Sal Seeno’s 53, married, and has two kids who are in their 20s. His vocation? Well, he manages equipment, but didn’t tell us what kind. All we really care about is that he’s car crazy, and one with plenty of experience.
He’s already done stewardship with a bunch of ’68s: El Camino, Chevelle, and Camaro. He’s got a pure ’68 and a pure ’71 Nova. Since it is fiscally unwise to take snippets from bona fide authenticity, he sought a wasteland Nova and began to make it his own. He did all the work on this Nova except for laying down the striping and piecing the exhaust system together. Yes, paint, body, mechanical, all from his fertile mind and dexterous hands. It takes will, concentration, a good plan from the outset, and a sense of history.
Sal says: "I already had a ’68 and a ’71 Nova that had their precious numbers all in a row. So I built one I could modify. It took a couple of months, but I found one in the local paper out of San Benancio Canyon (Salinas-Castroville, California, area,) resting peacefully under a tree. The ad said connect the dots and the engine compartment was filled with pine needles and a straight-six."
Sal elaborates: "While retaining the basic external looks and characteristics of this 41-year-old automobile, my ’70 Nova has been extensively restored and modified and is now a modern high-performance vehicle. A high-performance 350 engine, five-speed manual transmission, power four-wheel disc brakes, power rack-and-pinion steering, front and rear subframes, solenoid-operated doors and trunk as well as a state-of-the-art multispeaker CD/stereo system are some of the unique features of this custom Pro Touring--style street machine."
That Sal is very handy and well versed in the car-building regimen saved him lots and lots of scoots. He figures he’s got about $20,000 in the whole projectthe car is valued at well over that. Not a bad return for three years worth of toil, wrapped in equal measures of enlightenment, ecstasy, and disappointment. He tended the Nova in the following order: bodywork, engine, suspension, paint, and interior.
By the looks of it, Sal hasn’t got a sanguinary bone in his body, has no bloodlust to win every award or autocross or road race. He’s happy just driving his new piece. And drive it, he does to Goodguys shows, the Dr. (Sebastian) George (Cancer Foundation) get-down in Palm Springs, the Peggy Sue slam in Santa Rosa, and whatever local trials he can find. At Goodguys, he won the Homebuilt Heaven award, the San Jose Classic & Custom Award of Excellence, and Goodguys’ Mighty Muscle.
Sal’s car would appeal to most everyone. It isn’t snotty. It isn’t painted black. Its creamsicle colors are calming, organic, and probably remind him of that frosty treat on a stick when he was a kid. It’s shiny. It’s pretty. It doesn’t taunt. It beckons; precisely the affect that Sal had envisioned. Its little-block crate motor has just the right amount of torque and power to the back tires of this 3,000-pound lightweight. In league with the upscale chassis modifications and four-wheel discs that Sal’s provided and the power-to-weight ratio is just about optimum. Sal’s Nova won’t spend a lot of time burning rubber; it’ll just squat and go leap straightforward with a minimum of fuss and sweat and look like a million bucks doing it. Sal sees no evil.