Charlie & Cindy Petill's 1967 Chevy II Nova
(from Volume 19, Issue 217)

Charlie Petill’s love for hot cars started back in his high school days. He never could afford anything too extravagant, so he had to use a lot of “backyard technology”. As time passed, and Charlie became employed at a good paying machine shop, he bought his first new car. It was a 1965 Impala with a 327 engine, 300 horsepower, and 4-speed transmission. He did some minor modifications, ran it often at two or three different drag strips, and won some trophies. He also ran it a lot on the street, and did well.

Then Charlie decided to buy a new 1966 Chevelle with a 275 horsepower 327 engine, and a 4-speed, to run NHRA E-Stock. Of course he didn’t tell his wife that was his plan....but she soon found out. He did everything he could to the car, and still stay NHRA legal. The car was very fast. It ran close to the National Record and won many trophies, jackets, and other awards in class and middle eliminator. It also was a great street racer, and won him a lot of pocket money racing for five dollars a gear. Charlie also had 1969 and ‘70 Chevelles, both new with small blocks and 4-speeds, that he raced quite a bit with no modifications and did very well.

Then Charlie got into motorcycle dirt bike racing and motorcycle drag racing, hydroplanes, and then oval track late model stock cars. However, he decided the trophies were hard to chew (not to mention digesting them) trophies is about what he ended up with, and not a pocket full of money.

So he then decided to get into classic cars, and has had a bunch of them. They include 1970-71 and ‘72 Monte Carlos, ‘60s Chevelles, ‘60s Chevy trucks, ‘60s Camaros, ‘55 and ‘57 Chevys, as well as a couple of fat fendered street rods. These days Charlie is into Chevy II’s and Novas.

The first Nova project was a 1970 Nova Coupe that his friend Doug had started and purchased many new parts for, and Charlie bought from him. Charlie and his friend Bob completely built and finished the car, with valued input on the paint color and final touches coming from their wives. The project took seven months to complete, and turned out great. It happens to now belong to Charlie’s business partner, George, and his it is still in the “family”. That car was followed by a ‘66 Chevy Sport Coupe, and a ‘67 Chevy II Wagon.

However, his latest build, the Pro Touring 1967 Chevy Deuce you see pictured here, is by far his finest to date. It is a Sport Coupe, which was born in Charlotte, North Carolina as documented by the original Protecto-Plate, along with the original owner’s manual. The car was originally purchased on Christmas Eve in 1966 at Fontaine Chevrolet of Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlie found the car in Charlotte, where it had spent its whole life before being brought to Florida.

The car was originally Sierra Fawn in color, and still is (though now with straight new paint and subtle ghost stripes on the hood and trunk), and has Rally rims with stainless trim rings and center caps. It has tubular A-arms and a front end kit, dropped spindles, disc brakes, frame ties, mono leaf rear suspension and air shocks. The interior has Fawn Ultraleather seats with tan door panels, and an Ultraleather covered console and dash. The trunk also has Ultraleather side panels, and a medium brown carpet matching that of the interior.

Power comes from a GM Performance ZZ 383 Stroker motor with fast burn aluminum heads, aluminum roller rockers, roller cam, 4340 forged steel crank, heavy duty rods, aluminum pistons, GM aluminum intake, 750cfm Demon carburetor, Sanderson headers with a 2-1/2 inch custom exhaust and 40 series Flowmasters. It is backed by a 6-speed manual transmission with a hydraulic clutch, and a 3.73:1 posi rear end. The car is air conditioned, though Charlie seldom uses it, as he likes the windows down for the traditional hardtop look.

The car is extremely fast and a lot of fun to drive, with a good front end under it. It sits low, sounds great, and will most definitely set you back in your seat. It is the type of car that is very clean and somewhat understated, though the more you look at it the more you appreciate the attention to detail and intricacies that went into building it. We’ve seen Charlie and his ‘67 Chevy II Nova at many car shows, and it always draws a crowd in for a closer look. Check it out the next time you get the chance! CN