Build Update: Helping Larry Dixon’s LT4-Powered Nova Keep Its Cool

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The guys from C&R Racing came to the shop to see Larry’s car, take some measurements, and draw some sketches. From that, a radiator was born.

If you have been following along with us as we chronicle the exploits of Larry Dixon preparing his ’66 Nova for Drag Week, we’re certain you know that he has installed a new LT4 Chevrolet Performance crate engine in his car. Not a mainstream swap – yet, Larry had a several serious hurdles to overcome, and two of them dealt with cooling. For starters, do you know of anyone that makes a radiator for a ’66 Nova sporting an LT4? Not only that, but since the LT4 is supercharged, it was going to need an intercooler.

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This new, modern engine is going to require the latest in cooling technology to keep up with the horsepower output. Not only does Larry’s car need serious cooling capability, he needed it in very short order. Typically, building a car will take months if not years, but Larry didn’t have that much time. When the engine was finally mounted in the car, he only had a couple of weeks until the start of Drag Week – he needed the parts in short order.

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Careful welding of a C&R Racing radiator.

Larry is fortunate, in that he is located close to one of the premier automotive cooling companies. He contacted the guys at C&R Racing, and their engineers were able to work with Larry to develop an all-new cooling system for anyone that tackles a swap like this. The folks at C&R put together one of their next-generation, extruded-tube, high-psi aluminum radiators.

Because the LT4 engine is supercharged, Larry also relied on C&R’s Custom Shop to fabricate a one-of-a-kind intercooler that tucked-in behind the Nova’s front bumper. Sitting next to that is a C&R automatic transmission cooler to insure proper cooling of the late-model GM automatic transmission.

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The LT4 had substantial cooling needs, and the original radiator was not going to work. The new radiator is physically larger, but still fit the opening.

Updating of the Nova consumed all available time, and Larry had no time to test the new combination before he had to leave Indianapolis and drive straight to the event start in Columbus, Ohio. From there, it was five continuous days of racing, and driving the 1,500 miles the event rewuired. Each of the five days required driving to a designated stop to race at a different drag strip before returning to the original starting point in Ohio.

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Larry was happy to let us know that all of the new parts worked great with no significant troubles to report for the entire week. He also said this was a new racing experience for him, because he actually got to drive his car to the track, in the pits, race it, and then drive it to the next stop.

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A tight fit.

To learn more about this extruded tube, high psi C&R radiator, and more than 700 similar applications that are ready to ship today, contact them at [email protected].

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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