Ryan Butler Had a Mental Picture of a Menacing 1964 Chevy II, and He Didn’t Stop Until He Brought it to Life
Have you ever had a vision for a car just strike you? Ryan Butler knew exactly what he would do with his 1964 Chevy II – even before he owned it!
“I drove my bagged ’01 Chevy truck to my friend Jarred’s shop, Carroll’s Rods and Customs in Baton Rouge, to have some work done and saw this ’64 Nova sitting in the shop,” Ryan explained. “I’ve never owned a Nova, or a classic muscle car for that matter, but when I saw the Nova sitting there, I knew exactly what modifications I would do to it and how it would look. I asked if it was for sale right then.”
Initially the owner declined, but about a month later the mostly stock ’64 Chevy was Ryan’s – and the modifications began in earnest. Ryan also began chronicling the car’s changes on a dedicated Instagram page, @64_novacane.
Ryan knew he wanted the car to have meaty rear tires, a ground-scraping stance and plenty of horsepower on tap. With those parameters in mind, Jarred and his team set about tubbing and back-halving the chassis while building a custom front stub to secure tubular A-arms, a rack and pinion, and a set of CPP disc brakes. To get even closer to the ground, a complete AccuAir system was put in place to reach the dropped stance of Ryan’s vision.
Under the hood, a rebuilt 6.0-liter LS engine is paired with a 4L60E transmission creating plenty of useable power with a comfortable cruising rpm for the road, even with the 3.73:1 gears. The engine was treated to headers, coil covers, and a hand-formed engine cover that matches the surrounding panels built by Carroll’s. The metalwork and custom touches carry over to the body, including a custom rear spoiler and front splitter.
There was never a question in Ryan’s mind about the color of the Nova – he knew it would be sinister black even before he owned the car. Once Carroll’s was done with the metal fab work, the body was handed over to Adam Calais of Calais Customs to be massaged, smoothed, and sprayed in PPG Jet Black finish. The black treatment carries over to the trim, bezels, bumpers and the maybe not-quite-legal tint on the windows. Even the 20- and 22-inch Ravetti wheels were blacked out thanks to Signature Rides of Baton Rouge.
The interior also got the full custom treatment, including instrumentation by Dakota Digital, Vintage Air and a tilt column. Custom seats and door panels were crafted by Upholstery Limited while a custom console that houses A/C vents, cup holders, AccuAir controls, and a stereo head unit were built by Sully Stitches. The Sully team also worked their magic in the trunk with custom panels to house a pair of Optima red top batteries that power a pair of 2-DD amps and twin SL10-DD speakers adding serious bass to the four 6.5s and set of tweeters inside. In short, the audio system, done by nearby Onsite Audio, sounds just as good as the Black Widow exhaust note!
The NovaCane 1964 Chevy II made its debut at the 29th Summit Racing Lone Star Nationals thanks to several late-night thrash sessions from everyone involved. Those extra hours paid off as the Chevy II caught the eyes of the Fuel Curve editorial team, garnering its first award at its very first show! Ryan had a vision before he even owned the car and was able to bring it to life thanks to the help of friends and talented build partners. Next up is a square body truck project, which we hope to see later this season.
Photos by John Jackson