Building a competitive race car that can also see limited street duty takes some serious time and money. There's also a lot of planning involved, and securing the help of many friends, family, and sponsors can be a real asset. When ATI Superchargers first approached us with its idea to build a NMCA Super Street Nova showcasing the new F-series blower lineup, we jumped right in. In our last two installments, we showed you how ATI built a 1,200-plus-hp Rat motor for it and how the chassis and drivetrain was modified to handle all the new power. This month we'll show you how ATI transformed a typical-for-its-age '69 Nova, into a 7-second, back-half race car that can hold its own on the boulevard and the show circuit.
It was summer 2000, and ATI had speed and beauty on its mind. They found the Nova they were looking for in Southern California. It was pretty solid to start with, so no extensive sheetmetal repair was necessary. It came originally equipped with a two-barrel 307 and a column-shift three-speed manual, both of which were destined for the parts pile in ATI's shop. After the crew at ATI first attacked the car with a pressure washer in their parking lot, they stripped it down and trucked the parts over to Mooney's Auto Body in Grandview, Missouri, (816/763-9398), where bodyman Kelly Lamming performed the Super Street transformation. Since racing was the goal for this Nova and racing means lightweight, the folks at Harwood Industries stepped in to provide a set of fiberglass bumpers and the 4-inch cowl-induction hood, which was modified by Lamming to accommodate the blower-to-carburetor ducting.
In order to fit the large M/T racing rubber out back, Mooney's had to stretch the rear quarters approximately 3-inches forward by grafting in some replacement and handmade sheetmetal pieces. Aside from the rear wheel openings and the bulbous hood, ATI chose to keep the body otherwise stock and purchased a lot of repro hardware and exterior trim from Chevy 2 Only and Classic Industries to that effect. When Lamming and crew went into Mooney's paint booth to finish the job, they applied and great-looking coat of PPG Hot Licks Orange, provided by Auto Paint Stop in Independence, Missouri (816/478-6677).
PERFORMANCE EQUAL TO ITS LOOKS
At the recent Denver Super Chevy Show ATI showed its Nova to the public for the first time. The response was outstanding with curious onlookers crowding to get a look at the car and watch it make some check out passes at the strip. Next month, we'll wrap up the Nova plus take a closer look deep inside the finished car to show you all the neat details.