Sleeping Beauty?

Most of you who know me would probably classify me as someone who appreciates a 100% original or restored car over a modified car. That's mostly true. Over the years nothing seems to impress me quite as much as a vintage or collector car that looks just as it did the day it rolled off the assembly line. Lately, however I've found myself appreciating a tastefully modified car or one that's been done in a so-called 'traditional' style. You know the type. A black '32 coupe with a leather interior, flathead, smoothies and juice brakes.

And then there's stuff like this '64 Nova sedan that rolls into local cruise nights from time to time. Take a lookie-loo:
Okay, so you're wondering why I'm posting this on here, right? Well...its not just an old 4 door with 'tuner' rims and no hood. Take a closer look at the engine bay and see what's stuffed neatly in place of the original 230 cubic inch inline six.

That, ladies and germs, is a mid 1990's turbocharged high-output General Motors Quad 4 dual overhead cam four-cylinder. Its mounted opposite of its intended front-wheel-drive layout and mated to a Borg-Warner T5 transmission and running the original rear end. Now, why is this significant? Because its such a strange combination of parts from then and now that it just captured my attention last summer at a Metamora street cruise. When I heard it drive by and sound like my brother's Achieva SCX, I knew the sound and I had to meet the owner.

After introducing myself and shooting the breeze, I chatted with a younger gentleman named Jared (If I recall correctly, which I probably don't). The local gentleman owns this Nova, which was purchased with a poorly running motor and transmission, but with the intention of moving a bunch of leftover parts from a 1995 Cavalier Z24 that he wanted to drag race but kept going though transmissions in. Jared's old Cavalier, which was the only year Z24 to feature the Oldsmobile division's remarkable Quad 4, had been modified to the hilt & turbocharged with a bunch of other custom work done to the chassis. He was into the sport compact / tuner scene as a young gearhead and over time grew tired of it. After realizing that nobody would give him what he wanted for a 15 year-old tricked-out Cavalier, he decided to yank all the good stuff out and find a suitable car to throw it all into. Front wheel drive Cavaliers weren't his thing any more, and he wanted to play with some old American iron. Enter...the cheap used Nova.

After a year or so of throwin' wrenches, sketching wiring diagrams, and sorting out spare parts,  Jared now owns a cool old American car that he can rip through the gears all day while getting 30 miles per gallon, and even surprise a few folks like me. I'll admit that if I came across this thing at an intersection, I wouldn't have a clue that this car would give me a run for my money. And that's the whole idea behind a well-built sleeper.

So don't judge a book by its cover, and don't underestimate the power of a young engineer and his stash of spare tuner parts. They just might hunt Craigslist for their next project, and turn a forgettable four door Dr. Jekyll into a turbocharged Mr. Hyde like Jared did.

Now if he'd just put those stock rims back on....



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