Underhood, Sal just wanted a reliable motor that sounded beefy, was kind to a gallon of gas, and spunky enough to twirl the tires should somebody get a little mouthy. His choice is nothing less than the hot rodder’s icon, the small-block.In this case a GMPP (PN 19210009) 350, offering four-bolt mains, 9.1:1 compression, Vortec heads, Edelbrock Performer intake and a Holley 780-cfm Avenger carburetor fed by a Blue pump. He began the exhaust tract with ceramic-coated Patriot block-hugger shorties and had outside labor complement them with a 2½-inch system and a brace of Flowmaster honkers. Electricals include an HEI distributor, ACCEL coil, and Taylor primary leads. Sal dressed the block with a March serpentine system, a Powermaster alternator, and a power steering pump. He fitted the radiator core support with a crossflow, four-row aluminum radiator razzed by a single thermostatically controlled fan. As equipped, the crate is rated at 380 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm and 330 hp at 5,000 rpm. Torque
Sal does like his creature comforts and pleasant surroundings from which to conduct business … er playtime. As a foil for the bright exterior, Sal went with neutralizing black as the interior theme. He did up the stock seats with Desert Sun Auto Interior’s embroidered covers and did the same to the bench in the back. He put down black carpeting throughout and put up a new headliner to match. Desert Sun came back with “Heartbeat” door and rear side panels. Sal got busy with the electronics, installing a Sony MEX-BT5100 AM/FM with Bluetooth/CD head unit. He concealed the speakers and constructed a package tray to hold the dual Xplod blasters. He rewired the car and fit a Classic Industries dash panel with six Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges. When he’s crankin’, he grips a custom billet steering wheel and manipulates a stock T5 shifter.
The suspension system is full-on Heidts, so setting the Nova’s stance was relatively uncomplicated. At front, the Pro-G clip is outfitted with a Mustang II steering rack, steering linkage with stainless tie rods, tubular control arms, 2-inch drop spindles, antisway bar, and coilover shocks. Heidts connectors join the front and rear Heidts subframes, the latter composed of upper and lower links, a Panhard rod, antisway bar, and Heidts coilovers.
Wheels & Brakes
For stopping energy, Sal relies on 12-inch Wilwoods at front and 11-inch Caddy Seville discs at the hind end. Oomph comes from a dual reservoir master and dual-diaphragm brake booster. These dainty discs are visually overpowered by polished aluminum 18x7 and 20x8.5 Intro V-Rod wheels. The frictional coefficient is established via 225/40ZR and 255/35ZR Nitto Extreme rubber.
Paint & Body
This is a great example of minimal changes that create maximum impact. Check out the smooth skin and the sleek silhouette. Look past the paint, and you’ll find that the Nova no longer has door handles, marker lights, driprails, or windshield cowl. The biggest contributors to the shaved exterior are the ’74 Nova doors; they have no vent windows and thus no visual break in body continuity. Sal wisely retained the sideview mirrors, though. He replaced the glass as well as the bumpers with Goodmark items. The grille and rear panel are repro SS. The headlights are Lucas Flamethrowers. Doors and trunk lid are now under the auspice of solenoid-actuated controls. Sal swarmed the body and applied the PPG Atomic Orange/Cream, laid down the spun gold striping and outlined them with purple. Home cookin’ at its best. CHP