Bruce's '72 Nova: 1999
This is what it looked like in July of '99 (and it pretty much looks the same to this day). The pics were taken in St. Louis at the 1st Annual Nova List Gathering:
I took them home, replaced the stock valvesprings with Comp Cams #981 springs and installed some Crane +.050" keepers for additional retainer-to-seal clearance. I got a full set of factory self-aligning rocker arms, balls, and nuts and one rocker cover from an '86 Caprice sitting in a junkyard by my house, all for $10. I got another used rocker cover from a different yard for $10 and bought a new Edelbrock Performer RPM Vortec intake manifold #7116 from Summit for $175. All those items are required when bolting on Vortec heads, by the way, due to the different intake manifold bolt setup and the large pushrod holes.
I drove my Nova 650 miles from Minneapolis to St. Louis alone, no problems whatsoever. I proceeded to have a blast during the Gathering and ran a best-ever 13.49 @ 101 mph quarter-mile at Mid America Raceway and won two trophies for winnning my street-tire class and for being Top Eliminator Champion (I beat the winner of Super Pro, too!).
My Nova clicked the odometer over to 200,000 miles total on July 11, 1999 just outside of Hannibal, MO.
An HEI distributor is a tight fit in a '68-'74 Nova, especially with an Accel Supercoil, so while I was smoothing the firewall, I cut a big hole in it and welded in a recessed panel to give more clearance for the cap, coil, and wires.
For more information go to my Interior Customizations page.
Here's a shot of the center console I made in '96. I made it mostly of
3/4" plywood screwed together and covered in some tweed and vinyl
material. The can cooler is sitting in a lower portion of the "tray"
that I made specifically for that purpose. On the left side is an
enclosed storage area, the lid for which is padded and attached with
a piano hinge. The shifter is from a mid-'70s Monte Carlo (it's since been switched out for a Hurst QuarterStick). The seats
are the same gray Fiero seats in the above pictures, but the camera flash
makes the color look goofy.
I also installed a '73 Nova SS tilt-steering column (nice to have!)
1999 Engine Specs:
- '73 350 block from a Nova SS
- Summit rebuilt stock cast crank
- Rebuilt 5.7" rods with ARP Waveloc bolts from Northern Auto Parts Warehouse
- Speed-Pro hypereutectic flattop pistons
- Hastings rings
- Melling M55HV oil pump
- Crane Energizer single pattern cam - 216 degrees duration, .454" lift, 110 degree lobe displacement angle
- New factory L31 Vortec cylinder heads - 64 cc chambers, 1.94"/1.50" valves, 170cc intake ports
- Factory 1.5:1 stamped steel self-aligning rocker arms
- Comp Cams #982 valvesprings
- Crane +0.050" keepers
- Edelbrock Performer RPM Vortec #7116 intake manifold
- Edelbrock Performer #1405 600 cfm carb converted to electric choke
- K&N 14x4 air filter in a Summit Racing housing
- Summit rebuilt HEI with Crane adjustable vacuum advance can
- Hooker Competition 1-5/8" headers
- 2-1/2" dual exhaust all the way to the rear bumper with Thrush California Turbo mufflers
- TH 350 with B&M Shift Improver Kit (which I highly recommend!)
- Stock driveshaft with Summit safety loop
- '72 8.5" 10-bolt rearend housing
- '73-'74 Nova Eaton posi carrier
- Richmond 3.70:1 ring & pinion
- stock axles
1999 Chassis and Suspension:
- Stock unibody frame
- polyurethane body mount bushings
- polyurethane leaf spring bushings and pads
- Original front V8 w/ A/C coil springs with one coil removed
- Relocated upper control arm (per Dick Guldstrand's recommendations) for more positive camber gain
- polyurethane upper and lower control arm bushings and bump stops
- Hellwig 1-1/8" front anti-sway bar with polyurethane bushings
- Addco 3/4" rear anti-sway bar with polyurethane bushings
- Front steering system rebuilt in '97 including tie rods, sleeves, ball joints, idler arm, and Pitman arm.
- Rebuilt power steering gearbox with 12:1 ratio and high effort valve by Lee Power Steering.
- Rebuilt power steering pump by Lee Power Steering.
- New stock replacement rag joint
- '73 Nova SS tilt steering column
© 2020 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson