DrivegearFor a bona fide street crawler, the motor would do best with a nominal compression ratio that could slurp regular-grade fuel and be happy to churn out more grunt than raw power. Second only to the 350 in small-block popularity, Frank's current 383 was machined and built by Farmer Automotive in Webster, New York. Farmer exposed a late-model, one-piece rear main seal cylinder case, decked the block, and put the dished-dome hypereutectic pistons 0.005 inch in the hole. Combined with the 72cc combustion chambers in the Dart Iron Eagle Platinum heads, the compression ratio is a roll-over 9.5:1, enabling the motor to run trouble-free. Farmer bored the block 4.030 and laid in a Scat 3.75-inch 9000 Series crankshaft hugged by forged Scat rods sprouting 7/16-inch stainless steel fasteners. On the bottom end, Farmer specified a Canton 6-quart pan and a Melling high-volume pump to move the lube. For cam gear, a hydraulic roller would suit perfectly. The Comp grind features 230/236 degrees duration at 0.050 inch and 0.544/0.520 lift. The 7.200-long Manley pushrods (0.080-wall) have their work cut out, pressing on Comp Pro Mag 1.5/1.6:1 rockers, Comp valvesprings, and 2.02/1.60 valves. The intake system is typical and honorable: a Performer RPM Air Gap casting and a Holley HP 750 fitted with mechanical secondary throttle bores. A Summit ball-milled cleaner contraption perches on top of it all. Part of the TCI legacy is the 13/4-inch tube headers specific to the calling, in this case spiffed with Jet-Hot coating. An MSD 6AL box and a Pro Billet distributor tend to the cylinders. A stealthy Proform electric water pump circulates it through an Alumatech core. Master Car Parts in Rochester, New York, put up a custom-built alternator and surrounded it with a compact March midmount serpentine-belt pulley system. On Farmer Automotive's pump, the stroker motor made 485 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm and 470 hp at 5,800 rpm. For the back end, Phoenix Transmission in Weatherford, Texas, built the 700-R4 overdrive automatic (3.06, 1.62, 1.00, 0.70:1) and preceded it with a 9.5-inch torque converter (3,000 stall) of its own design. Ancillaries include a B&M Quicksilver shifter and the all-important (Hayden) fluid cooler. Fleet Pride in Rochester built the tough driveshaft, and Frank hooked it to the 9-inch (3.70:1) that he'd prepped (narrowed 5 inches) for arrival.
InteriorImpossibly crisp, impossibly stock signature is quietly blitzed by a Classic Instruments speedo, tach, and quad cluster, ultimately propped by an EZ wiring harness. There's action under the dashboard too: Frank snuggled a Lane Industries (Rochester) wiper motor kit up in there. Then he hid the Air Ride control panel in the ashtray. A Custom Autosound USA-2 head pumps through JL Audio horns. Meanwhile, poppy Frank clings to a stylish Grant 14-inch Elite steering wheel and tries to keep his butt stuck to the original code 707 Saddle cloth and vinyl. There's a good measure of character in there that is germane to the Nova, still many years away from the corporate face.