BATH TOWNSHIP – When you’re young and newly married, there are sacrifices you find yourself making.
Forty-eight years ago, newlyweds Dan Fifer and Sue Goedde of Bath Township had to sell Sue’s 1970 Chevrolet Nova. He was in the Air Force and deployed to the island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. She was going with him.
“We hated to sell it,” Dan recalled. “It was dark blue, just a beautiful car.”
Today, a 1972 Nova SS has found a home in Dan and Sue’s garage, replacing the car of their youth. And there is one thing the 68-year-old man will assure you: He will never sell it. The car has too much sentimental value.
Not only are there the ties to Sue’s car, but it was a dream of Dan’s to one day restore a car. The renovation of the ‘72 Nova was done with the guidance of a dear friend, Russ Reesor, who passed away a year ago.
“Russ was a good guy,” Fifer said. “He would do anything in the world for anybody. He’d drop everything he’s doing just to help people out. That’s the kind of guy he was. We coached sports together and everything else, and my kids think of him as a second dad.”
Fifer came across the Nova in Lafayette in 1999.
“Some kid owned it,” Fifer recalled. “It was turquoise green … really ugly, and that’s being kind.”
What happened next was a car guy’s Cinderella story. The heap Fifer purchased was transformed back into a proud ‘72 Nova.
“I always wanted to restore a car, but I didn’t really know how to do it. Russ restored quite a few cars. We did everything in his garage,” Fifer said.
And “everything” means “everything.”
For the next year and a half, Fifer and Reesor worked on the car. They took it down to a shell. Everything, from new quarter panels and a vinyl roof to upholstery and a paint job, was done in Reesor’s garage.
Today, Fifer’s 1972 Nova sports a torch red paint job that is set off by a black stripe and a black vinyl top. If the car’s color doesn’t turn your head, what’s under the hood will. An automatic 350-horsepower engine includes a 383 Stroker motor.
“It will get your attention. It’s kinda loud,” Fifer said.
The first car show he took it to was the Pork Rind Festival in Harrod. He brought home a trophy that day.
“I have quite a few trophies now,” he said.
He’s careful where he takes the car.
“Every once in a while I’ll take the grandkids for a ride. But during the winter, it stays in the garage on jackstands until it’s time for the car shows,” Fifer said.