When we introduced our street/strip '72 Nova SS project in the February '11 issue, it had received a new Total Cost Involved tubular front clip (consisting of a tubular subframe, control arms, coilover shocks, rack-and-pinion steering, etc.). The TCI front clip has enabled the Nova to steer/drive as nice as (or better than) a late-model performance car.
In the last episode (September '11), we installed a Performance Automatic Turbo 400 transmission, a Currie Enterprises F9 9-inch rear, and a Driveshaft Shop 3.5-inch aluminum driveshaft. We wanted a tough team of drivetrain components to reliably handle all the power the 669hp 509 Dart motor would dish out.
For the baseline strip test, we drove the Nova to Atco Dragway in Atco, New Jersey. On 10-year-old, dry-rotted BFGoodrich drag radials we rolled it out for a soft 1.67 60-foot and 11.06 at 123 mph elapsed time (see superchevy.com, click on Videos to see the run). This turned out to be our only pass since the 509 threw the alternator belt and partially cut it. We felt fortunate we were able to reinstall the belt and drive home. High 10s were possible if we chanced making another pass, but we wanted to drive the Nova home and not be embarrassed by having it towed.
With an established baseline, we were interested in how much power was going to the Nova's tires. To find out, we drove it to our friends at Tune Time Performance in Toms River, New Jersey. After learning our baseline numbers, we could tune for added performance, driveability and economy. Using Tune Time's Mustang chassis dyno with its wide-band O2 sensor will aid us to tune-in a safe air/fuel (A/F) mixture ratio while returning better performance, throttle response, and lower e.t.'s. Follow along and see how the right timing, jets, a carburetor spacer, an air cleaner, and air bleeds can make a rewarding difference when it comes to achieving maximum safe power and engine longevity.