Marc Shankweiler and his True Street ’66 Nova II

For most of us car enthusiasts, it all started with the first car we ever had. That is the vehicle that defined what kind of “guy” we were going to be. If you were rolling around in a Ford Mustang the day you got your license, than it is pretty certain you would be a Ford guy from then on – that goes for Chevy and Mopar as well. Marc Shankweiler, owner of MarSchan Motorsports, has the same story, so read more about him and his bad, blue, True Street ’66 Nova II.

Like many car fanatics, Marc got hooked on drag racing from early on, although his parents didn’t quite like it. His first car was a ’66 Nova that he had in high school. It was a garage project with a 327 – enough to put a smile on any kids face. The car quickly stole all of Marc’s time (plus money) and he soon found himself finding ways to get around his parents and down to the dragstrip. At one point, while his parents were out of town, Marc was staying at his grandparents house just so he could go racing. He took his ’66 Nova down to Maple Grove and swept the whole race. There was one problem with that though – he had to tell his parents about the trophy.

Shortly after he was forced out of the Nova, but he found himself traveling to pick up another ’66 Nova II for just $700, and he drove it home – the only thing missing was the back window. “When we got it home, it ended up being like every other project car,” added Marc. When they started to really crack into it they found that the reason why it had no back window. When someone was “restoring” the car, they slapped on a bunch of Bondo along the rear window and it would not fit in anymore.  After long long hours of scraping off layers of paint, Marc and the MarSchan team were finally able to see all of the rust piled under. “We had to replace the panel between the back window and the trunk, the sail panel, and the gutter above the window, because of the rust,” explained Marc.

After the extensive metal work was finished, the car went together pretty quickly. “ We had the car race ready in about 8 months after we bought it,” Marc explained. With a team full of dedicated people, and a stockpile of parts, they were able to throw this blue machine together very quickly. Marc continued, “ I love the 327 V8s, so I had a few stocked up in my garage when I brought the car home.” He had the engine; he just didn’t know what he wanted to do with the car – turn it into a street rod or a drag car? With  After thinking about it for a while, he decided to go back to his roots and tear up the dragstrip.

Building the car

With the car down to bare metal and most if not all of the parts to get this thing back to the track, the building began. The work was done in stages to allow Marc to run the car as soon as possible, and continue the upgrades as time went on. Of course the 10 bolt had to go before it even came anywhere near the dragstrip, so he replaced it with a much stronger 12 bolt that he received from a close friend. The first engine Marc threw in this car was a 327 small block, topped off with a Predator Carb, and backed by a 4 speed transmission. This setup was  just something to get out on the track. Soon after he took the 327 down the strip, he knew he needed to go bigger. The 327 quickly evolved into a 406 with a 4-speed, and he was happy with the power but not so much with the 4 speed, so he soon replaced it with an automatic transmission. Like many guys with very heavy feet, Marc soon grenaded the 406 and was left with no engine. But as that saying goes, if you break it, build it bigger, and Marc decided to do just that with a 421 Small Block Chevy.

With the new Small Block came some other new changes. He sold the 12 bolt to install a fabricated 9-inch rear end that was done up by Bear’s Performance. The roll cage was already installed but he wanted to do a little tweaking with the suspension. Marc then installed a CD Race Cars modified bolt-on aftermarket front suspension with Strange double-adjustable coilovers. In the rear of the car were a couple of Strange double-adjustable coilovers with ladder bars.

Of course, all good things come to an end, and in this case once again Mr. Heavy Foot blew up the engine. So that is where the Nova stands today, sitting in the shop just itching to get the new 421 Small Block Chevy that is being built by BMS Racing Engines. It runs a cast aluminum tunnel ram intake from M&M Competition Engines with a 2-stage fogger from Steve Johnson at Induction Solutions. It will be topped off with a single split Dominator from Quick Fuel Technology that features their new QFX body.  It has Jesel’s raised cam belt drive as well as their front mount distributor, and also their shaft mounted rockers. “These rockers are activated by custom pushrods from Smith Brothers that look like telephone poles,” added Marc. The heads are a pair of SB2.2 castings, ported by M&M Performance. According to Marc, “ The engine is just about ready to drop in – I know I am ready.”

Car and Driver Specs

The Driver: Marc Schankweiler
Owner: Marc Schankweiler
Class: True Street / 8.50 Index / 275 Drag Radial
Hometown: Pottstown, PA
Occupation: Carpenter
The Crew: John Kokinda, Keith Allen, Jennifer Schankweiler

Engine: 421 SBC
Engine Builder: BMS Racing Engines
Block: Brodix
Bore: 4.155
Stroke: 3.875
Crank: Callies
Rods: GRP
Pistons: Diamond
Heads: SB2.2 ported by M&M Competition Engines
Head Flow: Around 400 CFM
Valvetrain: Jesel & Manley
Carburator: Split Dominator by Quick Fuel Technology
Cam Type and Specs: Comp Cams Custom Grind
Intake: GM SB2.2 tunnel ram designed by M&M Competition Engines
Power-Adder: 2 stage nitrous fogger by Induction Solutions
Crankcase Evacuation System: GZ Motorsports Pro VP103
Headers And Exhaust: Lemmons Headers coated by Jet-Hot and Borla XR-1 4-inch mufflers
Transmission: C&G Pro Trans Powerglide
Torque Converter: Pro Torque
Rearend: Fabricated 9” by Bear’s Performance

Chassis: Stock Uni-body with frame connectors
Vehicle Weight: 3,330 lbs
Front Suspension: CD Race Cars modified bolt on aftermarket with Strange double adjustable coil overs
Rear Suspension: Strange double adjustable coil overs and ladder bars
Brakes: Strange disc front and rear
Wheels: Holeshot Sunflares Front and Rear
Tires: Mickey Thompson Drag Radials
Safety Equipment: Fire Bottle Halon system, Simpson Helmet, Ultra Shield Jacket and Pants
Parachute: Stroud
Diaper: DJ Safety

Every car enthusiast returns to their roots, and Marc is a true drag racing enthusiast – someone who finds time to work during the day, go to his son’s baseball games, and somehow shoves building his ’66 Nova in there. Marc wanted to add, ” Special thanks to my wife for putting up with my addiction, Mickey Thompson, M&M Competition Engines, BMS Racing Engines, Aeromotive, Brodix, Total Seal, Jesel, Diamond Pistons, GRP, PWD Lubricants, Boccellas Performance, Clark Industrial, Alternate Construction Concepts, Moroso, Smithe Brothers Pushrods, Induction Solutions, Pro Torque Converters, C&G Pro Trans, NGK, J&B Motorsports, Speed Freak Clothing, and Mark, MIke, and Seth at Gonedragracing.com, VP fuels, and Quick Fuel Carburetors.

About the author

Cody Norris

Cody has been around motorsports his whole life - from boating all the way to off-roading and everything in between. When he decided he wanted to turn his hobby into a career, he found himself helping out in the PowerTV shop. With a thirst for knowledge, Cody turned himself into a sponge to everyone on the PowerTV crew, in hopes to gain a little something from everyone. He soon drifted into the office as a writer in order to broaden his learning capabilities, and be able to talk face to face with the great people in this industry.
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