There are no windows or door panels. There's no carpeting or insulation. Hell, there's no transmission tunnel to shield you from the heat or whine of the Lenco 4-speed. There is tubing everywhere, for the roll cage, for the one-off custom gauge pod, for the skeleton of the doors-and they're all painted bright orange so you can really see them.
You've climbed over the cage and plopped yourself down in the unpadded aluminum race seat. The minute owner Mike Eden reaches to the overhead console and pushes the Start button, all hell breaks loose inside. The 5-inch mufflers, which exit through the side of the body on either side of the car (just below your ears) bark, spit and scream at you. And that's at idle. Once he puts the Lenco into First, and gets on the throttle, you start wondering if your life insurance is paid up.
This '70 Nova may be called Pro Street, but it's the closest we've come to Pro Stock with license plates. This sumbitch is hot inside and there is no air conditioner to cool you off. You can smell the exhaust fumes and the high octane race fuel as you cruise along. The more gas the owner feeds it, the louder and more rambunctious it becomes. You can hear the giant Mickey Thompson ET Streets out back kicking up thousands of stones into the wheel tubs. And when he punches it, well, you better be holding onto something. The Nova explodes forward, then kicks sideways. The howl of the big-block rattles your eardrums and you're soon having way too much fun.
This month's cover car actually started life as a '62 Bubbletop. No, we aren't on crack, that's how this project really started. About three and a half years ago, Mike started working on a '62 full size Chevy he had bought in 1998. The plan was to turn the '62 into a Pro Street car until Mike got a call from friend Lonny Gordon, owner of East Coast Muscle Cars. Lonny told Mike about a rolling chassis that Bob Meshey from Way Cool Rod Shop had just completed. The customer who'd ordered the chassis had lost interest, and it needed a new home. With Lonny acting as a go-between, a deal was struck for Mike to purchase the chassis and bring it home to mate up with his '62 body.
After getting into the project, Mike realized the '62 just wouldn't work with the chassis. So the '62 project went on the shelf and the search began for a body. Mike liked the idea of putting a '68-72 Nova body on the chassis. The looks of the third gen Novas appealed to Mike and would fit nicely with his plans.
In July of 2003, Mike was at the Maple Grove Super Chevy show and spotted a Nova body that fit his needs, one that already had new GM quarter panels installed. A deal was struck, and it was his. In September of the same year, with the help of his friend Bob "Winey" Wineholt, the body was mounted to the chassis. What made this installation unusual was that a hurricane was tearing through the area, and Mike and Bob had to use three generators to get power and light so they could get the body mounted.
After the body was mounted, the car spent the next 2 1/2 years between Wineholt's shop, East Coat Muscle Cars and Mike's shop to get everything finished. Bob, a blacksmith by trade who is just as handy with a welder and fabrication equipment, did most of the fabrication on the car. The Nova's wheelwells were stretched, the rain gutters removed, and custom bumpers from Glasstek were fitted to the car.