Winterset natives Bob and Jeanie Stephens lived in Forest City for a short time after they married in 1984. While living there, Bob spotted a red 1970 Chevy Nova SS turning a corner. He announced to Jeanie he wanted that car. Shortly thereafter he found out the car was for sale and purchased it for $2,400.
Bob has loved cars since he was a kid. He was raised on a farm and learned from Chilton Repair Manuals to repair engines and do automotive work. He worked in an auto parts store for 21 years and learned a lot there as well. So working on his car has been a hobby and passion for him. Fortunately for Bob, Jeanie shares his love for cars.
For about a year after they purchased it, Jeanie used the car for her daily driver. Then Bob started using it for drag racing. He changed the front end to fiber glass and added nitrous oxide for speed. The faster he went the more safety equipment was needed, so a roll cage was added.
Bob and Jeanie are charter members of the Central Iowa Auto Club. They spend their time driving their car to car shows.
“I want a car I can drive,” Bob says. “So we drive it, get it dirty, and clean it up.” A few years ago Bob removed the nitrous oxide and replaced it with a blower with Jeanie’s approval.
“It’s the Holy Grail to hot rodders and makes the engine think it’s bigger than it is. Nitrous oxide makes a car fast when the driver wants to be faster. A blower makes the car fast all the time,” he says. Bob enjoys taking passengers out for a fast spin.
Through the years the car has had four engines.
“Jeanie blew up one of them,” he says laughing. He laughs because she did it and not him. He removed the roll cage since he no longer drag races, and last year he rebuilt the blower himself.
The non-profit car club they participate in does many things in the off-season.
“We help needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And the club also grants a scholarship to a student wishing to further their education in automotive,” he says.
Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of What’s In Your Garage?