Getting His Fix
Is there such a thing as a performance addiction? If so, sign Jim Kaske up for the 12-step program. Jim is admittedly addicted to big-block-powered Chevy musclecars (just ask his wife, Diane). So after selling his '68 Nova, he needed a new Rat-motored machine to keep him wired. When his first choice, a 454-powered '67 Nova, turned out to be a rust bucket, he parted it out, bought a clean '67 body shell from a fellow National Nostalgic Nova club member, and began building this beast from the ground up.
Since he was planning on producing plenty of power, Jim commissioned Dennis Spal of High Speed Welding (Westmont, Illinois) to build a race-worthy, double-rail, full-tube chassis. Dennis equipped the chassis with a narrowed 9-inch rearend, suspending it with a Chassisworks four-link system and AVO coilovers. Then he crafted a front suspension using Morrison struts and spindles and a Wilwood rack-and-pinion. Wilwood brakes found their way onto all four corners, as did Center Line Convo Pro wheels (15x3- and 15x14-inch) and Mickey Thompson rubber.
As the chassis was going together, Jim came across an ad for a 572-inch Keith Black aluminum block, complete with a Callies crank, Carrillo rods, Jesel belt drive, Comp Cams roller cam, and Ross 7:1 blower pistons. So he bought the unassembled short-block and had Step-Up Performance build it using Dart 360 heads, a BDS Stage III blower, and twin 1050 Dominators. With a 14-percent overdrive pulley on the blower, the massive Rat sends an estimated 800hp through the TSI-built Turbo 400. To quiet down all those ponies, Jim had Dennis make up custom headers and a full-length dual exhaust with both Flowmaster and SuperTrapp mufflers.
Before attaching the body to the chassis, Supreme Bodywerks massaged it, stretched the rear wheel openings, and sprayed on the Sikkens Evening Orchid paint (the color was a '65 Impala offering). Then it was up to Jim to finish off the interior using Jaz seats, Auto Meter gauges, Simpson harnesses, and a Grant wheel.
It took nearly six years for Jim to complete the Nova, but you can see that it was well worth the wait. These days, when the Chicago-area weather permits, Jim can be found driving it to local cruise nights and shows with his crewchief (and son) Timmy riding shotgun. And should Jim feel the need for speed, the Nova can deliver-to the tune of 9.70s at 135 mph in street trim. That's the kind of fix that would satisfy any performance enthusiast.