Volume III, Issue 8, Page 38
Words and Photos
By Ro McGonegal

Used to be, old “vintage” race cars got stripped and left out in a field, cogitating their ultimate return to the earth. These days, that kind of iron, especially those from the mid-’60s and early ‘70s, is too scarce, too valuable to be left to rot or sit forlornly in somebody’s leaky, drafty shed under a pile of feral chickens.

“I’ve always built cars that run on the street,” opined Brooksville, Florida’s Vinnie Morrell. “I started out with a V8 Monza when I was 16 and that got me rep for doing stuff that was out of the ordinary. Then I stepped back for a while with a Camaro that I built as a Pro Street car. I’ve always liked that look.

“I’ve got about six years in this Nova and have been driving it for three.” Yes, driving it, as in street legal. Florida tried to enforce vehicle safety and emissions inspections a few years back, but has thankfully since rescinded all that. Hell, you could drop a flathead in a new Caddy and nobody would even blink. It’s a hot car paradise now. Though the Nova could be a hard-core racer, it has never been to the drag strip.

“It had a small-block but there were issues with it [read: not big enough]. I wanted a Rat and while the engine bay was empty, I had Ed Willey at Willey Paint & Body (Brooksville) close up more than 80 holes in the firewall, one of which was a huge indent behind the distributor. I guess the guy who owned it did that so he would be able to tweak the distributor while he was still inside. It had to go. Besides the firewall facelift, Ed sandblasted all the wheel wells, fabbed the 6-inch cowl hood, and sprayed the Hugger Orange paint. The wheel tubs were already in the car when I bought it.”