Muscle Car Review - - Someone Left A Show Out In The Rain -

Randy and Yvonne Davis have owned three of Oldsmo­bile’s scream­ing yel­low Ral­lye 350s. This is their most re­cent, a car they bought a year and a half ago from the es­tate of a man who owned it for years and planned to re­store it. We are glad he didn’t. It’s an 81,000-mile, al­lo­rig­i­nal ex­am­ple with fac­tory air and power steer­ing. Yvonne told us they plan to leave it as-is, de­spite (or maybe be­cause of) the clearcoat some­one sprayed on it years ago to “pre­serve” it. “That means we have to live with the rock chips,” Yvonne ad­mits, but to strip the clear would likely ruin the car’s graph­ics, turn­ing an ex­cel­lent orig­i­nal car into just an­other restora­tion can­di­date. For their com­mit­ment to its preser­va­tion, we gave the Davises our Celebrity Pick Award.

This is a COPO. Specif­i­cally, this 1974 Nova is a 9C1 po­lice car and just the sec­ond one built. The 9C1 Nova was the brain­child of for­mer Mo­tor Trend staffer (and re­serve L.A. Sher­iff’s Deputy) John Christy, who wrote a let­ter to Chevro­let in Jan­uary 1974 with an idea to turn No­vas into po­lice cars by fit­ting them with Z28 en­gine and sus­pen­sion parts. He rea­soned that the com­pact No­vas would be more fuel ef­fi­cient than the Satel­lites, Coronets, and Mata­dors the de­part­ment was us­ing (this was dur­ing the OPEC oil cri­sis). Chevro­let bit, and be­tween 1974 and 1978 built some 15,000, most go­ing to Cal­i­for­nia po­lice depart­ments. At end of ser­vice many of the cars were sold to film stu­dios, and most of those were de­stroyed in movies and TV shows. Alex Manz, who owns the Nova and runs a 9C1 reg­istry, fig­ures that just 20 have sur­vived. This one was bought at auc­tion by a film ed­i­tor who garaged it for 34 years and also kept “stacks” of the car’s orig­i­nal pa­per­work, which Manz got when he bought the car. Note the orig­i­nal L48 en­gine and the shot­gun rack in the trunk.

OK, so maybe Greg Fleenor’s 307-pow­ered 1969 300 Deluxe is not a mus­cle car per se, but its sleeper sim­plic­ity drew us in, as did the fact that this is a rare base model equipped with power steer­ing and A/C. Fleenor bought it “25 years ago from a lit­tle old lady” and re­stored it a short time later. In fact, it’s one of the first cars painted by Mark Coates, now of ABM Restora­tions and, ac­cord­ing to Fleenor, Tim Well­born’s painter of choice. “He’s mar­ried to my first cousin, and that’s how I got him to paint a Chevy,” Fleenor says.

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