Greg Conner's 1966 Chevy II Nova
(from Volume 28, Issue 337)

story by owner Greg Conner, photos by Michael B. Kelly


Like most people who enjoy hot rods, we all have favorites on our wish lists. I always wanted a 1966 Chevy II Nova, and after months of searching I found one in Pensacola, Florida in 2009. The original owner was from Mississippi and traveled with the military, bringing the car to Florida. The vehicle was blue with a tan interior. It did have a 327 cubic inch V-8 at that time, but was an original 6-cylinder car. The more I looked at this car, the more rust I found. After what seemed like hours of negotiation, I finally owned the car of my dreams. I wanted to build a pro-touring car with modern features, so it seemed like the right one. After getting the car home, the planning and teardown began, and I was able to sell most of the parts that I did not need.

I decided to have the car painted first before doing anything else. I found a guy and got the car painted. After a few months, the paint started having flaws. Frustrated, the car sat for a year when I decided to have the car media blasted down to the bare metal. That is when I discovered how much metal was not replaced, so the journey began to find another painter. To make a long story short, I finally started meeting great people taking on this project over the nine years this car took to build. Jeremy Brown with JB’s Customs and Classics helped with paint and bodywork. We chose a custom bright silver color with an extra metallic flake. Special thanks to Jeremy, as the car was stunningly painted inside and out.

Up front I installed a Heidts Pro-G Front IFS kit, while the rear now has a 4-Link suspension from Checkered Racing. The rear end now consists of a narrowed Ford 9-inch with Detroit Truetrac differential, Moser axles, and 3.70 gears. The car has Viking coil overs to adjust ride height, Wilwood disc brakes, and a Tanks Inc. EFI gas tank. LED headlights, turn signals, and tail lights were installed to American Autowire’s updated wiring. Detroit Speed inner fender wells were installed to mini-tub the car. I dressed the car with American Racing Bright PVD Torq Thrust II rims, and 18x7 front (225/40 18) and 18x10 (295/35 18) on the rear. Under the new cowl hood was painted silver body color for a clean look.

Under the hood I installed a 6.0L built LQ4 modern LS engine with a Comp Big Mutha Thumpr cam. I paired it with a built 700R4 Transmission with FTI 3,000 stall converter. I also used Holley Terminator EFI, Hooker LS ceramic coated exhaust manifolds, and a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust. An Entropy radiator with dual electric fans keeps the car cool.

For the interior, the front and rear seats were redone with ‘67 black seat covers, and new door panels, headliner, and carpet installed for a clean look. Classic Auto Air and billet vents were installed in the dash. A Holley EFI digital dash was used, which has a touchscreen that features customizable gauge displays that not only track all sensors but also use a GPS for the speedometer. All new glass was installed, new chrome bumpers put on, and all of the stainless trim was polished.

Restoring a car is not for the faint of heart. There will be times of frustration or an overall feeling of wanting to sell the car. This is where one must dig deep and realize that one day the car will be restored to even better than it was before. I am very thankful for my wife, Katy, that kept encouraging me throughout the process. My wife even named the car Silvia. Additional thanks to John Adam at Pro Tree Kustoms and Buddy, who helped with the A/C installation, wiring, rear suspension install, and some assembly. Scott Garrett who always took the time to be there in times of need for maintenance and repairs. Ed Schwarz, for helping me with planning, engine work, and support along the way.

My wife and I have enjoyed driving the car over the last five years, cruising to local car shows and events with friends. I really enjoy meeting people and talking about cars. I have met some great people by having this car, which has been one of the best things about rebuilding and owning Silvia. CN