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Paul Summers 1969 Chevy Nova with a LS7 427 Lives to Fight Another Day

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50 Years ago, if you had boasted to your friends about buying a brand new Chevy Nova, they might have laughed at you, and shrugged you off while getting into their Camaro, Charger, or Mustang. Well, as the great Bob Dylan once said, "the times, they are a changin'." And so they have.

These days, the Chevy Nova, also called the Chevy II, is one of the most sought after cars for restoration projects. The Nova dates all the way back to 1962 - the year of the Tiger - and with a 327ci motor and 4-speed manual transmission option, the Nova was no kitten.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 and billet rearview mirror

No detail was overlooked in this build. Can you spot the billet rearview mirror?

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 at Auto Club Raceway at the Fairplex in Pomona

Paul lives in Claremont, California, just a few miles from the iconic Auto Club Raceway at the Fairplex in Pomona.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 paintjob by Gage Motorsports, in Arlington, Washington

A thin red stripe breaks up the black and white paintjob by Gage Motorsports, in Arlington, Washington.

Currently the most sought after Chevy Novas are the 68-74 models, bearing the classic "muscle car" look. These came with a multitude of engine options, ranging from a 153ci 2.5L inline-four, all the way to a 402ci 6.6L V8, and almost anything in between. It also had a variety of available transmissions, with the 2-speed Powerglide and 4-speed Borg-Warner T-10 manual as an option. Some Novas even came off the assembly line with disc brakes, to stop all the power behind them. A popular option was the 4-barrel 300 hp 5.7L setup with a three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic 350 (THM350)

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 and Santuff 4-Link Coilover front suspension

The front suspension consists of a Santuff 4-Link Coilover setup, sitting under a 427 LS7 GM motor.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 and Black and red Kirkey race seats adorn the interior with G-Forge 5-point seat belts and an Art Morrison cage

Black and red Kirkey race seats adorn the interior with G-Forge 5-point seat belts and an Art Morrison cage.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 and E-3770 6x14-inch round K&N air filter air cleaner

An E-3770 6 x 14-inch round K&N air cleaner sits atop the powerful 427ci LS7.

Paul Summers, of Claremont, California, had a similar idea in mind when he bought his 1969 Chevy Nova, although the 350ci motor wasn't going to cut it for him. He sought the definitive power of the Chevy LS7. "I bought the car in 2013," Paul says, "my goal was to have a street car that ran high 9s on the strip." He got what he wished for - a robust Nova that had power, style, and a beautiful paintjob done by Gage Motorsports in Arlington, Washington.

Paul moved to Southern California in 2014 and began to show interest in the wealth of car shows that SoCal has to offer. He began to show off the enhancing qualities of the car, like the black and red Kirkey race seats and the Art Morrison cage with G-Forge 5-point seat belts. The aforementioned LS7 features L92 heads, Doug's headers, and a Flowmaster exhaust to let the LS7 roar. It's also fitted with Aluminum Champion wheels wrapped in Mickey-Thompson tires contributing to the smooth look and feel of this car. Paul's drivetrain consists of an Inland Empire Driveline driveshaft and a Mark Williams 4.11 ring and pinion. The Nova is also equipped with a Santuff 4-Link coilover suspension setup, to make sure the handling is excellent.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 and cowl hood for 6 inch air cleaner

The cowl hood is necessary when running a 6" filter setup.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7

Paul takes no nonsense, and lets his competition know about it.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 427 badges

The classic 427 badges let everyone know what's under the hood!

Needless to say, Paul definitely has a great taste in highly customized cars and enthusiasts at the many car shows he attended agreed. He was prosperous in winning multiple trophies including 25 best-of-show awards amongst numerous car shows in Southern California. Paul also won the Super Chevy Editor's Pick award at the 2016 Grand National Roadster Show and took home a trophy from the Street Machine Muscle Car Nationals. Trophies were great, however something was missing, his need for speed. He started taking his car to the local drag strips and proceeded to run low 10s at around 120 mph. One day, he was able to make a 10.20 pass at 128 MPH but the rear end concluded his session quickly when it gave out, thus pretzeling the driveshaft, and cracking the transmission case in the process. He replaced the rear-end with a Mark Williams 40-Spline and had the transmission rebuilt. While the car was indisposed, Paul decided to take off the stock front-end and replace it with an all new tube chassis chromoly front end. He is now ready to hit the track again, and test out his new and better than before 1969 Chevy Nova.

The car is now running high 9's and Paul couldn't be happier. He doesn't have any issue pushing his T-400 Transmission to the limit in the name of a little speed addiction. You better believe that Paul drives the car on the streets too. If you ever pull up next to a black and white Nova with a massive cowl induction hood, let him be, you don't want to get your feelings hurt.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 427 with Wilwood brakes and Mickey Thompson clad Aluminum Champion wheels

A Wilwood brake setup with drilled and slotted rotors sits behind the Mickey Thompson clad Aluminum Champion wheels and are responsible for bringing the Nova down from top speed.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 427 side fender badges

Despite all the modifications, some features on the vehicle remained, like the side fender badges.

Paul Summers 1972 Chevy Nova with LS7 427 and a Hurst shifter outfitted with a trans-lock switch

The Nova is equipped with a Hurst shifter outfitted with a trans-lock switch.


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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 50 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.