Brand recognition is something all companies strive for in their products, and brand loyalty is the outcome they wish to achieve. Companies spend millions of dollars trying to create an aura that will attract the attention and emotion of the prospective buyer, hoping that once the buyer becomes an owner, he will continue to buy products from that company.
Car guys are some of the most fiercely loyal shoppers, and it's rare for a guy to switch brands in the middle of his life. It's even more rare, and possibly sacrilegious, for a Mopar guy to switch camps. The expression "Mopar or no car" is often referenced with all the sincerity of an ancient Zen mantra.
That may be why it was so surprising to hear that Jeff Beaufoy, owner of this sweet '70 Nova, used to drive nothing but Chrysler products. His list of former whips was impressive, too: a '67 GTX, a '71 Charger, and a '71 Satellite Sebring Plus he piloted to several Top Eliminator wins.
Stuff changed, however, when Jeff was sent overseas for work. What was supposed to be a few-months assignment turned into a six-year commitment, and when Jeff arrived back on our shores in 2005, he returned to a classic car market bloated by speculators at high-profile auctions and realized he could no longer afford anything wearing a Pentastar that was worthy of building.
Still, he couldn't go without a car, and desperation allowed him to lower his standards (our words, not his) and look at non-Chrysler iron. He explained it to us this way: "A coworker told me about this Nova for sale. I'd always had a soft spot in my heart for Novas ever since I was a teenager. I used to frequent Great Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, Wisconsin, and I'd never miss a weekend when Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins was in town with Grumpy's Toy, his wheelstanding Nova." The Nova in question had already been treated to a rotisserie restoration and wore its current green and silver paint scheme, but the car's owner could no longer afford to keep it. Jeff wasted no time on the transaction, and the Nova was soon home in his garage.
So the paint and bodywork were done already, which was a good thing because Jeff says he's "no good at that stuff," but the drivetrain needed immediate attention. "Everything leaked. It was leaving spots everywhere." Clearly, the 327/T-10/12-bolt running gear had run its course. Jeff had it all out within two weeks of his purchase and began a mechanical refurbishing that would take just under two years to complete.
Now it rules the streets with a massive-inch Bill Mitchell small-block and a Tremec five-speed transmission. Yes, he takes some heat from longtime friends in the local Mopar club when he shows up at events in his Chevrolet, but it's all in good fun.
However, Jeff still clings to some of his former Mopar ethos-the Dana 60 rear and the body-colored engine compartment (instead of the standard GM chassis black) are the last vestiges of Mopar influence on this newly Chevy guy. Look at the skeleton of a whale-it still has hip bones even though there are no longer legs to attach to. What does this prove? That you truly can never escape your roots.