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Dave Killackey

Performance Allison Transmissions

Dave Killackey has a challenge. He needs to provide the right transmission to take 1200 horsepower erupting from the DiMora Volcano V16 engine and deliver that power to all four steerable wheels on the Natalia SLS 2 sport luxury sedan.
But Dave is used to challenges. He frequently works at Jay Leno's Big Dog Garage, where he solves transmission problems for Jay and head mechanic Bernard Juchli as they keep over 100 classic cars in roadworthy condition.
And Dave is now something of an instant TV celebrity, thanks to OVERHAULIN' on TLC - The Learning Channel. If you haven't watched OVERHAULIN' yet, the idea is that show hosts Chris Jacobs and AJ Janic pretend to be car repossessors, tow truck drivers, or other characters to lure the car keys away from an unsuspecting owner. Then auto design legend Chip Foose and his team of fabricators and engineers perform major surgery on the vehicle before returning it about a week later. By that time, the bucket of bolts has been transformed into a museum-quality mobile masterpiece that simply stuns the owner.

Jay Leno knew that Dave loved the original two-tone paint job, so Chip Foose made certain the showroom-floor look was maintained when the rust was removed. But the sparkling Foose wheels were definitely not a dealer option in 1956.

Jay, Chip, Chris, AJ, and Dave's son Jason put together a plan to abscond with Dave's 1956 Chevy Nomad station wagon and give it the OVERHAULIN' treatment. Even more surprising, much of the work was done right in the Big Dog Garage where Dave often can be found.
"How did you guys do this without me knowing?" a confused Dave asked when his now-beautiful car was returned to him.
"You're not the hardest guy to fool!" was Jay's reply.

The show featuring Dave's car was broadcast in February. Alfred DiMora caught up with Dave in April at Cool Cruise 2006, a car show in La Verne, California, where he was showing off his newly rebuilt masterpiece.

CEO Alfred DiMora of DiMora Motorcar (, creators of the $2 million Natalia SLS 2 Sport Luxury Sedan, met with Dave at the firehouse. They continued their discussions of the challenges Dave faces in engineering a transmission to handle the 1200 horsepower erupting from the DiMora Volcano V16 engine and delivering it to Natalia's four steerable wheels. While there, Alfred got his first glimpse at the modified Nomad, commenting, "I see that the OVERHAULIN' crew had some transmission challenges of their own on your car and did a great job solving them. This is one tricked-out classic."

The stock Nomad originally had a 265 cubic inch V8. It now has quite a bit more power from the special order, 650 horsepower, 572 cubic inch GM Performance Engine ZZ572. Jay knew that Dave planned to let his wife Kimberly enjoy driving the car as well, and she prefers automatic transmissions. So they hitched the powerhouse to a 3-speed Turbo 400 automatic and put a Ford 9-inch differential in the back end.

The sound system presented a real challenge. In discussing what he planned to do to the car when he got around to it, Dave mentioned to Jay that he really liked everything about the vintage interior, and didn't want to cut up the dashboard to install a state-of-the-art sound system. So Chip brought in the team from Golden Customs to build a fantastic system that cannot be seen. The controls are hidden in the glove box, and the amplifiers are tucked away where the spare tire used to be. The speakers are also concealed, but turn up the volume a bit and the music will shake the fillings out of your molars.

After a lifetime of playing practical jokes on most of his friends, Dave figures it was time for someone the pull the wool over his eyes. And if you're going to be fooled, there aren't any pranksters better than Jay Leno and the OVERHAULIN' gang.

It could be said that Dave is the happiest guy in Southern California when he cruises the freeways and back roads in this unique car. And this August Dave and Kimberly will be the proudest parents as well when they drive this classic Chevy to the wedding of Dave, Jr. and the lovely Sandi Gaynor.


Dave Killackey

The 572 cubic inch GM Performance Engine ZZ572 puts out 650 horsepower.

Chris Jacobs, Jay Leno, Chip Foose, and AJ Janik return the Chevy Nomad to Dave Killackey.

Alfred DiMora and Dave Killackey discuss the Chip Foose-overhauled Chevy Nomad at the Cool Cruise 2006 car show in La Verne, California.

Chip Foose removed the spare tire to make room for the amplifiers and other components installed by Golden Customs.

Can you see the 21st-century sound system? Neither can anybody else. You would need Superman's x-ray vision to find it in the glove box and behind the stock Chevy dashboard. The speedometer tops out at 110 mph.

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