Flashback Friday: Tommy Stringfield’s 1128ci Triple Engine Nova
Y’know, this Nova..it’s a really nice car…I dig it and all, but it just seems to be missing something. Hmm, wait a minute, I’ve got it! How about a pair of injected fuel burning small blocks in the back seat! Yeah, that’s the ticket! And to keep the front end down, I’ll just leave the original motor…nah, screw that I’ll stick another injected fuel burner under the hood too. I’m goin Funny Car racing dangit!
And at some point early in 1966, these were the very thoughts that went through a young Tommy Stringfield’s mind. But, unlike the rest of us, who would normally dismiss such ideas as being too radical given the practical limitations placed on us Earthlings, Stringfield actually went ahead and pulled the trigger.
The result was the Triple Trouble Nova. An exercise in extreme backyard engineering, the little Chevy sported a whopping 1128 cubic inches…24 cylinders worth of very angry mouse motor wrapped up in an otherwise stock, steel production car.
How did it all work, you ask. This is beautiful. Under the hood, in the stock location was engine number one. It fed through a three speed auto, regular drive shaft, and on to the rear (more on that in a second). Engines two and three resided in the back seat…fully exposed! In the otherwise fully upholstered interior and fed through clutches and direct drive couplers, also to the rear.
Now, the rear is where things get really wild. The rear consisted of three, count ’em, three Early Olds units that were grafted together in line to form the most amazing axle in the history of man.
It was all so beautifully wrong that it HAD to be right, right? Well, not exactly. Tipping the scales at an ungodly 4000 pounds, and with enough torque on tap to turn concrete into confetti, the Triple Trouble Nove was a freewheeling slow motion projectile. In the only account we could find of the car in actual competition, it lost a best two of three match race to Fast Eddie Schartman’s conventional Merc Fueler with an ET somewhere down in the low 11’s.
Ok, so the plan didn’t work out quite the way Stringfield had hoped. But, do you think such an enterprising individual was going to let this turn of events dissuade him from chasing his dream of fame and fortune on the Drag Strips of America? Of course not! Over the Winter of ’66, Stringfield attacked the hind quarters of his beast with every destructive implement .at his disposal, hacked out the two rear mounted engines and stuffed a single diff axle in their place, turning Triple Trouble into a radical altered wheelbase wheelie car! And that’s where the path drifts off into eternal obscurity. A couple of shots of this contraption exist, but no record of its performance in this configuration can be found.
Tommy Stringfield: Man, mechanic, visionary. The only real question now, is where is this man today, when Drag Racing needs him the most.