Supercharged '66 Nova SS: When Life Gives You Lemons...


When it comes time to purchase a project car, restorers always hope that everything is as it seems and that there are no expensive surprises awaiting. However, Murphy's Law still applies, and sometimes you get more than what you bargained for. Such was the case for Justin Brown, the owner of this '66 Nova SS that was recently featured on the AutotopiaLA YouTube channel. He did his homework and spoke to the previous owner, but after taking delivery of the car, things started to go wrong. Thankfully, he was ready to make lemonade from the lemons life had given him.

Justin's '66 Nova SS


Despite what it looks like now, Justin's Nova had some issues from the previous attempt at restoration. The front end was making a lot of noise, and investigation revealed that all the components were loose and the bushings were shot. So, he disassembled the entire front end and replaced the worn-out parts. But that was only the start of the problems — on the first drive, smoke poured out of the car. The head gasket was blown.


Rather than simply putting in a new head gasket, Justin opted to start from a clean slate and build a new 355ci small block. With new crank, rods, pistons, and valvetrain, it was ready to make more power, so Justin set up the Weiand supercharger for 6 pounds of boost. He hasn't dynoed it, but he says it should make about 500 horsepower. The engine is paired with a built TH-700R4 automatic transmission.


Next, he worked with TCI to get a 4-link rear suspension with Currie 9-inch rear end, and TCI pro-touring front end. Power steering and a set of Wilwood 4-piston brakes finished off the mechanical upgrades.


A set of black 15x4 wheels in front and 15x9 in the rear were equipped with Mickey Thompson tires. Justin says he'd like to tub the rear end to fit wider tires in the future.


The interior of the '66 Nova features Procar seats, an ididit steering column, Sparco wheel, Hurst shifter, Omega gauges, and a RetroSound Bluetooth stereo. Other items, such as the door panels and carpet, have been replaced with original-style restoration parts.


Justin says he meets a lot of people who assume the car is making 1,000 horsepower based on how it looks, but he doesn't think it needs much more power than it has now. It's more than enough to light up the tires and put a smile on his face when he hits the gas pedal.

Check out the full video from AutotopiaLA below to learn more details about this build:

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