Van Nus sealed up the holes for the ashtray and cigarette lighter, all the while making new inserts for the Vintage Air HVAC controls and vents. Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges gather in a matte finish Covan’s panel, looking as if it grew there. Joe supplanted the frazzled electrical system with an American Autowire Highway 22 loom. If you peruse the upholstery shops in Ligonier, Indiana, you won’t find Bohde’s Custom Auto Interiors anywhere on the list. We’ll, that’s natural because Bohde does some very sensational things out of a private shop and mostly for people he likes. Here we have minimalist thinking and understated elegance. He did the Recaros in vinyl and German Square Weave. It’s almost too pretty to sit in and is a fine foil for the cool but urgent exterior. The harnesses are five-point. A custom billet aluminum shifter is at the ready. That snakeskin-wrapped steering wheel is from Billet Specialties, not something you’d find in your daily beater. Now, where did he hide the Pioneer/iPod combo?.
When the LS egg got cracked, Team Van Nus had Mike Hanson (Portage, Michigan) produce a 355-inch icon. Steve Tagget in Kalamazoo, Michigan, did the machining processes and Hanson began with a ’71 cylinder block and filled it with the Ohio Crankshaft rotating assembly (forged crank, H-beam rods, and SRP pistons with a 12.0:1 compression ratio so 110 octane is taken for granted). Total seal ring packs and SRP pins complete the picture. A COMP hydraulic roller (0.507/0.510 lift; 240/246 degrees of duration at 0.050 inch), springs, pushrods, guideplates, and Harland Sharp 1.5:1 roller rockers complete the valvetrain. Hanson tied it all together with Cloyes Tru-Roller timing gear and bolted on a kicked-out Moroso oil pan. He formed the top end of the engine with Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads (2.00-/1.60-inch valves) and companion Air-Gap intake manifold. The 750-cfm Demon Avenger is topped with a DSE air cleaner. Healthy spark emanates from the MSD 6AL box and total timing for this naturally aspirated pirate is 34 degrees. Exhaust matters are handled by Chris Alston headers and a custom-bent 21/2-inch system. Paul estimates 450 hp. For the Pro Touring mission, he extracted the Turbo 350 and implanted a TKO-600 five-speed and a Ram flywheel and clutch assembly. He linked transmission to the rear axle (3.89:1 gears, Detroit Truetrac differential) with a bulletproof Denny’s Nitrous Ready prop shaft.
Joe and Paul run Dutch Boys Hot Rods (hobby shop) in Vicksburg, Michigan, so they saved a duffle bag of loot by doing this phase themselves and for once paint jail wasn’t an issue. Paul applied BASF Jet Stream Blue R-M Diamont and hosed the immaculate, uncluttered engine compartment with contrasting black. Does that engine pop right off the page or what? The V team paid special attention to body line gaps, created a custom fuel filler flap, and tucked the bumpers in a little.
The Big V amended the Nova’s oxcart seriousness with an Alston’s Chassisworks front clip that includes subframe and firewall stringers, tubular control arms, spindles specific to the application, DSE coilover dampers (550 lb/in springs), and an Alston antisway bar. Joe suspended the narrowed Dutchman 9-inch axle with DSE coilovers (240 lb/in springs) dependent on a TCI Engineering four-link conversion. A six-point rollcage permits minimal chassis distortion.
Up front, Paul posted 17x7 Fikse Profil 5 wheels and Kumho Ecsta SPT 225/45ZR tires. At the rear, he blew things up a little with 10-inch Profils and 295/35ZR18 rubber. Consistent rough-duty braking capability is assured by 14-/13-inch big Baer 6S stoppers and braided hose throughout.