Volume I, Issue 3, Page 55

Shop Car: What's Old is (Almost) New Again

Hard approaching middle-age, Pete Colasanto fondly remembers: "When I was 10, a guy named Danny DiLorenzo rented a garage across the street from our house. He had a 1960 C/Gas Corvette that had an I-beam axle and a 327 with Enderle fuel injection, a Muncie 4-speed, an Olds rear with 4.88's, wheelie bars, Mickey Thompson mags and M&H Racemaster slicks. I spent every Saturday and Sunday in that garage helping him get the car ready for the track."

side view of NovaAll this stuff is classic old school now, but it was the epitome of a savvy Gasser’s repertoire 38 years ago.

On Sundays DiLorenzo flat-towed that old car behind his '65 El Camino out to Westhampton (NY) and little Pete rode in the Elky’s bed, mesmerized by the bobbing Moon tank and the injector stacks popping out of the hood. Concurrently, big brother Jack had a '63 4-speed Impala SS with dual-quads. Pete gave up five precious bucks for Friday night gas so Jack would take him along to the Burger King on Hempstead Turnpike, the hot rod hang out, and watch some street racing. That’s how it began. That’s how it will likely end.

Since that auspicious summer, Pete’s owned 442's, Z28's, Corvettes and SS Chevelles (one of them he's had for 21 years), but he was always captivated and urged  by the smooth, compact lines of the '69 Nova SS. Ten years ago, he got the razor-straight example you see here as a roller from a friendwho'd stuffed a 502 in it.

inside the engine block"The body was in mint condition and it had the original 12-bolt intact. I had a Corvette LT-1 motor in my garage," said Pete. From then on it was an exercise that's been repeated countless times, a recipe for the quintessential Chevy hot rod: small-block motor in a lightweight body. He didnít go after the killer combo and he wasn't interested in emulating the trick of the week. He built it like it would have been done back in the day.

Nor would he cotton to any skank automatic. His ethic is driving with both hands. His road blasting is confined to Long Island immediate, so there really isn't any need for freeway gears, or overdrive, for that matter. He converted the car to hand-shift and centered the swap on a Super T-10 gearbox, pretty much like it would have been done in the day.