My Nova

page 29

January 2018 - March 2022 part 3

After the body was finally painted I started on other stuff since I needed a break from body and paint. I cleaned, polished and plasti-dipped the taillights. I had 2 sets so I used the best part to make 1 very nice set. It looked so good when I mounted them on the painted body, very satisfying.

Next was the trunk/stereo, I bought a new DAB+ radio/CD player, thicker wiring (I already had bought power wires long ago but I needed thicker for the new amps) and 2 amplifiers. I made a box to house the amplifiers, it has a hinged cover for access and vent holes for cooling. The inside of the box is painted black and the outside covered with carpet. I covered the package tray with foam and black vinyl, simple but it looks good. I made wooden panels to finish off the trunk and covered them with carpet. Besides the fact that it looks nice it also protects the quarter panels from damaging from stuff sliding aroung in the trunk. Since I wanted the panels to be symmetrical there is a big space behind the passenger inner wheel well because on the drivers side this is where the tank filler neck is. I made a door in the panel and now have a compartment to store some tools, spare lights and what not. All the panels are held in place with furniture magnets so I can easily take the panels out if needed.

I plasti-dipped the rear bumper, added a ground wire to the license plate light, cleaned polished and painted it and mounted it all on the car. The wheels were dirty and had overspray so I cleaned and polished them.

A friend who runs a garage told me about some clients rear brake not working since the brake shoes were not installed correct. I had installed new brake shoes years ago but never knew there was a front and rear shoe (different length) so I decided to ceck mine. Good thing I did since 1 side was okay but the other side front and rear were swapped..... so I corrected that. Another thing I learned!

In order to be able to continue with the interior I needed the headliner to be installed. I cleaned and painted the bows and hung the headliner in place. At that point I realised that this might be a job I had to outsource to a professional. I made an appointment with an upholstery shop and he was going to pick up the Nova on a trailer. Since this was the end of the year and chances were the weather would not be great I rushed to get the trunk lid painted and installed to protect everything in it from rain. I managed to get the inside painted and the outside in primer so I installed it and covered the outside with plastic.

When the car was away I plasti-dipped and painted the hood and trunk emblems, really love how they look now!

It took the guy a week and the he returned the Nova....boy was I glad I didn't do this myself. It looks great and I was able to quickly continue with the rest of the interior. The new dome light looks so nice with the chrome against the black fabric. I covered the B-pillars with vinyl as well as the lower part of the C-pillar next to the bench seat. I installed new trim (or windlace) on all the edges. The dash I redid with foam and the same vinyl as the package tray to tie it all together.

I had thought a lot about how to make the center console. The basis is a plastic console from a VW Golf mk1 (Rabbit). Suddenly I remembered how I made my kick panels, pull fabric over it to get a smooth shape and harden it with epoxy. So that is what I did and slowly the console was taking shape. I needed to make a separation between the plastic top part and the fabricated lower which was going to by covered in vinyl. Using Aluminum strip I made trim pieces, luckily I have a shrinker/stretcher to make the curves in it. I covered the lower part with foam and vinyl and screwed on the trim pieces. I made and welded 2 tabs to the tunnel, the bolts in the tabs are there to screw the console down in place.

It is nearly impossible do install the kick panel vent with the heater box installed. I cut the vent in 2, glued the front to the kick panel, made a flange and glued that to the rear part. A cover plate is screwed to the body and the rear with the vent door to that. Now it is possible to remove the kick panel for speaker access if needed.

I still had a big roll of insulaton left over from doing my Camaro many years ago so I used that to insulate the floor. I did have to buy a bit extra, but not much. This insulation will make the car more quiet inside and also keep some heat/cold out. The seat frames were not easy to install so I welded a bar between them to fix that. Painted them black to prevent rust and make them invisible underneath the seats. I cleaned up the mounting holes and bolts for the seats since paint and dirt had gathered in there. Ran a tap in the holes and a die over the bolts, cover in copper grease and now they can be screwed in by hand again.

Next was installing the carpet. First lay it down and let it rest for a while since it had been stored folded for years. After fitting and double checking I cut a hole for the shifter / center console. The carpet is held in place by the door sill plates in the door openings. Now it was time to make holes in the carpet for the seat bolts. I first heated a screw driver with a torch and melted holes from the underside to get the location. (do not drill cause the drill will grab a wire, pull it out and ruin your carpet) After that I heated a piece of pipe to get a proper hole. The good thing is that by melting it you will not get frayed wires around the hole.

The nets on the back of the seats were sagging, the elastic cords were old and stretched. I thought to take the back of the seats, undo the plastc part and tighten the net. Turned out everything is melted to the seat back so I came up with another plan. I drilled a small hole where the cord originated, pulled it through and tightened it. I made a knot in the excess length and it looks good again. Cleaned and treated the seats with leather care lotion and installed them permanently. I also cleaned and partially installed the rear seat belts, the bolts in the tunnel is a 2 man job.

The sound system was pretty good already but I wanted to have speakers under the dash, filling the hole of the original mono speaker. I got a pair of 10cm 2-way speakers, made an MDF mounting plate, painted that black and installed it. The sound quality is amazing at any volume now.

I finished the console, sprayed the top part with structure spray for bumpers to blend in the repairs. I sanded the trim smooth and polished it so it matches the dash trim. After installing the speakers I could install the air vents and hoses under the dash. The heater control cables were lubricated and installed too. Now the glove box could also be installed.

Finally the weather was getting a bit better so I was able to continue on the doors. I welded the old mirror mounting holes and sprayed the doors with epoxy primer.

I cleaned the front and rear windows and rubbers (leaving the original GM decal!), plasti-dipped the chrome trim and assembled it all. My son helped me install the windows, I was a bit anxious since glass does break easily. We took it easy and got it done in a few hours, it was not as bad as I thought. The plasti-dip did get a bit damaged in the process but I'll touch up the trim later. It starts to look like a car more and more now!


You can reach me by e-mail at: pro-touring @ hotmail .com