MaxStreet 1966 Nova II – Fabrication Project First Update – Big Block

A new project car becomes the celebrity in any garage once it first arrives, at least for a short amount of time. Our fairly new 1966 Chevy II has taken the center stage in the powerTV garage. In typical fashion, we immediately made the Nova a non-working vehicle, dismembering the entire suspension, and then welded casters on the bottom so we can push it around.

To overview the project, our Nova will be receiving the 555ci Edelbrock/Musi crate engine that was previously installed in Project Grandma. To spice the motor up even further, it will be getting a new set of low compression JE pistons and a F2 Procharger, backed by a TCI 6x transmission. Helping with the fuel/air distribution will be a FAST XFI and MSD ignition. For the stiff stuff underneath, it will receive a Chassisworks front end kit and a Detroit SpeedRear Suspension. Behind the rollers will be a set of Wilwood brakes while the rollers themselves will be Billet Specialties wheels. We are aiming for around 850 hp to the wheels on pump gas.

The first project was our complete Chris Alston’s Chassisworks front clip. It is a gorgeous piece that converts to a more modern upper and lower control arm system with a double-adjustable Varishock coilover. Next, it was time to fit in the Edelbrock/Musi 555 that we yanked out of Project Grandma for some test fitting.

While it almost looked like it was going to work, we ended up needing to slim down the firewall slightly to make room for the big block. This included smoothing out the “bulge” where the wiper motor resides, as well as the heater motor. While we could have gone with a different windshield wiper configuration, we decided to eliminate it completely since it doesn’t rain in So Cal anyway. For a cleaner look, Sean massaged the firewall further by plugging up all the unnecessary holes before the Nova gets wheeled off for paint

Next task was clearing room for the massive TCI 6x transmission. The tunnel area under the car is fairly anemic, so some brain surgery on the top of the tunnel ensued. Shawn cut out a small section of the tunnel and fabricated a piece of sheet metal that was wider, allowing the case to fit better. Lastly was a casting ear on the left side of the tunnel that was a quick chop for the transmission to clear the tunnel opening. The driveshaft tunnel itself is a bit on the puny side as well, so we hope further tunnel modifications will be minor once we place in a properly sized driveshaft.

Next up is cutting the wheel wells out of the Nova and installing Detroit Speed mini tubs to make room for some big meats, that will support the near 1000hp the Procharged big block Chevy will make.

While we have a long round ahead of us on the MaxStreet Nova, the future of the car looks promising. We are nearing the paint stage of the build and the custom JE pistons will be on its way soon. Once the car is painted and the engine is reassembled in low compression form, look for MaxStreet to be full steam ahead.

About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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