Open the hood, peer through an open door or pop open the decklid on a well-restored muscle car and you’ll be met with plenty of detail. Some of it has to do with correct hardware, along with appropriate component finishes for various bits and pieces, but having the right decals and the right paperwork for (and on) your car actually goes a long way toward making the restoration complete.Our case in point is this Nova. With this particular car, it doesn’t have to be perfectly correct (and it likely won’t be either), but we still want it to look good. As a result, we researched what was out there. To be honest, there’s a wee bit of a maze of pieces available, so we picked up the phone and asked Classic Industries for help. What follows is a basic compilation of the considerable items they have available, and this is just for a 1969 Nova – other Chevys in their parts arsenal are equally well represented. Some of the pieces are common. Others aren’t.
Starting with the engine compartment, many muscle car-era GM products in general and Chevrolets in particular need an emission control or tune-up decal. They’re typically seen on the radiator support. For most V-8 Chevys, an engine displacement decal was used along with a matching horsepower decal for the air cleaner lid. Underneath the air cleaner lid, you’ll often discover maintenance information. On stock big blocks, there’s a Tonawanda Team decal located on the passenger-side valve cover. Most cars also had a coolant info decal. When delivered, there was usually an ID tag for the power brake booster and often a tag on the master cylinder bail wires. Finally, there’s usually an inspection sticker for the steering box.
Inside the car, there’s sometimes a tire pressure label on the glove box door. When delivered to the owner as a new car, a paper sleeve was often used on the ignition switch or on the sunvisor. Open the glove box and you’ll find the owner’s manual in a plastic bag, along with the warranty card and most often, the PDI sheet. Some GM cars had a “Mark of Excellence” decal on the door jamb area.
Inside the luggage compartment (at least on a Chevy), you’ll find a Positraction warning label along with jacking instructions. Under the car, you’ll find decals on each disc brake shield, along with tags on both coil springs and leaf springs that were placed there when the car was built.
Today, plenty of vintage sales and service information is readily available. Included in the mix are reproduction sales brochures, base and optional equipment price lists, accessory price lists, Assembly Instruction Manuals (AIM), service manuals, overhaul manuals and body manuals. Vintage aftermarket manuals, such as those published by Chilton’s and by Haynes, are readily available too. Full color wiring diagrams and even reproduction window stickers can also be found.
In the end, you can see there’s plenty of printed detail-oriented bits and pieces available. Given the different makes and models of cars manufactured during the muscle car era, we’ve barely scratched the surface. If you do a bit of digging, you can find just about every decal and printed piece of paper made for a vintage muscle car. It might not exactly meet the definition of “decal-o-mania,” but for our world of muscle cars, it comes pretty darn close. It’ll give you that visual extra to make it well worth the experience.