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1966 Chevy Nova - Dedicated

After 14 years, Cody Bray still has his high school dream car

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Dedicated is the kid who starts working as soon as he can and saves all his earnings to buy the car of his dreams by the time he gets his driver's license. Seriously, how many 15-year-old kids have $7,500 (of hard-earned cash) to drop on a muscle car? Well, we know one; Cody had the goal of buying a Nova to drive to high school, and he happily shelled out his earnings from those crappy teen jobs to buy this one. That was nearly 14 years ago, and he still has the car, though it's radically different from the car he bought as a kid.

"The paint is about all that's left of the car I bought. I think I've changed or replaced everything else," Cody says. But don't take that to mean this car was a pile of junk when he bought it. "I bought it from the second owner. He was a painter and painted the PPG red lacquer still on the car. It looked good and had a 350/350 combination then." Cody quickly replaced the 350 with a 406, driving the car to school and racing it on the weekends.

Shortly before he got married to his high school sweetheart, Cody began a serious transformation on the Nova. He is a friend of Chad Maskrey and Blake Hughes of 417 Motorsports, builders of several cool cars we've featured in the last couple of years. Cody and Blake rebuilt the car from the ground up, designing their own tubular front clip, building a custom, triangulated four-link rear suspension, and mini-tubbing the shell to fit massive rear tires. As if that wasn't enough, the two built and installed an LS3/T-56 combination that not only makes better power than the old 406 but also offers vastly better driveability and gets better fuel economy. He scored the engine from a local salvage yard, and the transmission came out of a '00 Camaro.

Cody had the car finished for his wedding, though he said it was a push to get there. He's proud of the fact that he drives the car a lot. "I take it everywhere--I probably put about 15,000 miles on it a year," he tells us. "I built the car to drive and have fun in. The end." Cody, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

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Car Craft