Mick Bodigon A pair of 1966 Chevrolet Novas His goal was to construct the biggest, baddest street-legal hot rod around
Mick Bodigon doesn’t golf.
He doesn’t fish.
He doesn’t hunt.
What Bodigon does is cars. And he does cars well.
Back in 1974, Bodigon bought a 1966 Chevrolet Nova SS. It was his everyday car before he fixed it up and began racing it. The 350 small block engine generating about 500 horsepower was fun for the better part of three decades.
But in the early-2000s, Bodigon got the itch.
“I wanted to go faster.”
Bodigon has always loved the look of the mid-’60s Nova, with the ’66 and ’67 having a distinct sharp-edged body style. Instead of extensively adapting his existing Nova, Bodigon decided to purchase another one.
In 2004, he bought the shell of another 1966 Chevy Nova SS and got to work.
From the outset, the goal was to construct the biggest, baddest, most-powerful street-legal hot rod around.
An entire tube chassis was constructed, with the rear body and quarter panels attached to the frame. From there, Bodigon did the rest. From mounting the doors to the wiring to the carpeting to the plumbing, it was a two-year effort wrapped in a labor of love.
The capper is what is under – or rather protruding from the top of – the hood. A 565 Chevrolet big block engine with a 14-71 blower and electronic fuel injection. Depending on the blower’s boost, the powerplant, custom built by Bodigon himself, can generate between 1,000 and 1,400 horsepower.
In comparison, the current engines that power Indy cars that compete at the Indianapolis 500 generate between 550 and 700 horsepower.
For non-gearheads, what does this amount of power mean?
Bodigon’s Chevrolet Nova hot rod can go from 0 to 60 mph in 1.2 seconds.
In a tad less than eight seconds (7.9 to be exact), Bodigon’s beast can go from a dead stop to over 170 mph. His Nova is also the first street-driven car in Fort Wayne to run in the 7s in the quarter mile.
“It’s just a big, overgrown play toy,” Bodigon said. “That’s all hot rods are.”
The 60-year-old Bodigon, father of three grown children with his wife, Judy, carves out plenty of time to play with his toy. He takes it out nearly every weekend during the warm-weather months, hitting up an occasional show and race on a strip, including Muncie Dragway.
No matter where or how far he goes, reaction is the same. Waves and nods of recognition and respect come from all angles.
“This thing stands out like a sore thumb,” said Bodigon, pointing out the obvious.
Since 2006, Bodigon’s Nova has been considered by many to be the fastest street car in Fort Wayne. He doesn’t street race, but it’s pretty obvious off the line that the 3,200-pound hot rod does not have many equals.
What makes it so fast?
“The whole combination of horsepower, weight and putting it to the ground,” Bodigon said. “It is fairly light, about 3,200 pounds with me in it.”
Mick has put about 9,000 miles on the Nova since its construction.
Ever the guy looking for the next project, Bodigon has another one lined up. In his garage he has a ’55 Chevrolet Bel Air shell awaiting restoration. His plan is to custom-build it as a bridge between his original Nova and the Nova hot rod.
“The ’55 Chevy will not be quite so radical,” Bodigon said. “It will be a big block with nitrous.”
It will surely be a multi-year project to perfect the Chevrolet, but he already has plenty to keep him entertained on the roads.
And others as well.