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AMD Nova


AMD Nova
Craig Hopkins

What's Old Is New
Auto Metal Direct shows us what can be done with a rusty X-Body

Midwesterners are a hearty bunch and have a great propensity towards buying rusty vehicles. It’s like we never learn; by the time we’re done coughing up black clods and buying spools of welding wire, we would be dollars and time ahead if we’d just head south and find a cancer-free patient.

Thanks to these slow-learning knuckle-draggers and the friendly DOT-drivers that mercilessly salt our roadways at the slightest hint of precipitation, sheetmetal companies have enjoyed selling patch panels and full-replacement panels for decades. The quality of these reproductions has increased greatly, and there is perhaps no better source than Auto Metal Direct (AMD). To show off their stamping skills, AMD found a well-worn ’71 Nova and commissioned metal-master Craig Hopkins to reskin the car.

Elegant Simplicity

Midwesterners are a hearty bunch and have a great propensity towards buying rusty vehicles. It’s like we never learn; by the time we’re done coughing up black clods and buying spools of welding wire, we would be dollars and time ahead if we’d just head south and find a cancer-free patient.


Thanks to these slow-learning knuckle-draggers and the friendly DOT-drivers that mercilessly salt our roadways at the slightest hint of precipitation, sheetmetal companies have enjoyed selling patch panels and full-replacement panels for decades. The quality of these reproductions has increased greatly, and there is perhaps no better source than Auto Metal Direct (AMD). To show off their stamping skills, AMD found a well-worn ’71 Nova and commissioned metal-master Craig Hopkins to reskin the car.

Iron Block 6.0L LS Engine

Also doing a fair amount of talking is an iron block 6.0L LS engine. Built by Grimes Racing, it pumps out an estimated 600hp. With a GM aluminum intake and a pair of fabricated valve covers, all topped with a 14” round air cleaner, at quick glance this looks like an old small block. It’s much more than that, dressed up nice with a Concept One front accessory drive, lit with an MSD ignition system, and exhaling through a set of Muscle Rod headers leading to a Pypes system. Just below that MSD 6LS box is a DSE AC-block off panel. Auto Rad stepped up with a fresh radiator, and there’s a Keisler 5-speed under there for quintessential muscle car gear bangin’ fun.

Red Leather Interior

In stark contrast to the stunning blue exterior, the interior glows in lipstick red leather. Legend Interior in New York can be proud of the work put into this cabin, though I bet their eyes are still trying to adjust after being immersed in such bright, contrasting colors. The dashboard, and specifically gauge cluster, in ‘70s vehicles often leave something to be desired. They have neither the glitz and glam of their ‘50s brethren nor the sleek styling of later models. No, the 1971 Nova dash is an awkward exercise in plastic. Instead of hand-fabbing a one off dash, Craig and his team sawed out the stock unit and grafted in the control panel from a 1966 Nova. The end result is missed by many, but the overall appearance of the interior is improved thanks to a minimalistic design. A bold move, for sure, but it paid off in the end.

Hotchkis, Willwood, and Schott

The tough stance is brought to you by Hotchkis, Willwood and Schott. GM’s designers in the ‘60s never imagine 18” rollers on their precious economy car, but we can’t imagine it without. If this car seems familiar, you were either on the 2013 Power Tour, or you tuned in to Chop Cut Rebuild and watched this beauty come up from nothing. Having dealt with a bit of rust repair in my day, I can tell you it’s no treat. It’s a dirty job that requires a lot of patience and supplies to finish the right way. Well fitting replacement sheetmetal is a blessing for a project like this. Playing off the trials and tribulations of the build, this Nova is dubbed ‘Novacation,’ as in no vacation. Here’s to warm summer nights and salt-free roads. Long live the American muscle car.

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