Every racer has a different idea when it comes to how they want to generate power at the track. Some prefer to go with as big of an engine as they can create to make gobs of grunt, while others like to go a smaller route with a power adder to motivate their car. Nathan Shaw’s 1971 Nova uses the great equalizer when it comes to the cubic-inch wars: a pair of turbos. His 5.3 liter, LSX-powered car blasts into the seven-second zone in street trim with ease with small cubic-inches and big boost.
Shaw originally picked up the Nova when he was just 16 years old as a rather rough $400 beater. The car was rocking an old-school 350 cubic-inch mill with a Saginaw four-speed backing it when Shaw purchased it. Over the years, Shaw has tried over 10 different engine and transmission combinations in the Nova in his pursuit of speed.
The current setup in the car is beautiful, simple, and makes a lot of power. The stock 5.3 liter block still has the stock crank, but the rest of the rotating assembly has been upgraded with Callies Compstar rods and Wiesco pistons. The top end consists of Trickflow 220 heads, a Precision Metalcraft intake, and a LJMS Stage 2 twin turbo cam. Providing the boost is a pair of Turbonetics turbos that make close to 36 pounds of boost downtrack. Backing the engine is a 4L60E with a PTC torque converter.
And don’t think for one second this wicked-fast Nova is a trailer queen, as it sees mostly street duty.
“I mostly participate in street car shootouts. The car is very much ‘street-driven’ on things like pleasure cruises, and trips into town. I even did a 600-800 mile weekend trip on our One Guy’s Garage Drag Weekend adventure that visits three drag strips, in three states, in three days. The car will never be a 100 percent racecar,” Shaw says.
Check out this video from the Victoryredcolorado YouTube page that shows Shaw ripping off a blistering 7.90 at over 172 mph!