Subscribe to the Free

1966 Chevy Nova - Ground Shaker

Dana Matlock Wanted A Mid-'70s-Style Street Car With Some Grunt. What He Ended Up With Is A Car That Makes The Ground Rumble.

Patrick Hill Dec 1, 2009
Sucp_0912_02_z 1966_chevy_nova Headlights 2/11

In 2003, Dana Matlock got the itch to have a mid-'70s-style street car. He wanted something with an original look and a bigger than stock engine that would cause the asphalt to tremble as it approached. Combined with his long-time desire to own a '66 Nova, the quest began to find a suitable car to use as a foundation for the project. After some hunting, Dana found a '66 in good shape for $4,500, and shortly after the car was at K&M Performance in Green Forest, Arkansas, for Dana's cousin Mike and crew to start wrenching on.

The entire car was torn apart, the body stripped down and blasted with walnut shells to remove the Black Cherry paint it was sporting. After stripping, new Goodmark Industries sheetmetal was welded in where necessary, and the body was prepped for spraying in Mountain Green, an original '66 Nova color. After the body was ready, K&M bolted on a complete Heidts front suspension with Wilwood disc brakes on the car up front, and a Moser narrowed 9-inch rear with Moser axles, Posi unit, and 4.10 gears was assembled and installed out back so the suspension of the Nova would be up to handling the motor Mike had planned for the car, and keeping it straight on the road.

Since Dana wanted a small-block that would make the car the center of attention wherever it went, Mike did some thinking, then got to work building a 434ci engine. Using a GM #511 block with splayed bearing caps and block filler up to the water pump holes as the foundation, Mike stuffed in an Eagle rotating assembly with 4.00-inch stroke, 6-inch rods, and JE pistons. Combined with Dart 230 Pro One cylinder heads, the engine sports 15:1 compression for a glass-shattering rumble out the tailpipes.

Finishing the engine off is a Comp Cams bumpstick, Comp belt drive, Jesel shaft rockers, Super Victor Dominator intake, 1050 cfm Holley Dominator HP carb, MSD Pro Billet distributor with crank trigger, MSD Digital Six ignition and coil, and an Aeromotive fuel pump to keep the monster mouse fed with go-go juice. Keeping everything cool is a Griffin aluminum radiator, 16-inch SPAL electric fan, and CSR electric water pump.

Sending all that power to the 9-inch rear is a TH350 transmission built by Ed Rogers at Fast Eddie's Transmissions in Berryville, Arkansas, that uses a TCI SFI approved flexplate, TCI trans cooler, 4500 stall torque converter, and a Hurst Quarter-Stick shifter.

On the inside, to complete the stock look, a new factory-style interior from YearOne was installed, and supplementing the factory gauges are Auto Meter Pro Comp oil, engine temp, and fuel pressure gauges along with an Auto Meter 5-inch Pro Comp tachometer. Finishing the outside off is a set of Weld Drag Lite 15-inch wheels with BFGoodrich rubber.

When finished, Mike delivered the car to Dana, who on the first ride discovered how much punch the Nova packed. With a high-compression exhaust bark, Dana's Deuce definitely announces its presence with authority wherever he goes.



Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

sponsored links

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print