Larry K 1972 Chevrolet Nova 2dr Coupe

If at first you don't succeed

I've always loved cars, since my first one, a 50 Stude Starlight Coupe. I'm a baby boomer and was a model car nut as a little kid until I reached my teens and got to play with the real things. I still remember the excitement when I saw the "new" 58 chevy in the car mags. I had many cars in high school and my favorite was, yup, a 58 Bel Air. I spent many a night under that thing doing whatever I could to get better performance (in 1964). But I sold it in a minute when a perfect 57 Chevy Bel Air became available in 1965. It had almost no miles on it and that Aqua and White body was mint. I did my planning carefully, prepping the suspension to accept a performance small block V8 (there were no big blocks yet) and a four speed manual. At the height of my excitement Uncle Sam came calling. You guessed it, I was drafted in 1966. Leaving my 57 in the capable hands of my dad I was off on an uncertain future. The Army gave me a job as a helicopter mechanic and I was greatful for that, except the job was in Southeast Asia. About half way through my 12 month tour I got a "dear John" letter. Not from my sweetie, but from my dad. Some yahoo did a hit and run number on my 57 and totaled it while it was parked in front of our house. They caught the guy but he beat the rap in court. Talk about and all time low. Drafted, in Viet Nam and my dream car gone for ever. I was, however, thankful to get back home in one physical piece. I got married, had two sons and that pretty much ended my hot rodding days for the next 30 years or so. One day while coming home from a golf driving range (did I mention that I was nuts) I spied a 66 Chevy Nova with a For Sale sign on it. One thing led to another and it was purchased and brought home. I had some ideas for it but my younger son beat me to it. He is such an enthusiastic and informed gear head and it became his project. He has done a great job with it over the past 13 years and is still refining it. I have enjoyed assisting him in the process of building it. Just as well. I had my reservations about exposing my mechanical fantasies to my co-worker corporate type fellow civil engineers anyway. Eventually I crossed the goal line and was able to afford to retire with a cushion of comfort. One day my younger son (the Nova guy) said that a friend of a friend where he works had a vehicle for sale, a 1972 Nova. With reservations we went to see the car. For me, it was love at first sight. I didn't show my hand, did some negotiating, and still managed to pay too much for it. The body was absolutely rust free and it had a recent paint applied by the body shop guy I bought it from. After closing the sale I drove it right home and up it went on jack stands. That was late in 2011. My son and I did a lot of planning (and arguing) trying to come up with a concept for the project. I finally decided on a resto mod cruiser theme for the Nova and set about dismantling it. Parts were reconditioned, replacement parts were ordered, new parts were obtained. It got to the point that there was an entire garage stall filled with parts. For 14 months (@ about 40 hrs/week) I worked joyfully. Somehow I was able to sort out all of the glad bags full of part and reassemble it. Oh sure, it cost about twice what a new car would cost, but now I have a "new" 1972 Nova. Power Steering, Power Brakes, Handling Package, Lowering, Performance Small Block, Air Conditioning, custom Interior - and the list goes on. 2013 saw me at many, many cruise nites and other events or just out crusin'. Hopefully there will be many more years of the same. A real car lover never gets old, just poorer. Live your dream, time goes by whether you have fun or not.

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