This Nova might get exercised at the drag strip frequently, but it also sees its share of
Introduced in 1962, the Chevy II was Chevrolet's traditional compact car answer to the Ford Falcon. After a few design changes in the first six years of production, the 1968-'74 Nova models took a page from the successful Camaro, and production numbers swelled. Ditching the previous shock-tower front suspension, the Nova now utilized a front and rear suspension arrangement owing to its F-body sibling, allowing the use of a big-block powerplant in the 1968-'70 Super Sport models. The X-body platform did enjoy a few advantages over the Camaro, including a longer wheelbase and the Nova's stiffer sedan body style, quite possibly the reason you still see many Novas in use at the drag strip. Add in a more usable trunk and a base price $300 cheaper than the Camaro, it's no wonder over 200,000 Novas were sold in 1968.
But there are a few disadvantages to the Nova, the first being it does not enjoy the cult-like status the Camaro does. Novas are a rarer sight at car shows and cruises, and as such they do not enjoy nearly the amount of parts availability as the Camaro. Window parts are one area where Novas don't enjoy new reproductions, most importantly the regulator itself. Given that most regulators from third-generation Nova models are pushing 40 years old and command a decent price in used condition, why not consider power windows? Although Novas didn't enjoy a power window option until the 1975 models were introduced, Electric Life has filled that void with kits available to convert most 1962-72 models to crankless operation. Problem solved.
Our test subject is a 1971 owned by Jason Rollins. A past Super Chevy Show True Street winner that can clock low 9-second times in the quarter-mile, Rollins still uses the car for street and strip operation, but admits trying to roll the windows up around a full roll cage can be trying at times. Combined with donning a five-layer firesuit, gloves and neck collar required by racing organizations for those quick trips down the track, the ability to open and close both windows at the touch of a button became increasingly appealing to Rollins.
We brought the car to Darren's Custom & Restoration for the conversion, where owner and fellow racer Darren Stutts performed the swap in less than a day's time.