The Nova Times
A publication of
National Nostalgic Nova - May 1997, Volume 16 Number 5
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Scott's 1976 Nova
Owner: Scott Windle, Philadelphia, PA
I have always been a car nut for as long as I can remember. My first encounter with Novas came from my friend Chris Wood.
The first car Chris ever owned was a '73 Nova with 307 V8. First we added a 4bbl and dual exhaust. Then came a 350 and a
posi rear. When I started looking for my first car, all I wanted was a Nova because I was so familiar with them. Chris
and I worked at a gas station at the time and one day this old lady came in and told us that she was interested in selling
her Nova. I bought it from her for $800 in 1988 with 33,000 miles on the odometer. She
had gotten it in 1981 with 16,000 miles when her brother (the original owner) passed away. Except for a bad carburetor and
a sagging rear, it was in good shape. The original color was silver but the lady had it painted gray a few years before.
The body had no major rust but was starting to show signs in the lower quarter panels and under the back windows.
I replaced the leaf springs and the 1 bbl carburetor on the 250 straight 6 to get it
running healthy and level. New quarters were welded on and other little imperfections were fixed. The car was left in multiple shades of gray primer due to the lack of funds to get a good paint job. As a car
nut and a drag race fan, I wanted to find out how quick my Nova was. In stock condition it ran a best of 17.9 at 76 mph in
the quarter mile. This was too slow for my taste. At around 50,000 miles I hot rodded the 250
a little with a 390 cfm Holley 4 barrel on an Offenhauser aluminum intake, a 1965 230 cid cylinder head, a .502" lift Crane cam, Hooker headers, and a 3.42 open rear from a 73 Nova. It ran a best
16.1 at 84 mph with all the changes I made. Not bad but still nowhere near the 14 second range I was looking for. As
hard as I tried it would not break into the 15's. I drove it like this for a while until I got fed up with 5 liter
Mustangs kicking my tail. With 80,000 miles now on the original block and pistons, the poor 6 was becoming tired. The
last 30,000 were really hard with all the changes I had made. The time had come for a more appropriate power plant for my
quarter mile desires.
In 1992 I put in a rebuilt small block from Speed Equip Engine Shop in Andalusia, PA. It's a 69 Camaro 327 with a 66 L79
cam and stock heads. I also installed a TH350 trans from a 71 El Camino (rebuilt by Jerry's transmission) with a shift
kit and a 2500 B&M HoleShot converter. Later that same year I installed a 3.90 posi rear built by Wayne Jack Rearends
in Johnstown, PA. The exhaust system consists of Hooker headers and a Flowmaster Force II
system. The Flowmaster system is listed for 67-74 Camaro/Firebird and 68-74 Nova
but it will also fit 75-79 Novas as well. It has a 2 1/2
inch aluminized H pipe, a single 2 chamber dual inlet and outlet muffler (that fits in the stock location up and behind
the rear axle) and 2 1/2 inch aluminized tail pipes.
The interior needed some going over so I installed a new carpet from Auto Custom Carpets. I salvaged bucket seats from a
81 Monza and had J&J Seat Covers reupholster them and the original back seat. I installed them with a 76 Nova console
and a Hurst Pro-Matic 2 shifter. To reduce the weight I replaced the hood with a fiberglass
cowl induction hood from Unlimited Fiberglass. I also replaced the bumpers with fiberglass duplicates from VFN and I
added Weld DragLite-II wheels. For traction I relocated the battery to the trunk and installed Lakewood traction bars. The
Competition Engineering subframe connectors and Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tires also help the car run 13.5 at 102 mph.
Now it had some power but it still needed paint.
From May until August of 1994 The Uni-Body Shop Inc. in Philadelphia dismantled the body, removed all glass, sanded it
down to bare metal and painted it the original shade of silver (GM code 13). The parts department of Bryner Chevrolet in
Jenkintown, PA found me numerous small items such as door handles, tail light lenses and bezels, weather-stripping, body
bushings etc. to make the finishing touches. Although mine is not an original SS car, I learned that a 76 SS Nova was
only a stripe kit and SS badges that could even be ordered with a straight six. Because of this I found a Rally Nova
grill and added Nova SS emblems. Future plans for the car include better heads (aluminum, 64cc chambers with 2.02"/1.60"
valves) and detailing the engine compartment more.
Although it is no longer my every day car, I still drive it regularly. I take it out every weekend and sometimes I will
take it to work during the week. It is always driven to the dragstrip and car shows and even as far as the 180 mile round
trip to Wildwood, NJ for shows on the boardwalk twice a year. My favorite part of Hot Rodding has always been the quarter
mile performance side, but now that the Nova has been painted I enjoy the show car aspect more than ever. I still race it,
just not as much as before.
The color slides I sent are of my Nova sitting at the top of the steps in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. My Nova
is sitting exactly where Sylvester Stallone stood in the movie 'Rocky.' The are actual footprints in the concrete with a
||Copyright © 1997 Scott Windle
||Created on: 11/19/97