images provided by: Casey Porter/Combustion Chamber and Amber Nova
Over the last three years, we’ve been working with Casey Porter and his YouTube reality show, Combustion Chamber. It’s a channel that spotlights interesting cars, while allowing their owners to get in front of the camera to tell their story. We’ve featured several of their stories here in the past, but not one quite like this.
Today’s episode focuses on a ’73 Nova, owned by a young lady that goes by the name of Amber Nova. Hailing from Orlando, Florida, Amber’s journey is a rather unique one. First, she grew up in Jersey with her old school, ’69 Nova-loving dad who showed her way around an engine bay on his own cars. Then, she moved around to a few different states until ultimately ending up in Florida — where she works as a professional wrestler for the WWE and Impact Wrestling.
Having said that, there’s more to Amber’s history with Novas that extends far beyond her dad’s fondness for them, in fact, this isn’t even the first example that she’s owned. Going back about a decade or so, Amber’s affection for Chevy’s smaller muscle car begins with her first foray in Nova ownership. When she about 17 years old, she found a ’73 Nova on Craigslist that she just had to have. Sadly, it was a 4-door with a 6-shooter engine, and it left a lot to be desired.
But hey, she was a high-school kid and wanted to ride around with her friends — pretty normal, right? Then, life and fate had happened, and Amber relocated to Florida and earned a gig wrestling for the WWE. One day, while she was training at her dojo, a film crew came in and told her that they were shooting a reality show. The premise, was that a journalist would interview her, follow her around and get to know more about her routine. Amber felt something was odd about the whole situation, and she realized the “journalist” wasn’t exactly who she said she was.
As it turned out, they crew was filming an episode of Celebrity Undercover Boss, and said “journalist” was actually WWE’s Stephanie McMahon. Later, in an unaired segment of the show, Stephanie awarded Amber with $10,000 to buy the Nova of her dreams. The 4-door Nova that had served Amber as a daily-driver for nearly 10 years at that point, was put up for sale and Amber scooped up the car you see here.
However, not all was well in Millsville, or with the sheetmetal — as much of it needed a severe updating or replacement. It was an overall solid car, but to put it simply, it needed work. The car was a bit too slow, and the paint was filled with orange peel. There was a lot of body filler too, and Amber felt that the Nova deserved more.
With the majority of the work falling into her dad’s lap (hey, she’s being honest), the entire car was repainted, some sheetmetal was replaced and the engine was bored .030 over to a full 355 cubic-inches. A Holley Street Dominator intake manifold, an Edelbrock carb and a Competition Cams bumpstick were all slid into place. A Hurst shifter was attached to the manual, 4-speed transmission and the general maintenance and upkeep all come back to Amber. The car continues to serve as her sole mode of transportation, and her daily driver.
These days, she’s widely known as “Nova Girl,” or the “girl with the Nova,” and she’s perfectly OK with that. She’s so passionate about her car that she incorporated it into her stage name. What, you didn’t think that was her real last name, did you?
Future plans? With Amber’s limited time and budget the car will remain pretty much as-is for the foreseeable future, although Amber would like to reserve the car for more special occasions. You can often catch her at the local car shows and cruise-ins in the Orlando area, and she loves the feeling she gets from behind the wheel of this old-school muscle car. It may not be the most desirable model year of Nova, nor the fastest out there, but Amber enjoys it all the same — and that’s what truly matters.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of AutoCentric Media, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.