My uncle Denny was quite a character. He was probably the toughest guy in the neighborhood where I grew up in Chicago. Everybody knew who he was, though he could hardly remember anyone himself. He was outspoken, and always stood up for what he believed- even when it was wrong- which it usually was. But when he bought that 1969 Nova, that was the best choice he ever made!
He was a tow-truck driver at the time, working for an ambulance chaser outfit on the North-side. I was playing in a band, and he came along with me one night to band practice.
The bass player had this ’69 Nova sitting in his garage as long as I knew him. I never saw the car run, and never thought much of it. It was all taken apart- every nut and bolt. We literally had to step over it as we tiptoed into the studio.
Well, when Uncle Denny saw it, he was floored. I remember him asking question after question about it…
What’s wrong with it? Blown engine.
How much? $800
Will you take payments? Yes, but you’ll have to pay it in full before you take it.
Is everything here? Yes. Find an engine for it and you’ll have a car.
Well, Denny bought it, even though he had never replaced an engine in his life. He towed it into the shop where he worked and it sat there for a month or two.
One day he found a running 1969 Impala with a 307! That was the motor he was looking for. He bought it for just a few hundred dollars, and within just a few days had the mechanics at the towing company help him put it in.
In just a few short days, he had a 1969 Nova that ran great and looked like a show-car. And all he had invested was about $1500.
He would cruise it up and down the neighborhood every day. He was so proud. I was too. I would drive it once in a while too. It was the coolest car ever.
I was only 18 at the time, but when I drove that car I felt like a million bucks. I wish I had it today!
Note: This picture is not the actual car. Uncle Denny’s car was blue. But it was just as nice.
Ken Skaggs is a 30-year veteran trucker and safety professional, who has always been a writer, and an entrepreneur at heart. Since 2000, he’s had 150+ articles published by Ten-Four Magazine, Careers in Gear, Driver Story Magazine, and dozens of websites.