When it came time for all this highly subjective hot rodding business, J.D. Terry really didn’t have a choice. How could he? He was practically born in the garage. How long have you been involved with cars, we asked? J.D. said, “My entire life. I grew up in the shop. My dad has been building cars for more than 50 years. I grew up watching him build numbers-matching L79 Novas.”
The way this whole thing came together was not unusual at all; the usual things happened along the way and, of course, the plan went from mild to viral in an eye blink. But J.D.’s eyes were wide open and stayed that way for the 8-month gestation. Before you get the lowdown on this mess, a word from J.D. about the car underneath all the fuss: “Buy a roller and start from scratch. Don’t buy someone else’s build.”
But that’s what he did; he took on another’s failure. He’d sold his 1973 Camaro (that had been featured in Camaro Performers magazine) to a friend and was looking for “a fun driver-quality car that I could drive throughout the summer.” He put his dad, who was in the throes of his own Pro Touring build, on the case. Pop found a white-over-black 1967 Nova that a friend had owned. J.D. arranged to pick it up in Oklahoma and drive it to the Spring Goodguys in Ft. Worth and then on to his temporary home in Texas. About five miles out of OK City, the rearend disentangled. He went back to Texas without it — his dad took the Nova to Corwine Automotive in Oklahoma City for the fix.
Later: “I couldn’t get out of Texas so I asked my dad to take it to a friend’s body shop to have the emblems removed, trim shaved, and the bodywork trued up. Well, the body was a little lacking to begin with, sooo, we pulled it down to bare metal and started over. It was going to be white again, but then my dad interrupted the game with the qualifier: hot rods can only be red or black, end of story. Red it would be, then.”
Then there was J.D.’s rampant subjectivity. “I never liked the interior [cues] in the ’67 Nova; I preferred the ones in the ’66 so that’s what replaced the original stuff.” And it was the original look that J.D. was after. The gut in this car looks like something out of a dealership sales brochure, all shiny and streaming wet vinyl. Indeed, the ’66 seats hemorrhage red. Larry Blalock in Oklahoma City did all that and the rest of the cocoon as well. The most visual of all the departures in this pin-neat setting is the Budnik Beveled Sport steering wheel.
“I talked my dad into putting his car on hold to help get my ’67 ready for the Goodguys Fall show in Ft. Worth.” The crank began to turn. To begin with, they put up a Painless harness and replaced all the chrome, stainless trim, and glass. They gutted the doors and applied Dynamat throughout. Up in the snout, they pulled the engine. Corwine plugged in the new camshaft and pulled the heads and dropped stainless valves in the pockets. They hoisted the Magnuson intercooled MP112 puffer in place. They erected a new fuel delivery system. For a cleaner appearance, all the A/C lines and hoses, as well as all the wiring was hidden on the down-low in the engine compartment. They sent the 4L60E to DC Transmission over in Del City, Oklahoma, for the resuscitation act and stronger parts associated. Setting the stance became easier with the wide flexibility of adjustable coilover dampers that dropped the suspension down 3 inches. The 9-inch; they re-narrowed and set it in place.
To what avail? Well, it all came out splendid, better than you might think. Of course, they got it all together just one day before the Goodguys meet. The reception was beyond expectation: out of more than 2,000 entries, they won Builder’s Choice (Top 10). “Without my dad and painter Tom Thomason, it wouldn’t have happened,” gushed J.D. And what was the most challenging aspect of it all? “Getting the fitment on everything and getting all the details just right,” he said.
After all this, J.D. is back in Oklahoma with his revitalized Nova, driving sanely and often. After all, the pressure was finally off and it was time to savor what he, his dad, and his pals accomplished. What with the clamor recently about the disintegration of the family unit and blurred core values, the Terry family refuses to fall for it and lives on famously, bonded by the idea of working shoulder-to-shoulder with one another and their close cadre of friends.
No word on Pop’s ’66 yet.
|Owner:||J.D. Terry, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Cylinder Heads:||Precision Race Components Stage 2|
|Rotating Assembly:||OE nodular iron crankshaft, powdered metal connecting rods, and hypereutectic pistons|
|Camshaft:||COMP Cams 224R|
|Induction:||Magnuson MP112 supercharger at 10 psi|
|Exhaust:||Ceramic-coated headers w/ 1 3/4-inch primaries, 3-inch collectors, 3-inch system|
|Ancillaries:||PRC aluminum radiator, SPAL fans|
|Output:||441 hp at 6,000 rpm, 425 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm|
|Assembly:||Corwine Automotive (Oklahoma City, OK)|
|Transmission:||4L60E built by DC Transmission (Del City, OK), B&I 2,200-stall converter, custom driveshaft|
|Rear Axle:||4L60E built by DC Transmission (Del City, OK), B&I 2,200-stall converter, custom driveshaft|
|Front Suspension:||TCI Mustang II spindles, upper/lower control arms, and antisway bar; Strange Engineering coilover shocks|
|Rear Suspension:||Four-link, Strange Engineering coilover shocks|
|Brakes:||Wilwood 12-inch discs and four-piston calipers front, 12-inch discs and two-piston calipers rear, and Wilwood proportioning valve|
|Wheels & Tires|
|Wheels:||Rushforth Rated X 18x7 front, 18x10 rear|
|Tires:||BFG g-Force 225/40 front, 295/35 rear|
|Upholstery:||Larry Blalock (Oklahoma City, OK)|
|Seats:||1966 original equipment, refurbished OE belts by Seatbelt Planet (Midwest City, OK)|
|Steering:||ididit column, Budnik Beveled Sport wheel|
|Shifter:||Shift Works, factory console|
|Dash:||Painted matte red, shaved ashtray and A/C vents|
|Instrumentation:||Auto Meter Silver|
|Audio:||Kenwood head unit, Kicker speakers|
|HVAC:||Vintage Air, Old Air Products dashboard vents|
|Bodywork:||Tom Thomason (Blanchard, OK), shaved trim, emblems, tailpanel, wheel opening moldings|
|Paint by:||Tom Thomason|