Before beginning the engine project, Jay conferred with Automotive Engine Specialties in Elk Grove. AES machined the Dart Little M block to Jay’s desired measurements and he took the pile home to put it together. With the right bore size and a Callies forged arm, the little-block plays a 400ci tune. Coated Diamond pistons (fitted with Hellfire rings) swing on Eagle rods to produce a nominal 8.5:1 compression ratio. The companion half of the compression equation are the 75cc combustion chambers in the 23-degree AFR 227 CNC heads. A Cloyes double-roller chain hooks the Isky cam to the Callies crank. And since the engine gets its big hit from an F2 ProCharger, the solid roller specs are nominal (274/284 degrees duration at 0.050 inch and a 0.650-inch lift on both). Tempering the pressurized charge (20 psi) is an air-to-liquid heat exchanger and tank from Chiseled Performance. The AFR castings are embellished with 2.100/1.600 valves and Pac Racing springs (225 pounds on seat; 585 pounds open). The rocker arm force is a Jesel shaft collective, employing Isky pushrods and AFR guideplates. The fuel supply is introduced electronically, coursing to a Holley 850-cfm HP carburetor that was setup for the blow-through operation by Kevin at CSU in Fontana, California. It stands tall on the Super Victor Jr. intake manifold, and at the leading end of intake tract is a K&N element to keep out the big chunks. Waste products are extracted by Hooker 17/8-inch primary Super Comps. The ignition system is composed of an MSD 7531 box and Pro Billet distributor. Oiling is enabled by a six-quart Moroso pan and accompanying Mellings pump. Jay jams torque through a Turbo 400 transmission that he fortified with a billet valvebody, B&M Pro Stick shifter, and a Biondo (no relation) Racing transbrake. Quartermaster Industries built him a one-piece, 3-inch diameter driveshaft that hooks to a narrowed Moser 9-inch housing. Inside that sleek suitcase are 3.55:1 gears, Moser spool, and 35-spline axles. At a near-oafish 3,625 pounds, the Nova easily cracks 8s, and the best numbers to date are 8.52 at 163 mph.
A large portion of the Nova’s appearance rests with the wheel and tire combination. Jay chose Billet Specialties’ minimal but mighty Street Lite hoops. The skinnies measure 15x3.5 and carry M/T Sportsman fronts. On the butt end, it’s 15x10 with 275/60 street radials. When it’s time to rumple rubber at Byron Dragway wheelie contests or to his competition at the dragstrip, Jay swaps them out for Mickey’s 28x10.5 slicks. Considering the Nova’s primary mission, its brakes were refreshed but are no larger than stock. The calipers and rotors are from an ’81 Camaro.
The Moser housing nests between Art Morrison ladder bars and Strange Engineering double-adjustable coilovers; the springs are rated at 120 pounds. For the needed structural help and obvious safety, PMP Fabrication set him up with an eight-point rollcage, effectively adding a B-pillar to the hardtop’s construction. At front, PMP began with a Heidts tubular clip that they modified for coilovers. Then, they notched the frame for more suspension travel. Wheel damping is left to Strange single-adjustable coilover shocks with a 325-pound spring rate. More modernization is represented by a Heidts rack steering system and 2-inch drop spindles from an ’81 Camaro. When the construction was complete and the car was track ready, PMP applied its expertise with chassis and suspension tuning.