Chevy Rumble cover shot.

Chevy Rumble, Feb/March, 2003

"Precision Tool: This Nova Was Built To Exacting Standards."

Story & Photography by Matt Emery.

Let's face it, strict attention to detail is nothing new to builders of outrageously expensive street rods. However, it is only recently that the same strict attention to detail has been evident in those who are into building muscle cars. There are those enthusiasts who may think they take it to the extreme-but then there is LM Dove of Fallbrook, California.

Dove is in the business of manufacturing surgical equipment. When it comes to precision, there are few instances where exactness is more important than the surgical theater. After all, if a surgeon has to clamp off a vital piece of you, you want him or her to do it with something a lot more precise than a set of needle-nose pliers wrapped with rubber bands.

1962 Chevrolet Nova

When it comes to taking care of the body of a car that had been on the road since '65, Dove felt that Henry's Hot Rod Shop was the place to go. The crew at Henry's began by taking the body down to bare metal when they removed most of the stainless and chrome and smoothed out the body. They re-configured the rear wheel wells, boxed and strengthened the rear quarter panels and custom-fabricated the inner fender panels. With the addition of the Harwood cowl induction hood, the stage was set for the application of the DuPont clearcoat and Performance Red paint, which was also used in the interior.

Serious horsepower is not just a theory with Dove. He equipped his Nova with a GM Performance Parts ZZ430 crate engine. The ZZ430 is based on an iron block with four-bolt mains holding the forged steel crank in place. The engine is topped off with aluminum D-port Fast Burn cylinder heads that feature 210cc intake ports.

Providing the fuel for the 4-inch bore is the work of a Holley 770-cfm dual feed carburetor that sits astride the polished aluminum, dual plane intake manifold. Bumping the roller rockers is a hydraulic roller camshaft that has 0.539/0.558-inches of lift with 234/242 degrees of duration.

1962 Chevrolet Nova, dashboard. 1962 Chevrolet Nova, seats.

Ron Mangus has built some of the finest interiors ever and this one is no exception. Using yards of tweed and leather,
the interior also features such high-profile names as LeCarra, Vintage Air, Kenwood and Dakota Digital.


A healthy ignition system is mandatory if any thought of track running is in the future. To that end, Dove chose an MSD ignition system to power his red flier. An MSD billet distributor with the 6AL controller is a great way to say, I beat you. JLM Race Cars provided a quick exit for spent gasses with custom-built headers, which were treated to a Jet-Hot coating before connecting with the 40-series Flowmaster mufflers.

Heat has been the killer of many high-performance engines, so Dove tackled the problem with a two-pronged assault. First, a 7-quart Milodon triangulated sump combines with a GM high-flow oil pump to provide plenty of lubrication. Second, a Griffin radiator, with custom-built fan shroud and auxiliary fan, works in conjuction with the polished aluminum, High-flow water pump.

Getting the power from the engine to the back half of the Nova is ably handled by a Rick Roach-built Turbo 400 that has been equipped with a Hughs 2,800-rpm stall converter. The tranny is protected from the heat with a Flex-a-lite fluid cooler complete with its own fan.

GM ZZ430 crate motor.

Putting the muscle in this muscle car is the GM ZZ430 crate motor.
Equipped with Fast Burn aluminum heads, a roller valvetrain, 770-cfm Holley carb
and MSD ignition, this shoebox has all the power that it can use.


The thirdmember that finally made it into this Chevy actually comes from Ford. It's a custom-fabricated 9-inch housing fitted with Moser axles, a Trac-Lok and 4.11 gearing. This trick thirdmember sits within an equally trick frame that was custom-built by JLM Race Cars. Built with mild steel, the boxed chassis uses a body-channeled-over-frame design. It's equipped with a Mustang II-type suspension design that features polished stainless-steel tubular upper A-Arms, which connect to Fomoso drop spindles.

A rack-and-pinion steering system connects Dove to his car while 11-inch vented and polished Wilwood disc brakes allow him complete control. Out back, a four-link suspension design uses a track locator and Carrera coilover shocks, while drum brakes do their part to bring the car to a halt.

As suspected, Dove had all the suspension components polished, chromed or powder-coated and all fuel, brake and cooling lines are stainless steel with aircraft-type fasteners. Lastly, a custom-made and highly-polished aluminum fuel tank (with Mallory electric fuel pump) provides plenty of space for fuel.

1962 Chevrolet Nova, trunk.

Even the trunk did not escape the handiwork of Mangus.
The sculpted tweed complements the storage unit that is between the wheels tubs.
Another special storage compartment hides the battery.


Giving the Chevy the strip look, as well as the ability, are the combination of huge 29x18.5x15-inch Micky Thompson tires mounted on 15x14-inch Cragar Street Star wheels with 24x6-inch rubber.

If the engine and frame are what would be found in strip competition, then the interior is straight out of show and shine competition. Interior impresario Ron Mangus was the man who designed and stitched the tweed and taupe, red and tan leather that can be found throughout. Custom touches abound: the door panels and headliner have been sculptured and the dashboard is covered in leather.

Of course leather is nice, but a dash is supposed to be informative. Thus, a full complement of Dakota Digital gauges was installed to update Dove with all essential details. A Kenwood AM/FM compact-disc player provides the tunes, while a Vntage Air unit provides cooler temps when needed. All these electrical systems are tied together with a painless wiring kit.

JLM Race Cars frame with a four-link

Sporting plenty of Performance Red paint as well as a host of shiny parts, this Nova is
as nice beneath the body as it is on top. The attention to detail is awesome! A narrowed
9-inch housing has been modified using a 4.11-equipped Trac-Loc and a set of Moser axles.
It is hung within the JLM Race Cars frame with a four-link that features Carrera coilover shocks.
Not wanting so much as an errant bend to disrupt the flow, Dove felt that the coated exhaust pipes
should travel through the crossrails.


To keep Dove completely in charge of the high-performance Chevy, he installed a LeCarra steering wheel (on a tilt column), along with a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter with line-lock capabilities. Like most vehicles today, the trunk is adorned with the sculptured tweed design that continues throughout the shoebox interior. Separate compartments for items such as the battery and storage between tubs were also integrated.

Even for someone with Dove's exacting standards, this Nova has exceeded his wildest dreams. And this is a car that is driven hard-so much so that even though it was not thrashed in any way, it was recently refurbished and freshened by the crew at Hot Rods & Custom Stuff of Escondido, California.

It's just like Dove to know when elective surgery is needed. CR.

See more of this car.

The Shop Tour 



 Map To Shop

Contact Us 


Showroom 1

 Showroom 2

 Showroom 3

 Current Projects

 This Week At Hot Rods

 Magazine Cars

 Product Showcase

Cars & Parts For Sale 

 Hats & T-Shirts

 Just Passin' Through

Shows & Events 

 Visitor Comments

Humor Department 


Employment Opportunities 

Tech Articles

What We Do


Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, 2324 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA., 1-800-HOT-ROD-5.

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff - builds, restores, paints, services and sells parts for classic autos, cars, trucks and street rods.