No doubt, our protagonist has the talent and the skills required for the planning and execution of this kind of stuff. He’s a thorough genius as well and he assembled and disassembled the piece several times before it got his and the NHRA tech’s stamp of approval. He found the not-so-winsome warrior down in Tucson (he lives up the road in Chandler), Arizona. A good thing. It was owned by the same family who purchased it new in Mesa. It came with the Protect-O-Plate and the owner’s manual. More good things.
Then … “The owner had gutted the car and installed an aftermarket mild steel chassis. The quality was poor so I pulled the body off and started fresh. I built a steel plate table with fixtures to mount the main ’rails of the new chassis and started fitting the tubing. We kept lifting the body on and off until we were happy with the fit. After the NHRA tech passed it, I TIG-welded everything up and put the body on,” Glen Bolz says.
From there, Glen assembled the car, wired it, and made it run. He drove it around a little and then blew it apart again for paint. After he removed the wiring, fasteners, and hardware, he took the body to a local paint shop known for its outstanding work. His choice did not disappoint. He got a great product, wouldn’t you agree? Thereafter, things moved along very rapidly. Glen screwed his car back together and got it running in November 2012. A couple of weeks later, he made his license passes at Speedworld amidst a slew of Jr. Dragsters. “The track wasn’t prepped, but we pulled out just enough to win the Turkey.”
We all know that humility is much more palatable than hubris, and this is where it gets real. Glen is not one to pose or elicit brash statements concerning his ability. He knows what he’s gotten himself into and thankfully, he left his raging testosterone still raging when he was in his twenties (now he’s 43). Older and wiser, he commented frankly on the education process ahead of him.
“I am still learning to drive the car,” he says. It’s my first real race car, and I’m taking it easy. I have run out the back at a slow 9.03, but at 180 mph. During our last track day I started getting used to launching it. I ran an 8.19 and shut off early and coasted through at 120. The car is fast. I’m not so fast. Once I get more seat time, the car will run high 6s at over 200,” Glen says.
Race car or not, Glen’s Nova is a real looker, too. At the 2013 Grand National Roadster Show, it took Best in Class, Outstanding Vehicle, and Best Performance Vehicle. Great googly moogly!
Glen prepared his ground-up build with a chrome-moly tube chassis that is double certified 25.2 and 25.4 (6.0 seconds). For an extra safety measure, he included a Pro Mod–style full-length chrome-moly driveshaft tunnel. Steve Morris machined a front motor plate to stiffen the front of the car and situate the block. The front suspension is strut-based, employing adjustable Strange coilovers (250 lb-in spring rate) and the Strange rack steering system controls Strange spindles. Glen located the Bickel housing with a wishbone arrangement and 135 lb-in Strange springs on Koni double-adjustable dampers. A 1.25-inch diameter antiroll bar helps on the launch and keeps the car straight down track.
Wheels & Brakes
That pale ginger paint is nicely offset by Holeshot hoops all around. In front, Glen uses 15x3.5 with 24.0/5.0-15 Hoosiers. Further back, 15x15 beadlocks cuddle up to some very serious 33.0x14.5 Hoosiers. The energy burners are Strange Engineering discs, front and back.
A desert dweller since birth, the Nova was never scoured, abraded, or set to with rot, so Hot Rods by Dean in Phoenix didn’t face much sheetmetal replacement, but according to the Nova’s very fluid flanks prep time must have been considerable before the racer got its clothes. Save for the sheetmetal wing extending from the trucklid, the body is stock. Although Dean applied the PPG Ginger Ale he didn’t (Glen: “never, no way, absolutely not, don’t ask, forget it”) muddle the field with graphics, stripes, or any other diversion.
Take one last look at this pristine oasis. It will never be this pure again. Despite the spare accommodations, Glen has dutifully managed to keep some of the Nova’s originality with a full factory headliner, door panels, window cranks, and handles. All the windows are glass and the OE regulators are still intact. Glen is very diligent about keeping himself whole and intact should something unpleasant occur. Beyond the parachute and the miles of chrome-moly that web him, he’s incorporated a Safecraft 10-pound fire suppression system, two nozzles on the motor and a third one by his feet. Hot Rod Interiors by Glenn did the interior. He did the seats in DJ Safety fire retardant covers. The other Glen put up a Beretta dashboard in place of the original as well as a carbon-fiber panel for the electronics. The other critical items within reach are the Grant steering wheel and the Precision Performance ratchet.
Engine & Drivetrain
Since his expertise is imagination and the art of fabrication, Glen parted out the engine work to the bad boys at Steve Morris Racing Engines in Muskegon, Michigan. Steve’s known for his big-inch motors but since Glen would be using a big power-adder, displacement stayed at a sedate 540 ci. The outfit is based on a Dart iron block, a Callies crankshaft, connecting rods, and Diamond 8.5:1 forgings. As for the camshaft and related equipment: “It’s top secret Squirrel stuff from a profile that Steve selected and had Bullet Cams re-create,” Glen says. Jesel shaft rockers are the recipients. Cam and crank are connected by a Jesel beltdrive system. The 540 becomes a long-block with the addition of Dart Pro 2 380 series cylinder heads that derive sustenance from Holley Dominator fuel injection on an Edelbrock intake manifold plumbed with Precision Turbo 225 lb/hr nozzles. The master and the commander is a ProCharger F-3R-139 abetted by the accompanying Race Drive system. A Chiseled Performance 4000 intercooler and matching 8-gallon ice tank are plumbed to the trunk. And to withstand that substantial cylinder pressure, Glen relies on the vibrant spark from an MSD Power Grid system. Total timing does not exceed 38 degrees. Morris sealed the lower end with a Williams Performance (Lake Elsinore, California) custom-fabbed oil pan and a Melling oil circulator. Exhaust gases are extracted by custom stainless headers built by FRE Racing Engines. The 21/4-inch primaries terminate in polished 5-inch diameter bullhorns—and they are loud. On the pump, the 540 got crackin’: 1,646 lb-ft at 7,000 rpm, and 2,225 hp at 7,500 rpm. To control the chaos, torque is transferred by a Hughes Performance converter (5,500-stall), the Hughes XP-4 Powerglide transmission (1.86:1 low gear), and Strange chrome-moly driveshaft. The B&M fluid cooler maintains normalcy. The terminus is a Jerry Bickel chrome-moly housing outfitted with a Strange Ultra centersection, 40-spline gun-drilled axle shafts and a 3.40:1 ring-and-pinion on a Strange spool.