A moun­tain mo­tor, a six-speed, and … sacri­fice

Chevy High Performance - - Contents -

own chas­sis to han­dle over 4,000 horse­power.” Rich’s Nova would only have half as much grief to deal with, so that’s just what he and his gang did when they got to­gether and whit­tled down that stack of chromem­oly tub­ing to com­bat the in­evitable twist­ing and bend­ing. Ul­ti­mately, the Nova would hun­ker on RideTech air springs.

To in­stall the Ford-like Chris Al­ston’s Chas­sis­works FAB9 hous­ing, they set the back-end up with a cus­tom four-link ar­range­ment and lo­cated the mass with a Pan­hard rod. They grew the front sus­pen­sion from Stain­less Steel Brake Com­pany spin­dles, put RideTech bags be­tween the Hei­dts tubu­lar con­trol arms and then the fabri­ca­tors checked chas­sis move­ment with a cus­tom-made an­ti­sway bar. There was no thought of as­sum­ing the ex­tra weight of an un­nec­es­sary rollcage.

One of Rich’s spe­cial pals is Dean Mat­toni, a man from Toledo who’s ap­par­ently hell on sheet­metal and paint. “Candy Man” Mat­toni (mostly) and Rich ad­dressed the trim and styling cues ger­mane to such car builds, to wipe away the ob­vi­ous flash­ing and let the orig­i­nal form shine through. To that end, they re­moved the driprails; tight­ened up the gaps; chopped, shaved, and tweaked the bumpers; fash­ioned a spoiler for the deck­lid; and smoothed out the fire­wall, cowl, and new hood.

The Tay­lors re­fer to their

X-body as the Blacken Blue Nova for its deep blue and black ac­cents fiendishly cap­tured in the old-school mar­bleiz­ing tech­nique over the en­tire car, and that in­cluded the fram­erails. Dean wanted some flames flirt­ing around out there. He laid them out on the hood flats and down the Nova’s flanks so they would flow with the nat­u­ral con­tours and curves. He used can­dies and pearls to cre­ate the ghost­ing ef­fect that would bury them so deep down in the blue that only the rays of the sun would be able to lure them out.

Mean­while, Rich en­vi­sioned long trips in the reloaded Nova. He was all but pant­ing to in­cor­po­rate some of the sleep-rob­bing thought and designs he en­vi­sioned for the in­te­rior as well as mak­ing the place as safe and com­fort­able as it might be. The pri­mary plan would be wrapped in the am­bi­ence of 2008 Pon­tiac G8 GT seats that Brian Hus­ton cov­ered in per­fo­rated leather. Hard to tell from where we’re sit­ting, but it looks like Rich got the seats at least. He set­tled the in­te­rior with cus­tom door pan­els and a con­sole that he crafted from wood and then had cov­ered in that black hide. Though the Tay­lors de­cided against a se­ri­ous HVAC sys­tem, they wanted to be tap­ping their toes down the road ahead. In Men­tor, Brian Hus­ton, this time wear­ing his Stereo In­stalls

hat, ex­tended a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to the moun­tain mo­tor’s mur­der­ous machi­na­tions with a pha­lanx of Sony and Kicker com­po­nents.

At the end, he got sober about the years he missed. His re­veal was can­did and un­usual. Rich talked about how the ex­pe­ri­ence had brought change to his life, his very way of think­ing. “The build con­sumed me for over three years. Work­ing my day job to main­tain the fi­nances and then wrench­ing in the evenings seven days a week. Al­though the qual­ity of the build was never sac­ri­ficed, I now re­al­ize that some­thing had to give and it was my fam­ily that felt the sacri­fice.” His wife, Kim, sup­ported him ev­ery step of the build, of­fer­ing ideas and grab­bing wrenches on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with­out com­plaint, but some­body had to be there for their daugh­ters [12 and 16], espe­cially the older one who sur­vived brain surgery with­out any last­ing ef­fects. It was a bless­ing and it was an omen.

“The long months prior and many other re­lated items took their toll on me and put me in the hospi­tal with only a few days left to com­plete it for an up­com­ing car show. Ev­ery­one jumped in and ral­lied in a con­certed ef­fort not to fail. It got done right and on time.” He made his re­solve. “I will never sacri­fice the love and at­ten­tion of fam­ily and friends for a pile of well-painted, shiny, awe­some steel that will never be there for you in time of need.” CHP

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