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Old 01-23-2022, 12:27 AM
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Default 1970 L-78 Nova Restoration; Saga of The Green Bastard

The Saga of the Green Bastard (1970 L-78 Nova Restoration Thread)

PART ONE; INTRODUCTION;
When I purchased my first car in 1981 (a 72 Nova) and got into cruising, there was a 396 Nova that would occasionally make the scene. 1970, SS, 396, Forest Green, Bench Seat, Rubber Mat, 4 Speed, with Poverty Caps. I later came to learn it was an original L-78 Solid Lifter car. The owner was a very nice gentleman named Ken L., a couple years my senior. I told Ken at that time if he ever wanted to sell the car to please let me know. Ken did a fair amount of cruising considering he lived 80 miles from the city and the car earned a reputation of being pretty fast on the street.
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Circa 1995 he did some tuning, High rise GM square Port Intake, 425HP 427 cam swap, installed a Super T10 with 3.10 low gear, 4.11 rear gears, some sticky G60 Hoosiers and tried his luck at the Brainerd MN Musclecar Shootout. I attended as a spectator and vaguely recall the car running low 13’s (having some traction and other issues).
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Years go by… after having not seen the car for quite some time it reappeared at the local cruise still looking very similar to how I remembered it with a new owner (Derreck F), and again I asked if he ever wanted to sell it to please let me know (I believe Derreck was a close friend or relative of Ken’s). Got to know him a little at the cruise nights and sometime later he showed up with a very nicely restored 1970 Blue L-78 Nova. The Green Nova was gone again, unknown to me it was being campaigned quite regularly at the local dragstrip by a gentleman named Mr Fast (how fitting). It was several years later when I received a call from Derreck letting me know that the car was currently for sale in the local Auto Trader by Mr Fast. I got my chance, dropped everything and immediately drove the 60 miles to see Mr. Fast. Canadian Documents and Numbers checked out (minus transmission) and a deposit was made (as it turns out I narrowly missed losing the car to another local collector, who still teases that I stole his car).

The Car;
1970 Nova SS
Color: 48 – Forest Green
Trim: 731 – Black Standard
Originally sold in Arborg, MB (small town approximately 80 miles north of Winnipeg).

A02 Windshield Tinted
F41 Special Performance Front and Rear Suspension
F62 Front Spring – Computer Selected (tag found HH)
G32 Rear Spring – Computer Selected (five leaf)
G80 Rear Axle – Positraction (3.55 std original, 4.11 when purchased)
JL2 Disc Brakes - Front
J50 Vacuum Power Brakes
K05 Engine Block Heater
L78 V-8 Engine – 396 Cu.In. – Spec Hi-Perf. – 375 H.P.
M20 4-Speed Transmission – Wide Ratio
(Swapped for a BW super T-10 - Later recovered M-20 from Arborg)
PL1 E70-14-B (2+2) Tire – Hwy – BB – White Stripe
U63 Radio – Push Button – AM
U76 Windshield Antenna
V48 Engine Coolant – Increased Protection (Antifreeze)
W84 Additional Fuel For Delivery
ZK8 Tire Pressure Sticker
ZL3 “SS” Body Conversion
ZQ7 Canadian Warranty Booklet And Miscellaneous Literature
Z26 Super Sport

THE “GOOD”
-Real SS, Original Born With Engine; Block, Heads, Intake, Distributer, Carb (a little molested) and Differential.
-Canadian Documents (circa 1989 with microfiche copy)
-Known Wherebouts of the transmission
(M-20 traded to a friend of Ken’s in Arborg for a Super T-10)
-Included in Sale:
-Pair of GM full Quarter panels
-Spare SS hood in primer (hood on car rusted)
-LH fender in primer
-Mint Radio delete Dash housing
-Original BB Manifolds, Distributer and Low rise L78 Intake in trunk
-Runs and Drives !!

This car has been subjected to some INTENSE flogging over the years both on the street and Bracket racing for a few season. Odometer shows 67,723 but cannot know for certain if it was operational the whole time or not. Also, it was clocking way fast with the 4.11 gears. It is amazing it is the original Block. Bills show engine redone in Dec 76 (forged TRW +030) and freshened again in Nov 81.

