Ahead of the Street Machine Nationals events, we get a unique opportunity to work with the staff at Street Machine Nationals to pick a winner for each of our title’s Gearhead Powerpack giveaways. For the upcoming Springfield show, the unanimous choice was Barry and Debbie Davis’ 1996 Chevrolet Nova Super Sport.
They are going to be at the show this weekend, but we wanted to give you a look at the car in case you can’t make it. We talked to Barry to get the story behind the build, as well as technical information, and we’re quite impressed.
We asked Barry a few questions to get the story behind his passion for cars…
What makes you a Gearhead? How did you get into cars?
I started my fascination with cars at age 13. I took Auto Mechanics in high school to learn more. I went to work after school and weekends at Gil’s Auto Body Shop. I painted my first car at age 16. It’s like my true gearhead. It is relaxing and exhilarating to me. At age 29 I owned my own Davis Auto Body, which I operated for thirty years. Three years ago I closed the shop to semi-retire at Lake of the Ozarks. I still have my hobby garage that we build specifically for this car.
Do you work in the industry?
Yes I did, for 30 years.
What was your first car?
1965 Chevelle, 2-door hardtop, 396 motor in the car.
When did you purchase this car? What kind of shape was it in?
I purchased in 2014. Even though the car was well on its way to a finished product, I had visions of what I wanted to do to it. Eric, the man I bought it from lives in Washington, DC. He had four cars and needed to downsize. I picked this one up for pennies on the dollar.
Why did you buy this particular car?
I have always liked Nova’s. My wife and I had a 1972 with a blown 350 for a while. My favorite has always been the 1966 SS, so when this became available we drove halfway across the country to pick it up in the wintery snow. At that time we rented a trailer to pick up. I currently have a custom built trailer made for this car to transport. Decals on the back show what kind of car I proudly own. I am also currently looking for a 1963 Nova SS convertible.
How long have you had it? What is the history you or previous owner has had with the car?
Almost four years. Eric did a great job to a point. We previously had never met him when we bought it.
Did you build it or did a shop? How long did it take?
I finished building the car, had the chrome done and I installed, rebuilt the doors, fine-tuned the motor, and adjusted the suspension, installed exhausts and cutouts.
What kind of trials and tribulations did you go through to get the car to its current state?
Just like any other gearhead, things fitting, finding parts and money to finish, but it is in the blood. I just really enjoy it and have fun with working on it, driving it and showing it.
What outstanding features make this your car and different from all the others of that model/make?
The paintwork, the interior is first class and the car is done right. The unique color matches inside and out.
Who helped you get it to where it is today?
My wife. She knows how much I love this car. She is a gearhead also. That’s what attracted me to her. She enjoys car shows. Just like entering this contest for example. She wants me to be happy and I love her for it. We have been married for 32 years.
What future plans do you have for the car?
I am looking to put power steering and vintage air conditioning in it. I will continue to show it at various car shows. I am looking forward to showing at the O’Reilly’s Street Machine Nationals later this month.
MODIFICATIONS: Driveshaft Loop
Bolt-on fabricated engine/suspension cradle
REAREND/RATIO: Ford narrowed 9-inch aluminum with Detroit Locker
REAR SUSPENSION: Four-link with coilover shocks
REAR BRAKES: Drum brake
FRONT BRAKES: Wilwood disc
STEERING BOX: Mustang 2 chrome rack manual
FRONT WHEELS: 15” Weld
FRONT TIRES: Mickey Thompson
REAR WHEELS: 15” Weld
REAR TIRES: Mickey Thompson Street Slicks
GAS TANK: Modified original gas tank
Fuel management center
ENGINE: 358 Small Block
HEADS: Cast iron double hump with comp cam and roller rockers with studs
CAB/INJECTION: Quick fuel 680 VS with pressure gage
VALVE COVERS: Aluminum tool and die
INTAKE: Aluminum Vector
IGNITION: Mallory Electronic and Mallory wires
HEADERS: Headman that have been ceramic coated in Springfield, MO
EXHAUST/MUFFLERS: 3-inch with electronic cutouts
TRANSMISSION: TCI 350 with inner fender cooler
SHIFTER: TCI Outlaw with line lock
EXTRA INFO: Electronic fan and radiator setup
STYLE: 2 -door hardtop
FENDERS: Metal 66
Note: All new metal on doors, rear quarters, trunk lid, fenders
Floor pans complete replacement with mini tubs
HOOD: Harwood Fiberglass 2” rise
Clayton aluminum hood hinges
GRILLE: Standard but new
PAINT TYPE/COLOR: All Kandy Strawberry Rootbeer
Wet Wet and Wet Wet Plus Brand
EXTRAS: Chrome plating on wing windows, tops of doors, seals for door plates done by St. Louis Gateway Plating
Gas tank shaved on fill neck
Fill tank inside trunk
Car ran quarter mile on strip so has a gel battery in trunk with extra cut off
Car completely wired with Painless wire kit
Brand new, never been on a vehicle – trunk SS molding
Original build started by Eric Battle, Washington DC. 2012
HEADLIGHTS/TAILLIGHTS: Xeon LED headlights with turn signal in headlights also
Taillights and interior lights LED
BUMPERS: Certifit Chrome
DASHBOARD: Leather and carbon fiber
GAUGES: Auto meter cluster with carbon fiber
STEREO: Pioneer touchscreen with CD 1500 watt amp with 1000 watt amp on base
Speakers are Kicker and Bazooka, ten speakers installed in car
STEERING WHEEL: Clayton Aluminum carbon fiber
STEERING COLUMN: Clayton, matches steering wheel with tilt steering
EXTRA: Gas pedal, window cranks are fabricated Clayton
SEATS: From an early 1990’s Corvette
UPHOLSTERY BY: Joe’s Superior Interiors, Clinton, Maryland
MATERIAL /COLOR: Color is saddle brown; material is smooth leather with suede
Headliner, dash pad and trunk done with same seat material
CARPET: Burnt orange in trunk and interior with color-coordinated floor mats with SS emblem
MISC: Drink holders front and back