Hot Rod in Salina, Kansas, for the repairs, but after Keith started tearing into the Nova, he discovered some rust and other things that needed attention. After a discussion with Jim, it was decided to totally blow the Nova apart, and rebuild it form the ground up.

While the body was being hammered back into shape, Jim had to decide on a new engine. With memories of his old L79 still dancing through his head, and the new LS9 crate motor becoming available from Chevrolet Performance, the choice became obvious.

1305 1967 Chevy Nova Front Side 12/12

Backing up the LS9 would be a Tremec Magnum six-speed manual trans, sending power through an Inland driveshaft to a 9-inch rear with 4.10 gears. So the Deuce could make the most of its new heart, a full Heidts front suspension with QA1 shocks and Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes was employed up front, dropping the car's stance three inches and giving it modern handling prowess. Out back, a Heidts sway bar and another pair of QA1 coilovers keep things under control, along with matching 13-inch Wilwood discs. The 9-inch rear is hung by a Heidts four-link kit.

Once the body was ready and everything test-fitted, the Nova was rolled into the paint booth at Bright Built, and a custom green hue from DuPont laid across the Nova. From there it was time to install the interior, with two-tone green leather trimmings accented by the occasional billet and chrome accents giving the inside a refined, but well-balanced look. The front buckets are from Bowen, and the center console was custom built by Bright Built Hot Rods. The sound system is Alpine, the shifter Hurst, the readouts Classic Instruments, and the steering wheel Billet Specialties.

Once finished, the final touch was added to the Nova, a set of Billet Specialties Magnitude aluminum wheels, 17x7s up front, 18x10s in the rear. In total, the build took a year and a half.

The finished package was beyond Jim's expectations, and the combo of the powerful modern Corvette engine in the lightweight Nova just brought the memories flooding back of his first L79 Chevy II.

"Every time I get in the car, I forget I'm 65, and feel 19 again!"

How's that for a fountain of youth?



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