I was told Mr Fast bracket raced the car for three seasons prior to my purchase in 1997.
Mr Fast also liked to play in the Hood. "Those sticky Hoosiers and sagged out leafs hooked so well I would drop the clutch with my foot on the floor and immediately grab second" he said "It was a LOT of fun on the street and I beat a LOT of fast cars"


THE “BAD”
-She’s been rode hard and put away wet.
-Rusted (poor repair) wheel lips, Rusted fender heels, Rusted hood nose.
-Significant damage and poor repair in the RH Quarter behind the door. The door is fine with some obvious filler but the jamb and quarter window frame show significant fit issues. Drip rail is straight, under rocker is straight but seam between rocker and quarter shows repair.
-LOTS of Mud work obvious on right quarter.
-Rear Tailight panel shows Repair
-Some Mis-Alignment of front sheetmetal and Grille
-Original Radiator and Shroud Gone

The story I was told is the car was backed into and the full RH quarter was replaced.
OMG LOOK AT THE PRICE !!
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THE “VERY BAD”
At the time of purchase I was not in position to begin the restoration and the car was put into storage. Life happens and waaay too much time slipped by.
A couple projects pre-empted… including my 1967 Chevelle Convertible which I completed in 2015 and brought to 2018 MCACN.
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After getting this started I can better appreciate the time and effort you guys put in to all the content on the site. This is by far my favorite spot on the internet and I hope I can keep you guys entertained with some posts.
Please bear with my slow progress and you will come to learn of the reason for the nickname The Green Bastard.

Today's episode courtesy of Covid Positive Lockdown (I'm doing fine).
To be continued… Part Two “Barn Finds”
Gary
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70 Nova SS-396/375HP Bench Stick
72 Nova SS-350 5sp Mini Tubbed
67 Chevelle Conv. SS-427 clone
70 Chevelle SS-454 LS-5 M-22

Last edited by L78_Nova; 01-23-2022 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 01-23-2022, 03:35 AM
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Wow, very cool that you finally got and kept it all these years. Like many others, I WISH I had kept some of the cars I had in the 70's. I hear ya on time getting away. The '67 Camaro I'm working on has been waiting for it's turn since 2005.

Looking forward to hearing "the rest of the story", as time goes on.
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Old 01-23-2022, 03:45 AM
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What a awesome story, Neat you still have it. Thanks for sharing.

Gregg
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Old 01-23-2022, 03:52 AM
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Nice! Cant wait for the updates! Love Novas, too!
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Old 01-23-2022, 04:11 AM
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I should clarify the car is currently much further along so I'm hoping to catch the story up and keep you guys interested.
Gary
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Old 01-23-2022, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L78_Nova View Post
I should clarify the car is currently much further along so I'm hoping to catch the story up and keep you guys interested.
Gary
Oh sure, throw more bait out... I see one of your cars is an LS5, M22. That is THE one I wish I could have kept. Fortunately, I did an engine swap in about '76 to an LS6 and still have the LS5. It is in my '66 SS now.
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Old 01-23-2022, 03:13 PM
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Post 70 L78 Nova....

Great car...looking forward to seeing more photos and information. Happy to help if you have any questions. My first hotrod was a 70 L78 Nova, Forest Green, bench seat, 4 spd, 3.55 gear...that was a long time ago.

We have a few of these in the collection today, welcome to the Nova family

-wilma
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:22 PM
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Default 1970 L-78 Nova Restoration; Saga of The Green Bastard

The Saga of the Green Bastard (1970 L-78 Nova Restoration Thread)

PART TWO; BARN FINDS; Well I suppose “Fake Barn Finds” is more fitting !
(I’m hoping that is not received as bad as fake Patina)

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Having finished my Chevelle Convertible in 2015, in the fall of 2016 I finally brought the L-78 home for the first winter to get started. I only have a two car garage so summers are for drivers and winters are for projects. It had however been announced that our local World of Wheels car show was going to have a “Barn Finds” display in April 2017. Our local promoter Bob Chubala is a SUPER awesome guy and we wanted to support his efforts and have some fun. Myself and two other car buddies Dereck (different Dereck from the L78 owner) and Calvin, together hatched a plan to bring all three of our stagnant “project cars” to the show. So… my plans warped into doing as much work as possible without too obviously upsetting the “Barn Fresh” look (no washing Ha).

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After such extended storage the plan was, put a Muncie and shifter back in (ST-10 had been sold), replace the disintegrated headers (had an exact set of used Hookers at the ready), refresh brake system (restored master and booster were ready to go), SST brake lines, new rear wheel cylinders (cheap replacements for now rebuild the originals later), SST fuel lines, new fuel tank, install a correct BB style radiator, shroud and Fan (repop), new rad & heater hoses, repair the drivers floor, toe board, and the grenade hole for who knows what shifter was in there ??, Install the mint original ($$) rubber mat I had located (Thanks Yenko Site), install a correct original bench seat, re-install the original door panels, rebuild carb, fresh fluids, set valves (rockers had been backed off for storage), pre-lube, and fire to DRIVE it in and out of the show! Oh and throw in a couple Auto Meter gauges under the dash for good measure… Short List And we begin;

I will unfortunately have to Caveat that a snowblower/cell phone incident that winter lost a lot of my detail photos, so this chapter will be a little challenged for pics. Hey! it snowed A LOT! and that phone jumped out of my pocket unnoticed when I exited the truck. The funny part was after finding it smashed & glowing in the lane it actually took me a moment to realize it was mine... DOH!

