Once the mechanical, electrical, and fluid systems were in place on our 1963 Nova project car, we could focus on making it look the way we wanted it to – glass, trim, and all. At this stage of the build our excitement was high because we knew it wouldn't be long before the Hellion was burning rubber.
It's funny how you don't really notice how yellowed the factory glass of older vehicles can get until you have to remove it for a paint job. When the guys at Clippinger Chevrolet painted our project last year we noticed the glass was pretty nasty. Lucky for us we had some options. Replacing the trim was another challenge, as some of the '63-specific side trim isn't available in the aftermarket (yet), so we had to look into other ways to tastefully cover the trim clip holes down the side of the car.
For the replacement windshield, side glass, and rear glass, we contacted Classic Industries in Huntington Beach, California. Classic offers glass for all the popular Chevy models, including our '63 Chevy II hardtop. We were also lucky to have Classic's Noe Rosas help us install and restore the side glass at their tech center.
YearOne Muscle Car Parts, out of Braselton, Georgia, was another main ally in getting the Hardtop Hellion together. While we were able to reuse most of the factory trim, the side trim just wasn't salvageable. In searching through the YearOne catalog we found something we thought would be a creative alternative.
The rendering shows Hardtop Hellion with dark tinted windows, and while we'd love to run limo tint all around, California law prohibits windshield and front driver-side and passenger-side window tint other than factory equipped. We found a good compromise in that Classic Industries offers both clear and tinted glass for '62-65 Novas. We opted for the latter. The tint is subtle, but actually adds a nice touch to the car's appearance.
With the final cosmetics finished up, the next step is to get the Nova drag race ready and head down to the track to get some real-world numbers from our stroker-powered street beast.
01. Although it’s not traditional, we chose to adapt YearOne’s ’69-74 Nova side molding (PN YD38SET) to our early Nova. Since early-model Nova doors are longer, our solution was to use a pair of quarter-panel pieces from the ’69-70 (PN YD36) and cut them down to fit the early door’s length.
02. Keeping our Harwood hood down is an interesting combination of black Dzus fasteners (PN 91007153) and lightened plates. These aren’t self-ejecting, but we felt the black simply looked cooler and matched the theme better.
03. The tinted glass from Classic Industries was way cleaner (and thinner) than the factory pieces. There are eight parts to the set: the windshield and rear glass, the wing windows, the passenger and driver door glass, and, finally, the rear quarter glass.
04. The factory grille and trim was sprayed satin black, while the Harwood fiberglass bumper was covered in 3M’s carbon-fiber Scotchprint.
05. Keeping our Harwood hood down is an interesting combination of black Dzus fasteners (PN 91007153) and lightened plates. These aren’t self-ejecting, but we felt the black simply looked cooler and matched the theme better.
06. YearOne sent us all the weatherstripping and seals needed for the project, including the windshield and rear glass rubber gaskets. The slot essentially grips a flange around the car’s window frame. Making that happen is the tricky part.
07. Undercover Innovations’ Show Panels for early Novas add a nice touch under the hood. These affordable pieces give a clean look and we even had them engraved with the Chevy High Performance logo. Since our hood is a lift-off, we made a latch blank out of aluminum and tied the whole setup together on the factory grille.
08. YearOne provided the trim and emblems for the Hellion Nova. We opted for classic V-flag fender emblems (PN CD834P), which aren’t found on this body style, but fit perfectly where our old “6” emblem used to sit.
09. It’s important to thoroughly clean the old hardened window goop before dropping the new glass into place.
10. Undercover Innovations’ Show Panels for early Novas add a nice touch under the hood. These affordable pieces give a clean look and we even had them engraved with the Chevy High Performance logo. Since our hood is a lift-off, we made a latch blank out of aluminum and tied the whole setup together on the factory grille.
11. The front spoiler on the Nova is from Spoilers by Randy and is a trick accent to the front of the car. It covers the undercarriage well and brings the whole front end together like a nice rug.
12. We contacted Steve Assef at OC Windshields in Anaheim, California, for the installation of the front and rear glass of the Nova. Steve was able to get both pieces installed in one afternoon and did a really great job of making sure the pieces were seated properly. A ratcheting strap was used to gradually apply pressure.
13. Once the pieces were situated, plastic tools were used to coax the rubber gasket into place.