David Stoker is 30, has a wife, Kristen, and a 7-month-old guy, Dylan—all are denizens of Ontario, California. He is very much like most of us, a poster child of the hobby, if you will. David’s a confirmed Nova-phile, including a ’67 Nova coupe, an SS, a Nova sedan, two ’66 wagons, and one ’72 Nova. He had his eye on this ’67 for many moons. The first SS is still in the Stoker stable. He drove it through high school and college and drag raced it for years.
As for the newest face in the choir: “I had known about this car for a long time. It sat beside a friend’s garage in the high desert for at least 10 years. It still had the original paint and was a factory V-8 air car. Finally, it became available in 2007. I bought it with the intention of building a nice driver with overdrive and air conditioning, but still with plenty of power and decent handling. The car took four years [and a skimpy $25K] to build and was finished in November 2010. We recently took our first cruise in it down to the Goodguys Del Mar event. We strapped our young son in the back and cruised down with the A/C on.” Yeah.
Though David’s neophyte was in need of a complete restoration, it was a clean, low-mileage (80,000), original paint car. David and his dad, Terry, did the renovation. It was an orderly build. They began with the frame, and then they turned to the body, suspension, and, ultimately, the power module. The idea was to remain conservative in all rudimentary spheres. The engine did not have to be a napalm canister, it only had to act nice, get decent mileage, and be short on maintenance. Torque was important certainly, but when you realize that it has to propel just 3,000 pounds, the output needn’t turn the earth every time the throttle goes down.
Anyone who’s fooled with early Novas knows that the front suspension is a joke. It diminishes underhood and fenderwell space is prone to losing alignment, and it flat won’t respond when wheels are turned in anger. The cure is sourcing the aftermarket for stuff that enables the correct camber curve, Ackerman angle, and product quality at the very least.
The original setup is composed of a lower control arm with a single pivot point and an accompanying strut rod. The CPP Mini Subframe kit replaces the lower control arm with a more modern two-pivot setup, and eliminates the strut rod. The result is stability way beyond the original configuration. But this Nova’s suspension system isn’t calibrated for the slalom, road course, or anything other than public thoroughfares. In this case, David used it mainly to achieve the stance he envisioned. He also wanted the control it would lend, not on-the-edge killer, but decent handling nonetheless.
Once in awhile, we use Stoker’s white primer Nova as a mule for equipment evaluations. All of this is done with a budget mentality, just as David has built his white primer Nova with a 5.3L LS engine, complete with nitrous oxide. So, rather than falling for the usual crate engine for his newest Nova, we like that David kept the original 327. Old guys cut their teeth on this high-revving beauty. Monster displacement and high-specific output just isn’t needed. The bores were treated to a clean-up poke and the engine was built with time-honored modifications (cam, intake, and better cylinder heads and exhaust tract). It’s nuts-only. No power adder then, no power adder now.