Techin' In With Fletch - March 2014

Dan Fletcher Feb 14, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Cheap Speed

In your December column you mentioned the 383 that you built for your son's Nova. Would you share your parts combo/specs? The 480/480 hp/tq for $3,500 bucks in parts is music to my ears.

Phil Finnell
Via email

To be honest with you, I didn't even have $3,500 in the parts. I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist from someone that had bought all the parts directly from Summit. Everything was brand new in the box, most with receipts. The guy had gathered up all the parts for a project and then changed course, so I was able to slide in and put everything in the truck for $2,500. All I was short was a balancer, starter, and distributor. At the time, I priced out all of the components at Summit, and I approximated the value at about $3,500.

It was a while back now, but I can remember most everything that was used, and it was all directly from Summit. The block was a Summit deal that was already to go Summit Racing - 355 or 383 Chevy Remanufactured Engine Blocks SUM-150100 , the rotating assembly was something like this from Eagle (Summit Racing - Eagle Street and Strip Rotating Assemblies B13056L030), and the heads were close to these (Summit Racing - Summit Racing Street & Strip® Cylinder Heads for Small Chevy SUM-162111). I don't recall the exact part number, but it had a mild Comp Cams hydraulic roller, budget roller rockers, some Summit brand intake and valve covers, and a stock type pan.

We ran it with a 1.87 first gear ATI powerglide, an 8-inch ATI converter, a 750 cfm Quick Fuel carburetor, Cal Trac bars/springs, and a set of 9-inch Mickey Thompson stocker tires. Timothy used both the trans brake and straight foot brake during the course of the season, and I really don't think the car ever even thought of turning the tire. Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't exactly a wheel stander, but it was deadly in 60-ft, and that's what you want when you're bracket racing. He'd leave the starting line around 3,500 rpm, shift at 5,700 or 5,800, and cross about 6,000. From track to track and with varying weather conditions, the car ran from as slow as 11 flat to as fast as 10.70s.

After some initial new car blues, the Nova ran like a champ. Timbo made over 150 runs this past season, and we never really even got the car out till around the first of June. While both consistent and reliable was good, it tallied a goose egg in the parts breakage column as well, which might be even better. I'm honestly not sure whether I should be proud or embarrassed, but I don't think I ever had the valve covers off.


Build Sheet Hunting

I recently bought a 1969 Chevelle SS396 from the son of the original owner. I also got paperwork with the Chevelle proving that it is in fact a real SS396, but no build sheet. I know the previous owner had the front and back seats out, as well as the carpeting, but no build sheet was found. I would say the car is 90 percent original. Could it be on top of the gas tank? Did they always put a build sheet in every '69 Chevelle? What other places did they put them?

I love the mag and it's always got to be a Chevy! Thanks for any help you may provide.

Russ in Iowa
Via email

I can certainly understand your desire to locate the build sheet. The build sheet is a great record of the parts used in production and is way up on the list of documentation that can be used to prove or verify a given car's authenticity. But let's be clear, there's no guarantee that a build sheet was even left in your car; it's not like it was part of the option package. They were simply documents to aid workers in the construction of the vehicle. With that said, many times they were left with the car, and it could have been left virtually anywhere in the interior, potentially under the carpet, on the back of a door panel, or in the rear seat springs. I understand it could be in the upper front fender well as well, and yes, it could even be on top of the gas tank. Happy hunting…

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