Emmett (Dan) C 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova 400 4dr Sedan

Appalachian Mountains Search for Missing Motor

I came across this 1962 Nova in southern West Virginia in 2002 at a cousins house while visiting. I asked my cousin about the history and he said he was the fourth owner as far as he knew. The car was originally purchased in North Carolina by a gentleman and then gave to his grandson after a few years. His grandson then sold the car to a gentleman in southern West Virginia who did some alterations of his own after the NC kid did his thing to the car. My cousin bought the car from him and then I purchased from him. How much you ask? Well he was a musician and he wanted a new Mandolin. He said if I bought him a new Fender Mandolin (157.50) and a case for it (59.95) he would let me have the car. As you may surmise I bought the Mandolin and trailer the car home to Linden, Michigan in the January Snow.

The car was in running condition when I got it with a little puff of smoke on startup. The body was pretty solid at first look but after I got into it I found rotten floor pan, body filled lower quarters, and a few pin holes at the bottom of the left front body pillar, and rusted metal at the rear of the car on left side where the frame rail fits up with the tail panel.

I decided instead of band-aiding everything I would strip it down and do a full restore on it. What a surprise this turned out to be. The 6 cyl motor, instead of the stock 194, was a 250 6 cyl out of a 72 truck. The Powerglide trans was a out of a 65 Nova, the rear end was out of a 71 Nova. The front 5 lug spindles were out of a 65 Nova, and the wheel cylinders were out of 71 Nova. The Master Cyl was out of 71 Nova, and the proportioning valve out of a 71 Nova without power brakes, (needless to say it did not proportion). The coil springs were out of a 65 Nova V8. The steering column was out of a 65 Nova as was the brake pedal assembly. The radiator was out of Chevy V8 (three flute without cooler lines). The headliner was homemade and the front bench seat was out of 72 or 73 Nova. To top all this off the Cowl Tag was pretty much obliterarted by Father Time and what ever else kind of chemicals that came into contact with it.

So the Nova was stripped to the bones and put on a dolly I custom built for it, (wish now it had been a rotisserie). I cant find a bolt or screw left in it with the exception of the bolts holding the front clip on. I was afraid to take these down after reading what a pain it was to get the front clip realigned.

I wanted to try and put this Nova back to original as best I could. So I started looking for a numbers correct 194 6 cyl motor. Found one in a 62 station wagon down in southern WV, ( You guessed, it with the help of my southern cousin). The only hitch to this motor was, it was up on the top of a mountain with no roads leading up. The wagon had been used to haul hay up to a pasture on the top of the mountain via old logging roads. The whole top of the wagon had been cut out just behind the drivers seat and was used as a "truck". After a few hundred bails of hay being hauled up the rough and rocky mountain trail it broke down in the middle and the owner just left it for the Mountains to claim. Old logging roads tend to go back to the mountain rather quickly with a few years and no use.

I had been going to WV for years with my 4 wheel drive ATV to ride trails, (the Hatfield/McCoy trail that was recently put thru that area actually used the trails we had made over the years and maintained).When I finally got to the Old Girl she was in bad shape. There was a 3" diameter sycamore tree growing right up thru the floor pan at about where she broke her back (belly). Along with my cousin (who actually owned this car at one time) and my son, we started dismantling her. Rear end, 3 spd trans,front suspension,motor and other parts as we could get with limited tools and a cutting torch.(all hauled up the mountain on a small trailer behind the ATV). We couldn't lift the motor out and we had to be careful how we used the torches as it was Jan and the forrest floor was covered in dead leaves. We decided to roll the old lady on her side with the help of the ATV winch and just slide the motor out using the driveshaft and a pole as rails and onto the hood which we used as a sled to take the motor down the mountain. Then it was back up the mountain to get the torches and tools and the small ATV Trailer. All in all, a good days work for three men.

With the motor home, numbers checked AGAIN, I did a complete rebuild on it and it’s painted and ready to go in. I have the body all sand blasted & primed with PPG's JP377 Black Satin Epoxy Primer with the exception of the trunk area. I replaced the full floor pans with pans from C.A.R.S. in Berkley MI. They are ready to go back in after I get all the other work done in the interior. The pans were pretty good fit with the exception of the stress relief ridges at the front toe pan. The original ridges ran diagonaly and the new pan ridges were vertical. I just heated the old ridges that were left after cutting out the pan and peened them flat. At the ends of the vertical ridges I just heated those and peened a flat end and then rounded the end of the ridges to look factory. The next problem was no rear seat back recesses in the floor for the seat to hook down into. So I cut the old recesses out of the old pan and just welded them into the new pan and finished the area off.

I did not blast the roof sheet metal or the quarter flat metal. That will be done by DA and hand sanding. The doors, hood, deck lid, also will get blasted on inside and around outer edges and the flat metal will be hand sanded. Then all will be reprimed with filler primer and blocked several times as I'm looking to get a real nice finish paint on her. I will be using a basecoat/clear coat paint. Haven't decide a color yet but leaning towards a bright blue with the top a silver/gray, the rear tail panel area will be same color as the top, and the side molding gap will be this same color also, thinking 14" rally wheel painted same as top.

I will leave the 5 lug front end on and upgrade the master cylinder with a two stage mc, the rear is a 65 5 lug posi, and a 63 power glide trans. The interior I will farm out and have not decided where or what color. With the exception of the wheels and paint she will "look" original.

But I digress! Back to the motor. After getting it home I disassembled it to find what looked like old southern sorgam molasses in the oil pan.

I cleaned every thing up and did a complete overhaul on the baby. I painted it up real pretty and installed most of the outer necessary things.

Mounted it on my engine stand and shoved it off to the side for awhile till I was ready to install it. Well the time to install it never came. As most of you "Car Guys and Gals" know, plans change as the restoration progresses. The restoration became just a "Build" as restorations are expensive.

And speaking of changing plans and expensive, I decided after all I the trouble I went thru to get this motor with matching numbers,

I wanted a V/8 instead! Imagine that! So the old girl went on the For Sale ads. She now resides in a little town in Pennsylvania. I hope she remembers the cold winters she spent with us here in Michigan, because now she isn't too far from her old home. Who knows, maybe some day fate will allow her to be driving thru her old stomping grounds again.

I have an album on PhotoBucket if you're not too bored after all my ramblings.


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