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Super Custom Chevy Nova

This is a discussion on Super Custom Chevy Nova within the Stereo and Electronics forums, part of the General Help category; Chad Weeden has always loved the idea of Super-sizing a car stereo system. When he was 16, his intense passion ...

  1. #1
    Blown, Stroked, & Sprayed

    Ed Blown Vert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    San Diego, Ca

    383 Procharged & N20 Vert

    Exclamation Super Custom Chevy Nova

    Chad Weeden has always loved the idea of Super-sizing a car stereo system. When he was 16, his intense passion for the mobile electronics industry landed him a job at California Auto Stereo in Turlock, CA. Six years after starting as an installer, Weeden had the opportunity to purchase the store and did just that in December 2001.

    As a shop owner, Weeden concentrated on making sure that all store operations were running properly, but he dreamed of building a demo vehicle to promote his business. Then an opportunity came about when Arc Audio asked him to take on construction of a demo vehicle for the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Excited with the opportunity presented to him, Weeden decided to use a 1966 Chevy Nova that he already had. Actually his first vehicle, he had purchased the Nova in January 1995 for approximately $6,500. Needless to say the current version bears little to no resemblance to the original.

    Upgraded Interior
    The interior required a labor-intensive transformation. So starting from the dash to the rear parcel shelf it was completely reconstructed. Weeden had an extra '66 Nova dash in the shop and used that to start. "I just had it sitting there. It came in handy," he states. All of the sculpting and fiberglass was kept free from the Dynamat Extreme and Line X damping material that was already applied to the vehicle. In the center of the new dash are gauges by Auto Meter, displaying all of the vehicle's vitals. Underneath is an Eclipse AV8533 fully motorized multi-source receiver. The 7-inch touchscreen receiver is mounted up in the front console just above the shifter. Below the receiver are the shifter and an Arc Audio DXE. This piece acts as the preamplifier, line driver, equalizer, crossover and processing. The main controller is installed in the console between the front seats. Here, Weeden can make any adjustments on the fly. From crossover points to equalizer settings to different processing modes, it is all at his fingertips. The brain to the DXE is neatly tucked away in the rear portion of the console by the subwoofer enclosure.

    For entertainment, an Xbox game console was added to the system. The Xbox was completely dissected and the remaining parts, such as the controller ports, power/ejection buttons and disc drive, were installed in various parts of the dash and console. All of the cables were lengthened to accommodate the new locations of the various parts. Moving further back, you will find an Eclipse DV3101 DIN-sized DVD player flushed into the console between the seats. Below it is an Eclipse VM7211 7-inch monitor molded into the console for the rear passengers. From there, the console flows into the rear deck.

    Rainbow mids and highs were used throughout the vehicle. Two 6-1/2" component sets make up the front stage. One set of CS 265.28PLAT resides in the door and the other set occupies the kick panels. The door speakers are mounted in hand-fabricated housing designed to match the exterior graphics. The kick panel speakers were also hand fabricated with special attention on aiming the speakers properly. Although time consuming, this was necessary to achieve the best possible sound quality. In the rear, the B-pillar has a set of Rainbow SLC 220.02 XP 8" component speakers installed. To make the surround sound on wheels complete, Rainbow CS 210 4" and tweeter component set are used for the center channel. Mounted on a wooden board (painted to match the exterior color of the vehicle), the component set is mounted in the factory center location of the dash. The passive crossovers equipped in the package ensure the proper frequencies are played through the appropriate speaker.

    A trio of Arc Audio 10D2 10" subwoofers is used to fill the vehicle with low frequencies. All three subwoofers are installed into a 3 ft3 enclosure constructed from MDF, fiberglass, mold fabric and body filler. Together, these materials and manual labor provide the clean finish. The enclosure was bolted down underneath the rear deck. This meant that most of the rear deck had to be removed along with the cross brace for the rear seats.

