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James Schiefer came into this world with gasoline in his veins. His grandfather, a post-World War II California hot rodder, was one of the founding members of SEMA. Schiefer’s father, meanwhile, was a national drag racing champion back in the days of the legendary Lions Drag Strip.
This lineage meant that Schiefer was steeped in automotive culture from his earliest days. His upbringing eventually led him into a career of his own in the automotive marketing industry—and to his own car obsessions. Case in point: his 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS.
Schiefer’s lust for a late-1960s American muscle car began when he got a look at the Ring Brothers’ “Recoil” build, based on a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle. In that instant, Schiefer began to plot, plan, and scheme for his own project. Six months later, after plenty of searching, he found his Nova.
The shop of longtime family friend Vic Edelbrock was Schiefer’s first stop to get the Nova in progress. The Edelbrock team installed a custom-built small block 350ci V-8 engine just in time for Schiefer to take the car on Hot Rod Power Tour. Schiefer quickly realized, however, that the rest of the car would need some attention, too, if it was going to reliably handle all of its newfound power. So along came a Detroit Speed subframe and multi-link suspension, Baer brakes, an Art Carr transmission, and a Strange rear end.
So much for having a stock ‘67 Nova. But at least now Schiefer can put the car to dependable use on the freeways and roads of Southern California.
“It ties me back to that old school classic car spirit,” says Schiefer. “It hauls ass, but it’s also safe with modern technology. I can comfortably take my wife and kids out in it. I can drive down the freeway. I can take it to the race track. And it even stops when I want it to stop.”
The car’s interior, however, remains original. And aside from the car’s stance, Schiefer is protective of the car’s original aesthetic. The Nova even has fully functioning air conditioning for those inevitable summer afternoon traffic jams.
But this Nova’s significance isn’t about purity so much as how it connects Schiefer to his past, present, and future. With every burnout and every cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway the Nova pulls him back to memories of his father and grandfather. In those moments, he glances over at his own children to see the smiles on their faces as they imagine one day finally driving the monstrous machine their dad built. There is no place Schiefer would rather be.