Sometimes the perfect project to take on is another person's headache, especially if you're not looking to rebuild a street machine from the ground up. And in the real world, many projects ultimately end up on the backburner, whether due to other obligations or simply because the funds run out-making these cars the perfect starting point.
Meet Mike Pennington of Lake Forest, California, the Director of Training for Meguiar's car care products-otherwise known as the "resident wax-on-wax-off specialist"-and his stellar '67 Nova. As with most of us, juggling work and building a street machine was a challenge, especially since Mike spends countless hours handling the technical aspects of the products and training other staffers.
Unlike us, Mike was smart enough to realize that to build the car of his dreams with his limited free time, he would be much better off finding a project that was mostly complete except for the finishing touches. After six months of searching through the local classifieds, he turned to eBay and found a gem of a '67 Nova in Missouri. You can bet Mike was hesitant to purchase a car sight unseen and parked halfway across the country. Fortunately, Mike had a coworker who lived near enough to the car to check it out for him. After getting his buddy's appraisal, Mike purchased the Nova, had it shipped to California, and completed the project to his liking within a few months.
While it still amazes us that Mike was able to procure and complete a project like this in such a short time, he insists that it couldn't have been done without the help of Oceanside Transmission, West Coast Truck & Auto, Mesa Muffler, Toyo Tire, Swanson Fabrication, and Ron Adams of Springfield, Missouri, for the paint and body. Nevertheless, after seeing the tremendous results of Mike's '67, we're wondering how we can convince him to help polish some of our junk.
Car Craft Q&A
Car Craft: How long have you owned the '67, and where did you find it?
Mike Pennington: It's coming up on a year since I purchased it, and believe it or not, I found the car on eBay.
CC: Was the Nova everything the seller advertised it as? And would you do it again?
MP: It was exactly as the seller described. Fortunately I was also able to have someone in the area take a look at it, but overall it was a smooth transaction and a great way to get into exactly what I wanted. And yes, I would do it all over again.
CC: How much of the car has changed since you've owned it?
MP: The exterior is more or less the same, minus the wheels, and I lowered it. Otherwise, my modifications have been limited to the rearend, exhaust, rewiring the car, and other minor things. I've been focusing more on enjoying it at local cruise nights and weekend drives.
CC: Ever run the car at the dragstrip?
MP: I've been wanting to, but since this is my cruiser I probably won't. Besides, whenever I need my adrenaline rush, I do wheel-to-wheel racing in The West Coast Pro Truck series (www.mikepenningtonracing.com).
CC: OK, here comes the promo. What do you use to detail the Nova?
MP: Nothing but Meguiar's of course!
Car: '67 Chevy Nova SS
Owner: Mike Pennington, Lake Forest, California
Engine: 427ci big-block
Heads: Cast iron, oval port, 2.19/1.88-inch intake/exhaust valves
Induction: Edelbrock Performer with Holley 750-cfm carb
Camshaft: Comp Cams XE282 hydraulic roller, 230/236 degrees duration at 0.050-inch, 0.510/0.510-inch lift
Transmission: GM TH350, Dalenzie 10-inch 2,800-stall converter
Rearend: Ford 9-inch, 3.50:1 gears, Moser 28-spline axles
Front suspension: Martz Chassis Inc. drag racing subframe and adjustable coilovers
Rear suspension: Ladder-bar suspension, Aldan adjustable coilovers
Brakes: 11-inch disc, front; 10-inch drum, rear
Wheels and tires: 16x7 American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with 225/50-16 Toyo Proxes, front; 17x8 American Racing Torq-Thrust IIs with 275/40-17 Toyo Proxes, rear
Body mods: 4-inch minitub
Paint: Fiesta Green
Cost to Build: $30,000