Christian Peich’s Supercharged 1966 Chevy Nova SS is Ready for Action

By Tommy Lee Byrd   –   Photography by Wes Allison

There are a few ways to approach a project car. Some folks plan for years, make parts wish lists, and eventually buy the perfect start to their dream build. Others happen upon a project and start the rebuilding journey without a long-term plan filed away in their mind. Christian Peich falls into the latter category, as he wasn’t looking to dive into a full build, but this ’66 Nova Super Sport landed in his lap. His friend who had just moved to Kansas spotted the car in a field and brought it back to California.

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005 Modified 1966 Chevrolet Nova White Aggressive Rear Angle Fighter Plane Tail

Read More: Justin Brown’s ’66 Chevy II Nova

Christian already knew Jim and Monique McKay at Lakeside Speed and Shine in Lake Havasu, Arizona, so it was natural to rely on their assistance when it came time to put the car back on the road. As usual with a ground-up project, things got a little carried away, and a full custom build ensued. Christian is no stranger to custom builds, but he admits that finding a better donor car would’ve accelerated the build process. However, a stripped shell of a car allows for maximum detail and that’s exactly what Christian wanted as the build progressed.

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007 Performance Tuned 1966 Chevy Nova Rear View Sleek White

Underneath, the car is equipped with TCI suspension components, including a complete front subframe, subframe connectors, and four-link rear suspension. Christian opted for Ridetech ShockWave air suspension, operated by an AccuAir e-Level system, giving him adjustable ride height and handling capabilities at the push of a button. Braking power comes from a complete Wilwood system, which includes 14-inch front rotors with six-piston calipers and 13-inch rear rotors with four-piston calipers. A Wilwood tandem master cylinder and proportioning valve feeds the system, which is tied together with custom stainless steel lines. Lakeside Speed and Shine mini-tubbed the car, to make room for 20×11 Budnik billet rollers, wrapped in 305/25R20 rubber. Up front, 19×8.5 wheels fill the fenders nicely and provide an excellent stance in combination with the air suspension.

008 1966 Chevy Nova's Upgraded Engine Polished Chrome Holley Supercharger Open Hood

The horsepower department consists of a mild-mannered LS1, topped with a Magnuson supercharger. Turn Key Engine Supply assembled the engine package, which is a potent combination that makes approximately 500 hp on pump gas. TCI headers lead into a custom stainless steel exhaust system built by Lakeside Speed and Shine. A Champion aluminum radiator keeps the blown LS1 cool, while a 4L60E automatic transmission transfers power to the 3.55:1 ring-and-pinion inside the Currie 9-inch rearend.

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010 Close Up of 1966 Chevy Nova's Engine Featuring Holley Sniper EFI High End Customization

Read More: Can You Sell Me Your Badass ’70 Nova?

Body modifications are minimal, as Christian feels like the ’66 and ’67 Nova body style is nearly perfect as-is. The subtle modifications include a cowl induction hood, shaved emblems, and flush-fit Kindig-It Design door handles. The body needed repairs and the complete bodywork treatment inside, outside, and underneath. After several cycles of block-sanding and primer, Jim McKay laid down the PPG paint in Carrera White. The bumpers are smoothed and tucked in nicely, and all trim restoration was handled by The Polishing Shop for the perfect finishing touch.

012 1966 Chevy Nova Custom Interior Front Seats Red Leather

The interior is where Christian’s build went to the next level. He sent the car to Elegance Auto Upholstery in Montclair, California, where Mark Lopez and crew brought many details to life. Maserati Rosso and Mercedes Black were the colors of choice, and the materials include Italian Nappa smooth grain leather and Alcantara suede. The custom seats are from a Lexus SC 300, and the retractable seatbelts came from Retro Belt. Custom door panels are scratch-built with hand-fabricated armrests, chrome-plated brass molding, and Billet Specialties door handles.

014 1966 Nova Restomod Interior Front Dash Modern Touchscreen

A custom console houses the power window switches, Eddie Motorsports billet cupholders, and an iPad Mini, which serves as the head unit for the custom stereo system. Carlos Rodriguez at The Art of Sound in Upland, California, is responsible for the audio install, which consists of dual Audison amplifiers (one for mids and highs and one for the subwoofers) and an array of speakers. Audison 6.5-inch and 6×9 speakers and dual Fosgate 10-inch subwoofers are tied together and placed tastefully throughout the car. Vibro Solutions insulated the interior and trunk to provide great sound quality.

018 Chevy Nova Pro Touring Custom Alloy Wheels Brakes

Read More: After 42 Years of Ownership, This Pro Street–Style Chevy Nova SS is Just About Perfect

After more than 2,500 hours of labor and a truckload of new parts, Christian’s Nova was ready for its first showing. Lopez helped him enter the car in the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California, and he took home Best Interior in his class and Second Place in the full-custom class. Christian’s Nova garnered a lot of attention and continues to do so wherever he takes it. The car turns heads with its timeless look and sanitary details inside and out, and it exceeded the vision that Christian had from day one of this extensive project.

004 Pristine 1966 Chevy Nova in White Full Side View Historical Aircraft Hangar

TECH CHECK:

Owner: Christian Peich, Ontario, California
Vehicle: ’66 Chevy II Nova SS

Engine
Type: LS1
Displacement: 346 ci (5.7L)
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1
Bore: 3.898 inches
Stroke: 3.622 inches
Rotating Assembly: Stock
Cylinder Heads: Stock
Valvetrain: Stock
Camshaft: Stock
Ignition: Stock
Intake: Magnuson Supercharger
Fuel Injection: Holley EFI
Assembly: Turn Key Engine Supply (Oceanside, CA)
Exhaust: TCI Stainless headers, MagnaFlow mufflers
Ancillaries: Custom valve covers by Lakeside Speed and Shine
Output: Estimated 500 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque

Drivetrain
Transmission: GM 4L60E built by Turn Key Engine Supply
Rear Axle: Currie 9-inch, 3.55:1 gears, Currie axles

Chassis
Front Suspension: TCI Subframe, Ridetech ShockWave air suspension
Rear Suspension: TCI four-link, Ridetech ShockWave air suspension
Brakes: Wilwood, 14-inch (front) and 13-inch (rear) rotors, six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear)
Master Cylinder: Wilwood tandem
Pedals: Lokar black anodized

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Budnik Gasser, 19×8.5 and 20×11
Tires: Hankook Ventus V12 evo2 235/35R19 front, 305/25R20 rear

Interior
Seats: Lexus SC 300, headrest delete
Steering: Custom column with Budnik wheel
Console: Custom fabricated, Eddie Motorsports billet cupholders, Lokar shift boot ring
Shifter: Lokar floor shift, HGM paddle shift
Dash: Custom-stitch dashpad, custom center panel with Vintage Air controls
Instrumentation: Dakota Digital
HVAC: Vintage Air
Audio: Apple iPad Mini head unit, Audison amplifiers, Audison speakers, dual Fosgate P3 subwoofers by The Art of Sound (Upland, CA)
Wiring: American Autowire by Lakeside Speed and Shine

Exterior
Paint: PPG Carrera White by Jim McKay at Lakeside Speed and Shine
Trim: Shaved emblems
Hood: Steel cowl induction
Grille: Super Sport
Bumpers: Shaved and tucked
Door Handles: Kindig-It
Hood Hinges: Ring Brothers
Lights: Stock-style headlights, Eddie Motorsports taillights

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Christian Peich’s Supercharged 1966 Chevy Nova SS is Ready for Action.acp march 2024

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