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Classic 1967 Nova with Just the Right Modern Touches

Man In A Box: Nova lover gets the '67 he always wanted . . and then

Scotty Lachenauer Feb 2, 2017
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In 1971, Charlie Moon got his driver’s license, and along with that piece of paper in his wallet he also got the itch to see what was going on at Neita Raceway, the local quarter-mile racetrack that was just a few miles from his home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. At the time, his dad’s good buddy was running a sweet ’67 Nova on the strip and, well, once Charlie laid his eyes on it, he instantly fell in love with the potent Chevy compact racer.

Dressed in a glossy black skin and rolling on a set of brightly polished Cragar rims, the Box Nova was a dream ride for the smitten teenager. Not to mention it was fast. Fast as hell, as Charlie remembers it. That particular car would leave a lasting impression on the young car aficionado and it was a memory that would stay with him for the next four decades.

Let’s blast ahead into the future. After a 45-year career with John Deere, Charlie was ready to retire. Hitting that life milestone, he was eager to get down to enjoying his free time. He also wanted to start scratching some items off his extensive bucket list he had been working on over the years. After being diagnosed with cancer he felt the time was now to get started on the biggest item on his list: finding a sweet ’67 Nova to call his own. So, after waiting so long to score his dream ride it was now or never … and Charlie chose NOW!

1967 Chevrolet Nova Rear 2/26
1967 Chevrolet Nova Emblem 3/26

So Charlie started his quest to find a topnotch Nova to fill the void in his garage. After some looking, he located an eye-catching ’67 at Classic Car Studio (CCS) in St. Louis. The nicely built up Chevy was definitely an interesting muscle ride, and had many of the bells and whistles that he wanted on his own car. But, unfortunately for our Nova lover the car was already sold.

But that didn’t stop Charlie. He decided to take a day and drive over to CCS to take a look around. He was impressed with the shop and the quality of their work. So then and there Charlie decided to work with CCS and have them build his dream car … from the ground up. It would be a tasty Nova, keeping the major styling cues that drew him to the little Chevy in the first place, but built with some tasty upgrades and modern touches.

So the hunt was on for a good donor to this new project. Through one of the several online Nova forums, a good, usable starting point was found and procured. The ’67 was a cream puff for sure, showing only 43,000 miles on the odometer, and having lived its entire life with just one careful owner. The car was shipped to CCS where it was torn down and stripped to bare metal. What they found was a cherry body, with just one minor rust spot to speak of. The crew at CCS couldn’t have asked for a better starting point for this big-time Bow Tie build.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Side 4/26

Sometimes restorations can hit an immediate speed bump once they are taken down to their bare basics. But since this car was nearly as clean as it could possibly be, the resto forged forward without missing a step. With just some minor metalwork to do, CCS lost little time getting this body into the shape it needed to be in.

Charlie wanted a little attitude with this build, so the first step was getting the metal massaged to fit the big back meats this little Nova was going to employ. So a set of mini-tubs were installed. Next, after a little bit of back and forth between owner and builder, modifications were made in the suspension setup to get this car down toward the pavement. Charlie really liked the original ride height that Novas came with, but after talking to Noah and the crew, he was soon convinced that this Chevy would look killer with a little drop to the body.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Undercarriage 5/26

The metal and body work was gone over, and then repeated when they uncovered an issue with a few of the panels. CCS made sure this car was dead straight before hitting the paint booth. The car was sprayed with BASF Glasurit base, along with five coats of clear. The paint looks fathoms deep and sets off this Super Nova build. And since Charlie wanted to drive the hell out of his ride, the entire undercarriage has been coated in truck bed liner to keep it safe from rocks and other hazards that could cause damage out on the streets.

The suspension upgrades are based around a Total Cost Involved Engineering (TCI) setup so there is little that could possibly go wrong here. It starts with a custom TCI IFS subframe. Tubular control arms keep the weight down and add a nice look up front, while a TCI Torque Arm Suspension handles the duties out back. A power rack-and-pinion keeps this beauty aimed in the right direction and a set of RideTech coilovers keeps the ride steady. For stopping power, Wilwood rotors are pinched by Dynalite calipers at all four corners.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Engine View 6/26
1967 Chevrolet Nova Engine 7/26

Power under the hood is supplied by a Chevrolet Performance LS376/480 LS3, pushing 495 hp at 6,200 rpm along with 473 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. It does all this by running a set of L92 D-shaped exhaust port heads sporting 68cc combustion chambers. A beefed-up hydraulic roller cam (219/228-degree duration, 0.525/0.525-inch lift) gets the valves jumping on this potent Bow Tie powerplant. A 4L70E handles the shifting and sends the power out to a Ford 9-inch rear stuffed with Detroit Truetrac 3.50 gears. A GM Performance engine and transmission controller helps this engine run efficiently while blasting through the gears.

To keep this baby cool even on the hottest Missouri summer days, an Entropy LS Retro Fit radiator with dual high-cfm fans handles the duties. Spent gasses are handled by a custom-fabricated 3-inch stainless steel exhaust system that gets its gnarly tone from a set of tuned Borla mufflers. For a little bling at the corners, Charlie went with Billet Specialties Stiletto wheels, 17x7 up front and 17x10 out back, wrapped in Nitto Extreme rubber, 235/45/17 and 315/35/17, respectively.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Door Panel Interior 8/26
1967 Chevrolet Nova Interior 9/26
1967 Chevrolet Nova Shifter 10/26

The interior here is a piece of work. CCS used Relicate leather to cover the modern six-way power seats that were refoamed to look more like original Chevy issue buckets. Dakota Digital VHX gauges give a modern look to the dash. Charlie insisted on a modern cruise control unit for when he takes the Nova out on the highways and byways hitting the major shows in his area. A Vintage Air SureFit unit keeps the climate just the way he wants it in the cockpit of this potent Chevy cruiser.

Once the Nova was completed, Paul over at CCS coordinated a surprise drop-off, assisted by Charlie’s wife, Donna. Paul drove the stunning Chevy from the shop in St. Louis over 5 hours to Charlie’s home in Iowa, and surprised him while he was sitting in his living room lounger. Needless to say, Mr. Moon was “beaming” from ear to ear when he saw this classic Chevy pull up into his driveway. He’s certainly one happy man in his own special Box.

1967 Chevrolet Nova Rear 11/26

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