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Old 07-01-2011, 08:03 PM
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Budget Big Block Nova w/ Lots of Pics

1970 Chevrolet Nova
454 Engine w/ TH200-4R
GM 8.5 Posi-Traction w/ 3.73 gears
Total Cost: $5,979.54


I want to share my latest project/ distraction. This Nova is the reason why I haven't made any progress on my other Nova. I purchased this Nova with the intention of making a dependable and street-able car that I could drive any day at any time. I bought the car from my friend Rick at a steal of $3000 minus engine and transmission.

The best part of this project is that I only spent $400.00 out of my own pocket(My joint checking account with the wife). Every other penny came from trading, selling, and side jobs. I literally spent 6 weeks rebuilding transmissions at home and putting every cent of profit into this car. This car is truly a budget buildup and a sleeper. I still have a ton of body work to do; thanks to two hail storms!!. However, I'm still going to enjoy it and drive the wheels off of it. I estimate the body work to be done under $900.00 dollars since I have all the panels I need to replace; not to mention I know a few body men . Therefore, my budget nova should come under $7,000.00 dollars(fingers and toes crossed).

I owe many thanks to my friends: Rick Crouch(who I bought it from and was very patient in getting paid a hundred here and there ), Charlie Thomas, Charlie Hall, Jim Bishop, Ron Meyers, Jon Wells, my father in-law Mike Mahaffey(who I still owe $200), and my father Tom Bertelson. Most importantly I need to thank the wife, Kate Bertelson, for putting up with my "*****iness", extremely long hours, and taking care of the little monsters so I could work. Thanks for looking!

I literally completed the car the night before the Hot Rod Power Tour. It runs great and I average 21mpg on 87 octane. I'll post some more details about the engine and other modifications later.
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:26 PM
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Last journal entry: Some More Roll Cage Fabrication
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The Engine!

For $600 dollars I got a 1986 Chevy Engine with bad crankshaft. Minus exhaust and intake manifolds. The engine checked out square and good for stock rebuild(no overbore). Came with peanut port heads and stock valves. I spent the most time on these heads. I ported and polished them myself. I will try to remember and post the flow of the heads. Sorry, but I didn't take any pictures of the process. Like always it was messy and aggravating. I was looking for a low end grunt and that is exactly what I have!

Actually, I performed all of the machine work on my own. I installed a cast refurbished crank, new rings, and Comp Cams CB XS256S-10 camshaft kit after honing and installing new bearings(including freeze plugs and cam bearings).

All other parts I sourced used from craiglist or ebay(comp cams roller rockers and push rods, aluminum t-over, and etc. The deep pan, H-11 valve springs, and harmonic balancer were all included in the purchase price.
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Last edited by ethn_bert; 07-01-2011 at 08:30 PM. Reason: Forgot the Pics!
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:32 PM
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Budget Spreadsheet for The Nova

I've attached a spreadsheet detailing the cost of every item(more or less) for the Nova. Just in case anyone is curious and wants some more details of the build.
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:38 PM
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Homebuilt A/C

I've attached some photos of my a/c system. I purchased a cheap chinese underdash unit from a seller on ebay and pieced it together with parts from the local napa store. This was an easy task since I have all the tools necessary to build my own a/c system and charge it. I used the factory Harrison compressor and utilized a standard GM truck wiring schematic for that style A/C compressor. I ended up with around $300 dollars in setting up my A/C.
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