Its kind of a shame that the Novas original 250ci inline-six runs like such a
Project SuperNova, Part II: Swapping In A Small-Block Chevy Engine Project SuperNova,
Youre probably thinking, if we had to get another Chevy, at least its not a Camaro. But for $1,200, its as close to a universal bread-and-butter musclecar as we or anyone else is likely to find these days. Its not an extremely rare Nova, and its not going to reach an absolute magnitude of -16, whatever that means. But we can guarantee that by the time we get through with this six-cylinder/Powerglide-equipped 71 Nova, itll shine at least one billion times brighter than it does right now.
Since everything starts with horsepower, well begin by swapping in the gnarliest motor we have at our disposal. But rather than try to stuff 50 pounds of you-know-what into a 5-pound bag, well bite this project off in chunks we can chew and you can digest. Every month well change or upgrade one basic component or system, in the order that makes the most sense in terms of expected performance gain and cost effectiveness. Each installment will include the same basic elements: What we did, why we did it, what it cost, and what we gained, along with the highlights of the installation, testing, and any unexpected problems or issues that cropped up. Its a pretty basic concept, but frankly, we think its time for a down-to-earth, back-to-basics project. Well build it with one goal in mindgoing fast in a straight line. Itll be a noPro Touring, no-EFI, noG-machine, no-nonsense kind of car you expect from the guys who brought you Junkyard Craft.
The preliminary schedule of events is shaping up to look like well run the baseline then add a set of slicks. Since the ancient Powerglide or converter should go pop at that point, the next step will be to swap in a TH350 with a high-stall converter and a ratchet shifter. The stock 8.2-inch 10-bolt rearend with open 3.08 gears might go boom next, or at least hold back our efforts considerably, so weve got some plans to build a really trick, but low-buck, GM 12-bolt. Then well look at the suspension. Were already thinking slapper bars. Maybe by then well come up with something better, but considering how fast weve seen guys go with stock monoleafs and swap meet traction bars, we wont worry too much if we dont. Well think about disc brakes, bucket seats, and a rollbar later. If all that doesnt get us deep into the 11s, a transbrake or nitrous definitely will.
So tune in next time to find out what happens when we drop the 542-horse 383 small-block that was on last months cover into our otherwise bone-stock carand when we say stock, we mean it. Stock Powerglide. Stock converter. Stock 10-bolt rearend. Stock skinny 14-inch radials. Stock 3.08 gears. Stock springs and shocks. Well be shocked if it runs mid-13s, probably at close to a buck-o-five, but itll be a laugher. And were taking bets on what breaks first.