History Part I
The Story of the Ultimate Nova
My grandmother bought the Nova brand new off the lot. The 78 was equipped with a 307, two barrel carburetor, TH 350 transmission, 3:08 gears, AC, power steering, and power brakes. She used it to go to the grocery store and run errands in. Eventually she parked the car underneath a carport because she was having trouble driving, and every once and a while my uncle would come by and take it out.
When I turned fifteen and completed drivers education dad and I started talking about getting me a car. Dad asked if I wanted a new car or if I would like to fix something up, and after seeing him restore his 66 Stingray 427 Corvette I opted to go the older car route. I knew that with his help we could build something spectacular, so we started looking around for project cars. Unfortunately my grandmother died that summer, and left behind the Nova. The car had sentimental value to us and Dad and I agreed that it would be the perfect project car.
Dad purchased the Nova from my grandmother's estate for $750. It was in excellentshape: the odometer read thirty thousand miles, everything was sound mechanically, and the interior was almost flawless. The paint on the other hand had peeled off from the hot desert sun. Two weeks later my mother and I drove down to Las Cruces to pick it up. My uncle, a GM Master Technician, had been driving it around weeks before and assured us that the car would have no trouble traveling the 420 miles back. He was right: the car ran great and the AC even worked.
When I returned home I called my friends and some family members up to come see the Nova. They were all in shock and could not believe I bought this car. I think maybe they were used to everything being shiny and new, but all they could see was a faded gray Nova with hubcaps, not the potential it held. Despite what everyone said I knew that this car was going to be the talk of the town some day.
The first thing we did was install new rims and tires and pull the AM radio came out, then Dad and I started talking about a small block. We decided to go with the ZZ3 crate engine from GM, which was priced very competitively and also backed by a twelve-month warranty. The ZZ3 was equipped with aluminum heads, forged crank, pink rods, hyperutectic pistons, and a roller cam; and was rated at 345 hp and 379 ft tq. Dad took time off from work to install the mouse, and had it running by the end of the week. It sounded really healthy through the headers. The following Monday I went to the exhaust shop and had a set of two-chamber Flowmasters installed, and after driving the car around a while I decided that it was time to put a posi-trac in the rear with 4:10:1 gears. This made a substantial difference in the performance.
I started driving the Nova down to the local cruise area and the first time I pulled in I had people running their mouth at me. I ignored them and met others who were friendlier. After being ridiculed for weeks by these three guys though, I had had enough and told them that I would be back in fifteen minutes, be ready to race. I went home, woke my dad up, and he said "Lets go see what they got." So we jumped in the Nova and headed down town.
They were still there so dad walked up and asked them who wanted to race. I think they were surprised to see him calling them out. One of them popped off that he only raced for money so dad opened up his wallet and asked, "How much you want to go for? I have five hundred on me." All three said that they had to go home, so he asked them what time they would be out Saturday, but they replied that they had to work and gave some other lame excuses. That night we raced a 67 Camaro, which would kill all three of their cars, and beat him by ten lengths: from then on I had no more trouble from anyone.
On to Part II