‘Innovator’ Nova

Aug 2, 2011

When Clover, S.C.’s Alex Covington envisioned his dream ride, it was a 1967 Nova he could use as a daily driver.

His vision quickly changed, however, after he selected the Roadster Shop’s Jeremy and Phil Gerber to execute the build. The Gerber’s vision for the Nova was a high-tech, low-slung, futuristic street machine combining an American classic with cutting-edge innovation and masterful build quality.

Soon after, project “Innovator” began.

Covington’s faith in the Roadster Shop’s ability to deliver a top-quality car was rewarded when “Innovator” won the Goodguys 2011 Optima Batteries Street Machine of the Year award at the Goodguys 14th PPG Nationals presented by Bridgestone in Columbus, Ohio.

When Chevrolet’s Clare MacKichan designed the world’s first Nova concept in 1961 he was quoted as saying, “There was no time for experimentation or doodling around with new ideas from either the engineers or from us in design. It had to be a basic-type car.”

One can only imagine the sheer pleasure he’d get from seeing what the Roadster Shop pulled off with his production model.

Every panel on Covington’s Nova has been reworked and redesigned. The top was chopped 3/4-inch, the fenders were reshaped and sloped, new body lines and wheel well openings were made and a new rocker panel profile continues around the entire vehicle.

The headlights and grille assembly are completely redesigned and hand-fabricated, as are the taillight bezels. The PPG white is complemented by custom satin accents of charcoal, sliver and bright yellow.

Power is generated via a 700-hp GM LSX in a completely handmade engine bay with machined panels and custom intake. Inside the cabin is a handmade dash and console assembly, full roll cage and race buckets covered in black and white leather. Illuminated headliner and floor inserts are as futuristic as it gets.

“Innovator” rides on a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis with a 3-link rear suspension and Watts linkage. Afco remote reservoir shocks cushion the ride. Giant Baer brakes provide extreme stopping power on-track or on the street. Eric Brockmeyer designed the custom center-lug 7-spoke wheels.

The car’s maiden voyage came during the Street Machine of the Year AutoCross competition. Having never been driven on pavement, tension was high in the Roadster Shop camp, but anxiety quickly turned to confidence when Innovator streaked to a 35.3-second lap time. It would hold up as the fastest lap in the entire competition.

The top five finalists for the Goodguys 2011 Optima Batteries Street machine included Joe Brown, Lafayette, La., (1967 Mustang); Covington, Clover, S.C., (1967 Nova); Gerry Kerna, Cranberry Township, Pa., (1962 Chevy II); Matt Lazich, Austin, Texas, (1969 Mustang); and Alex Stoner, Scottsdale, Ariz., (1970 Mustang).

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