1963 Chevy Nova Convertible SS - It's All About the Options

Presentedwith a Tough Decision, Gerald Howard Didn't Balk

Mike Harrington May 19, 2006 0 Comment(s)

I'm willing to bet that most guys reading this can identify with this situation. In my younger days when my pals and I would go cattin' around town looking to meet girls, we developed our own communications system. This enabled us to talk about the girl right next to us by using certain key words that she would never pick up on. One particular bit I remember was "option number 10," which simply meant "to the curb." But more on option number 10 later.

This story is obviously about one sexy '63 drop-top Nova and the options that were available to owner/builder Gerald Howard. During the 1960s and '70s, Gerald was an avid car show attendee. Having lived in Los Angeles his whole life, there was no shortage of shows to attend, and the options were unlimited. During those years, Gerald developed a keen eye for automobiles and he was never without a sharp-looking, well-built car. For whatever reason, Gerald's reputation and skills went into hibernation, and soon most friends and family thought he had lost it and was washed up. All that would change very soon.

Several years ago, an unsuspecting automobile owner gave their '63 Nova an "option number 10" and sent it to the curb. The little Nova was doomed to a death sentence in a Gardena, California, salvage yard. Luckily for the classic SS, Gerald's skills were no longer in complete hibernation, for no sooner had he discovered the Nova that he was now the new owner, and for a marginal amount of money, too. The car was completely rust-free, had never been in an accident, and still donned its original factory paint job. What a deal!

Determined to show all the naysayers in the peanut gallery that his skills were not, in fact, washed up, Gerald spent the next three years reconstructing and improving this car. It's all about the options, right? The inline-six and Powerglide were pulled, as Gerald had opted for a large small-block and Turbo 350. The small-block was bored 30 over, and an Isky bumpstick and rollers were added. An Edelbrock intake, a Holley carb, a Moroso oil pan, Dougs Headers, an MSD ignition, and a Flowmaster exhaust were next up on the list. Anybody who has built cars knows the amount of time, money, and love it takes to get the job done. There was, however, one person in Gerald's life who didn't understand, nor did they care to. Let's just call her "Jackie Johnson." She would bellow and scream like a banshee that he was spending too much time and money on the car instead of on her. Finally, her ranting had reached its climax when she issued an ultimatum to Gerald: "The Nova or me!"

Like all good stories with a happy ending, an "option number 10" was exercised and Jackie found herself at the edge of the curb. Four hundred and twenty-five horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque later, Gerald's sanity returned, and he could get back to the business at hand and finish the build with his friends and family in peace.

A Chevy 8.25 with 3:73 gears by Tom's Differential sits out back, giving this lightweight Deuce plenty of digging power. Keeping to a solid '60s look really makes this SS stand out in a crowd. Good job, Gerald. Like I said earlier, it's all about the options.

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