70 and 71 Chevy Novas
You could say that the story of these two ultra-clean Novas started almost 50 years ago. Jerry Givens was a young man, and he did what young men did then; bought a muscle car. In Jerry’s case, it was a silver ’72 Nova. After the usual hot rod shenanigans, Jerry settled down and had a family. Finding that his four sons didn’t fit very well in the Nova, it was sold for a full-size Chevy and the Givens family moved on with their lives.
But some cars just have a way of staying with us, even after they're long gone. Fast forward in our story to the late 1990s. Jerry’s boys were grown and the Nova itch had never left him. He was already working on a hot 350, but he had no car to put it in. With help from a friend, a clean 70 Nova turned in Western Nebraska. Somehow, this one had stayed mostly safe from the Nebraska road salt.
Being a body and paint guy by trade, Jerry did the work himself, this time with a little help from his sons. After repairing only a few small rust spots and "about a million hail dents," the body was sprayed in the gleaming silver that you see here. In preparation for the street/strip use that Jerry had planned for the car, a Turbo 400 trans was sourced, along with a Ford 9", traction bars and subframe connectors.
The 350 that Jerry was already working on was built up with Bowtie heads, a big 305H Comp cam, and a hit of nitrous. In this configuration, without hitting the switch on the nitrous, the freshly completed car did 11.50s in the quarter. Not bad for an N/A small block in a street car. But it wasn't enough for Jerry. The 350 was sold to make room for a GM 502-horse 502. This yielded 10.7's at 127 in a beautifully finished car with a full interior that's driven on the street. Not bad.
In much the same way that old cars stick in our memories, interest in things automotive tends to get passed down through the generations. Enter Ryan. Jerry’s sons not only helped him out with his Nova, but one of them got bit by the Nova bug himself. In the early 2000s, he found a 71 SS that had been sitting for 10 years after being crashed. Originally, Jerry wanted it, then Ryan talked him out of it. Selling his very nice Buick Regal lowrider provided the funds to build up the Nova just the way he wanted.
With Jerry's help, the crash damage was repaired and a cowl hood replaced the stocker. This car was a real SS, so much of the original trim remains, as well as the original interior. A fortuitous coincidence provided an engine. Remember that hot 350 in dad’s car? Well, when the 502 went in, Ryan bought the 350. A Turbo 350 sends power to the stock 12-bolt rear.
We're sure that when a young Jerry Givens was burning up the streets in his Nova in the early 70s, he had no idea that things would turn out this way. He now has an ultra-nice Nova that would blow the doors off his old 72. And even better, he passed the gearhead bug down to his sons, one of whom also has a very nice, very fast Nova. This all just goes to prove that with a lot of hard work and a lot of love for what you do, things often just have a way of working out.