It's what you don't see that first catches the eye. Pure Black, the absence off all light, the absence of all body trim and door handles, the absence of all body seams and window trim. It's this absence that gives this Nova its presence. The serpent-like subtlety that has been crafted into this '67 Nova has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
As any story goes, the Nova went through several changes during its lifetime with owner Larry Castaneda. When he first acquired the Nova, he was just 16 with a brand-new license. Prior to this, all that he had for transportation were his Chevro-legs. His Uncle Art changed all that for him one day, when he told him Larry had just bought him a real '67 Nova SS. Sure, it didn't have any back glass, or rear seats, and it was covered in several different colors of primer, but it was his, and it was all that mattered. Over the years, with the help of Uncle Art, Bob Moore, and Ray Nunez, the clap-trap Nova was transformed into a sleek-looking street machine, which Larry cruised in for years afterwards.
In '95, the Nova was parked for a couple of years when Larry moved out of state. When he moved back to California, the car still stayed parked as he contemplated what to do with it. As Larry points out, "Well, the years flew by and I spent most of the time flipping through Super Chevy magazines that I had stacked up at my house." After seeing a new sleek black Mercedes on the freeway one night, he knew his Nova had to be sleek and black as well.
Auto Image Restorations and Customs in Camarillo, California, came into the picture, and a total transformation of the Nova took place. That included a complete teardown and stripping of it. The first thing that was added was a Chris Alston's Chassisworks front clip with Wilwood 13-inch rotors, and an Air Ride Shockwave low enough to plow the pavement. It was followed up by a Chassisworks 4-link rear end with Shockwaves and 12-inch rotors from Wilwood. All the custom fabrication (which is extensive), including the back-half rear tubs, custom made subframe connectors, frame modifications, as well as body smoothing and pan rolling, was performed by Lawrence "The Kiwi" Bryant.
The rolling stock under the Nova are Asanti wheels, 19x8 in the front with 4 1/2-inch backspacing, and 20x12s in the rear with 6 3/4-inch backspacing. Traction and ground grabbing is done with a set of Yokahama 245/30/19s and 315/25/20 tires. Even the flush mount glass was custom cut by Steve at Auto City Glass.
Underneath the hood lies a spit-and-polish Turnkey Engine Supply-built to the hilt 6.0L LS2, complete with a Kenne Bell supercharger and a 4L80E transmission from Phoenix transmissions with a 3,000 rpm stall. While the boost is running a street-friendly 7 lbs, the LS2 is capable of running up to 15 lbs of boost. A very respectable 670 hp and 650 tq power this Nova around the California coast.
The interior, just like the exterior, is radical yet subtle, and still retains much of its OE styling and presence. The factory SS seats were reupholstered with European Black Bentley leather, as well as the door panels. Even the factory SS dash pad is clad in Bentley leather! The carpet is actually Mercedes Black carpet cut and trimmed by JB Customs.
A vehicle of this quality and caliber does not come easy or cheap. Just ask Larry. He will tell you his wife graciously allowed him to sleep on the couch many a time when he revealed to her that the Nova budget had to be raised! Haven't we all been there at one point in our lives?
In the end, Larry wants to thank his wife, Korina, for being understanding and letting him pursue his dream-built Nova. It's all worth it when they take the Nova for a ride up PCH (that's Pacific Coast Highway, for you non-California readers). Look for more feature photos on superchevy.com.