Penchant for Chevys runs in the family

  • 1963 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova

    1963 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova Courtesy of Matt Avery Media

  • All kinds of modern electronics are found inside this classic, custom Chevy.

    All kinds of modern electronics are found inside this classic, custom Chevy.

  • A 350-cubic-inch V-8 powers this 1963 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova.

    A 350-cubic-inch V-8 powers this 1963 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova.

  • The Nova was once just an orange shell, but its been given a splendid new two-tone paint job featuring pumpkin orange.

    The Nova was once just an orange shell, but its been given a splendid new two-tone paint job featuring pumpkin orange.

 
 
Updated 1/16/2017 12:37 PM

James Pieniazek's 1963 Chevy II Nova is one wild ride but it wasn't always that way. He and his son, Vince, found it at a local sale in Park Ridge about 10 years ago.

"It was bone stock," James says. "Slowly, here and there, we've done work to it."

 

Vince has followed in his father's footsteps and is just as crazy about Chevys as his dad. "He's always been a die-hard enthusiast," Vince says. "That's all I've ever known him to have."

The only thing the two love more than driving a Chevy is restoring one. The pair overhauled a 1969 Impala in 2000. For that project, they went for a "100 percent original" final product.

The gearheads from Sugar Grove sought a different direction this time around.

James and Vince Pieniazek of Sugar Grove have completed several restoration and customization projects, all on Chevrolets.
James and Vince Pieniazek of Sugar Grove have completed several restoration and customization projects, all on Chevrolets. -

"The Nova was all about custom," Vince explains. "It was about going to the next level."

When they purchased it, the vehicle was just a faded orange shell with a blue interior. The Nova had been off the road for years and was ready for a rebuild. The first step was gutting everything out. From there, the sky was the limit.

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To give it a good foundation, Pieniazeks bolstered the frame with supports. The powertrain is a tried-and-true, 350-cubic-inch V-8, rumbling through straight headers with electronic dumps. A three-speed shifter was installed along with new disc brakes. Any wonky body panels were straightened before a striking two-tone coat of pumpkin orange and silver paint was applied.

The Nova's two-tone paint is complemented by pinstriping.
The Nova's two-tone paint is complemented by pinstriping. -

Custom exterior touches include hand pinstriping and sizzling airbrushed flame accents. The classic's cabin also packs some over-the-top features. A metal body-color-matching console was installed along with gray and silver upholstery. A digital dash and navigation system bring a touch of modern tech to this retro ride.

While the cool coupe packs plenty of show, there's a healthy dose of go, too.

"The engine is loud and shakes the ground," Vince says. The father-son team finished the project last October. They enjoy cruising all over the suburbs, which is a cherished family tradition.

"My mom passed recently but she and dad did shows weekly," Vince says. "It's what he loves to do. Now we share those trips together."

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com.

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