Build it faster, quicker, and keep it streetable. Thats what Chevy gearheads wake up for each morning. If youve been following CHPs Bolt and Go series, youve watched us add the first two stages of Holleys new Street Avenger Systems Pure Street package to our test Nova. The first two stages of the Pure Street package focused on improving engine power by adding a 670-cfm Holley Street Avenger carburetor, Weiand Action-Plus intake, a Lunati camshaft, an Annihilator ignition, and a Hooker exhaust system. To enhance those performance bolt-ons, we gave the Nova more stall speed by adding an Art Carr 10-inch converter. With those changes we transformed our stock 350 Goodwrench Nova from a bland 17.27 at 79.16 mph cruiser to a spicy 14.81 at 93.89 mph performer.
This time we pushed the performance envelope further when we pulled the iron Goodwrench heads and added the Pure Street Stage 3 Holley SysteMAX aluminum cylinder heads. To complement our newfound power, we also canned the Novas lackluster 3.08 open rearend and installed a set of Reider Racing 3.73 gears and an Eaton posi unit. So hang on as we wring more e.t. out of our Nova and land deeply into the 13s.
Head for the Street
To add even more performance synergy to the Pure Street System, the Stage 3 package offers a set of good-flowing Holley SysteMAX aluminum cylinder heads that provide 185cc intake ports with 2.02-/1.60-inch valves. After seeing those kinds of stats we could hardly wait to start unscrewing the stock 1.94-/1.50-valve iron castings from our 350 and bolt on the new aluminum heads.
With the heads off, we removed all the old gasket material from the blocks deck and cleaned all the head bolt holes. Then we picked up a set of ARP head bolts with washers to eliminate the chance of galling the aluminum castings. After torquing >> the heads into place, we installed a set of Lunatis hardened 8.040-inch pushrods to match the SysteMAXs valvetrain geometry.
Although our Goodwrench 350s stock rocker arms could probably have survived the Novas dragstrip duty, we opted for a set of Lunati 1.6 aluminum roller-rocker arms.
With coolant back in the motor and everything set, we noticed that the better breathing heads demonstrated improved performance, especially in the mid to upper rpm ranges. The following Friday night we drove the Nova through L.A. traffic for two hours to Los Angeles County Raceway (LACR) in Palmdale. With our late arrival and the crowded staging lanes, we could only make one run and stopped the clocks with a corrected 14.43 at 95.86 mph, which netted almost a 0.40-second and 2-mph improvement from our last track outing running the stock iron heads.
This demonstrated that with our increasing midrange power gains, we really needed a set of gears. So we contacted the folks at Reider Racing to help out. Reider Racing suggested a set of 3.73 Precision Gears, an installation kit, and an Eaton posi unit to allow the Nova to leave the starting line hard and continue crisp acceleration down the track. Plus the 3.73s are not too deep for our freeway commutes.
Because proper gear installation is critical, we contacted our good friend Tim Moore to help out. With Moores experience and tools, the installation took just a few hours of bench time. After we allowed the gears to break in we found the Novas off-the-line performance had improved tremendously. Keeping the tires from breaking loose would be a challenge, though, so we borrowed a pair of Mickey Thompson E.T. Street tires and stuffed them in the trunk. At freeway speeds, the engine ran at around 3,500 rpm throughout our 90-mile trip to the LACR. We installed the E.T. Streets at the track and adjusted the tire pressure to about 15 psi. After a few passes, we had the Nova stopping the clocks at a very respectable 13.58 at 100.07 mph, but we still felt we could drop more time. Although the Nova was hooking reasonably well on the starting line, we still couldnt give the engine full-throttle or else the tires would break loose. Back in the pits we disconnected the front sway bar for improved weight transfer and adjusted the rear tire pressure to 13 psi.
Our efforts paid off on our next pass when the Nova ran a corrected 13.37 at 102.18 mph. Since we began installing the Holley Street Avenger Pure Street System our quarter-mile e.t. has improved by almost 4 seconds and the mph has increased an astounding 23 mph. Each stage of the Holley Pure Street System also increased the Novas fun-factor. Best of all, the Nova is still very streetable. The trip to and from LACR is about 180 miles, and the Nova has always made each trek flawlessly in freeway traffic. Thats what the whole dyno-matched Holley Street Avenger System is all aboutpure performance in a very streetable package.