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1963 Chevy Nova Restoration - Complete RUSToration

39 Months of Work and Sweat

"It's an interesting story," said Rob Gunderson about his '63 Chevy II. "I actually have the car quite by accident." Way back in 1992 Rob found a rough '63 on the way home from work. Being curious, Rob asked if the car was for sale, it wasn't. A few months later Rob picked up a VW for $100 in non-running condition. After freshening up the motor the VW ran fine, and was later traded for the '63 Chevy II that wasn't for sale. So, the way we figure it, Rob paid $100 bucks plus a few parts for an original '63 Chevy II. That's one heck of a deal. Who would trade a '63 Chevy II for a Beetle? We have no idea, but things worked out great for Rob.

After getting the '63 home, Rob began surveying the situation and soon realized the task that was in front of him. It would take money, love and lots of hard work to make his machine the bad slammed ride it is today.

Beginning with the chassis, Rob and friends cut the back half away while simultaneously dropping the original front clip. With intensions to run a massive 275 tire, Rob decided to go with a four-link suspended 9-inch. Up front a modified Chassisworks front clip outfitted with Air Ride bags and shockwaves account for the low look and great ride. Before dropping any suspension in place, the unibody was flipped upside down and painted along with all the suspension components. With the basic rolling chassis complete Rob attacked the paint and body himself. It wasn't until years later when Rob decided flames were in order did he have the paint stripped and reapplied professionally.

As an avid engine guru, Rob built his injected 400 from the ground up. With Brodix heads and a large solid roller camshaft Rob was assured a 500-plus horsepower street motor. While his original setup wad a Holley mechanical secondary, by the time we saw the '63 it was outfitted with a Hilborn stack injected DFI system. Doing most of the conversion himself, making the old injection work with modern components was no small task, but we think he pulled it off pretty well seeing as his lil' machine clicks off high 11s in the 1320.

When all the big stuff was out of the way it was time to make the final decision on how to finish off the car. In the name of difference and style, Rob opted for a crushed velvet interior combined with 17-inch Colorado Custom rollers, a bold combination to say the least. Above all else, Rob Gunderson traveled the furthest distance for a photoshoot, on very short notice, and for this we are very impressed. Three days before the shoot we called Rob and slyly asked if he minded driving 1,000-plus miles for a photo shoot that would take place 3 days before he was planning on traveling to Tahiti. Thanks for the enthusiasm Rob, we wish every feature car owner had your excitement for the hobby!

TECH SPECS
Owner Rob Gunderson, Bellingham, Washington
Vehicle '63 Chevy II
Engine 400-inch SB, Brodix aluminum heads, Keith Black 11.0:1 flat-top pistons, Comp Cams solid roller camshaft, Hilborn stacked modified EFI, Accel DFI dual sync, Chassisworks headers, custom 3-inch dual exhaust, machine work by Meridian Performance Machine, Lynden, WA (360/398-8089), engine assembled by owner, 530 hp at 6,500 rpm
Transmission GM TH400, 3,200-rpm stall converter, assembled by owner
Suspension Chassisworks
Front 2-inch dropped spindles, Air Ride bags, Air Ride shockwave absorbsion, Wilwood 12-inch disc brakes
Rear 9-inch housing, 4.10:1 track lock, Air Ride bags, Air Ride shockwave absorbsion, Wilwood 12-inch disc brakes
Wheels Colorado Custom, Empire II
Front 17x7
Rear 17x10
Tires Ziex ZE502
Front 205/40/17
Rear 275/40/17
Interior '68 Chevelle buckets, crushed velvet seating surfaces, fabricated door panels, interior by Jim's Upholstery, Bellingham, WA (360/734-6004)
Exterior T&N fiberglass cowl hood, PPG '75 Corvette yellow, applied by Mike Jeffcoat, Bellingham, WA (360/371-4029), bodywork by owner, flames by Scott's Arts and Graphics, Bellingham, WA (360/734-3458)
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