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1972 Chevy Nova: Building the Ultimate Sleeper

December 26th, 2006 by William

1972 Chevy Nova before build up

A sleeper car refers to a vehicle that has lots of go with minimal show. The term is most commonly heard in drag racing and muscle car circles when a vehicle shows up that looks virtually stock but is packing a punch under the hood. In my own experience real sleepers are few and far between. Some people claim to have sleepers but their cars always have major give aways to what lies under the rough exterior such as loud exhaust, drag slicks on super wide wheels, a host of after market gauges in the interior or an after market steering wheel and race seats.

When Wheel to Wheel Powertrain set out to build the ultimate sleeper they weren’t messing around. Starting with a shabby green 1972 Chevy Nova complete with straight six motor, they boys at Wheel to Wheel went to town creating one of the meanest Nova’s ever to hit the streets, but the best part is you would never know by looking at it.

If you’ve ever driven a six cylinder Nova then you know what the true meaning of “slow car” is. But gone are the days of snailing around in this ‘72 Chevy. Now the Nova sports a 402 cid LS-2 V8 with twin whisper quiet Rotrex C38-81 superchargers and twin liquid to air intercoolers. With all the goodies this Wheel to Wheel motor is good for 1100 horsepower, and thanks to a nifty octane on demand fuel system it can be run on pump gas without problems. Thanks to the blowers and a hefty set of mufflers the car is still able to maintain a low profile.

Inside the car looks remarkably stock. The original bench seat was left in tact with an old cover draped over it for affect. The two spoke steering wheel was left in place and the dash board was untouched; all the after market gauges were cleverly hidden in the glove box. The backseat was modified slightly to hide wheel tubs and a 10 point gauge was blended into the car, but even with the gauge it is really hard to tell that this Nova isn’t bone stock.

A look at the interior of the finished vehicle. Note the gauges in the glove box.

The Nova’s brakes were ditched in favor of a high-tech set of four wheel discs. The rear end and suspension were beefed up to handle the additional power. Twin fuel cells-one for pump gas one for race gas-were hidden in the trunk along top of the line fuel pumps and an easily accessible drag parachute. No expense was spared on turning this Nova into a full on race car that could still drive on the street and look like a stocker.

So what do all these high performance goodies add up to? The SS Nova (super sleeper) will run the quarter mile in the low nine second range all day long, and you can still drive it across the country. This is one impressive sleeper. If it weren’t for the wider tires and lower stance you would never know it wasn’t a six cylinder Nova.

The finished product. Doesn’t look like 1100 horsepower.

For the complete build up go to: Wheel to Wheel Powertrain

-Bill Mertz

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2 Responses to “1972 Chevy Nova: Building the Ultimate Sleeper”

  1. 451 Press » Blog Archive » Entries you should be reading Says:

    […] Automotive Blogger discussed the process of building a sleeper car in the form of a 1972 Chevy Nova. […]

  2. Nathan Says:

    your absolutely right, that really doesn’t look like 1100hp! Holy jesus. However, seeing one of these at the drag strip wouldn’t have me fooled. I’m always scared of the crappy looking cars long before the pretty ones.

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Some people use their automobiles only to get from Point A to Point B. You know there's more than that. You get mad when someone makes a remark about your car that's less than flattering. You get riled when a cool car is destroyed in a straight-to-video movie. You realize when a new car doesn't deserve it's name of a great car of the past. When you see someone driving a boring vehicle, you feel sorry for them. You know it's not the destination that counts - it's the journey. Welcome home gearheads. Welcome home, car freaks. Welcome to the site that fuels your automotive obsession - AutomotiveBlogger.net

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