THE IN-BETWEENER
Hot Rod|March 2021
This Budget-Built Nova Turned Into a Pro Touring Terror.
John Machaquiero

When you set out to build a car, arriving at that happy place usually means budgets and goals have to come together. For JeffCleary, his 1970 Nova project started out with a very specific set of goals that he envisioned culminating in what he defines as an “in-between car.” He explains, “I was racing an LS7-powered 1967 Corvette and was in the process of building a 1965 Corvette coupe. Knowing that the coupe was going to take longer to build, I decided to take a standard-platform car and throw everything from the Detroit Speed Inc. catalog at it. My goal was to speed up the build process but not do anything else to it. I was going to put a rollcage in it, use as much of the powertrain as I could, and just upgrade the suspension and brakes.” He was in the process of sending the ’67 Corvette to a new home, so the Nova’s purpose was to fill a temporary void.

Found on eBay, he points out, “It was a really sharp car when I looked at it, but even then, I found some issues. This Nova was a cupcake car—it had a lot of good frosting on it, but the cake itself wasn’t very good.” Originally a base-model car, it had been cloned as an SS with white paint, a Yenko stripe, and some Torq Thrust wheels. The interior was pretty nice, and under the hood was a mildly warmed-over 350 small-block backed by a four-speed.

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