There are projects that start out with nothing more than one Chevy lover’s dream and a pile of parts, and result in an eye-grabbing custom, a restored cruiser, or a track-ready racecar.
In the case of Larry Fauci and this ’67 Nova hardtop, the project began with more than just a pile of parts—and more than one Chevy lover.
Larry says he got the car while it was already under construction. “When I got it, a friend of mine was doing it for a customer,” he recalled. “The customer wound up in a divorce, and another friend of mine wound up with the car, who really didn’t have any money to finish it. Another friend of mine bought it from him, and then it sat. The guy—a friend and builder—passed. So I wound up taking it over.”
The Nova’s body had already received new quarters and outer wheelhouses, and metalwork that did away with the “hump” in the trunk. (Larry’s subsequent metalwork would include a ’67 Chevelle SS396 hood that was fashioned into one to fit over the Chevy II engine bay while looking factory stock.) The 327 and Powerglide that were with the car had both been rebuilt, but Larry decided to use another gearbox—one that wasn’t his first choice, as he remembered. “I was going to go with a Tremec five-speed, but money-wise I said, ‘You know what? I’ve got a rebuilt Turbo 350, so let me just use that.’”
Larry’s friend Bill Aker at B&W Auto in Port Reading, New Jersey, went through the 327, adding a mild Comp Cam as well as an Edelbrock Performer intake topped by a 650-cfm Holley, a Mallory Ultra-Lite ignition, a chrome one-wire alternator, and Hooker Super-Comp headers, which were Jet-Hot coated. (That cool air cleaner atop the 327 was one Larry created.) Another friend, Jim Pavlonnis at Jim’s Automotive in Carteret, New Jersey, built the 3.55-geared, Positraction-equipped, 10-bolt rear. Yet another friend, Bunky, did the bodywork and paint prep in Larry’s shop, before the two-stage DuPont Chromabase Sheer Silver paint went on. Inside, Larry used front and rear seats from an ’89 Acura, which he had Charlie at Custom Auto Upholstery in Summit, New Jersey, stitch up in silver vinyl and gray suede.
For the ’67’s chassis, Larry decided against a suspension system that resembled what was underneath it when it left Willow Run. “I went with a TCI front clip and the RideTech air springs. What an absolutely beautiful product they make,” he said of the first phase of the chassis build, and what went in—which led to the project’s next phase. Per Larry, “I then ordered up the TCI rear setup, which came with coilovers. And then, as I was going along, I said, ‘If I replaced the coilovers with RideTech’s Shockwaves, now I’d have air suspension throughout.’ So that’s what I did with that. I wasn’t in the technical aspect, as far as how much air to put in the left front versus how much to put in the right front. I broke it down into front and rear—I wasn’t into road racing, or what have you,” he said of the X-Body he built to be a cruiser and a show car.
That TCI/RideTech suspension improved the Nova’s handling and comfort in a huge way. “It rides beautifully,” he said of the ’67. “And now, it’s gone.”
Sold, to make way for another Chevrolet. “I’m now in the process of building a ’62 Impala,” he said. “I want to take my wife out in it, go out to dinner with it—I want to build something that I can drive and enjoy more than worry about.”
Larry doesn’t have far to go to get that Impala down to bare metal. “I’ve got a shop here in Carteret, New Jersey, called Quick Strip, and we do sandblasting and powdercoating,” he said, while mentioning that a lot of his shop’s customers are also building ’60s-and-later rides, especially muscle cars “There are more people getting into building, especially Camaros, who never had a cool car and don’t really know much about it, and they’re putting a ton of money in,” Larry noted. “That’s good for all of us.”
Maybe the Fisher Body plant at Willow Run didn’t make cheese slicers on the side, as the door inners on that ’67 Nova hardtop may have suggested to Larry. But it built the body for the car that, thanks to Larry (and its previous owners and builders), is now one sweet cruiser.