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1963 Chevy Nova - Beauty And A Beast

Joe Kosiba's Nova Looks Too Good To Be This Fast.

By , Photography by

Who: Joe Kosiba
Where: Hoffman Estates, Illinois
What: '63 Chevrolet Nova

Engine: A variety of small-blocks have called the Nova's engine compartment home over the years, but it's currently sporting a former NMCA Easy Street 352 built by Jeff D'Agostino of Fast Times in Morton Grove, Illinois. It's a Dart block with a forged GM crankshaft, Pro Action heads, a solid roller cam, and an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold. We dig the cool Moroso-fabbed aluminum valve covers. In case you happen to miss all the nitrous plumbing, the Meziere electric water pump and Jesel beltdrive are more subtle clues that this is a serious race engine.

Fuel: A big Pro Systems-prepped 1,000-cfm Dominator sits on top of a Wilson Manifolds carb spacer. Joe didn't want to install a fuel cell, so he sumped and narrowed the stock tank to fit between the relocated leaf springs. A Barry Grant fuel pump keeps the float bowls full.

Sparks: There's an MSD Pro-grammable Digital 7 Plus box mounted in the passenger compartment footwell that controls an MSD distributor.

Exhaust: The exhaust barks through a pair of Hooker Super Competition headers. Four-inch tubing leads to a pair of DynoMax bullet mufflers, then to a pair of turbo mufflers with turndowns that dump just before the rear axle. This interesting combination of mufflers gives the car a unique exhaust note. Joe sums it up more simply: "It sounds like a big-block."

Nitrous: Nitrous Express foggers deliver the laughing gas responsible for the Nova's relatively docile manners around town and blisteringly fast passes at the strip. Joe's got a warm pair of Nitrous Oxide Systems bottles mounted in the trunk.

Transmission: For a fast car, the TH350 is a relatively mild build--no race-only reverse-manual valvebody or rock-hard shift kit. He manually shifts the Hurst Quarter Stick shifter at the track but leaves it in Drive on the street and lets the trans shift itself.

Rearend: That's a Moser 9-inch housing, but it's filled with Strange internals. There are 3.50:1 gears on a Strange spool, and beefy, 35-spline Strange axles turn the wheels.

Suspension: The Total Cost Involved front clip comes complete with upper and lower control arms and adjustable coilover shocks. Joe mini-tubbed the rear of the Nova to get more tire under the car. He still runs the stock leaf springs but relocated them inboard to clear the new wheelhouses. CalTracs bars control spring wrap, which is probably considerable judging by the car's e.t.'s.

Brakes: Wilwood discs are on all four corners.

Wheels/Tires: Those are 15-inch Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels. Joe's got a pair of Mickey Thompson skinnies up front and ET Streets out back.

Interior: Joe totally redid the interior with new panels from Chevy II Only. He made his own instrument cluster and stuffed it full of Auto Meter gauges. He also adapted an '05 GTO gas pedal and C5 Corvette brake pedal to fit the Nova's pedal box.

Paint/Body: All the Nova's original sheetmetal remains intact. Joe helped a bodyman friend of his straighten and realign all the panels. His buddy sprayed the car with a Volkswagen silver.

Cool: A friend of Joe's made a set of LED taillights that fit behind the stock lenses.

Fast: Joe's best run on the current drivetrain is an 8.94 at 155 mph.

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