    All new panels involving stereo equipment were finished in marbleized paint. This painstaking process involved three people and several different steps. Aside from the base coat and clear coat, there was pin striping, airbrushing and sponge work involved.

    Trunk Compartment
    The trunk compartment is comprised mostly of the five Arc Audio amplifiers. There are two 4150XXK's, two 2100XXK's and one 4000XXK. The largest amplifier of the five powers the three subwoofers, giving them approximately 2,500 watts. The 4150XXK's handle the components in the doors, kick panels and B-pillars, while the two 2100XXK's feed the center channel and speakers in the trunk lid. Total system wattage is about 3,500 watts at 2 ohms. The MDF panels align the amplifiers in the proper positions. You'll also notice that the amplifier casings, which come black from the factory, are painted orange to match the exterior color.

    On the trunk lid is another Rainbow 8" component set and two more Eclipse 7-inch monitors. Making a mold of the original lid and then adding the artistic flair using fiberglass and body filler started the trunk lid. Once the installers were satisfied with the look, the components and monitors were molded into position. The housings for the monitors were removed for a flush and tight fit. Weeden explains that the monitors in the rear of the vehicle are important, especially when attending events. "When there is not much going on, a movie or a good game passes the time quickly," explains Weeden. Etched glass featuring the California Auto Stereo logo also appears on the trunk lid informing all the prying eyes where the installation was performed.

    Video switching for all the monitors is done via the Eclipse AV8533 receiver up front. On either side of the amplifier rack is a Stinger Expert Series SXCAP1.2M capacitor and Stinger Expert Series Distribution Blocks. Each capacitor (featuring digital volt meters) and fuse block is integrated seamlessly into the amplifier rack.

    Also contained in the trunk area are four Stinger SP1000 batteries. A pair of batteries rests on each side of the trunk for better weight distribution. To further supplement the electrical power of the vehicle, the alternator was rewound to 150 amps and chrome plated. An external 300-amp peak power supply plugs into the system and is used at events.

    Protecting the vehicle is an AutoPage RF-850 alarm system. Aside form the basic protection features, the alarm also helps "pop" the front doors, out the system in valet mode and remote starts the vehicle for the days Weeden just wants to get in and go!

    Additional Custom Elements
    Not only did this muscle car receive audio upgrades, but exterior, engine and suspension upgrades as well. The vehicle was shaved of all its chrome and door handles. The rear was cut and tubbed out with new frame rails and paneling. This process required a custom-fabricated fuel cell. The firewall was also cut out and shaved. AIR Ride Tech Shockwaves all around with 13" Wilwood brakes. Chrome 17" Billet Specialties Talladega's finish off the exterior. The whole vehicle is painted top to bottom in DuPont Pearl Silver and Du Pont Competition Orange. Many parts received the same marble treatment as the audio panels inside.This longtime muscle car is no slouch, receiving write-ups in several publications, appearing at many events and winning several awards.

    Shout Outs:
    Weeden wants to raise his glass in appreciation to those who have made the project come to life: Brad Byers, responsible for the metal shaping and fabricating; Raul Gois, his installation partner in crime at California Auto Stereo; Eclipse, Stinger and most notably ARC Audio for all of their contributions. Other thanks go to Leon Auto Upholstery, Line X, Alex Santiago, Ray Bailey, Dave Duke, Warren Stone and Rob Neace. Finally a big thanks goes to his mom, Kathy Weeden, for all the moral support and food she provided during the project.

    ShopVehicle: 1966 Chevy Nova
    Owner: Chad Weeden
    Shop: California Auto Stereo Turlock, CA
    Installers:Raul Gois
    Chad Weeden


  2. #2
    She Moderator KahanaReef's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    So Cal

    Arctic White
    2000 Camaro Z28

    Needless to say the current version bears little to no resemblance to the original
    That is an understatement to say the least. While I understand that a lot of time and ingenuity went into this project, I have to say that I think he ruined a perfectly good 66 Nova

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