Day 1: We begin on Speedway Motors’ 1967 Nova by building a solid foundation.
Around these parts, a Week to Wicked build feels like a national holiday. After lots of buildup and preparation, we are finally able to get together with some of our best friends in the industry to spend five glorious days doing nothing but working on a single car build. And although we’ll spend five long days and nights slaving away, it never actually feels like work.
This year the car of choice is a 1967 Chevy II that we are turning into a straight-axle gasser. And while it won’t technically be period-correct, thanks to several critical updates for performance and safety we will still keep a period-correct feel with the gasser vibe. That includes the mandatory solid axle, a stance with the nose a mile high in the air, skinnies up front and slicks in back, and an old-school big-inch engine sticking out of the hood. Pretty rad, right?
We thought so, too.
The subject Chevy II (or Nova) previously had been powered by a straight-six. Actually, “underpowered” is probably a better term. Before we got started on it, there had already been many hours of work to prep for the build. That includes a fresh coat of beautiful Marina Blue paint that had already been laid down and a six-point chromoly rollcage fabbed up in the interior, because both would blow our time budget to pieces before we’d be able to get started on anything else. The staff at Speedway Motors also put together a righteous custom engine to power this rig.
So the morning of day one mainly consisted of blowing the car apart. That included ripping out the engine and trans, fenders, and even the front clip. Basically, everything forward of the firewall, except the fenders, wound up in the trash. The original 10-bolt rear was also pulled to make way for a brand-new Speedway Motors 9-inch housing equipped with 3.89 gears in a high-strength nodular iron case, a Power Track limited-slip diff, and 31-spline axles. Interestingly, Speedway does a ton of these rearends for different applications and can fab up the custom rearend housings (with axles cut to match) from 54 to 60 inches in width, depending on your application.
We didn’t get a chance to do more than get it unwrapped today, but the centerpiece of this build is certainly the old-school big-block custom built in-house at Speedway Motors by resident engine builder Zach Woods. The 496ci stroker big-block will definitely get the attention thanks to its tall tunnel-ram intake topped by twin Holley 650 double-pumpers. And best of all, the engine runs as well as it looks. Even with what is described as a pretty mild cam and large combustion chambers to keep it street friendly, this big Chevy produces 646 hp at 5,800 rpm and 657 lb-ft of torque at 4,800! Stay tuned for more info on this monster mill in future Week to Wicked updates.
Up front, Speedway Motors spec’d out their straight-axle kit for 1962-1967 Chevy II cars. The kit is a direct bolt-in and uses different bolt patterns in the down tubes so that it will fit the 1962-1965 as well as the 1966 and 1967 body styles. This isn’t your standard straight-axle setup seen in T-bucket kits. Speedway Motors allows this kit to be customized to your needs, and we did that extensively for our heavier, faster Chevy II build.
Namely, the axle tube is Speedway’s HD version, which is cut from 3/8-inch wall tubing (instead of the standard 1/4-inch) to make it substantially stronger than practically anything else on the market. The brakes are also upgraded with 11-inch discs and Wilwood calipers. Although they look like standard GM single-piston metric calipers, these units are popular with stock car racers because they feature a larger piston diameter for more clamping load. This is critical because our big-block isn’t exactly lightweight, plus this car should be substantially faster than anything the original OEM calipers were designed for. We also plan to upgrade the standard kit shocks in the near future with race spec dampers from Afco for additional control.
In back, the suspension definitely keeps the gasser vibe, but with upgraded technology. The fabricated housing is held in place with a pair of Speedway monoleaf springs on custom mounts to relocate the wheels 1 inch rearward. A pair of Competition Engineering Slide-A-Link traction bars limit axle wrap while also helping maintain traction with a damper bushing to help control driveline shock on hard launches.
And that’s about it for day one. It’s early, but so far, we’re still on schedule. Blowing apart the car took the better part of the morning, but Speedway Motors’ solid front-axle kit bolted up without a hitch. After assembling the kit on a table, actually bolting the kit to the car took less than 10 minutes. Tomorrow, we plan to drop in the big-block, plumb up the fuel system, then finally fab up some brakes lines so we can get the brakes bled. Soon, we’ll also get around to dropping in the Odyssey Performance Series battery and Thermo-Tec cabin insulation. Check out our gallery of behind-the-scenes build photos and please make sure to stay tuned for updates at HotRod.com as well as Car Craft’s Facebook page as the fun continues!
Source: Read Full Article