We're moving like molasses in March on the progress of this 1970 Nova. But moving we are. Avid readers of Super Chevy's Nova may remember that in the '06 Nova annual, (page 35) we installed one of the first sets of subframe connectors from Global West. Take a gander at the April '07 issue of Super Chevy and you'll see the rusty old Nova clip receiving the royal treatment with upgrades from Global West and ECI.So what do we have in this issue for the $250 swap-meet special? Were glad you asked. It's time to dive deep into one of the most time-consuming processes of building any hot rod: bodywork. We're not going to sugarcoat anything here. This Nova is uglier than a baboon's butt and is going to require extensive amounts of surgery to replace the rotted and rippled metal.
Our friends at CARS Inc. stepped in and provided us with enough sheetmetal to keep us busy on bodywork for several months. After browsing through their catalog, it's amazing how much replacement sheetmetal and patch panels you can get for these Novas. You can replace practically the whole car out of their catalog. Besides sheetmetal, CARS Inc. has just about everything you would need to restore a '63-79 Nova. Luckily for us, they have a Southern California location. All it took was a pickup truck and a few minutes at their warehouse. After we loaded up the truck, we hightailed it to Harrison's Restorations in Upland, California, to start the long process of restoring the body on this Nova. This is only the beginning of this car's buildup; we have lots more in store for the future.
We weren't kidding when we said this thing was ugly. It makes our face pucker up like a lemon just looking at it.
The first order of business was to completely gut the inside of this vehicle. There is no sense in having a stray spark from our welder or grinder catch anything on fire. Anyone want a set of stock Nova seats? We'll hold onto them for a while before we dumpster them. Some knucklehead in years past used about 30 sheetmetal screws to screw the 1-inch-thick household carpet into the floor. That was a fun time pulling up that carpet and trying to find those screws. And if that wasn't bad enough, I gave myself a wicked black eye trying to remove those seatbelt anchor bolts. Yup, you guessed it: the ratchet slipped, and I punched myself in the eye so hard I saw stars-the clear, iridescent ones that float dizzyingly by in that anguished water some call tears.
After removing the bumper and using a hammer to shatter the decades-old Bondo job, we found out why there was so much mud back there. This car has been smacked in the heinie and, rather than fix it the right way, a mudslinger from years past just slathered the body filler on to cover up the mess.