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John Flowers 1967 Chevy Nova SS - Mr. Big

John Flowers Wanted A Nova That Would Put A Huge Smile On His Face.

Jim Campisano Mar 1, 2011
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The key to any successful project car is to know in the beginning what you want when you're finished. In the case of South Carolina's John Flowers and this '67 Nova SS, he went for the "big factor."

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"Big-block power, big brakes, big wheels, and perfect stance to go with the big grin on my face," John related to us.

Who are we to argue? The only caveat was that he didn't want it to be so nice he wouldn't drive it after the car's completion. John didn't want to go too far and that was his philosophy for the powerplant too.

At the time, he owned a '67 Nova SS with a 355 and four-speed, but it was too similar to a lot of other cars out there. Plus, it didn't have everything he wanted-which was more of everything, including Rat power. On the flip side, he didn't want to cut up a perfectly fine Nova SS to accomplish this, so it was sold.

With the help of longtime friend Bob Saltarelli, John found a machine that he could modify guilt-free. The vehicle you see here was a former street racer in California that sat dormant for a decade and a half after seeing 15 years of clandestine action. It's a genuine SS, but had been pretty well stripped of any item that added weight-including the seats and glass (it had Lexan windows).

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You'd never know about the Chevy II's hard life by looking at it now. The cowl was smoothed and the dash was filled in. All this and the rest of the flawless bodywork was performed by Bob Wilke of Bob's Vintage Chevy in Hesperia, California. Unless you are blind, the first thing you notice about our feature car is its color, Prowler Orange from PPG. It definitely makes your eyeballs vibrate. A four-inch fiberglass cowl hood from Harwood ensures plenty of breathing room for the big-block lurking below.

Speaking of which, it's a stock displacement Mark IV 427 with a forged crank, GM connecting rods, Keith Black forged pistons, and a Comp Cams hydraulic roller (0.570-inch lift intake, 0.554 exhaust, and 243/257 duration). Up top are free-breathing Air Flow Research 265cc aluminum heads, an Edelbrock Victor single-plane intake, and Holley 870 cfm dominator carb. An MSD HEI lights it all up, and exhaust goes through custom headers and 3-inch duals with Flowmasters. John, who relocated from Southern California to South Carolina, flew back to Huntington Beach numerous times to help Saltarelli put the engine together, as well as work on the rest of the car.

If the wild exterior color doesn't blow you away, the interior surely will. Entirely fabricated by Pete Engel at Westminster Upholstery (Anaheim), it's slathered in soft leather and the unique center console helps it stand out. A Vintage Air setup keeps the passengers comfortable and a full set of Auto Meter Ultra Lite gauges reside in a Covans dash. The headliner is made of suede and the door panels are unique and leather-clad as well. Panasonic and Polk account for the tunes and a Budnik wheel directs the front tires.

Poking out of the custom console is a B&M Street Bandit shifter, which is attached to a Turbo 400 automatic. The trans is connected to a Currie 9-inch with 3.50:1 gears via a Powertrain Industries aluminum driveshaft.

This Chevy II drives as good as it looks. It's got a 2x3-inch chassis underneath from Chris Alston's Chassisworks. The front suspension uses that company's front spindles, Ridetech air spring/shock units, and Wilwood 14-inch drilled and slotted rotors with six-piston calipers. Ridetech dampers are used in the rear as well.

For rolling stock, the Nova has Intro Magnum rims all around, measuring 19x8 in front and 20x12 in the rear. Tires are Michelin Pilot Sports (235/35 front and 335/30 rear). The owner reports it drives a lot nicer than his previous '67.

"After over two years of frustration, aggravation, cursing, spitting and hair-pulling, we got it done," John informs us. "The car is everything I wanted and more."



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