I don’t know why, but this 1972 Nova that is for sale on Copart is speaking to me. Sometimes when cars burn they get so hot that every body panel gets warmed and wavy like none other. This one certainly isn’t “straight”, but it isn’t as bad as a lot of burned cars I’ve seen. There appears to be some damage to some previous repairs, but overall I think this thing could be “saved”. I know, I know, I’m nuts. You are looking at this like just about anyone would and thinking it can never end up painted and nice, and you are probably right. But I don’t care, because that’s not what I’d do with it, and here’s why.
If this were mine, I’d make it into the ultimate pro touring terror. After all, there is nothing to lose. No need to worry about making it pretty, just make it insanely fast and fun. If it gets cone rash, who cares. If it rubs a wall, who cares. And if it needs to be worked on, there is zero need for any of those fancy Fender Grippers except to hold your tools from falling off the fender. And imagine not having to worry about any of the interior while welding up a cage and cutting up whatever you wanted!
If I bought this thing, here’s what I would do to it.
First thing would be to remove all the melted stuff. The good news about a burned out car like this is that you don’t need to spend any time wondering which parts to save or not. I’d gut it all, leaving just the dash structure in place inside. I’d yank all the melted interior, the trim, and anything else that the fire ate, leaving just the body shell and front subframe intact. I’d ditch all the factory front and rear suspension, and mount the front subframe using aluminum body mount bushings.
After that I’d hang all new Ridetech coil-over suspension on it front and rear. Up front I’d also use their TruTurn system with a Borgeson quick steering box and an Ididit race column. With no other mods, this front setup is good for a 275 tire with the stock subframe, but because the fenders are ugly already I’d push them out to see just what else might fit. Out back I’d use a Quick Performance 9 inch, held in place with Ridetech’s 4-link, with matching Baer Brakes front and rear to stop the thing. With no other mods, this front setup is good for a 275 tire with the stock subframe, but because the fenders are ugly already I’d push them out to see just what else might fit. Out back I’d tub the thing for a matching tire to the front.
I’d cage it and install a couple of Racequip FIA certified seats, and harnesses. I’d wire the thing up with components from Painless Performance, and mount some Classic Instruments Performance Gauges in the dash. They would report on all the engine’s important info, along with a Holley EFI Pro Dash that would provide EFI tuning and logging capabilities along with the Terminator X efi system. The engine all of it would be monitoring and controlling would be a turbocharged LS with a Centerforce Dyad Clutch inside a QuickTime bellhousing, with a T56 Magnum from American Powertrain behind that. A QA1 carbon driveshaft would connect the trans to the rear.
With all this cool stuff underneath, the bottom of this car would clearly be better looking than the top, and that’s just fine with me. I’d repair the giant slit in the driver’s side quarter panel and finish off the lights, trim, glass, and weather stripping with reproduction parts so at least something on the outside looked clean and nice. Wheels and tires though, that’s the one I’d have to put some thought into it. I’d love a set of Forgelines for it, but I’d have to work on a design that seemed just right.
I think a handful of guys could put this thing together in a few days if all the parts were on hand, and I think it would be a riot. And for considerably cheaper than if it needed bodywork and paint and a restored interior.
What do you think?