July 2012 Featured Nova
Spring City, Tennessee
- Year: 1964
- Model: Coupe
- Paint Color: Dark Garnet Red Pearl and Champagne Pearl
- Wheel Size: 17” X 7”
- Tire Size: 215-50R-17
- Engine: GM Crate 350 330 horse
- Transmission: Hughes Street and Strip Turbo 350
- Rear End: Stock rear end with 308 gears and Randy’s Ring Pinion Posi-traction
- Front Suspension: TCI front clip with air ride, power rack and pinion, 2” drop spindles
- Rear Suspension: Ride Tech 4-link with air ride
- Brakes: Classic Performance 4 wheel slotted and cross drilled rotors – single piston calipers
- Exhaust: TCI supplied powder coated headers - Jimmy’s Pro Muffler fully welded exhaust
Unique aspect quote:
“The interior is the most unique aspect of this car. Much time and thought went into creating an updated original look for the interior. The two tone paint was carried into the interior through the splitting of the dash in order to match the outside body lines. The car originally came with a front bench, bucket seats were not available for this model, but I decided to part ways with the original in installing a set of ProCar buckets. After a few e-mails and phone calls to Vickie at GM Classics, I received a set of inserts for the front seats which matched the rear seat pattern. Within a week of a visiting Pops Barn in Spring City, Tennessee a great looking interior was nearly complete. It took several weeks to complete the fiberglass console which houses the Alpine stereo and Air Ride display and control module. To construct the console, I started with a wooden frame (covered with aluminum foil as a mold release), then laid on the glass, and many hours of block sanding finished the job. At first I questioned how bringing the lower body color onto the console would look… but the reactions of others now indicate that it was a good choice!” - Bob
- Built by Bob Kozul - Spring City, TN
- Chuck at Pop’s Barn Spring City, TN (Front Seats)
- Jimmy’s Pro Muffler – Dayton, TN (Exhaust)
Major part providers:
- Classic Performance Products /TCI (Total Cost Involved): CPP / TCI provide a complete bolt on front clip. Their kit is indeed a bolt on kit. After several days of prepping and painting, the clip and complete front suspension was installed in about a day. The kit comes with frame, inner fenders, Upper and Lower Control arms, Rack & Pinion and Misc. Mounts / Hardware necessary for installation, including ceramic coated headers, designed to fit the application. Air bags, 4 wheel discs, power booster, slotted and cross drilled rotors finished off the installation.
- Air ride: A complete set of Air Ride 4 link rear suspension was purchased from CPP. The kit replaces the original leaf springs with 4-links. It is pretty much a bolt-on kit except the 4 brackets that had to be welded to the differential.
- Ididit: An Ididit tilt steering column was installed. U-joints and steering shaft were provided by CPP. The steering column is a direct plug in to the American Auto Wire wiring kit.
- American Auto Wire: An up to date wiring kit from American Auto Wire was installed. It included updated wiring for air, electronic distributor, cooling fans, etc. I don’t know about other kits, but this kit required installation of all connectors after wires were cut to length.
- GM Performance: A GM Performance turnkey 350 c.i. 330 horse motor was installed. It came with a complete serpentine system, air conditioning pump, fuel pump, power steering pump, distributer, carb, valve covers, air cleaner and plug wires. It was indeed a plug and play installation.
- Hughes Street Strip: A performance street strip Turbo 350 transmission and 2000 stall converter were installed. Use of the TCI front clip and Turbo 350 allowed use of the original driveshaft.
- Vintage air: Vintage air was added. I wouldn’t consider it a bolt-in because cutting the firewall and core support was required, but everything was included.
- Radiators: The car was originally fitted with an Afco direct fit cross-flow radiator with dual electric fans and transmission cooler. It would not cool the crate motor with the vintage air on as Tennessee temperatures moved above 90. After a few frustrating months of testing jetting, thermostats, various size drive pulleys, and finally disconnecting the transmission from the radiator, a Griffin aluminum radiator was ordered with hopes of getting keeping the temperatures below 220 deg.
- Billet Specialties: The 17”X 7” billet wheels were manufactured by Billet Specialties. A 4.5” backspace was required for clearance.
- GM Classics & Chevy 2 Only: Front and back window glass. Rear quarter window top trim. Rear bumper. Rubber seals. The complete interior top to bottom, including all handles, cranks and arm rests. I think I used the original brake pad. Much of the exterior trim and bright-work was provided by Chevy 2… In short: way too much to remember.
