Any true hot rodder’s automotive journey has a beginning and no end, and it usually starts with a vision. As an adolescent, Mike Driscoll knew exactly the car he wanted—a cool-looking Chevy II with too much horsepower. To make it all come true, he started a lawn-mowing business at age 14 and opened a bank account. Soon, he had pushed his lawn mower far enough to earn $400. Then he kept his eye on the local papers and bought a ’66 Chevy II post-model that needed plenty of attention.

The little Deuce had not been running for years and didn’t have a straight panel on it. The floors had turned to rust in many spots and the interior was dried up. Mike had no bodywork experience, but he knew how he wanted his car to look. Armed with plenty of enthusiasm, Mike and his father massaged the body back into shape and replaced the rust with new sheetmetal. Then they squirted ’69 Chevrolet Garnet Red over the body to give it a really hot look.

Mike’s next plan called for a healthy small-block. But since this was his first shot at engine-building, he had much to learn. That’s when his good friend Mike Hayatsu from Aussie Machine helped out. With Hayatsu’s advice and machining capability, Mike added loads of performance pieces to his 405ci small-block.

Because Mike learned that better engine breathing adds power, he installed a very stout Isky roller camshaft and a set of Airflow Research aluminum cylinder heads. To feed all that horsepower, Mike bolted on an 850-cfm Holley double-pumper carburetor and an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold.

For shifting duties, he added a TH350 with an 8-inch Art Carr 4,500-stall converter for torque multiplication. Out back, he needed plenty of strength and the ability to swap gears easily, so he installed a custom 9-inch housing. Mike also added reproduction interior pieces, recovered the seats and door panels, and installed Auto Meter instruments to keep tabs on his newfound engine power.

His efforts quickly paid off. Mike’s Nova stopped the clocks at a best of 10.50 at 128 mph using a set of 4.56 gears in the 9-inch housing. With a set of 3.55 gears, he has even taken his Chevy II on some 200-mile trips. A gorgeous ’66 Chevy II that runs 10s and can be driven on road trips is more than just fun, it’s a dream come true!