Karen and I were about 2 miles
from the Newburgh bridge when we made a call to the Island Dragway
track line, to see whether or not there was going to be a race
that day. The weather in upstate New York was great; blue skies
and white puffy clouds were everywhere. Unfortunately, the weather
in northern New Jersey was not so nice
race was cancelled. What a disappointment!! This was the third
consecutive year that our May race was called due to rain. I
sincerely hope that the rest of our racing schedule will not
be plagued by any rainy days. Since I was planning on giving
everyone the results of the race at Island; I really didnt
have any material ready to showcase one of our members
cars; but at the last minute, I got Kevin Lynch to give me all
the information I needed for an article on his 65 Nova
gasser that goes by the appropriate name of PRIME SUSPECT.
The name on Kevins car relates to the fact that he is a
retired police sergeant from a small town out on Long Islands
northern leg; and, the car is in primer. So, lets take
a closer look at Kevins gasser.
Somewhere around 2007, Kevin
was listening to a local radio program called Swap &
Shop; when he heard someone call in with a 1965 Nova SS
roller for sale. Well, it didnt take long for Kevin to
purchase the car and start his journey of making a gasser.
When Kevin first got his Nova,
it had more of a pro-touring look than a nose high gasser; as
it had a Heidts Mustang II front end assembly installed
on the front clip. Kevin mounted the Nova tub on a rotisserie;
and he and his best friend Bill Johnson began to replace the
floor and trunk pans with new sheet metal; and instead of tubbing
the rear wheel wells, they did a nice radius job on the rear
wheel well openings. Kevin finished the car with a couple of
coats of grey epoxy primer. The Mustang II front end was removed
and a WAC custom straight axle, with early Chevy spindles, new
leaf springs, 90/10 Competition Engineering shocks and a Flaming
River Vega steering box was installed on the front sub-frame.
Out back, a Ford 9 rear was mounted to the leaf springs;
along with a pair of Competition Engineering racing shocks and
wheelie bars. Kevin and his friend Bill fabbed up a set of homemade
5 ladder bars to help with traction issues. The rear end
uses a Richmond case that houses a Detroit locker and 4:11 gear
set. Moser supplied the 31 spline hardened axles. A 15 gallon
fuel cell rests in the trunk floor and the Sunoco 112 fuel is
pushed and regulated via a Magna Fuel electric pump and regulator.
The Moon tank is for looks only!!
Stopping power, comes from a
set of GM disc brakes up front and the 11 Ford drum brakes
out back. The front 7.50 x 15.0 tires are mounted on 5 x 15 U.S.
Mag slotted wheels; while in the rear, the 10 x 15 U.S. Mags
hold a set of 29.5 x 10.5 x 15 slicks. Inside the car, an 8 point
roll cage was built; along with the installation of a couple
of Jaz racing seats and belt assemblies. Engine performance is
measured by a set of Autometer Pro Comp gauges and tach. I guess
the only thing that is left to talk about is the drivetrain that
Kevin has uses for motivation in his gasser.
The original power train consisted
of a Chevy 454 engine; complete with a tunnel ram and 2-4 barrel
carbs; along with a Muncie M-22 4 speed. Currently, the 454 has
been replaced by a GM Performance ZZ502 Chevy that has been bored
an extra .040. Eagle supplied the 4340 crank and H beam
rods; and a stud girdle has been added for extra lower end protection.
Holding the oil and covering up the bottom end and high volume
oil pump is a Moroso 8 quart oil pan. At heart of this engine
is a Comp Cams hydraulic roller camshaft that uses Liberty roller
lifters to activate the complete Comp Cams valve train. Connecting
the cam to the crank is a heavy duty double roller timing chain.
Sitting atop the short block are a set of ported and milled ZZ
502 aluminum cylinder heads; that combine with the Diamond aluminum
pistons to produce a 12.5:1 compression ratio. Intake valves
measure 2.25 and the exhaust values are 1.88 in diameter.
An Edelbrock Victor O intake manifold distributes
the fuel from a Holley 950 CFM carb. Between the carb and the
intake, rests a Super Sucker spacer plate to help
increase fuel flow. Spark comes from a MSD 6AL ignition system;
and cooling is handled by a stock water pump and a Be Cool
aluminum radiator. A set of old school Mickey Thompson
valve covers and spacers protect the upper valve train components.
The engine exhaust gases pass through a very nice set of Hooker
Super Comp fenderwell headers. This big block Chevy was built
by Heintz Brothers Performance in Statesville, NC. and during
the latest dyno run, it registered a healthy 722 HP at the flywheel.
Moving all that horsepower to
the rear end belongs to a tried and true T-400 automatic trans
with a reverse valve body. The crankshaft is coupled to the trans
via an ATI flywheel and a TCI torque converter with a 4500 rpm
stall speed. Kevin controls the trans with a Hurst Quarter Stick
shifter and the output of the trans makes its way to the rear
end via a custom made 3 drive shaft by Carolina Powertrain.
To date, Kevin has pushed his 3100 lb. Nova to a best of 10.12
seconds @ 129 mph. With the improvements that Kevin has made
over the winter, he may be knocking on the 9 second door if the
track conditions are just right. As always, I recommend that
if you attend one of our events, take a minute and stop by and
talk to Kevin and his wife Cheryl. Theyre a great couple
and Kevin would love to talk to you about his car. By the way,
the B & K Speed logo on the door was a dream
that Kevin and his friend Bill had when they were young; but
life has a funny way of changing the direction that we travel;
but the dream still lives on!!
Thanks to Bob Wenzelburger,
Jeff Unfried, Mike Mihalko, Diane Deming & Miss Karen for
the great pictures.
COAST GASSERS-DRAG RACING LIKE IT USED TO BE!