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1969 Chevy Nova - The Hurricane

Dan Novara's 1,450hp, 8-Second Nova

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Some things are just meant to be. If you subscribe to the latest conspiracy theory of the week, then you might find it hard to believe there is no hidden agenda behind the fact that Dan Novara happens to drive a big-block '69 Nova. The question of whether there's a hidden message in his last name is perhaps best left as a topic of discussion between groups of psychiatrists. That's because we know better. Besides, if he was really playing off his name, his license plate would say something like "Nova Ra" instead of "Huz-Nxt." Face it, Dan just likes to go fast.

That doesn't take much to figure out when you discover this Nova is a serious strip bandit that's already achieved a 5.21 at 136.5 mph in the eighth-mile. Depending on whose conversion you use, that's roughly 8-teens at 165 mph on drag radials. Dan says, "I wanted a street cruiser that I could take out in the evenings but with two big changes: a Smith's Racecraft front end and an F2 ProCharger." Isn't that everybody's agenda?

Apparently there are still some grandma-fresh Novas out there, because as a lowly six-cylinder wheezer, that was where this monster idea began to take shape. The big motor part was an easy decision, as was the F2 blower. Dan says this combination will make around 1,200 hp on pump gasoline and then grunt up to somewhere around 1,450 hp when he dumps in the race gas. All this is not slap-it-together easy, but it's also not all that difficult with the right engine pieces. What is more difficult is channeling all that power through a pair of modest Mickey Thompson drag radials without the wheelie bar cheats. This demands some professional chassis work along with some graduate-level tuning expertise.

Dan's no novice at all this, having wheeled a 10.5-tire blown alcohol Camaro in a previous life. So he knows that a good front and rear suspension are paramount in the search for low e.t.'s. Dan chose the Smith Racecraft tubular front clip not just because it bolts in place of the stocker but also because it offers more room for big headers, has a slick mounting shelf for the motor plates, and trims 150 pounds off the nose all at the same time. For the rear, a stouter 9-inch and a set of ladder bars were the only right ingredients to mix with wheeltubs to allow sufficient room for the meaty Mickey Thompson ET Drag Radial tires.

One thing the Roots-style blower advocates like to tout is the concept of instant boost. But too much power on the starting line can be a real detriment to a quick 60-foot time. Dan's Nova has pulled a best of 1.21 short time, which is the equivalent of pushing off the starting line with 1.7 g's and maintaining that acceleration rate for a good portion of the first 60 feet. Running a 5.21 in the eighth-mile makes it clear that this chassis works. Dan likes to credit Mick Boyer's acumen and a little help from an MSD Digital 7 Plus box that puts the power of torque trimming in the hands of a qualified tuner. The right parts, as they say, can make you look really good.

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