A portion of the drivers floor was rusted through (4-6”under heels and 3-4”up the toe board). To make the repair undetectable from the bottom side I decided to replace the pan section from the under heel seam all the way back to the under floor crossmember where it could be welded from topside and not be visible from below. The pan had enough metal to wrap up the tunnel and be trimmed to exactly match the original shifter hole cut out. Between the few original screw holes that remained and an original lower bezel, I figured it out. The toe board was trimmed to required size, plug welded at the seam (per factory spot welding) and butt welded and metal finished where it would be visible along the top edge and in the portion in the tunnel. Some of the final welding was left for the rotisserie later because it was too difficult to access assembled. The underside forward body brace was surprisingly solid (it is heavier gauge).
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Green Bastard part one. At some point the car had been fitted with a GM bench seat with a fold down arm rest (Monte?). It was done early in it's life as I always remember that strange seat in the car. To accommodate the seat, the section of floor pan at the front seat mounts was POUNDED down to lower the seat…. A LOT… 2+ inches!! It took Herculean effort to reform (pound back up) the sections and weld in patches to make it fit a stock seat and be indiscernible from both sides
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I mentioned Ken was from a small town and working on the car I quickly learned that every orifice under the car was completely filled and plugged with dried silt from gravel road spray residue. It gets everywhere and hardens like stone once dried out.

Green Bastard part two. Anyone who has run high speeds on gravel roads with a carload of pals knows you often times bottom out. The rear foot wells (floor pans) were so hammered up it literally took a sledge hammer and my trusty chunk of RAIL to coax them back to position and a several hours of hammer dolly work. More Herculean effort. I considered replacing them but they were very solid and in the end turned out surprisingly well.

The radiator was purchased locally from a 68 BB Camaro (which went to Aluminum). I had also bought one from WilmasBoy here which will end up in my Acadian at some point. Shroud was purchased from GM way back when I bought the car. Fan is a repop and is a decent piece if you’re not concerned with full concours restoration (which I am not). In your face is what I believe to be the original equipment block heater plug, welcome to Canada. Also notice the chain to hold the engine under torque. The original equipment engine mounts are still in the car. Recall how Mr Fast said he launched the car
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Most of the rest was just plug and play with a little cleanup along the way.
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To be continued Barn Finds PART B
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68 Acadian SS-350 auto/AC driver
70 Nova SS-396/375HP Bench Stick
72 Nova SS-350 5sp Mini Tubbed
67 Chevelle Conv. SS-427 clone
70 Chevelle SS-454 LS-5 M-22

Last edited by L78_Nova; 01-23-2022 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 01-23-2022, 05:31 PM
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Default 1970 L-78 Nova Restoration; Saga of The Green Bastard

The Saga of the Green Bastard (1970 L-78 Nova Restoration Thread)

PART TWO; BARN FINDS; (PART B had trouble adding all the photos)

So all three of us had big plans to have these dinosaurs fired up and drive into the show and all three of us had issues but they did all run and we made it in (even if we did trailer). AND WE HAD A BLAST THAT WEEKEND ! We thought it was display only and were surprised to find out we won awards.
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3rd place Calvin’s 1970 Chevelle L-78 He’s owned since High School !
(Tammy calls it HER car as she drove it lots back in the day as the DD)
Highlight : A young guy at the show says man that looks like my Dad’s old car. Well probably not because this one is from Thompson MB (Way North). Well that’s where we’re from too. Next Day previous owner shows up at the show… sat in the car for a while and says “Wow that was like an Acid Flashback Man”!
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2nd place My 1970 Nova L-78
Highlight ; Upon arrival for setup, unload off the trailer and idling over to my spot some guy yells out “Hey that’s my old car… Mr Fast (Originally had sold the car because he was moving to BC, had recently moved back to Manitoba).
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1st place Dereck’s 1967 Nova SS. This is an original Texas Gem with “ZERO” rust!! Has some bruises and needs lovin but very COOL car original 275HP 327 Factory Air & Power steering. It would appear to have been stored inside since new. I actually knew the previous owner and got out of the way for Dereck to buy this car because I knew I would just never get to it. That’s around the time when Dereck and I became friends.
Highlight ; EVERYONE WANTED TO BUY THIS CAR! and it was the weekend trunk bar and Snack shack!
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Leaving the show was a little different story. My battery went dead got a boost to drive out to the trailer and stalled it loading… flagging down people to help push up the trailer. Calvin’s keys somehow went home with his wife so he needed to make a trip home and back before loading up so Dereck’s Nova went first… sort of… wouldn’t fire (I think it ended up being the fuel pump), another pusher.

To be continued… Part three Left Quarter
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68 Acadian SS-350 auto/AC driver
70 Nova SS-396/375HP Bench Stick
72 Nova SS-350 5sp Mini Tubbed
67 Chevelle Conv. SS-427 clone
70 Chevelle SS-454 LS-5 M-22

Last edited by L78_Nova; 01-23-2022 at 05:51 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2022, 08:00 PM
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Hi, I'm looking forward to Part 3.
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