1978 Chevrolet Nova Rally
“The Brown Bomber”
1969 Chevrolet El Camino SS
Head to Head
About “The Brown Bomber”
I bought this car when I was 14 and rebuilt it myself. My dad is a mechanic with his own garage, but he never lifted a wrench to help me on it. He was there to offer advice whenever I asked for it, but that was it. When I bought the car, it had a straight 6 and an automatic transmission on the column, but I converted it to a worked 350 and eventually a 4speed. I changed the steering column to a tilt column I found in a junkyard to get rid of the mounting place for the shift lever. I did a lot of the work at my dad's shop after hours ond on weekends, even painting it there. This was a great experience for a kid raised around cars and a great confidence builder.
Everybody makes mistakes, and one of my biggies was falling for the idea that I wanted to build a second-gen Camaro. I found a '71 RS that looked pretty good that I could afford... if I sold the Nova. Long story short, it was beat to hell. It was a Bondo Buggy! It had taken a hard shot in the back end at one point, to the extent that the body was slightly twisted. The floors were swiss cheese. The wiring harness was just about fried, with several intermittant bad grounds. When I pulled down the engine to rebuild it, I found that it was too far gone to be worth saving. The list goes on and on. To add insult to injury, the guy who bought the Nova beat the crap out of the car, blew the engine and swapped in (as I heard it)something straight out of a yard, and wrapped it around a phone pole about a year later. Hindsight is 20/20, but if I could do it over, I would still have the Nova today. (The T-10 from that Camaro may find it's way into my wagon, though... )
About “The Road”
I have only owned this El Camino since last August. Traded my 355 small block S10 for it. 69 SS El Caminos only came with a BB 396. Right now it has a GM 350/325hp in it . It still has the original TH400 and 12 bolt rear. A new BB 396 is alresdy in the works. It also has AC.The interior was tan, ugly. I already have most of the interior changed to black. The bed is full of new parts that I have been getting over the winter. Too busy to work on it right now. Hope to get alot of it done by spring. My plan is to restore it to original condition but alot more horse power. It is a very comfortable muscle car/truck.
Specs for “The Brown Bomber”
Junkyard Chevy 350 completely stripped down and rebuilt by me at 14 years old. I bored it out .040 over, upped the compression to 10.5:1, and went with a mid-race cam. The junkyard T-10 transmission out of an older Camaro was in good condition, and the entire drivetrain took all the abuse a teenager with a brand-new license could dish out. I never dynoed the car, but it did the 1/4 mile in the mid-13s and 0-60 in something under 5 seconds. I never did a top-speed run with it - My dad knew ALL the cops around the area, and if they didn't take my license, dad would have, and the car too!
Specs for “The Road”
No specifications listed.
Factory Options for “The Brown Bomber”
AM-FM mono radio, air conditioning, automatic transmission
Factory Options for “The Road”
No factory options listed.
Mods for “The Brown Bomber”
Engine and transmission swap from an inline-6/automatic combo to a worked V-8/4speed. Original radio out, AM/FM/CD in. Custom wheels. Upgraded the trim to the "Rally" package. Bench seat out, bucket seats in. I bought the car when I was 14, did it all myself (with advice from my dad) including body and paint, and it was finished (except for the tranny swap) well before I got my license at 16!
Mods for “The Road”
No modifications listed.
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