Adding power is addicting. Once you get a taste for it, you end up craving more, and it's hard to stop the madness until the wallet runs dry or you're too scared to drive the thing. Thankfully though, we aren't at either of those crossroads...yet. When we get the opportunity to add loads of "go" for not much green, and when it comes in a small, conveniently sized package that's completely bolt-on, well, now you're talking. There isn't anything better than adding nearly 80 hp in a matter of hours and having the know-how to do it yourself.
Briefly, our project '72 Nova began its life as a limp six-cylinder backed by a two-speed automatic. When we got our hands on it, we immediately swapped out the old powerplant in favor of a low-mileage iron-headed, hydraulic flat-tappet small-block with a Turbo 350 transmission. While the small-block swap was a great upgrade and made a world of difference in the power department-even barking second gear shifts-we wanted more.
With the small-block in, we figured what better way to show the simplicity of adding more power than with the tried and true method of going blown? In our case, it was the best method to making more power on the cheap with the least amount of downtime. Essentially, the build consisted of an elaborate manifold swap and only took us a full day's work from start to finish.
As always, we show you the inside on how it was done and what you might expect when adding boost to your project car. We spent the day at the Vaca Performance & Dyno facility in Downey, California, where the Vaca team helped to complete the build and threw the Nova on the rollers for before-and-after dyno numbers.
What We Did
Added a Weiand 142-blower to our '72 Nova
Our once six-bangin' Nova is now a fire-breathing blown small-block.
To get things going, we strapped down the hoodless Nova for our baseline numbers. Prior to
We began the swap by diving into the engine bay to move everything from the top and the fr
We then removed the distributor and the manifold, and to our surprise we discovered a comp
We needed a nice clean surface to lay down the Weiand manifold, so Miguel Varguez from Vac
After applying silicone and setting our Fel-Pro 1256 head gaskets, we dropped the new mani
This particular lower manifold came with an EGR housing. In our case, we don't have to dea