One evening a while back I decided to relax and watch a previously recorded episode of Chip Foose stealing some kid’s 1963 4-door Nova. I started to think it would be nice to do a similar car and my wife and I began searching the internet for an early model Chevy II. We found a fabulous looking red `64 convertible and made a phone call, but it had just sold a few days before. However, the seller informed me that he also had a California 1964 2-door rust-free coupe for sale… About two weeks later I received a call from the trucking company that my new `64 Nova was waiting at the local truck stop. Minutes later I am cruising down the road in a 6-cylinder, 2-speed automatic, 4-wheel drum brake death trap. It took both feet and a prayer to stop the car.
The car had been painted a few months prior to me acquiring it so it looked pretty clean. When my wife got home a few hours later she suggested that we drive the car for a few months before beginning any work on it. I replied “Take if for a test drive.” After a brief 2 miles up the road and back she pulled into the driveway, turned off the car and said: “Strip it.” That is when it all started.
Shortly after purchasing the car, I decided to take some time off work. In just a few days the entire front clip, engine, tranny, differential, and interior were removed from the car. The decision was made to purchase a rotisserie to do the job right - soon after the uni-body was in the air. After a week and 150 pounds of aluminum oxide later, the entire underside had been blasted and painted with Eastwoods Chassis Black. The underside of the car was pretty much as advertised - rust free. “Nothing to this total restoration stuff” I thought. Next work began on the rear quarters. It wasn’t long before I discovered hammer holes and bondo above the rear wheels. After an attempt to cut-out and repair the holes it became apparent that the damage was bad enough to warrant replacing the quarters. Starting with the driver’s side I purchased a complete quarter panel - bad idea. It took at least a week to bend, shape, fabricate, widen, and modify to fit. After making calls to about a dozen vendors it appears that the only quarter available for the `64 is for a sedan. They don’t fit a coupe. For the passenger side, I decided to do a skin. In just a few short days, the skin was on and looking great. The rest of the uni-body was stripped with paint stripper, media blasting any light surface rust that I encountered. It wasn’t long before the body, minus front clip, was in primer.
Not planning far enough ahead, I then contacted Classic Performance Products for a complete TCI front clip, including power rack and pinion, drop spindles, 4-wheel power discs, slotted and cross drilled rotors, a 4-link rear suspension, and complete air ride set-up. It took 8 weeks to get the parts. While waiting, I worked on the restoration of small parts along with final block sanding of the body.
Having had enough crawling around under a vehicle, wearing a blast hood and respirator, blowing aluminum oxide all over the garage, shoveling it back into the hopper and blasting some more, the decision was made to take the hood and front fenders to a plastic media blasting business while waiting for a front clip. A week later I picked up a hood with floppy stretched out of shape sheet metal, one previously wrecked fender, and one fender with numerous rust holes which quickly resulting in me back on the phone ordering two front fenders and a new hood. The hood fit perfectly, both front fenders required the rear braces be removed and reinstalled to get them to match the doors. The fenders stuck out a least ¼ inch at the fender and door gap. I joke about it now, but from the firewall forward, the only original parts on the car are the windshield wiper motor, hood latch, core support, the two horns, and the pot metal trim on the front of the hood. The bumper that was on the front of the car was there when I bought it, but considering its shape, I have added it to the new parts list.
One final story that should help builders… When the car was purchased, the original gas cap was setting a bit off level when fully closed. Due to the excellent condition of the filler neck it appeared that the part was a replacement, explaining the alignment issue. When it came time to install the filler, it was rotated in the fender opening until the cap looked good and new holes drilled into the filler neck flange. With the gas cap level, the filler neck missed the tank by about 2 or 3 inches. The fix: cut the factory weld down from the top of the filler neck, slip the remainder of the neck into the rubber hose on the gas tank, match mark the pieces, remove, and weld. After discussing with several parts suppliers it appears that this issue is quite common. Numerous filler necks get returned because folks think they are bent wrong. Granted, they don’t fit, but they are not bent wrong. The top section is welded on out of alignment.
The restoration took 11 months – 7 months 5 days a week and 4 months working on the weekends. My wife and I are satisfied in the way it turned out. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do and gain some ideas for your own restoration projects.
- Bob Kozul