1963 Chevy Nova SS - Lightning Rod

This '63 Nova SS Has Been a Star in Magazines and on Toy Shelves

Paul Zazarine Mar 11, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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The instrument panel's design and construction is about as novel as you'll find. Wooding removed the factory gauge cluster and the radio and, using exhaust and driveshaft tubing, fabricated the buckets that contain the VDO Night Vision instruments that extend all the way to the glovebox, all wired up with a trouble-free Ron Francis harness. All the factory switches and controls were removed or replaced with air-conditioning vents in the lower center and both ends of the panel. The billet-faced HVAC control panel is to the right of the ididit tilt column. Wooding chose a four-spoke Lecarra wheel with a tan leather rim to match the interior. Inside the glovebox is a high-powered Clarion AM/FM/cassette audio system with a six-disc remote CD player.

While the Nova may look stock on the outside, it's plenty radical on the inside. Start with the underpinnings. Wooding chucked the stock front drums in favor of a set of big discs and added a dual master cylinder. The factory steering box was replaced with a rack-and-pinion setup from a Mustang II. Gabriel shocks were placed at all four corners, and a half turn was removed from the front coils to lower the front end. Out back, the reinforced leaf springs support a narrowed Currie nine-inch Ford rear with a 3.72:1 Posi rear.

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No self-respecting Nova SS street machine would be caught dead without a big-block, so Wooding chose a 425-horsepower 454 GM Performance Parts crate motor from Berguland Chevrolet. Wooding added a 750-cfm Edelbrock carburetor, a high-flow Stuart water pump, ACCEL ignition, and Taylor wires. To keep the engine temperature nominal, a BeCool aluminum radiator with twin fans was installed. A set of custom headers were bent and HPC-coated, and the big 2.5-inch pipes stretch out to a set of Flowmasters. A Hurst shifter controls the Muncie M20 manual transmission. For looks, Wooding chromed the intake manifold, the 110-amp alternator, and the A/C compressor, and added shiny valve covers and an open-element air cleaner.

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After the Nova appeared as a feature car in Super Chevy's "Real Street" series, the folks at Johnny Lightning liked it so much they made it into one of their "Famous Chevys" line of 1/64-scale die-cast models.

Like most car builders, Wooding grew tired of the Nova SS once it was finished and made the rounds on the show circuit. After all, you can only polish the fenders so many times. The Nova SS crossed the block at one of the major collector car hobby auctions and ended up in the All-Chevy collection of Rick Treworgy in Punta Gorda, Florida.

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Rick Klinger, who maintains the massive Treworgy collection, spruced up the engine compartment with a chrome finned air cleaner lid and valve covers and replaced the rubber radiator and engine hoses with braided lines. He also went through the Nova SS to ensure it continues to remain in the top-quality condition Norwood Wooding maintained it in when it hit the pages of Super Chevy. It's one of Treworgy's favorite cars in his collection, not just because he enjoys an occasional blast down the highway or because it's a sweetheart to drive; no, Rick's got a warm spot for the Nova because it's the only car he owns that has a Johnny Lighting die-cast model made in its image. How many other car owners can say that?

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