Living and breathing the auto lifestyle everyday and in every way, Derek Putnam is throwing down on and off the track. From writer to racer, Putnam, a toxic addict is currently feeding his addiction for the auto scene with his project ride, a 1970 Chevy Nova SS clone.
Growing up Chevy, Putnam gained his love for the auto scene at an early age wrenching it in the garage with his dad. No stranger to the track, when Putnam came of age he was behind the wheel and hammering it down the track. A love for the ride eventually landed Putnam not only on the hot sticky pavement of the track but with pen and keyboard in tow behind the scenes as a writer.
Living the auto lifestyle 24/7 and loving every minute, Putnam found time to pick up a 1970 Nova SS in 1997. Like many drag racers, the Nova served not only as a track ride but as a daily driver in the early years. Driving to and from the strip, over the next few years, Putnam racked up an average of three thousand miles a year on the green beast, until 2003 when a long work commute made this street/strip car more of a toy than a commuter.
Currently powering this ride is a 496 cubic inch big block Chevrolet, based on a 1989 factory GM 454, backed by a Turbo 400 transmission by Jason Rollins of Rollins Automotive Inc. To improve track performance Eagle 4340 steel forged crankshafts were swapped in. Upon overhaul, the engine was bored 4.310 inches with a stroke of 4.25 inches to create more power and torque.
Continuing performance enhancements, a 168 tooth flexplate was also added along with JE custom alloy forged flat top pistons with single valve relief. Now producing 9:1 compression, this allows the engine to produce more mechanical energy for track performance. With the addition of a Edelbrock Victor Jr. 454-R intake manifold, a ProCharger D-1SC with 10 psi boost, and a water/methanol system dyno results show this hellish ride is now producing 970 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 880 lb-ft of torque at 5,400 rpm.
Moving to the suspension and preparing for those banging rides down the strip, the front upper and lower control arms were upgraded to powdercoated Global West featuring Del-a-lum bushings and billet upper shafts, along with Moroso trick springs and Lakewood 90/10 shocks.
In the rear, stock-style Calvert Racing split mono-leaf springs (stock ride height) are mounted with Global West shackles. Calvert Racing CalTrac bars and Rancho 9-way single adjustable gas shocks help keep the rear tires planted. To build a more track ready ride the Chevrolet 12-bolt rear from a 1968 Chevelle was narrowed 3/4 of an inch per side and modified to use with leaf springs, 3.55 gear ratio, Strange spool, 33 spline axles and c-clip eliminators.
The front brake system was treated with SSBC disc brake conversion with 4-piston competition calipers and 11” Big Bite rotors, and the rear is stock GM drum brakes with Wagner internals. Finishing off this sick creation this ride is sporting Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels; the fronts are 15 x 4-inch (2-1/4-inch backspacing) with Cooper 205/75/15 tires, and the rear wheels are 15 x 8-inch (5-1/2-inch backspacing) with 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials.Now having undergone two major overhauls, this angry beast is in the mid nines on the ¼-mile with a best ET of 9.45 at 143.55 mph with a 1.419 60-foot at 3700 pound race weight. With this ride undergoing a continued evolution look for this beast to continue to push the envelope while barreling through barriers with throttle hammered to the floor. What more would you add to this toxic creation to unleash the beast?