Project SuperNova churned out a ludicrous 15.87 at 96 mph in its dragstrip debut, sending the stock 14-inch radials up in a cloud of smoke as the Powerglide strained against 540 horses. Project SuperNova churned out a ludicrous 15.87 at 96 mph in its dragstrip debut, sending An original musclecar it wasnt, but you cant beat a prime condition, low-option grandma car for project car fodder. We picked up SuperNova with a six-cylinder/Powerglide and a straight body and fair interior for $1,200, and drove it as-is for two weeks before the teardown began. The 250ci six came out in under two hours. An original musclecar it wasnt, but you cant beat a prime condition, low-optio SuperNovas transformation into a street/strip machine began with the transplant of the 540hp 383 small-block we built back in the June 02 issue into its otherwise bone-stock chassis. The only things we changed in this installment were the parts necessary for the engine swap. Everything elseand we mean everything, from the original Powerglide to the wasted shocks and springs, to the 3.08-geared rearend and the skinny 14-inch radialswas put to the test of 540 hp! SuperNovas transformation into a street/strip machine began with the transplant of t The most involved part of converting a six-cylinder Nova to a V-8 is changing the crossmember-mounted engine brackets, which we picked up at a junkyard. We also converted the car from power to manual steering with a junkyard-salvaged steering box we scored for $33, saving the hassle of finding V-8 brackets and a pump for the small-block, and ordered new steering linkage from PSC. The most involved part of converting a six-cylinder Nova to a V-8 is changing the crossmem A stock GM HEI distributor just wont fit without major hammer clearancing in second-gen Novas. We opted for MSDs Ready-to-Run HEI replacement kit, which includes a billet distributor with integral module and vacuum advance and a Blaster 2 coil ($299.95 at Summit). It is pricier than an HEI, but it offers a stronger spark and a very easily tunable timing curve, and the quality and trick looks dont hurt. MSDs new HEI Tower cap now comes standard on all its billet distributors, replacing the older points-type wire sockets for better boot retention on the cap. We used a set of MSDs universal cut-to-fit wires. A stock GM HEI distributor just wont fit without major hammer clearancing in secon Air Flow Researchs angle-plug location is slightly different from most standard angle-plug heads, pointing out and down as opposed to out and up. This limits header choices, although Hookers popular Super Competition series offers several part numbers that do fit. When our first choice with 13/4-inch primaries was on back order, we opted for PN 2207-1 with larger 17/8-inch primaries and a ceramic coating. Expensive, but good, and they dropped in with no hammer work at all. Air Flow Researchs angle-plug location is slightly different from most standard Six-cylinder and 307-powered Novas came equipped with puny 5/16-inch fuel lines from the tank to the carb, while performance models got larger 3/8-inch lines. Rather than pull out our hair later wondering why the car didnt run right, we dropped the tank and replumbed the entire length of the fuel system, starting with the in-tank sending unit. Classic Industries sells this 3/8-inch pickup (which also fits Camaro tanks) for under $50, and it comes with a new gasket and lock ring. Six-cylinder and 307-powered Novas came equipped with puny 5/16-inch fuel lines from the t Plumbing the rest of the hard line was a breeze, thanks to Inline Tube, which stocks every conceivable piece of bent tubing you could ever need for a musclecar restoration. The Nova came with a two-piece fuel line connected under the passenger-side door with a short length of rubber hose, so snaking the new 3/8-inch lines in place of the originals was a breeze. We added an inline fuel filter and connected to a BG Super Speedway mechanical pump with an AN-style push-lock fitting. Plumbing the rest of the hard line was a breeze, thanks to Inline Tube, which stocks every From the fuel pump, we ran a length of braided stainless hose to a Holley fuel inlet on the Holley 750-cfm HP series carb. Even with the carburetor mounted atop an Edelbrock Victor Jr. manifold and a 2-inch High Velocity Heads carb spacer, theres still room to close the stock hood, sans air cleaner. From the fuel pump, we ran a length of braided stainless hose to a Holley fuel inlet on th Trying to drive the car with the Powerglide was a joke. Peddling it out of the hole was easy, but the trans wouldnt hold a shift, and the converter was on full valve float. But the burnouts were fun! Trying to drive the car with the Powerglide was a joke. Peddling it out of the hole was ea Project SuperNova, Part I: Meet Supernova, Car Crafts Newest Project CarProject SuperNova, Part III: Swapping In A Rebuilt Turbo 350 With A B&M Holeshot Converter And Pro Ratchet Shifter Project SuperNova, Part I: Meet Supernova, Car Craft s Newest Project Car Proj Swapping a small-block Chevy into a 71 Nova shouldnt take three weeks. But then again, it shouldnt take 12 bucks at the coin-op car wash to clean the engine bay, or half a day to get the motor mounts to line up, or 15 trips to the auto parts store, and the headers you need shouldnt be on back order for two weeks. But thats just the way it goes. Were used to it. A few things about this swap did go very easily. We actually found a manual steering box for the Nova on our first trip to the junkyard, although it took two more stops to find a V-8 carcass that still had the crossmember mounts on it. Ordering up new steering linkage to convert from power to manual steering (eliminating the need to mess with a pump and bracket setup for a small-block) took mere minutes from Performance Suspension Components. Upgrading the fuel system from 5/16- to 3/8-inch hard line to feed the 540-horse 383 that was yanking on its chain in the garage was a breeze, thanks to Inline Tube and Classic Industries, which had the parts we needed in stock. But just when we were getting ready to drop in a factory HEI distributor, we remembered that they dont fit in these cars (same with first-gen Camaros and Firebirds) without bashing the firewall with a big hammer. And the car was turning out too nicely to do that. We really didnt want to wire in an ignition box, so we opted for an MSD Ready to Run distributor with a Blaster 2 remote coil. This setup fits directly in place of the original points-type components, and if they werent painted red, youd probably never know the difference (note: file that away for 101 Sleeper Tips and Tricks). Another day was spent tidying up the engine bay, rewiring the engine harness to move the alternator wiring from the driver side to the passenger side, installing a new voltage regulator, and reassembling the steering linkage. Then came the moment of truth: dropping in the small-block. What should have taken three minutes took more than three cussing, knuckle-busting hours as we battled the crude Chinese-made rubber engine mounts that just wouldnt line up. We finally pried them into place, but God help us if the motor ever needs to come out again. So what happens when you drop a monster V-8 in place of a wheezing six-cylinder without changing anything else in the 30-year-old drivetrain? Lets find out. SOURCES Mickey Thompson Performance Tires 4670 Allen Rd. Stow OH 44224 8-00/-222-9092 mickeythompsontires.com Inline Tube 33783 Groesbeck Fraser MI 48026 810-294-4093 Classic Industries 8-66/-656-1706 www.classicindustries.com Autotronic Controls/MSD 1490 Henry Brennan Dr. El Paso TX 79936 915-857-5200 Performance Suspension Components Phoenix AZ www.performancesuspension.com Earls Performance Plumbing Hooker Headers Specialty Auto Parts USA/Proform Roseville MI 48066 Barry Grant Fuel Systems Dahlonega GA 7-06/-864-8544 barrygrant.com Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!