GM introduced the Nova in 1961 under the Chevrolet banner. It was an instant sensation in the market, quickly rising in its segment as a customer's favorite all the way to 1988 (over five generations).
It was offered in four body types; a two-door sedan and hardtop, a four-door sedan, and a station wagon, with the top-of-the-line version as the Chevy Nova SS.
According to the builder, Jim McKay of Lakeside Speed and Shine, this beautifully customized classic is six years of work.
"It was about six or six and half years ago when we actually started the project. The owner was interested in basically his first Pro Touring car put together. So, they had a car. Parts of a car," Jim explained how the restoration process began.
60% of the sheet metal on this Nova SS was replaced
Classic car parts are becoming scarce by the day, and when they are available – they cost an arm and a leg. Putting the entire thing together to perfection also takes time (patience is a virtue you'll be forced to uphold).
That said. This Chevy Nova SS was a cornfield find (non-runner), and when Jim and his team finally got to work on it, more than 60% of the sheet metal in this car was replaced.
The same care and precision used to assemble the exterior were repeated under the hood. The owner wanted a simple and clean unit – and Jim and his Lakeside Speed and Shine team ensured the tucked engine bay was glistening to OCD levels.
"My guys back at the shop are absolutely OCD about electrical, wire connections we use, weather packs, mil-spec products, everything is heat shrink. All our stainless is done in-house, we make all of our own brake lines, we do all our own stainless exhaust systems, we do our own AC lines and plumbing in-house," Jim revealed.
It runs a TCI-engineered 4-link rear suspension
To harness all that power, the Lakeside Speed and Shine crew installed a Gearstar 4L65 transmission fitted with Bluetooth paddle shifters. It also runs an in-house 2.5 stainless steel exhaust with MagnaFlow mufflers.
The suspension and the front inner fender wall sheet metal are a complete kit from TCI Engineering. They also used an IFS Pro Touring Front Suspension kit and a TCI-engineered 4-link rear suspension.
Despite how white and crisp it looks on the exterior, Jim admits, they did minimal work body-wise. You'll notice it's not running stock handles but replacement kindig-it door handles. At the front, the team modified the original SS grill and cut out the black sections to eliminate the contrast for a crisp chrome and white finish.
Beautifully done interior
It has a grey and red combo German weave finish with customized Acura seats by Elegance Auto Interiors, complete with lumbar support, Alcantara headliner, full power adjustment, and, to top it off, a stainless steel steering wheel and paddle shifters.
To add to the modern finish, they installed Dakota digital gauges and contrasted them with a Vintage Air AC system.
"The fitment is flawless, it's just beautiful, and driving it is wonderful, I've got to tell you," Shawn said, driving the Nova SS down the road.
Every classic car builder is looking to get into four digits when it comes to the power output of their restomods. But Jim and his crew wanted to balance ride experience and aesthetics. This 1966 Chevy Nova SS isn't a show car or ripper – it's a beautiful restomod perfect for a weekend cruise.
So, does this classic restomod rip when you dig the throttle? We will let you figure that out for yourself in the video below.