We’ve all been there. You’re cruising through the local car show and in the distance you spy what appears to be a sweet looking Nova. But as you get closer, you start to realize that something just isn’t right. Sure, the paint is nice and all the requisite shiny bits are there, but it just looks wrong. Chances are it’s the ride’s stance. A bad stance and ill-fitting wheels can just kill what would otherwise be a badass ride. Nobody knows this better than Jon Hensen. To him, how a car sits is almost as important as how it drives … almost.
Jon searched extensively for just the right early Nova. As Jon told us, “I actually traded another car for this one. It was a clean ‘driver’ that needed some work to really shine. The Nova was already painted, but the interior needed to be gone through, as well as the suspension and engine. I basically took a blank canvas and put my own style into it.”
Powering the slick Nova is a 383 small-block topped with an Edelbrock Air-Gap intake and 650-cfm carb. Nothing fancy, but it’s enough to get the Chevy moving at a smile-inducing rate. The stroked mill exhales through a set of Vette Tech coated headers and into a Flowmaster exhaust system. The drive system is a Front Runner from Vintage Air, and a TH400 trans performs the shifting duties. Out back, there’s a Moser 9-inch rear with highway-friendly 3.08 gears.
While Jon kept the drivetrain simple, he went a bit more exotic on the suspension. Up front there’s a CA Chassisworks front clip and the rear is upgraded with a four-link arrangement. A RideTech Shockwave air spring system works with the Chassisworks suspension to produce a great ride, and the ability to nail the all-important stance at the touch of a button. With the stance addressed, it was time to tackle another aspect dear to Jon’s heart: the wheels. NewGen Splitter wheels in 18x7 front and 18x8 rear are wrapped in Nitto Invo 225/35 and 255/35 performance tires. The modern wheels mesh well with the Nova’s classic lines, and as a bonus they help showcase the Wilwood four-piston binders.
Jon took the same “less is more” approach when it came to adding a bit more style to the interior. Classily cool black vinyl seems almost modern when surrounded by an Auto Meter-filled Covan’s dash and custom-made aluminum center console. Driver inputs are given extra love by way of a sleek Genie shifter and Shutt VY3 steering wheel.
The House of Kolor Kosmos Red Nova was finished just in time to be displayed at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. “Having the car on display at SEMA was very exciting,” remarked Jon.
Overall, he’s very happy with how the Nova came out. About the only thing he would do different would be to add a mini-tub kit. But, the net result of Jon’s hard work is a Nova that shows how wheels, tires, and just the right rake can set a car apart from the crowd.