NOVEMBER 2023: 1964 CHEVY NOVA—“YOU’RE NOT GOING TO CHANGE IT ARE YOU?”

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There are two different paths you can go down with old iron.

You can preserve it as a stock version of what it was, or you can take it to the next level and make it a 21st century driver.

This ’64 Nova is a great example of a next-level car.

Jerry Sutherland

Matt and Elizabeth Turner are the proud owners of the little Chevy and their goal from Day 1 was to make it something that performed closer to a modern car.

Matt explained how the car was completely restored by a previous owner and then it went into hibernation mode. His friend’s mother bought the car, and it didn’t see much action under her watch, so it came up for sale. She didn’t want to part with her Nova, but its lack of use was a key factor in the sale, so Matt and Elizabeth became the next owners.       

The previous owner said, “You’re not going to do anything with it are you?”. Matt was honest and told her he couldn’t make that promise. He did drive the Nova for a few years in stock form with the original 283 small block, but he wanted to change things.

In fact, Matt had a vision for the car as his wife Elizabeth explained. She said he is the kind of guy who can visualize a project and get it done. That’s what happened with the Nova, so Matt knocked this car off in a year and a half.

Matt admitted he had a lot of help because this was a really clean car with a lot of original metal so he could focus on the mechanical side and the upgrades. He started with a used LS engine out of a wrecked 2003 Silverado Chevy truck because it was cheap—thanks to the sheer numbers of Chevy donor trucks.

He fabbed up a custom chassis with front and rear independent suspension and massive discs from a  Camaro ZO6, so this car handles and stops like no stock ’64 Nova ever built. He also custom fitted some aftermarket inner fenders to give it a clean, functional look.

The seats are out of a 2005 Pontiac G-5 and the console is Matt’s own custom build.

Elizabeth proved how functional this Nova is in the real world because she daily drove it for a few months. She was waiting for a new car during the plague down time of the last few years so the Nova was drafted into duty. She loved driving the spectacular little car during her waiting period.

She is amazed at the car culture and she’s a self-described extrovert, so Elizabeth has no problem talking to the endless fans of the Nova. She said her dogs (Sam-left and Charlie-right) settled in right away and they love the back seat.

Matt wanted a comfortable driver so this car is quiet inside—they can easily carry on a conversation at highway speed thanks to sound deadening and new weatherstripping. He runs it around 65-70 miles per hour and it’s only revving at 1800 rpm with its 3:42 rear gear as a mid-point number for acceleration and highway speed.

Matt has a few things he wants to upgrade like a new cam, but at this point, he’s not going to change it much…anymore.

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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