It seemed like a dream gig at first: Take $25,000 of someone else's money and buy the car of your choice, plus as many parts and pieces to fix it up as the rest of the budget would allow. That's the way the eBay Motors Editor's Charity Challenge came across to most of us here when it was first announced. Sure there were details, like the part about buying everything on eBay Motors (most of us spend too much time there anyway), the mention of a competition at the conclusion of the project (giving us a reason to abuse the car built with someone else's money), the four-month deadline (there's always a catch), and the fact that the cars would later be auctioned on eBay Motors for charity (easy come, easy go). But we were focused on the bit about buying lots of stuff.
The strategy of the Bow Tie Bad Boys team was wise: Find a muscle-era Chevy that's already
One of the teams we followed was the Bow Tie Bad Boys, a conglomeration of staffers from Chevy High Performance, Super Chevy, Popular Hot Rodding, and Car Craft, though the project was really handled by Chevy High's Bob Mehlhoff, while the wrenching and such was carried out by the guys at Johns Customz and Performance in Torrance, California. From the get go the team agreed that the car selected should not only be a Chevy, but a muscle-era example, and one that wasn't a complete basket case. With 25 large to spend, there seemed to be enough funding to procure a decent car and then make it even better.
Of course, with the way prices for classic musclecars have been climbing, the $25,000 budget didn't seem so grand once the search began. Mehlhoff worked it out by finding a '72 Nova SS that had already been treated to a list of enhancements; it was also local, so he could check it out and take delivery without the hassle of shipping. Of primary importance was the body and paint-the team didn't want to get into any restoration fiascos, given the time constraints. The Nova fit the bill perfectly, with camera-friendly orange paint and black stripes that actually looked good even up close. The interior had also been redone, and the drivetrain was sound, albeit mild.
A plan was laid out to treat the Nova to upgraded suspension and brakes, and before it was all over, an engine swap was added for good measure. The assigned goal was to bring the car to a competition where all 10 of the Editor's Challenge teams would vie for top honors using a variety of vehicles. Take a look at the improvements made to the Nova here, then flip to the piece on the Editor's Challenge to see how it stacked up. Meanwhile, scheming for next year's event has already begun.
The Nova was delivered to Johns Customz in Torrance, California, where the upgrade work wo
The Nova's suspension was in decent shape, but in preparation for slalom competition, the
A Hotchkis sway bar worked with a pair of Edelbrock shocks to finish off the front suspens