Mayco Lovos / Gardena, CA - 1968 Chevy Nova
We met Mayco (sounds like Michael) through a racer friend who dragged us to his house one night just before Christmas. Mayco and friend Jorge Cota were finishing the installation of this 408 in Mayco’s 1968 Chevy Nova. They took a break from wiring the gauges and installing the throttle cable to fire the engine for us, and all we can say is Mayco’s lucky to have some really cool neighbors. Running through open headers at the time, this engine could wake the dead, and we mean that in the best possible way. The sharp bark of a high-compression small-block is unmistakable, and we suspect his neighbors found it as entertaining as we did. Yeah, and that 500hp figure we threw out in the heading is probably street-racer conservative.
A) 1968 Chevy Nova: Heads, Intake, and Carb
Those are out-of-the-box Dart Pro 1 cylinder heads with a 230cc intake port, the biggest available from Dart, and 2.08-/1.60-inch valves. With 64cc chambers, the combination adds up to a steep 14.0:1 compression ratio. Mayco says the heads may get some porting in the future if funds permit. The intake manifold is an old-style Edelbrock single-plane topped with a Holley 1150-cfm Dominator that Jorge says worked perfectly right out of the box. A Holley HP fuel pump and regulator keep the carb full of C14 race gas. Jorge did all the plumbing of the fuel lines.
B) 1968 Chevy Nova with Nitrous!
Neither Mayco nor Jorge would cop to a greater-than-200 shot of nitrous on this engine. “It’s in two stages: 100 right off the line, and the other 100 comes in a little later,” Jorge admits.
Mayco chose Moroso’s electric water pump and accompanying alternator bracket. It keeps the engine at a cool 180 degrees F, and provides a solid alternator mount that helps eliminate tossed belts during high-rpm shifts.
Knowing he’d be making a lot of power, Mayco didn’t skimp on the engine block. That’s a Dart SHP casting with an unfinished bore size of 4.125 inches. He had the block finished to a final bore size of 4.165. The rotating assembly came from Scat and consists of a forged 3.75-inch stroke crank, forged connecting rods, and forged Mahle pistons. Felix Velasquez (This Guy’s Garage, Aug. ’12) balanced the crank, and Jorge assembled the engine.
E) Cam and Valvetrain
Cam specs are closely guarded secrets among this crowd. The best we could get out of Mayco is that it’s a solid-roller Crane cam that’s “pretty big.” The pushrods and rocker arms are from Isky, and an Isky rocker-stud girdle provides stability against high valvespring pressures and a big-lift cam.
A pair of Doug’s headers with big, 17⁄8-inch primary tubes and 3-inch collectors direct the exhaust to 3-inch intermediate pipes and Dynomax mufflers, ending in turndowns under the back seat.