Before we can tell the story of this 1967 Chevy Nova, we need to take a step back and look at the history of auto magazines. Long ago, before this so-called internet fad, car knowledge was disseminated through car magazines made of wood pulp and ink (yeah, crazy huh?). The staples of these magazines were long-term project cars—like John McGann’s 1967 Chevy C10, known as the Truck Norris. Every month another brick in the wall of the project car is installed and after many troubles, and sometimes years, the car is finished and road tested, but this is in an age of long attention spans, before our current obsession with instant gratification. . Recently, we had the idea to formulate a build suite where this long process was consolidated into something that would better feed today’s content-hungry masses. That something is the “Week to Wicked” series, which can be found on the MotorTrend YouTube channel.
In short, we’ll start with a decent, usually stock classic car (or truck, we’re not judging) and in just a week we’ll turn it into a cool hot rod. Most of the parts are pre-installed, so it’s a great way to show the typical hot rodder what’s possible with a stack of cash, a few friends, and a week of free time. Oh, and we want to make our weekend free to relax, so for us a week means just five long but beautiful days. The 1967 Chevy Nova HOT ROD seen here is one of the last we’ve done in our old tech hub, and it’s honestly one of our favorites because it retains the classic vibe that made these early Chevy IIs and Novas so cool.
So how do you assemble a cool 1967 Nova in just five days? Well, you need a large stockpile of parts and a sizeable team of builders. This build is sponsored by Duralast and brought to you by Classic Performance Products, better known as CPP, so having enough spare parts shouldn’t be a problem.
We also have our MotorTrend technology center team, led by Jason Scudellari, and the wrench crew from CPP. However, this story is about Nova, and not builds—if you want details on the heartbreaking process, check out this overview of builds.
The front of the Nova 1967 features a new CPP clip complete with tubular arms and a modern rack-and-pinion steering system. To slow down the Nova, a large set of disc brakes was added to the CPP spindle. The rear retains its leaf springs, but is pulled in to allow for a wider rear tire and is updated with a traction bar and anti-roll bar for a more even handling. Viking’s adjustable shocks (coilover in front) find their way to all four corners, and the E-Stopp’s slick electric parking brake system makes life easier during build. Power assistance for the brakes is provided by the CPP Hydrastop unit.
Yes, we can hear collective complaints from some of you about other LS swaps, but it’s really hard to beat the price-to-performance ratio of an engine like the 6.2-liter LS3 we plugged into this Chevy subframe. Rated at 430 hp, the factory rebuilt Autozone LS3 actually put out 490 hp and cranked up to nearly 7,000 rpm when we tested it with the Westech Performance FiTech EFI system. All this in an affordable and lightweight aluminum goodness package. Backing up the Autozone LS3 is a Tremec Magnum six-speed manual transmission supplied by Bowler Performance with SFI-rated Quicktime bellhousing and SPEC dual disc clutch. Lokar’s pretty slick widget helped us pinpoint the perfect shifter position after the drivetrain was installed. Power goes back to the 9-inch rear which is housed in the CPP sheet metal housing. Other engine bits include a Holley compact serpentine drive system, E3 spark plugs, and an LS-swap CPP oil pan. To properly align the new LS3, we also used a pair of fully adjustable CPP engine mounts. Cooling it all is the large off-gear radiator in the AutoRad, and fuel is supplied by an EFI CPP aluminum fuel tank with a 340-lph internal pump.
The interior retains its classic feel with fresh OEM(ish) seats and cushioned parts, but the dashboard is upgraded with a modern Dakota Digital instrument cluster and Classic Autosound audio system. Life is made easier by the fact that the Dakota Digital dashboard is able to pull important engine data directly from the FiTech ECU. To spice things up, there’s also a billet steering wheel and window crank from Eddie Motorsports (which also supplies the hood hinges), along with a billet shifter section from Bowler and a sweet pedal set from Lokar. For comfort in hot SoCal summers, there’s also a full Vintage Air system.
The exterior of the ’67 is kept as classic as possible, but for safety, the headlights and taillights are upgraded with United Pacific LED trim. For better handling and appearance, 18-inch Cruiser wheels from the American Legend, clad in grippy Falken Azenis 660 200-tread tires, were added to the mix. The wheels have that vintage Rally wheel look, which our classic Nova needs. Put it all together and it’s the perfect mix of hot rodding then and now. The Nova retains its classic soul but is infused with handling prowess and tire-smoking performance.
Want to catch up on more Week to Wicked builds? Head over to MotorTrend’s YouTube channel for that and more, then don’t forget to subscribe!