Flooded 1963 Chevrolet Nova Gets Deep Cleaning, Goes From Ruined to Superb

1963 Chevrolet Nova 9 photos
Photo: WD Detailing/YouTube
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Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc in Florida and the Carolinas, claiming numerous lives and leaving billions of dollars worth of damage behind. The storm also destroyed many classic cars, starting with a super-rare 1970 Plymouth Superbird. The 1963 Chevrolet Nova you see here is yet another four-wheeled victim.
While not as valuable as a Superbird, this Nova SS had been restored and upgraded not long before the hurricane hit the U.S. in September 2022. It was lucky enough not to get wrecked, but it got flooded, which is bad news for the engine and the electrical system.

Fortunately enough, though, the current owner wants to take it apart and rebuild everything so that the Nova will be able to run and drive again. But before he did that, he took it to the folks over at "WD Detailing" for deep cleaning inside and out. And the result is downright fabulous.

Cleaning a flooded vehicle is quite the challenge because they usually end up with a thick layer of mud inside the cabin. In this case, the mud got really solid and stuck to the carpet. This left the cleaner with no option but to take the carpets out and pressure wash them, which turned out to be a pretty satisfying process to watch.

But because mud had infiltrated under the carpets as well, the metal floor also got the pressure washer treatment, as did the trunk. Our host then carefully removed all the excess water, leaving the floor as clean as it was when the Nova was restored a while ago.

Cleaning the seats wasn't an easy job either, because the once-gorgeous red vinyl also got a thick layer of mud stuck to it. Thankfully, a combination of vacuuming, pressure washing, and fabric cleaner did the trick, and the seats regained their luster. Our host also did a great job on the steering wheel and the sill plates, which needed a good polishing.

With the interior sparkling clean, he went on to clean the body. Unlike the cabin, the exterior wasn't in bad shape, at least not dirtier than a car that's been kept outside for a long time. The red paint and the chrome trim turned out great, but the car will be repainted during the restoration because it got some scratches and dents during the storm.

Finally, lifting the hood reveals two surprises. One is the fact that the engine is not a stock first-generation Nova mill. This Chevy got a modern LS3 during the restoration. The bad news is that there are signs that the engine was almost entirely submerged underwater during the flood, which means it will need a rebuild to fire up again. Even so, it's nice to see it shine again. Yes, it may not run and drive for now, but it's a pretty Nova that took a hurricane beating like a champ.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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