If a picture's worth a thousand words, then building an entire car to make your point speaks volumes, which is exactly what Classic Industries had in mind with its latest project: this tight, sano '66 Nova.
Classic's rendition of the always-popular early Nova differs from its last endeavor, the no-holds-barred '69 Camaro known as Camotion. The stablemates share a paint scheme and wheel style, but the 'box is a scaled-down project. It doesn't lack for quality, as you can see, but this ride embraces the do-it-yourself, restomod ethos-as has Classic Industries itself.
"For the last 20-plus years we've been known as a resto company," observes Mark Vogt, CI's general manager. "But there's been a shift in the market." That shift is driven by what's become a basic fact of life in the classic car hobby, which is this: Most cars worth restoring have already been restored. The rest, freed from the constraints of strict originality, are fair game for the restomod treatment. "People called us wanting to put hot-rod parts on their cars, so we started carrying them," continues Vogt. "Over the past six years or so, we've been seriously picking up performance parts for our catalog."
Not that the restoration side of the deal has been neglected... Prior to its ground-up makeover, this particular '66 Nova served as a test bed for Classic's repro body panels and trim. If that sounds like a suitable solid starting point for a high-quality project to you, you're not alone. Bret Maxwell of American Muscle Cars-the outfit that did all that test fitting, not to mention the bulk of this build-agrees. "It was one of the nicest mid-'60s cars we've seen," he reports. "The bodywork needed was extremely minimal." The effort expended, on the other hand, was anything but. Once blown apart, the AMC crew went through a complete mock-up build prior to paint and body. The resulting fit and finish, as you might expect, is top-notch.
Though built by pros, however, this 'box is meant to illustrate what's possible for the rest of us. "It's a budget-oriented car," according to Vogt. "Except for the paint, there's nothing on this car that the average guy can't do." And in case you were wondering, this '66 also illustrates the benefits of one-stop shopping. Every part used, be it resto, restomod, or high-performance, came out of the Classic Industries catalog. Hey, where else did you think they'd shop?
In the final analysis, however, there's really only one thing that matters, and American Muscle Cars' Maxwell summed it up nicely: "It's a great-driving, fun little car." And that, friends, is something we can all embrace.