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Built With Speedway Motors: Jake's '63 Nova

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Jake Wright wanted a Nova in high school, but he could never quite find one that he could afford. Fast forward to adulthood, Jake and his son start autocrossing Hondas and Corvettes. Though he was having fun, he had never completely forgotten that Nova that he wanted years before. Then, he started seeing pictures of the Team Speedway G-Comp Nova. That low, nasty look combined his love of autocrossing and road racing with his high school dream car. And so the search was on for a decent Nova to build.

Jake found the car he was after. Or, at least what was left of it. A friend called and said that he had a Nova for him. Problem was, it was missing the front clip and had a big hole in the roof. Jake wasn’t scared, so he made the trip to pick it up. On the way home with the 2-door carcass on the trailer, Jake crossed paths with another Nova. This one was fairly nice and complete, but it was a four door. And that’s how Jake became the proud owner of two Novas in one day.

One thing that seems to come up over and over as we share our customers’ stories is the idea of community. It really does take a village to build these cars, and Jake’s Nova is no exception. Once Jake got his Novas home with the front and rear Unser suspension kits sitting next to them, life happened. Jake got busy and the cars sat for a year. Around this time, Jake’s friend Lonny Brown offered up his services to get the project rolling. He had already proved his chops, having LS-swapped a Triumph of all things. The work was impeccable, and Jake figured that if he had a big enough shoehorn to make that package work, then he was bound to do a good job on Jake’s car. The whole operation went to Lonny’s garage and work began.

Jake found a ’98 Camaro donor car and pulled the LS1 and T56 transmission. Knowing that he planned to drive hard, Lonny finished the cage install that Jake had started and added more race car essentials like an Accusump and double adjustable Afco shocks. Lonnie made good progress over the course of a year and sent regular updates to Jake. Then, with the car in primer, the updates stopped. They had discussed throwing a simple, race car friendly paint job on the car. But when the photos finally started coming from Lonny again, they were of a beautiful red, silver, and purple show car quality Nova. Jake was blown away.

The car has been “done” for three years, and in spite of his fears that Lonny’s work was too nice to beat on, Jake has raced it all over. It’s been to the Optima Ultimate Street Car challenge, it’s been up Pike’s Peak. We saw him flogging it on the track at the Goodguys show in Scottsdale. This car is driven hard, but still looks good doing it.

Jake had to wait a while for his Nova. But thanks to some perseverance and good friends, he can now hit the street and the track in one tough Nova that really can do it all.

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