HILLSBORO — Corey Farris drove a mean-looking black 1978 with a full-bore flame job on the front end to high school. What could be cooler than that?
Turns out an even older Nova, this one a 1970 coupe in a light metallic green from top to bottom, would be the answer to that.
"I always liked the Novas from that time, the '70s... it was the music, the cars," Farris said.
His flamed Nova attracted a lot of attention from those charged with enforcing the laws of the road, though it really wasn't much of a performer, he said.
Although the green Nova doesn't look as wild, it steps things up in the performance department with a supercharged smallblock V-8 under the hood, featuring an oval air cleaner poking up through a cutout in the sheet metal.
The '70 Nova had been bought at a swap meet and built by family friend Dave Unruh.
"When Kim took me over to Dave's, I fell in love with it on the spot," Farris recalled. Kim is his stepfather, Kim Abrahams, president of the Route 56 Classic Cruisers car club in Hillsboro.
Their initial attempts to buy the car came up a bit short. It wasn't until Abrahams spotted the car for sale by Unruh on eBay that they were able to land it, keeping it from being shipped to a prospective buyer in Sweden. That was about three years ago.
The deal involved swapping a lot of car parts, plus some cash for the Nova.
"I kind of cleaned my shop out," Abrahams grinned.
"I bought Kim this tool box for helping me out," responded Farris, pointing to a double-stacked metal box.
Unruh had replaced the original 350 engine with a 400 cubic inch smallblock Chevy V-8 in the Nova and added the B&M Forced Induction supercharger to the setup. It wasn't long, though, until the head gaskets were forced out of the engine.
"I got a little too heavy on the foot," Farris admitted.
A freshly rebuilt 350 V-8, bored out to 355 cubic inches, was found and refitted with the supercharger, the Edelbrock carburetor, the Hedman headers and a Mallory ignition system. Exhaust gasses are routed rearward through a pair of turbo-style mufflers, exiting through chrome Chevy bowtie exhaust tips.
"When we put this engine in it, it fired right up the first time. This one runs a lot better," Farris said.
With a little over 80,000 miles logged on the car, it still looks good in its original factory green paint.
"It's one of those colors that you either hate or you love," Farris said.
Inside, Unruh had called on Morgan-Bulleigh to stitch an eye-catching green houndstooth checked interior. Aside from a Grant custom steering wheel and some auxiliary gauges, the interior remains basically stock.
Power is sent to a set of chrome 5-spoke aftermarket mag wheels mounting wide Winston radial tires through a Turbo 350 automatic transmission and a 10-bolt Chevy rear end. The old front drum brakes were replaced by a set of Wilwood discs, greatly improving the Nova's stopping power.
Sadly, it wasn't long after Farris acquired the car that Unruh, barely 40 years old, succumbed to a heart attack.
"I'm glad we were able to keep the car where it belongs," said Farris, who drives the supercharged Nova to area car shows. "I think Dave would like that."