Instead of being content with a pre-existing ‘genre’ or an existing set of muscle car standards, Alex Covington and the team at the Roadster Shop decided to take a whole new approach with this 1967 Chevy Nova. Originally, Covington wanted just a unique looking Nova, but after seeing the direction the Roadster Shop was heading with his ride, he gave them the thumbs up to build a one-of-a-kind Nova. Armed with a belief that true progress in design can only come with taking risks and stepping outside comfort zones, the Roadster Shop set out to build a Nova that was like nothing else that ever came before it.
The ’67 Nova may have started life more as a grocery getter than performance machine, but it quickly was given the name Innovator based on its build. The Roadster Shop built the Innovator as an example of where the hot rod and the custom industry could possibly head in the coming years. It’s clear when you look at the Innovator it’s definitely a “concept rod.” Almost every piece of this pristine ride has been handcrafted or purpose made for this vehicle. The results are phenomenal, and we aren’t the only ones who think so. In 2011, the Innovator received the highly sought after Street Machine of the Year award from Goodguys.
The build started with a ’67 Nova body that was in extremely rough shape. The team at the Roadster Shop cut out the floors, and then put the Nova on a rotisserie and had the body media blasted. From there the body received a tremendous amount of work: The top was chopped ¾ of an inch, the fenders were re-profiled, and the main mid-section body line was completely removed and new accent lines were created over each wheel opening. New bumpers were made along with rocker extensions and front and rear diffusers. From there the team incorporated a modern circuit board inspired pattern throughout the entire car and in the paint design. The futuristic circuit board theme starts with a custom grille that captures everyone’s attention. The pattern then continues as an accent down the glossy white doors, and up the flat black hood.
To receive an award like the Street Machine of the Year, you know that lying under the hood has to be some serious power. And the Innovator doesn’t disappoint. Lift the hood and you will find a 454 cubic inch Mast Motorsports LS series small block. Based on a GMPP 454 cubic inch LSX, the block was bored to 4.185 inches, the LS7 aluminum cast heads were CNC-ported, and a custom hydraulic roller cam was installed to help the engine create an incredible 700hp at 6,700RPMs and 611lb./ft. of torque at 4,900RPMs. However, the first thing you notice is how the engine bay is nothing like you have seen before. The engine hides under a custom engine shroud and a custom radiator core support, while to the sides of the engine are custom inner fenders. The stock hood hinges have been replaced with custom vents to ensure the engine stays cool. They all combine to create a look under the hood that is incredible. Spent gases travel through custom 1.875 inch long-tube headers through 3-inch collectors and exit out of Borla Mufflers to create an incredible sound. Bolted to the block is a Centerforce clutch and a Tremec T-56 Magnum transmission that sends the power to a Roadster Shop custom 9-inch with a Detroit Trutrac differential that houses a 3.90 gear.
The Nova just doesn’t look incredible and pack a ton of power, it was built to push the limits of cornering ability. The very first time it hit the pavement was at the autocross course at the 2011 GoodGuys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. On its maiden voyage, the incredible Innovator posted a time of 35.30 seconds around the tricky course. Even though that was the first time the Innovator had seen the cones, the time would stand as the best of all the Street Machine Finalists. It wasn’t too much longer that it was crowned the 2011 Street Machine of the Year.
The great handling that was on display at Columbus comes courtesy of a custom Roadster Shop Fast Track frame and suspension. The custom frame includes main rails that allowed for the aforementioned Borla dual side exhausts. At all four corners you will find AFCO remote reservoir adjustable coil-overs that not only provide great handling, but give the Nova an incredible stance. In the front of the car you’ll find a Speedway sway bar, custom control arms, and C6 Corvette spindles. In the rear, the custom 9-inch is held in place by a custom 3-Link suspension and a rear Speedway sway bar. Stopping power comes thanks to custom Baer Extreme + 14-inch rotors and six piston calipers on both the front and rears. The Nova rides on custom 18” and 20” Roadster Shop seven spoke rims that have been wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport rubber.
While the body features a lot of rigid angles and hard lines, the interior is much more inviting with smooth rounded surfaces. Open the doors and you’ll be greeted by a completely custom one-off interior that is just as unique as the rest of the build. The headliner and floor are illuminated by fiber-optic lighting, and the stitching has been done in such a way to include the circuit board pattern. Two Sparco bucket seats provide a great place to log miles from. In front of the driver are two custom gauges that create a 3-d floating effect by having the numbers printed on the back of the lenses of the tach and speedometer. Between the gauges sits a Bespoke digital readout interface that displays everything from coolant temperature to oil pressure. Between the driver and passenger is a GPS navigation system, and a custom Roadster Shop shifter. The Roadster Shop also added a full cage for not only safety but also chassis rigidity. Every detail, big or small, has been scrutinized and thought about inside this vehicle. Even the pedals were CNC’d with the custom circuit board pattern.
The sale of the Innovator includes a multitude of build documentation.
Throughout the entire car the Innovator lives up to its namesake, it impresses inside and out. This ’67 Nova may have had very humble beginnings but today it sits as an award winning ride that is capable of beating you on the ¼ or on the autocross. Don’t miss your chance to own this incredible ride. Call today, or stop by our showroom for an up close look at the 2011 Street Machine of the Year.