1969 Chevy Nova - White Knuckle Blues

Few Can Say They Wielded aN MIG Welder And Gave It A Whirl.

Mike Ficacci Jul 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0807_01_z 1969_chevy_nova Drag 1/9

Let's take a trip to the land of hypothetical scenarios. You're in your 40s and have a loving wife and two beautiful young children. You are finally gaining your hearing back after the kids went through the "terrible twos," and you finally have extra time to expunge. You have always loved American muscle and want to build your high-horse dream machine, yet still be able to drive the ankle biters to and from school. What do you do?

Brian Lutz was at a point where it was time to build the automobile that always eluded him. He envisioned a car with a mighty rumble capable of cruising around town, yet with enough power to turn heads at the local dragstrip. Something with enough chrome to outshine the sun and stunning lines that run off into the sunset. What he ended up with was a tire-scorching Pro Street car that will leave the hairs on the back of your neck dazed and confused. All we can say is the munchkins better hold on tight.

Sucp_0807_02_z 1969_chevy_nova Intake 2/9

The blown big-block under and through the hood makes 950 rear wheel horsepower courtesy of Ray Barton Racing Engines and will push this car deep into the 9-second zone. At first glance, you wouldn't expect serious mileage to be covered with this one, but looks can be deceiving. Brian takes his kids to school in it on occasion, to cruise nights, and to car shows. He even gave Head Cheese Jim Campisano a white-knuckle ride through the countryside around Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. He reports it was a blast, though his hearing hasn't been the same since.

Sucp_0807_03_z 1969_chevy_nova Trunk 3/9

Brian took this little baby down to E-town Raceway for a test run, and let me tell ya, "straight" and "under control" aren't words we'd use to describe the experience. This was the first time the Nova had seen the quarter-mile. She made several low 10-second passes at over 130 mph, but did not put together a clean pass all day. If it hooked hard on the starting line, it got loose at the 1,000-foot mark. If the tires spun out of the gate, the one-two shift left the car pointed toward the wall.

Brian and his buddies installed a full-spool 9-inch Ford rear, ladder bars, shocks, and springs to complete the rear suspension. Though it looked beautiful and performed on the street, we soon found out that 750 lb-ft of torque demands a little more. "After the day at Englishtown, we all looked at each other and realized that a better-performing suspension had to be the next step," said Brian.

With this much power, safety is job No. 1. Presently, H&J Motorsports in Croydon, Pennsylvania, has the Nova at its shop and is completely overhauling the suspension. It's installing a Moser M9 rear end housing, double-adjustable ladder bars, front inner fender panels, a custom wing, a parachute, and a 56-inch wheelie bar.

Sucp_0807_04_z 1969_chevy_nova Engine 4/9

Widely known for its work on NHRA Super Stock Hemi cars, Ray Barton Racing Engines is one of the premier high-performance shops on the East Coast. Out of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, the folks there created this 540ci pump gas engine with a BDS blower and twin 850-cfm Holley carbs. They used Pro Topline heads, a BDS manifold, Comp Cams solid roller lifters, and a custom Bullet camshaft (.731 lift at 312 degrees intake; .714 lift at 332 degrees exhaust). Just 5 pounds of forced air is all it takes to squeeze out 950 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 753 lb-ft of torque.

All four corners are supported by Centerline Warrior wheels (15x6 front; 15x14 back). Giant Hoosier QTPs in the back (31x15) and Laramie Steel Riders up front (measuring 215/65R15) carry the weight and attempt to keep this beast glued to the pavement, while Wilwood slotted discs rest inside all that chrome.

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