Originally the Nova is equipped with an air cooled Powerglide 2 speed automatic transmission and from what I've heard it is not a bad transmission. However I want this car to be a nice cruiser so an overdrive is good to keep the RPM's low on the highway. I decided to keep the 194cui inline 6 motor and put a T5 manual transmission behind it. I bought 2 transmissions, 1 with a Chevy bellhousing and 1 more complete that came from a Pontiac V6, so it had a bellhousing I could not use. Since I also need a flywheel and clutch I had to buy the Pontiac V6 motor also because the seller would not seperate the parts. I took off the flywheel and sold the motor again. By now I should have enough parts to put the T5 behind the 194, when I take the motor and tranny out of the car I will start that challenge. Pics below are examples from the net, I need to make some pics in the garage one of these days.
On the Steve's Nova site forum I found a clutch/brake pedal assembly and a pair of headlight mud buckets and the seller was willing to ship to The Netherlands. (thanks Barry!) From a local parts suplier I ordered new Goodmark floor pans and a spot weld drilling kit which should arrive sometime next month.
I usually have 1 or 2 weeks off at the end of the year so I planned to do some work on the Nova. I was going to do a lot in the garage only the wheather was not really co-operating..... It was very cold (no heating/power in the garage) and a lot of snow, so I decided to do some work I could do at home or in the shed. I disassembled all door hinges from the doors so I can clean/fix them and give them new pins and bushings if needed. Same as with taking the doors (hinges) from the body some bolts did not come loose so I had to drill them out. One rear door is now disassembled completely and ready for welding/repairs, the next one is waiting in the shed to be done. I want to clean/repair/restore all internal parts so that when the doors are painted all fresh parts are ready to go back in. Of course I need to order a lot of new parts like rubbers and window felts before that time.
One job I got done was making new door panels. The armrests were chromed plastic originally but the chrome was in terrible shape. I want a black interior so the old blue interior which was in bad shape anyways had to go. With 1000 grit sandpaper I wet sanded the armrests and removed the remaining chrome easily, the plastic was very smooth after this. After 2 coats of plastic primer I sprayed them with satin gloss black paint. The ash trays were very rusted so I grinded off the chrome and painted them gloss black. The arm rest pads were also blue and the vinyl was old and hardened. I took it off carefully so I could re-use the foam pads. The metal base plates were grinded to bare metal to give the glue good surface to adhere to. With the new vinyl the pads are like new again and after assembly of the arm rest I was very pleased with the result.
I used the original door panels as a template for the new ones which I cut out from 3,2mm Masonite board, this is an impregnated hard board and should not be sensitive to moisture. From my upholstry shop "Insa Autobeklederij" I bought foam and vinyl to cover the panels. I used spray glue on the foam because of the big surface and after It was glued on I trimmed the foam on the edges of the panels. Then I glued the vinyl on (only on the back side), stretching it a bit to get the front looking smooth. The glue I used for this was a gel type contact glue which was easy to spread out with the supplied spatula.
One of the 4 doors was still completely assembled when I got the car and I noticed the top and bottom of the door panels were in a stainless moulding/strip. After some searching through the parts that came with the car I found the strips for the other 3 doors. After a clean-up session with some metal polish they all turned out nice again, so these are wrapped and stored, ready to go back on.
Even though I made the panels myself I noticed that costs of small materials add up quickly. Still a lot cheaper than buying new panels and I now have them in a style I like.
You can reach me by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org