His and Hers Novas for Joe and Robin Duncan

I met Joe Duncan and Robin Horn before they married at a test and tune session at our home track of Sunshine Dragstrip in Clearwater, Florida. At the time they had just finished up Joe’s 73 Nova and were shaking down the new car.

Joe’s Younger brother Curt knew he was looking for an older Nova when he spotted this 73 model for sale. Obviously worse for wear and sporting an old TV in the front seat the price was just $200, Joe decided to take the plunge and embark on the extensive project. Many hours were spent on body work to repair the rusty areas on the car, when that was all wrapped up it was shot in a metallic gray and a mild 383 cubic inch SBC from General Crankshaft in St. Pete, Florida was dropped between the rails. The first engine had Dart Sportsman heads and an Edelbrock RMP Air Gap intake, a nice reliable piece for the 7.50 index they planned to run.

Sadly Curt passed before he could witness many the cars run on track, though he is a driving force for Joe to make improvements to the cars performance. Their mother gave Joe one of Curt’s favorite hats and it rides along in the car on every run since the build was completed. The car was raced at Sunshine’s bracket program occasionally, the 7.50 class and at Bradenton during select events through late 2009. Joe then decided he wanted to move up to the 6.50 Pure Street class and commisioned a new engine, again going with General Crankshaft as they have maintained a long relationship throughout Joe’s 23 years of racing.

The new engine is a 400 ci SBC with AFR 210 CNC heads, a 4340 rotating assembly from Ohio Crankshaft with Mahle 11:1 flat top pistons and 6 inch H beam rods. A custom roller from Joe Sherman tells the valves what to do. On top is a Super Victor intake with a Quick Fuel 950 for fuel metering.  Hooker Super Comp headers get rid of the fumes though a 3 inch exhaust. The rear is a Ford 9″ with 4.10 gears and uses a cal track setup to aid in hooking it up.

This past Wednesday Joe was tesing out a Vic. Jr. manifold and a cold air intake set up. Initial runs were off pace of the larger Super Victor manifold running 6.79 and three 6.80’s. Hooking up the air induction resulted in a 6.69 @ 103 and a 6.70 for a solid tenth drop in ET and 1.5 MPH better trap speed. Swapping the intake back should get him into the 6.50’s but really some other improvements are needed to have a little margin and run into the 6.40 range.

Future plans call for a burnt orange paint treatment . “Hers” features a TCI front clip, dropping needed weight off the front along with better handling. Another 383 powers this ride with an Ohio Crankshaft rotating assembly used once again with 10.5:1 compression. A .520 lift hydraulic roller bumps the valves in this one with out of the box Brodix IK 200 cc heads and a Eddy RPM Air Gap manifold. A TH 350 trans. shifts the gears with a Coan 10 inch converter. a 8.2 GM 10 bolt sits out back with a TA cover support, 3.55 gears and an Eaton Posi putt the power down on 235/60 MT Drag Radials with Cal Trac bars.

The ram air kit is one of those from Ontario, Canada based Ramairbox.com and is a simple way to pick up some power for about $300. Joe has it picking up the air from where the marker lights would be in the front bumper. You can also see the Smith Racecraft front clip in this photo along with the Wilwood master cylinder. Wilwood rear disc brakes and Aerospace on the front stop the car in short order.

Robin's 62 was located in California and is what's known as a survivor. it was completely stock when delivered with no plans to stay that way for long. It was upgraded all around mechanically with the body and paint left as is for now and I love the look..

About the author

Rob Cossack

Rob has had an interest in photography since he was young, but didn't get started until 2007, when he started shooting at the local tracks. After that, he started doing local video coverage of heads-up events and began working with Power Automedia shortly after.
Read My Articles

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