With any project, it's easy for things to get out of hand. A simple, straightforward build can morph into a big-budget show animal in an instant. The "Well, I've already spent this/bought that, I might as well do this/buy that" justification takes over. That's exactly what happened to Roger Minyard.
When purchased in 2006, the '67 SS was wearing a 10-year-old restoration, with an old-school 350, Muncie four-speed, Weld wheels, and painted in a factory lacquer blue with blue interior. Little by little Roger upgraded the Nova to a Pro Touring style, replacing the Welds with Boyds Smoothies, and adding a Billet Specialties Front Runner accessory drive, Vintage Air climate system, and Covans dash package.
The engine received a heads/cam/intake upgrade, the brakes changed to Baer binders at all four corners, and the front suspension upgraded with a Classic Performance Products bolt-on front clip.
By '07, the car drove great and provided a lot of fun, but the lacquer paint was showing some wear and tear. After talking with his paint shop about what to do, Roger went with the more cost-effective alternative of stripping the car down to bare metal and having it resprayed in Mercedes Iridium Silver. The factory interior was also yanked for custom red leather trappings.
This combo would keep Roger happy until '09, when he felt the Chevy II needed bigger wheels and a better rear suspension. Mini-tubs were installed to fit 20x10 Boze Mesh rims in the rear wheelwells, and a Total Cost Involved four-link suspension with QA1 coilovers and Currie 9-inch rear was bolted in. By this point the car had built up almost $100K worth of receipts, far more than was originally intended but with much more to come.
After tearing up the autocross at that year's Goodguys Columbus show, the Nova went for a tumble. Roger had a mishap with his trailer while towing the car back from the show. The wheels were skinned up on the passenger side, and that side quarter and rocker panel got dinged up too. So, the '67 went back to the shop for some necessary repairs that would be the springboard for a major transformation.
In the process of repairing the body, it was decided to match the front suspension to the four-link system in back. Total Cost Involved got the call again and a full clip swapped in. All components of both the front and rear suspensions were detailed by polishing, powdercoating, or being replaced with stainless parts. To fill the Boze wheels better, Wilwood 14-inch brakes with six-piston calipers were called into duty at all four corners.
With all of these mods, the old Gen I small-block looked very out of place for what was now a super-modern Pro Touring machine. After careful thought and consideration, there was only one engine that could fill the Nova's engine bay properly. Before he knew it, Roger had a brand-new LS9 crate from Chevrolet Performance to drop into the TCI front clip. The old Muncie was pitched for a new Chevy Performance 6L90E slush box.
Even though he still liked the silver/red interior color combo, Roger knew the car needed a whole new paint and interior scheme. He surmised that with the same paint and interior, people would pass by the car without taking notice of all the major changes. See what we mean by "I've gone this far, might as well do this..." when it comes to cars?
Inside, a pair of Toyota Solara bucket seats went up front, covered in specially-ordered Australian leather by Paul Atkins, along with the custom-made door panels, new rear seats, and custom console Atkins also produced. The carpet is copper-colored weave, and the gauges are Auto Meter readouts mounted in a one-off dash insert.
On the outside, the silver paint was totally stripped off for body man Pete Ausbrooks. He not only repaired the damage from the accident, but also added some more body mods and smoothing to get the car just right. The drip rails were shaved and filled, all emblems removed, the firewall smoothed, and '66 Nova front fenders and headlight bezels fitted, then tweaked for the new integral headlight/turn signal assemblies. Ausbrooks smoothed the front bumper and cut holes to mount driving lights in, then the stock rear bumper was smoothed and tucked in tighter just like the front. The factory vent windows were removed and one-piece glass installed in the doors.
Danny Taylor at Taylor's House of Color in Louisville, Kentucky, mixed and sprayed the car's new DuPont Hot Hues Copper Sunset/Black two-tone scheme, and painted on the car's ZR-II logos in place of the factory SS badges.
In the end, the car Roger always wanted, a real show-stopper that people couldn't resist taking a look at, was what rolled out of the shop. Proving that this particular Chevy II isn't a trailer queen, he drove it from Louisville to Detroit and back for the 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour, racking up well over 3,000 miles and a lot of compliments along the way. The big surprise was at the 2011 Goodguys Columbus show, where the '67 made it to the semi-final round of the Street Machine of the Year competition.
The big irony of this story is Roger thought the car was perfect when he first bought it in '06. Almost a quarter of a million dollars later, we guess this Nova goes to show you can improve upon perfection.