Boxing Match! This ’66 Nova II Puts on the Gloves

June 10th, 2010

Box Novas have always been great quarter-mile warriors due to their light weight. Cram a potent small-block in one, slick it down, uncork the pipes, and go racing is the recipe many follow when embarking on a box Nova build. While they make excellent race cars, they are also easy on the eyes, and with the right suspension, wheel and tire, power train, and body and paint modifications, can make excellent street able muscle cars.

A 1996 Camaro donated its drivetrain to the Nova. The detailed engine compartment is blanketed with the custom two–tone and plenty of polished items provide eye candy. An Afco aluminum radiator keeps everything at safe operating temperature.

Craig Davis of Grand Prairie, Texas, felt the Nova was also a great base for his pursuit of custom grandeur. A suitable 1966 Chevy II was located and the build madness unfolded. From the outset Craig wanted a head-turning car he could comfortably drive, so a six-digit, turntable car wasn’t even a consideration.

Craig became aware of the car through Tim Biggs of Biggs Customs in Kennendale, Texas, who was building the car for himself and aiming to have a cutting-edge ride to cruise and advertise his shop with in a tight timeframe. After burning the midnight oil for weeks on end, Tim lost interest and rolled the car into the corner of the shop. As luck would have it, Craig heard about the car one day while shooting the breeze with Tim, and the rest is history.

The interior is a blend of simple form and maximum function with Auto Meter instruments and black vinyl stitched over a pair of Honda Accord seats by Bill’s Upholstery.

Underneath the Nova the stock 10-bolt was suspended with a 2-link with air springs from Universal Air. Burying the nose is a custom-built suspension structure suspended by a pair of Universal Air springs. A Viair compressor and 3-gallon air tank handle pressure supply. Supplying the braking performance are 1996 Camaro disc brakes with cross-drilled and slotted rotors delivered vital fluid with a Camaro booster flowing the juice through polished hard lines. Setting off the hammered stance are 18 x 8-inch American Eagle wheels mounted on Nitto P225/40ZR18 front and P275/40ZR18 rear 555 Extreme rubber. An ididit chrome tilt steering column updates the navigational commands.

Eighteen-inch American Eagle wheels mounted on Nitto rubber bands provide the ultimate in grip when gears are pulled and the fun pedal is planted.

Positioned in all-out asphalt assault mode under the Bow Tie’s stock steel hood is a 1996 Camaro 350-ci LT1 extracted from a rolled ’96 Camaro and pumped up with a COMP Cams bump stick. The mill delivered fuel and air combos through an Edelbrock 700-CFM carburetor shooting the go juice into an Edelbrock intake.  An HEI ignition lights the mild mill, and ceramic-coated original equipment exhaust manifolds shout vocals through a Dynomax 2 1/4-inch exhaust system. Backed by a stock five-speed gearbox stolen from the ’96 Camaro wreck, Craig can roll through the 300-HP soundtrack in style by pulling gears and enjoying the voice of the LT1 climb.

The exterior of the little Deuce was treated to some bodywork and block sanding before Tim Biggs covered it in a custom-mixed two-tone using House of Kolor green and silver. Fresh chrome and trim accents complete the look.

Between the long doors (all the ‘60s cars had them) rests an interior that is on par with the rest of the car. Nothing mind-blowing here but a functional and comfortable cockpit stuffed with Honda Accord bucket seats upholstered in black vinyl by Bill’s Upholstery of Arlington, Texas. A Classic Dash panel is filled with Auto Meter instruments. A billet GT steering wheel, billet window cranks and door handles lend some modern bling to the mix, while the two-tone was carried indoors to blend with the external flair.

When the car was completed and assembled the spark was lit with a Painless wiring harness updating the 42-year-old electrical supply. Craig Davis has one clean and hot-rod-styled Nova on his hands, and for a little over 40K is enjoying the muscle car scene to the fullest. Special thanks go out to Tim Biggs for completing the car.

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