World’s Collide— One Unique 1966 Chevy Nova Photo Gallery
Cummins-Powered ’66 Nova
Michael Galimi –
May 17, 2017
Photo 1/13 | 001 1966 Chevy Nova
Photo 2/13 | 002 1966 Chevy Nova | As of this writing, the Nova’s best eighth-mile performance is 4.88 seconds at 150 mph. Depending on the rear tire he chooses (275 drag radial or 28x10.5 slick), Ryan can race almost every weekend in X275 or No Prep competitions throughout the U.S.
Photo 3/13 | 001 1966 Chevy Nova | With a 6.8L Cummins diesel engine under the hood, Ryan Milliken’s ’66 Nova definitely has one of the most unique powerplants in the world of X275 heads-up drag racing (a popular category that requires all vehicles be equipped with 275/60R15 drag-radial tires). The class is dominated by small-block and big-block engines that burn either high-octane racing fuel or alcohol.
Photo 4/13 | 003 1966 Chevy Nova | Freedom Racing Engines is responsible for the 6.8L powerplant, which features a solid engine block and cylinder head. With nitrous oxide, the beast produces roughly 1,900 hp, and on fuel only, Ryan says it cranks out 1,450 hp.
Photo 5/13 | 005 1966 Chevy Nova | A lightweight seat, five-point harness, and SFI 25.2-spec rollcage protect Ryan from the unexpected.
Photo 6/13 | 004 1966 Chevy Nova | A single, 5-inch fender-exit dump pipe is quite the spectacle at the races. Unsuspecting track workers and crew chiefs often get lost in the cloud of smoke.
Photo 7/13 | 006 1966 Chevy Nova | An air-to-water intercooler is mounted inside the cabin for two reasons. The first is weight distribution. With a nose-heavy combination like this one, X275 racers prefer to keep the weight toward the back of the car. The other reason is ease of mounting such a large ’cooler.
Photo 8/13 | 007 1966 Chevy Nova | The rear suspension is comprised of CalTracs traction bars, which help the leaf springs plant the tires. Also critical to the sub–1.30-second 60-foot times are Santuff double-adjustable shocks. A Bosch Motorsports ECM manages the engine functions and also allows Ryan to control the amount of power being applied to the relatively small tires out back.
Photo 9/13 | 008 1966 Chevy Nova 2 | The Nova tips the scales at more than 3,705 pounds. When you combine the 150-mph trap speed with the car’s weight and aerodynamics—or lack thereof—it needs 1,900 hp to move that fast.
Photo 10/13 | 009 1966 Chevy Nova | Great care was taken to keep the Nova looking as original as possible, including the interior. Amid the jungle gym of bars required by SFI and the NHRA sits a stock-looking dashboard filled with a digital display and nitrous timers.
Photo 11/13 | 010 1966 Chevy Nova | Since the Garrett GTX5533 Gen II 88mm turbocharger is reverse-facing, Ryan reused holes in the firewall from the Nova’s previous engine/power-adder combination for the turbo system’s intercooler tubing.
Photo 12/13 | 011 1966 Chevy Nova | Gone is the chrome front bumper, and a carbon-fiber piece replaces it. The hole in the center used to feed a massive ProCharger centrifugal supercharger. Thankfully, that combination is long gone.
Photo 13/13 | 012 1966 Chevy Nova | Black Weld Racing V-Series wheels contrast perfectly with the bright-green paintjob. The car is unique and definitely stands out in a crowd of Mustangs that typically pack the staging lanes at X275 events. The big question is, will we see Ryan’s hot rod competing in ODSS events?