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This 1962 Chevy II Nova Convertible Was Built From Three Separate Cars!

Three Nova Stew

John Gilbert May 5, 2015
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Having to deal with the icky-picky side of auto restoration where the numbers have to match and everything has to be factory correct can tend to wear a person down. It’s not so much persevering the build, but rather when the project is completed there’s always some guy that says a part, or something else, isn’t right.

That’s what John Jaskot told us when he filled out the tech sheet for his ’62 Chevy II Nova convertible. John stated he’s a Corvette fanatic with a ’68 Vette that he restored right down to having the correct date codes and hash marks in place. It wasn’t long after John started competing in shows that he learned there were Corvette wizards that liked to argue with him about what was factory correct.

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After persevering through the ’68 Corvette build and surviving unprovoked attacks by self-appointed restoration experts, John thought that maybe it would be a good time in his two sons’ lives to discover what building a car from the ground up was all about. This time it would be about personalization and not the bothersome picky stuff. The premise John told his wife to get her blessings was at journey’s end both boys would have a cool little Chevy II to drive.

During a bench racing session, John told his friend Al Meinen what he was contemplating and the next thing John knew Al had donated three Chevy II Nova basket cases to the cause. There were two coupe bodies and a convertible. The ’62 ragtop appeared to be in the best overall condition. The two coupes became organ donors.

The first thing on the agenda was to haul the compact to a metal stripper and have the body shell acid dipped. Among the sheetmetal goodies John toted to the stripper were a pair of super cherry doors he drove clear across Illinois to buy. Unfortunately, one of the doors fell off his truck and was run over numerous times by semi rigs, so John spent another day driving across state lines to score another.

With the body shell back in John’s hands and in bare metal, the job at hand was to repair heavy rust damage. This is where John found out what’s different between a coupe and a convertible. The floorpans, rear wheelwells, and rear quarters are all different and not available in reproduction sheetmetal. John said he learned a lot about metal forming during this period of restoration, and his sons got vocabulary lessons on bad words one shouldn’t utter in public.

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John knew at the time when his engine choice went from a $500 junkyard engine to a 450-horsepower 383 stroker the ’62 was no longer going to be a cheap driver. The bodywork transitioned from John’s pretty good rust repairs to impeccably handled metal finishing when John’s best friend Rick Monte lent his skills to the project. Not only did Rick raise the bar on quality, he did it pro bono, and as John said, “That’s a true friend.”

For paint, the Nova went where Rick works at Mike Bach Autobody in Belleville, Illinois. Rick custom mixed a special shade of blue in Spies Hecker that John calls Rick Monte Blue. Hand-rendered emblems are by Jack Irwin Signs. What ultimately separates the X-body’s appearance is the ’61 Impala-style trim that’s painted down the sides.

The cobalt blue combined with silver interior theme was a color choice made by John’s wife, Christine. John quoted her as saying he couldn’t be trusted to pick out clothes that match, let alone design an interior. Jerry Kilch at Top Stitch Interiors translated the two colors into a four bucket seat environment. Top Stitch is also responsible for installing the Polk Audio sound system with a Jensen head unit.

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The air conditioning is from Classic Auto Air, instrumentation is via Auto Meter American Muscle gauges, and the steering wheel is a Billet Specialties Classic on an ididit tilt column. The Lokar-shifted 700-R4 trans was sourced from Bowtie Overdrives and the driveshaft by GOS 4x4 connects a 9-inch diff with 3.73 gears by Jim Hallowell. Damping and stopping the rear end is handled by QA1 shocks and Ford SVO 11-inch disc brakes.

The Engine Factory in New York assembled the 383 using an Edelbrock top end kit (including carb) and Edelbrock 2204 camshaft. A Jim Weimer Rod Garage Mustang II frontend damped by QA1 shocks takes care of the front suspension. Eleven-inch front disc brakes stop Foose Nitrous wheels mounted in Toyo Proxes 4 tires.

From start-to-finish, the Jaskot’s ’62 Nova build encompassed seven years. John’s oldest son Nathan opted out of the project early on, but Matt saw it through to the end.

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