Like myself, Kevin Merriam has always been engaged in hot rod culture, primarily through his father. For many years, they would go to shows and swap meets together throughout Canada and the U.S. gathering parts
and ideas. Unlike myself, Kevin has built a hot rod. In fact the car you see on these pages is Kevin’s first ever build, and literally started from the ground up.
Kevin first noticed the ’67 Nova in the door yard of a gentleman whose house was on a side-road Kevin would take for business trips, or to visit his grandmother, in Glace Bay. Every month for several years, Kevin would stop in and ask the owner if the car was for sale, and every month
he would leave empty handed. The car was definitely on the other side of rough, having survived a garage fire that bubbled the paint and warped the panels on the driver’s side. Regardless, the owner had plans of rebuilding the car and did not seem ready to sell. However on one trip the two made a gentleman’s agreement that he would give Kevin first right of refusal if he ever decided to sell the car.
Finally in 2007, after purchasing a boat, the owner called Kevin on a Tuesday and gave him until the weekend to come and get the car, or else he might change his mind. Kevin and his dad borrowed a flat bed trailer and made their way to Glace Bay to pick up the car and bring it back
to Kevin’s garage in Lower Onslow, NS.
Although disassembly started almost immediately, the car would not be finished until Spring 2021. Kevin decided that he was going to do as much of the work that he could himself, and take as much time as it would take to do it right. His first step was to place he car on his friend Noel
Gratto’s rotisserie and break the car down completely. Kevin’s build relied on his father’s expertise, tutorials that he found on-line, as well as a laundry list of friends, many of whom he met while hunting for parts for
Almost every panel on the car has received some level of replacement/modification at Kevin’s hands. The trunk, one door, and front quarters are original, but everything else was either replaced, or worked on extensively, to arrive at a completely rust free, and straight
starting point for the build. Subtle modifications include deleting the drip rails from the A-pillar, deleting the sail panel molding and blending the roof into the rear quarter panels, and adding a 2” cowl hood. Once Kevin had reached his limits, he took the body to Tim Dart for final bodywork and straightening, and then to Kirby Patton for final blocking and paint.
One of the most interesting parts of Kevin’s story is that he had picked out a colour for his car, long before he even had a car to paint… In the early 2000’s Kevin fell in love with Lamborghini’s “Arancio Atlas” orange paint that they used on Lamborghini Murcielagos. On one of Kevin’s part hunting excursions, he found a new rad support at the Carlisle, PA swap meet and car show. It was this piece that received the first coat of colour as Kevin told himself once something was painted in his colour of choice, there was no going back. At the time, much of he car was still in pieces on the garage floor, but the colour had been chosen, and the rad support was the carrot to get the build completed.
Once the body was complete, Kevin began the process of rebuilding the drive-train. He added a TCI (Total Cost Involved) Mustang II front clip with rack and pinion steering to the front and TCI 4-link Coil-Over suspension to the rear. They were connected via subframe connectors to increase the car’s handling and reduce twisting. The stance of he car is courtesy of the 4-link and a pair of 2” drop spindles in he front that also have drilled
and slotted disc brakes. The rear end is from a ’66 Nova L79 8.875” 12 bolt posi with 4:11 gears and drum brakes. The car rolls on Cooper RS-1 rubber wrapped around 17” Foose “Knuckle” rims.
The original 327 was replaced with a 383 stroker that produces ~400HP and 425 ft/lbs of torque, built by R&D Performance (Lower Onslow, NS). Power from the stroker is fed to the rear tires through a TH350 with 2800
stall converter and B&M Stage II shift kit. Fuel is fed from a Carter electric fuel pump through Russell fuel lines and fittings into an Edelbrock 750 cfm carb. The engine is also dressed with Billet pulleys, chrome 100 AMP alternator, 4-core aluminum rad, High Flow “Low Boy” Flex-ALite
electric fan, and long tube Hedman headers that connect to a custom 3” stainless exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers. The wiring harness was replaced with a Complete American Autowire Electrical system.
The interior also includes a number of subtle, but truly custom touches. The front buckets and rear bench seat are covered in black leather with orange piping that matches the exterior paint. The custom door panels, rear panels and package tray also have subtle, orange highlights. The console is custom built and includes a Lokar Hand Brake, B&M Quicksilver shifter, and JVC 6.5” touch screen stereo powered by a Bazooka Amp and Sub-woofer hidden in a custom, faux “NOS” bottle. Sound comes through custom mounted JVC speakers in the front kick
panels and rear package tray. The dash houses a custom gauge bezel filled with Autometer gauges, along with a chrome, tilt Ididit steering column and Grant “Club Sport” steering wheel.
Kevin admits now that the car is done, it’s a little bittersweet. He feels he’ll miss the quest for finding the missing parts, the friendships that stem from meeting folks that have those parts, and the hours spent in the garage massaging those parts into his vision of his hot rod. That
being said, he can’t wait to show his car off and talk to anyone that’s willing to hear the story of his 14 year build. He also admits that this may not be his last...