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Check Out This LS7-Powered Pro Street 1967 Nova

Happy Motoring

Ro McGonegal Jul 26, 2016
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It was her husband who got her into all this. “All this” is a big deal, it’s Johnna Redford’s first street machine. Stan had fallen in with more than a few hot cars in his career, of course, so why wouldn’t Johnna want to enjoy this sensation as well? She wasn’t shy.

Like all old cars, the Nova once belonged to someone else and had already been modified with a back-half job and a rollcage, but it wasn’t what you’d call current. Its paint was beginning to fade and some rust had progressed beyond patina, and was beginning to out. It was, however, literally driven into her life and it overpowered her. She loves the body style. “A friend stopped by my husband’s shop with it one day,” she said, “And I loved the way it looked and sounded.” Hook went right to the bone.

The plan was to catch the 21st century in terms of electronic guidance and stone efficiency. Stan wanted Johnna to be able to drive it without late-’60s technology (e.g., carburetor, conventional distributor) and the inherent problems therein. Further, it didn’t have conveniences like electric window lifts or air conditioning. More specific to Johnna, the seat travel wouldn’t get her feet close enough to dip the pedals right and because of this, “my husband made fun of me trying to do a burnout.” Humph.

1967 Chevrolet Headlights 2/35
1967 Chevrolet Nova Engine View 3/35
1967 Chevrolet Nova Rear View 4/35

The Redford Nova commenced its 5-year internment, first travelling to Clay Phillips at Performance Paint and Chassis in Battlefield, Missouri, for the initial bodywork and installation of the rear suspension. Clay tubbed the carcass to cloak those too-fat 31x16 Mickeys. He stretched out the new quarter-panels, replaced the rockers, took the body down to 80-grit, and then put it in primer. He hoisted the Chris Alston FAB9 housing and the four-link that locates it.

Next stop, Peculiar. Yes, that’s in Missouri, too, just south of Kansas City and where Mark Morris and his crew at Visual Imagination finish off some of the slickest offshore powerboats in existence, for which they are known the world over. Mark did the final sanding and prepping chores and formulated the two-tone scheme.

When the Nova’s surface was copasetic, the Redfords kicked back awhile and contemplated an LS7 and a TREMEC 600 gearbox to replace the original high-compression 355 and Muncie four-gear. They trucked the pile over to Independence and the unquenchable Mike Mclin at The Restomod Store for a big list of changes, everything from engine installation to interior fitment, a shave and a haircut for the firewall, the engine compartment, and removing a couple of inches from the shock towers to permit the Doug’s headers and the steering linkage without interference.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Interior 8/35
1967 Chevrolet Nova Steering Wheel 9/35

Stan: “Mike and his sons Michael and Chris helped me with the interior design, sound system, dash components, air conditioning, and engine upgrades.” They had Donnie Burlington in Raytown pull the 427 down and do the machine work. “Restomod assembled the engine and were able to identify a potential problem with the OE cylinder heads so we switched them for Trick Flow castings,” smiled Stan. They irritated the LS7 a little more with a twitchier Tick Performance camshaft. After that bit, the engine made 530 horsepower at the tire.

Johnna was not going to settle for austerity. She wanted accommodations, creature comforts all the way out the back door. She’d have the cool air, a seat that would put her up close and on-center, and power-assisted controls right where she wanted them. So after the powertrain was firmly in the chassis, Restomod began with the interior transformation, scratch-building the door panels, side panels, and console; covering the big wheel humps; and fitting the Procar seats and the cut-pile carpeting. Before they let it go, Resto plugged all the holes with smoked glass from Auto City Classics.

They crowded out the original “idiot” blinkers with Dakota Digital instruments. They began the aural gratification phase with a Painless loom. They followed up with Classic Auto Air HVAC and a Pioneer head unit and JL Audio amps, speakers, and subwoofer. They put an ididit column through the floor, hooked it to the Fatman rack, and stuck a Billet Specialties Boost wheel on top.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Front View 10/35
1967 Chevrolet Side View 11/35
1967 Chevrolet Nova Hood Front 12/35

Compared to the new generation, Pro Street was a little flaky, a little too flamboyant. That signature supercharger piled on top of the engine distorted the car’s proportions, making it appear nose-heavy, despite the fat rollers in the rear. The new flat-hood school happily keeps all the other cues and shifts the definition to the rear of the car.

Epilogue: “Restomod was a great experience and I loved working with them on my wife’s car. They are outstanding,” crowed Stan. Johnna says she likes those guys a lot, too. What if? Johnna opined, “Maybe we’ll install an automatic transmission, but I’m not sure yet. The five-speed is fun to drive.” You got it, Johnna. Having fun with your new road pal is the only reason to do it at all.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Interior 16/35
1967 Chevrolet Nova Seats 17/35

Tech Check
Owner: Johnna Redford, Pleasant Hill, Missouri
Vehicle: 1967 Nova
Type: LS7
Displacement: 427 ci
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Bore: 4.125 inches
Stroke: 4.000 inches
Cylinder Heads: Trick Flow 260, CNC-ported, 2.20/1.60 valves (sodium-filled exhaust), 70cc combustion chambers
Rotating Assembly: Forged steel crankshaft, forged titanium rods, hypereutectic pistons
Valvetrain: OE 1.8:1 rocker arms, Tick Performance (Mount Airy, NC) pushrods, dual valvesprings, OE lifters
Camshaft: Tick Performance Polluter hydraulic roller 255/266-deg. duration at 0.050-inch, 0.662/0.631-inch lift, 111+4 LSA
Ignition: OE
Induction: OE intake manifold
Exhaust: Doug’s Headers 1 7/8-inch primary pipes, 3-inch stainless steel system, SpinTech mufflers
Ancillaries Concept One accessory drive, Painless wiring harness
Output (at the wheels): 530 hp at 6,500 rpm
Machine Work: Donnie Burlington (Raytown, MO)
Assembly: The Restomod Store (Independence, MO)
Tuner: Mike Mclin at The Restomod Store
Transmission: TREMEC TKO 600 five-speed; LS7 bellhousing, flywheel, and clutch assembly
Rear Axle: Chris Alston FAB9, limited-slip differential, 3.73:1 ratio, Jerry Bickel driveshaft
Front Suspension: Stock spindles; Fatman Fabrications struts, control arms, and antisway bar
Rear Suspension: Chris Alston four-link, coilover shocks
Brakes: Aerospace Components, drilled 10.25-inch rotors, four-piston calipers front; drilled 11.37-inch rotors, four-piston calipers rear; Wilwood master cylinder
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Billet Specialties Street Lite 15x5 front, 15x12 rear
Tires: Mickey Thompson Sportsman 26x6 front, 31x16 rear
Upholstery: Procar
Material: Leather
Seats: Procar
Steering: Fatman rack-and-pinion, ididit column, Billet Specialties Boost wheel
Shifter: Clayton Machine Works Truss-style lever on OE shifter
Dash: OE
Instrumentation: Dakota Digital
Audio: Pioneer head unit; JL Audio front and rear speakers, amps, and subwoofer
HVAC: Classic Auto Air
Bodywork: Wheeltubs, stretched quarter-panels, and metal finish by Clay Phillips at Performance Paint and Chassis (Battlefield, MO)
Paint by: Mark Morris at Visual Imagination/Mike Mclin at The Restomod Store (Independence, MO)
Paint: Spies Hecker, custom Khaki Pearl base by Visual Imagination, MB 544 red pinstripe, MB 2002 Blue Black, custom clearcoat
Hood: Goodmark steel
Grille: Stock
Bumpers: Stock

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