I've always wanted a 7-second street car, but I'm not saying I have one until it goes down the track." So said the owner of this '69 Nova, Denny Durbin, whose name has been on the pink slip of this particular car for 30 years.
It's the first car he ever owned, and Denny bought it when he was just 15. Suffice to say, he's been modifying it ever since. It's the car he took to his high school proms, and it's seen a number of different transformations. He's made a lot of memories in the car, both in the front seat and the back.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. At the Super Chevy Show in Virginia, Tech Editor Dan Ryder and Associate Editor Mike Ficacci were on specific assignment from the powers that be to find the hot rod for the cover of this issue. They were instructed to find a show-worthy supercharged big-block '68-72 Nova that not only turns heads, but makes them spin around. And if it could scream down the quarter-mile in 8 seconds or less, so much the better. (The boss knows exactly what he wants.)
Well, that shouldn't be too difficult ... yeah, right! Next assignment-go find D. B. Cooper. These men went to the show with their orders (and their fingers crossed) and drove not 60 feet into Virginia Motorsports Park before eyeballing this dream machine. Long story short, after frantically phoning in their discovery, they set up a shoot two days later, and with a little Super Chevy magic, on the cover sits this eye-catching, supercharged monster with at least 1,500 horsepower.
Since purchasing it in 1977, Denny has filled her with aftermarket goodies, taken it all apart, and started over again. When he got it, it was every high school hot rodder's dream, circa 1977: "It was all original, but it was a 350 car, and it had a 396 and an automatic," Denny recalled. "It had Cragars on it and air shocks and was jacked up in the back. It was the hottest car in school."
But that was many turns of a wrench ago. The current build, which he did in his two-car attached garage (including paint!), took five solid years. We asked Denny about his goal for this build and loved his answer: "I want this street car to run 7s. If it doesn't, I'll make more power," he said.
While we craved a supercharged Nova for the cover, we never expected to find one with a PSI screw-type blower off an Alcohol Funny Car. There were a number of issues associated with setting up the unit for gasoline, including clearancing the rotors and opening up the bottom of the case for more airflow. And since no one had ever set up that injection system for street use, the whole thing had to be fabricated. According to the owner, there are close to 50 pieces that were custom-made by Tom Reed of Reed's Welding. Denny had to experiment there as well. He runs 45-psi FAST injectors into the lower manifold and 95s up top. Running everything is a FAST computer tuned by Bill Anderson.
Sitting under the monster huffer is a Roche Racing Engines 540ci big-block. Brian Roche used Dart Big M 410cc aluminum cylinder heads, 7.5:1 Arias pistons, a Comp Cams roller camshaft measuring 0.750/.750-inch lift and 280 degrees duration, a Sonny Bryant custom crankshaft, and a BDS Competition intake manifold.