If you don't fondly remember your first car, you're not a car person. Whether it was clean or cringe-worthy, polished or putrid, your first set of wheels inevitably earned a fond place in your automotive enthusiast heart. Now, if your dad's the owner of Church Boys Racing, one of the foremost Nova suspension specialists around, you admittedly have a competitive advantage on first-car quality. Matt Church drew the long straw on that front and his first ride is accordingly epic.
"We bought the car when my son was 11 with the intention of it being his first car," said Chuck Church Jr. "He's 17 now and it's his first hot rod."
The Church family found the car, a 1966 model year Nova, in Texas and it was a clean, rust-free example of the breed. It came home and sat for a bit while the younger Church got closer to driving age. However, just before SEMA 2018, the project received a revitalizing shot in the arm thanks to TMI Products.
"TMI asked if I had a second-gen Nova to use for their new interior," said Church Jr. "I said 'Yeah, I have the perfect one sitting right here!' We built the entire car around their newly released Nova interior for the show."
And suddenly the project, officially dubbed Limited Addiction, was off and running.
"The body was in good shape and the paint was OK," said Church Jr. "But, for a SEMA car, it wasn't where it needed to be. We took the paint down and straightened out the panels. We kept the body all stock, but doctored up the gaps and mini-tubbed it."
The bodywork was massaged and perfected, and Church Boys Racing painter Coty Black sprayed on a coat of PPG Limited Addiction Red paint—the namesake for the build.
The next step was replacing the original GM underpinnings with some uprated Church Boys hardware. "We put our triangulated four-link rear suspension under the car and installed a bolt-on front clip we call a 'Modular Front End,'" said Church Jr. "We were able to mount things in the positions we chose, not where GM chose, or where we were limited, based on what the stock front clip would allow us to do."
The Modular Front End is a bolt-in affair that is completely compatible with other Church Boys hardware, such as control arms and rack-and-pinion conversions. "The neat thing is if you've got a factory Nova and you want to go a little bit further, the new front end I've designed will allow you to bolt on any of our components you've already purchased."
Mounted on the new front suspension is a set of single-adjustable RideTech coilovers, and Billet Specialties 18-inch wheels with Falken RT615K 265/40R18 tires tuck neatly under the fenders. A Church Boys billet-aluminum spindle uses C7 Corvette hubs and Wilwood six-piston calipers on massive 13-inch rotors.
Out back, RideTech coilovers attach to a Moser axle that received a full-floater treatment from Miller Built USA, which uses C6 Corvette hubs and Wilwood four-piston calipers with 12-inch rotors. A Wavetrac differential and 3.30 gears help provide the go. Billet Specialties 18x11 wheels with massive Falken RT615K 315/30R18 tires tuck into the mini-tubbed fenders for maximum traction.
Motivation for the Limited Addiction Nova comes from a Pace Performance LS3 engine. With the addition of a Pace Performance cam, Holley carb-style intake manifold, and a FiTech Retro LS fuel-injection system, the engine belts out a healthy 565 horsepower on the engine dyno. Keeping all those horses cool is an Entropy aluminum radiator and dual-fan combination.
Due to the timing of the build, the FiTech Retro LS system was in its prototype iteration. The team at FiTech actually took the car to their shop and dyno-tuned it, using the project as a real-world testbed to fine-tune the system. The end result is a powerful ride with great street manners. The front of the engine is adorned with a Billet Specialties front-drive setup and the rear carries a 4L70E transmission from Abruzzi Transmissions. A B&M stick handles the shifting duties.
Inside, the Nova abounds with creature comforts and technology. The TMI interior, freshly released at SEMA 2018 is a high-end upholstery job in a box. "We used Chuck's car in conjunction with two other Novas at the 2018 SEMA Show," said TMI Marketing Director, Larry Ashley. "We had all three generations in the booth to cover the complete Nova line that we launched. The products we do are best described as a custom interior in a box. This interior can be had in any color and you can choose from our many patterns to create a unique interior that can install with simple hand tools in a weekend. That is the key; ease of installation and the product arrives at your door ready to install."
Driver information comes courtesy of a set of Dakota Digital HDX gauges and the younger Church keeps his cool with a full setup from Vintage Air.
The build was every bit the stereotypical SEMA thrash, but the Church Boys Racing team came together, as always, to make it happen. "[Matt]'s a junior in high school so amongst schoolwork and sports he was out here working right with us to get SEMA crunch done."
The finished product, a work of art dripping in gloss paint and style, is formidable dream car material and certainly culminates in one lucky, happy teenager.
Step By Step
Photos by Jorge Nunez