Craig's '73 Nova History
I've owned this Nova since November 7, 1990. That was my 17th birthday. It started life as a 307 powered, 115hp weakling, but it didn't stay in that form for very long. I started hopping up the 307 almost as soon as I got it home and to this day I haven't stopped improving my Nova. The 307 was eventually built up to about 225 hp with headers, Q-jet and 1.6 rockers. The stock induction and exhaust really had it choked up.It's not a real SS. I blacked out the grille and replaced the bowtie on the grille with an SS emblem. I also have SS fender emblems and an SS trunk emblem which I'll be adding next time the car gets painted. The existing paint has been on the car since 1990.
This is what the 350 looked like:
Here's the 1998 motor build-up:
And the finished product...
Hmmmm, was it a 200 hp stocker or a 475+ hp stroker motor? Here's a timeslip from April 22, 2000, so judge for yourself (that's me on the right).
By the way, that was an all-steel 3,600 pound car.
I backed that up with a firstname.lastname@example.org on a pass against a very fast looking and sounding race only Mustang. Too bad he could only muster a 12.27! The Nova ran a best of 111.94 mph with the old 383.
I finished building a second 383 for my Nova in April 2001. It took over a year to gather all the necessary parts, but it was worth the wait. The somewhat stock look under the hood is gone now, but I don't think that I would have been fooling anyone by painting those aluminum Brodix heads. That mountain of an intake manifold would have been hard to disguise too, so I just left them as is. As a matter of fact, the intake was so tall that the hood wouldn't close, even with the air cleaner and its stud removed. So I had to buy a cowl induction hood. I didn't want to do it, but I didn't have much choice.
- 383 cubic inches
- 350 2-bolt main block w\ splayed 4-bolt caps
- ARP main studs
- SCAT 4340 forged steel crank
- Eagle H-beam rods w\ ARP bolts
- JE Winston Cup forged pistons milled flat
- Childs and Albert file-fit rings
- fully balanced and somewhat blueprinted
- Melling HV oil pump with steel driveshaft
- Moroso 7-quart oil pan
- Moroso pan baffle
- 12.0:1 static compression ratio (it can run on 93 octane if it has to)
- Brodix 18x
- angle milled to produce 59 cc chambers
- 2.140" intake valves, 1.60" exhaust valves
- 7/16" screw-in studs
- double valvesprings
- bowl work and gasket matching by Brodix
- Comp Cams Pro Magnum roller rockers(1.6:1 intake, 1.5:1 exhaust)
- Herbert solid roller cam (263/273 duration at .050", .672/.630" lift)
- Herbert solid roller lifters
- Brodix 1800 intake--gasket matched by me
- Holley "black" 140 gph electric fuel pump
- Holley 1000 cfm HP double-pumper
- MSD distributor
- MSD Blaster 2 coil
- Crane spiral core plug wires
- MSD 6AL ignition box
- Weiand electric water pump
- Stahl headers (1-7/8" primaries to 3-1/2" collectors)
- 3" Hooker Maximum Flow mufflers (no tailpipes)--street
- 3.5" Dynomax Bullets (mounted right off the headers)--strip
The first runs down the track with that 383 were in the 11.90s and with continued tuning, a few part changes and lots of learning, it went a best of 6.63@105 and 10.40@129 on the motor. I toyed with nitrous at the end of the 2004 season and went 6.48@106 with gears and a converter that were not well suited to the nitrous at all. In fact, it was blowing through the converter so badly that it was turning 9000 rpm through the traps! But it survived and the bearings looked great when inspected a couple months later.
- Trick TH350 (light-weight internals) by Arnett's
- Custom-built 6000rpm converter by Bradco Engineering
- Performance tranny mount (ripped the stocker apart in 1997!)
- Lakewood driveshaft safety loop
- 8.5" 10-bolt rearend
- Precision 5.13:1 ring & pinion
- Detroit Locker
- Moser 30 spline axles
- LPW aluminum rear girdle cover
- Strange c-clip eliminators
- 15x8 Weld Pro Stars with 26x9.5-15 Hoosier Quicktime Pros on the back for racing in OVOS Entry Street and OSCA Mild Street
- 15x8 Weld Pro Stars with 265/60-15 McCreary Road Stars out back for the street
- 15X3.5 Weld Pro Stars with 165sr-15 radials on the front
- CalTrac bars
- CalTrac split mono-leaf springs
- Competition Engineering subframe connectors
- 6 pt. roll bar from S&W Race Cars (installed it myself)
- sway bar removed
- Koni SPA-1 drag shocks up front
- Rancho 9000x shocks in the rear
- Griffin aluminum two-core radiator
- Late-model Chrysler electric fan
- 120 amp Delco alternator
- manual steering box
- manual drum brakes
- Poly race seats
- '73 Nova SS console
- Autogage mechanical triple gauge set
- Autometer tranny temp gauge
- 3-3/8" Mallory tach with rev limiter and shift light
- Hurst Promatic shifter
- Remainder is factory black interior
- battery is in trunk with a Ford solenoid
The spring started off pretty good with a new personal best ET of 10.40@129. The lower stance really showed up in the trap speed! But things went down hill quickly from there.
First, I took half the teeth off the ring gear, which gave me the opportunity to gear the car for the 1/8th mile racing I've been doing lately. So 5.13s and 30 spline Moser axles went in the 10-bolt, which was topped off with a LPW aluminum girdle rear cover.
On the first night out with the new gears, while tuning it up for the first Ohio Valley Outlaw Street race, I spun the car while going into 3rd gear and put it in the wall. I really thought the car was going to be junked, but once I got a good look at it, I realized it wasn't hurt too bad. A month later, its back together and ready to race. Its still got some signs of damage on the quarter panel, but I can live with that for a little while.
I also had the converter tweaked by my new sponsor, Bradco Engineering of Louisville, KY. If you need an awesome converter, drop me a line and I'll get you in touch with Brad. Hopefully the 60' times will come around (I've decided the 1.38 60' from last fall was a fluke of the timing system) and I can compete pretty well with all the nitrous cars that I race against.
Craig's '99 Review
Craig's '00 Review
Craig's '01 Review
Craig's '02 Review
Craig's '03 Review
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Copyright © 2009 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson