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A wolf in sheep's clothing

 

The key to the name of Björn Morhin's Chevrolet Nova is the addition "Yenko Tribute". It signifies that this rather simple-looking vintage car is, in truth, a full-grown Muscle car with an understated look.

The rather simple exterior of the Chevy Nova is deceptive: A very large V8 engine rumbles under the hood.

The rather simple exterior of the Chevy Nova is deceptive: A very large V8 engine rumbles under the hood.

The Nova was not much of a head-turner when Chevrolet introduced it in the early 1960s: a fairly plain and, by US standards, compact sedan – a typical plain vanilla car. Maybe that was exactly what attracted tuner Donald Yenko: Based on a 1968 coupe from the second Nova series, he shoehorned in a new gearbox, beefed up the suspension, and installed a powerful V8 engine – creating one of the strongest Muscle cars ever – the "Nova Deuce".

Fans build their own "Yenko Tributes"
Yenko's creations are relatively unknown outside the US. Few of them are left: There are no more than ten Nova Deuces in existence. What else can a true fan do then, but build their own Nova Muscle car? That's what Björn Morhin did. The 35-year-old fell in love with US Muscle cars when he was a teenager. "I saw them in movies and TV shows," he says, "and I was amazed." In 2014, he fulfilled his dream: In the Netherlands, he bought a nearly 45-year-old Nova that originally came from California. He stripped it down and made his personal tribute to Don Yenko from it.

  • Björn Morhin with his Nova in front of the Oberbaum bridge in Berlin.]

    Björn Morhin with his Nova in front of the Oberbaum bridge in Berlin.

  • Chrome-plated hubcaps

    Perfect detailing is a must: Chrome-plated hubcaps ("Dog Dishes") underline the Nova's retro charm.

  • The powerful heart of the Nova: a Chevrolet Big Block

    The powerful heart of the Nova: a Chevrolet Big Block V8 with a displacement of 496 cubic inches (approximately 8200 cm).]

The engine was completely rebuilt by the Berlin-based engine manufacturer KMT.

The engine was completely rebuilt by the Berlin-based engine manufacturer KMT.

Cars as a profession, hobby and passion

And there were plenty of helpers around: Morhin works in the organisation's marketing and service department of Manuel Pflanze's IDENTICA body shop in Königs Wusterhausen near Berlin. Here he found both the professional equipment and the technical know-how to realise his Nova dream. In particular when it comes to the paint: At IDENTICA, Manuel Pflanze uses Spies Hecker products, including Permasolid HS Premium 5310 and HS Vario 5340 fillers, Permahyd Hi-TEC 480 basecoat, and HS Optimum plus 8550 clearcoat; the ColorDialog Phoenix measuring instrument is used for colour matching. This gave Björn Morhin's Nova its elegant finish: a paint job in Chevrolet "Shadow Gray".

Inside, Björn Morhin modified the US model: He replaced the original bench seat with two separate racing seats.

Inside, Björn Morhin modified the US model: He replaced the original bench seat with two separate racing seats.

Kitten or wild cat?

Compared with other US sports cars, the Nova looks quite unassuming; it's a wolf in sheep's clothing. This also applies to Morhin's Nova – but only to a certain extent: Because nobody really buys the sheep. With its massive 255 rear tyres, it looks more like a wild cat poised to pounce. And as soon as the completely rebuilt big-block 8.2 litre V8 begins to rumble, one would have to be very naïve to think of it as just a tame "ice-cream parlour cruiser".

 

 

Fotos: Björn Morhin, Karyn Hunt and Patrick Meinhold
Additional photos of the Chevrolet Nova: www.instagram.com/a_one57/?hl=de
IDENTICA Manuel Pflanze homepage/Instagram: www.identica-pflanze.de/de_DE.html
www.instagram.com/identica_manuelpflanze?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=15lb4a3amso8d
HKMT (engine manufacturer) Homepage: www.kmt.berlin/

 

 


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