Homebuilt Hero: Sean Markley’s 1971 Nova

Sean Markley 3

When talking about collectible vehicles, the Chevrolet Nova often takes a back seat to the Camaro and Chevelle. Too many people consider the Nova to be “grandma’s car”, and Nova enthusiasts are probably okay with that thought. We’re sure that Sean Markley wants you to think his “grandma’s Nova” is still powered by a 307 cubic-inch V8 with ‘Glide. Unfortunately for you, pull next him at the lights, and it won’t take very long to figure out that is not the case. Does your “grandma’s Nova” pull the wheels like Sean’s? We’re certain that it probably doesn’t run low 9-second 1/4-mile times like Sean’s.

Sean chose a 6.0-liter LS that uses a stock LS2 intake. What isn’t stock is the BorgWarner S480 turbo.

Sean is from Fort Wayne, Indiana, which is home to some really quick street cars. His Nova gets its motivation from a 6.0-liter LS engine that uses the stock crankshaft, a set of Compstar connecting rods, Wiseco pistons, a Lil John’s Motorsport Solutions camshaft, stock 317 casting heads with BTR valve springs, and a stock intake. The combo’s money maker is a BorgWarner cast-wheel S480 turbocharger without the aid of an intercooler. Sean’s combo uses E85 with tuning via a Holley Dominator EFI system.

Everyone knows you can't get a tire under a Nova without at least a mini-tub, and that's exactly what Sean's Nova was treated to in order to get a Mickey Thompson ET Street 295/65 radial to fit. Wheelies like this are the result of a well-sorted suspension, a good bit of boost, and the right converter.

Sean’s Nova features mini-tubs to fit Mickey Thompson ET Street 295/65R15 radials on the rear. Wheelies like this are the result of a well-sorted suspension, a good bit of boost, and the right torque converter.

Behind the 6.0-liter is a Steve Snell-built Turbo 400 with a PTC converter and a Hurst Quarter Stick II shifter. Leading back to Moser 12-bolt rear is a Strange Engineering chromoly drive shaft. The 12-bolt is filled with 3.42 gears, and is suspended by Calvert Racing split mono-leafs and Cal-Trac bars. Moroso Trick springs are up front, while Strange adjustable shocks reside both front and rear. Thanks to those suspension mods, the Nova is good for 1.28 short times, “all day long,” as Sean puts it.

Sean tells us the Nova is all steel, except for the hood, and weighs in at 3,700 pounds with him in it. His best 1/4-mile time so far is a 9.19 at 148 mph, while using 20 pounds of boost. His winter upgrade plans include more bars for the rollcage, more boost, an intercooler, and a larger fuel cell.

Oh yeah, “All work was done by me in my garage,” Sean says. Now that’s homebuilt.

Since we’ve started the Homebuilt Heros segment, we have received a few candidates, but we need more. Send us a few pictures of your car with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected]

About the author

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson brings his years of experience in the Mustang aftermarket and performance industry to StangTV. He has been passionate about cars since childhood, with a special affinity for the Mustang.
Read My Articles

Hardcore Chevys in your Inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Chevy Hardcore, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Chevy Hardcore NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Chevy Hardcore articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Chevy Hardcore NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Drag Racing

Engine Tech

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Drag Racing
  • Engine Tech

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Chevy Hardcore - The #1 Performance Bowtie Online Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading