Win The Perfect Day-Two Muscle Car With This 1970 Chevy Nova

If you could go back in time and order the perfect 1970 Chevrolet Nova brand new, many of the components in the build of this particular blue beauty would clearly be part of the order. Big-block? Check! The all-important Muncie four-speed? Check. Additionally, power steering and brakes might be on the shortlist, save for the most power-hungry enthusiasts. In our minds, their presence on this particular build has less impact than the few ponies they feed from off the front of the crankshaft. They’ll be most welcome while cruising the boulevard on any evening.

There is a slim chance we’ll ever get the opportunity to go back in time, but thanks to Dream Giveaways, one lucky winner will get the keys to their very own day-two muscle car era. This particular big-block-equipped 1970 Chevrolet Nova already has many of those check-boxes filled in for you. The best part is this Nova goes one better, giving you much more than what was available during those bygone days of day-two mods.

What Is A Day-Two Muscle Car?

Many bolt-on modifications from back in the day have now been used to describe what comprises a day-two muscle car. What makes this car even more appealing is the scope of options that have been added to its original build sheet. The idea is that day one consisted of picking up your new ride at the dealership and driving around, showing it off to all your buddies. Day two consisted of modifying your new car for more performance.


As a modern replacement for the iconic L88, the ZZ427 engine pumps out 480 horsepower and 490 lb/ft of big-block torque in the little Nova.

Much like the myriad of muscle cars you would find winding their way up and down Woodward Avenue back in the day, this Nova has a set of go-fast goodies that could never be installed by the common Chevrolet dealer but were often added shortly after taking delivery. There is no recipe for any particular day-two muscle car, but many of the parts are considered bolt-on components with the intent of adding performance over factory stock. Most dealerships were focused on bulk sales to the broadest market, and because day-two mods were mainly focused on racing, they were not even a faint thought by most dealers. Conversely, for the power-hungry youth of the ‘60s and ‘70s, day-two mods were all but a way of life itself.

The spartan gauge pod made any self-respecting enthusiast install a trio of gauges to keep track of the engine's operating parameters. Likewise, who would ever order a big-block Nova without the accompanying Muncie four-speed? Thankfully, the previous owner of this car didn't!

Many widely-accepted upgrades for day-two muscle cars focused on the engine’s ignition, exhaust, and fuel systems. Some dealers dabbled into the day-two modification scene by clandestinely placing a set of headers or other speed goodies in the trunk of certain vehicles as part of the new-car delivery process. Some went so far as creating special-built vehicles through GM’s Central Office Production Order (COPO) system. From there, enthusiasts were all too willing to continue swapping components, which is how the day-two muscle car craze got its name.

More Than Just A Day-Two 1970 Chevy Nova

The day-two muscle car tagline is definitely catchy, and many parts on this particular 1970 Chevy Nova would fit under that umbrella, but there is a long list of components that any muscle car enthusiast would have given his right-hand-threaded lug nut to own back in the day.

The L88 engine had plenty of power but lacked drivability. Today's ZZ427 engine features a choke for easier warm-up, a roller camshaft, roller rocker arms, and a modern H.E.I. distributor.

This Nova has received a complete, frame-up restoration, but during all the meticulous rebuilding of the car, some modern components were added to the recipe. Such is the case with the Chevrolet Performance ZZ427/480 crate engine which is a modern take on the iconic L88 powerhouse from the late ‘60s. As a modern alternative, Chevy engineers retained many of the time-proven speed goodies used on the original L88 engine. Like the original, the new variant features a forged steel crankshaft and high-flow, oval-port aluminum cylinder heads that are fed through an aluminum intake. The new intake is still a dual-plane design but is taller than the original “Corvette” style.


The big-block breathes through cast iron manifolds and now wears a choke-wielding carburetor for improved running during warm-up. If you want to hear how awesome this ZZ427 sounds, give a quick listen HERE.

Other modern upgrades have been implemented in today’s L88 for longevity and to make it more fitting for today’s fuels and driver expectations. Chevrolet engineers upgraded the camshaft from the original’s mechanical flat-tappet design to a smoother, hydraulic roller, which delivers great drivability characteristics and a broader rev range. The lower, 10.1:1 compression ratio means it will perform great on pump gas, too.

Unlike the belching and backfiring experienced during warm-up of the original high-performance L88 engine, today’s ZZ427 features a Holley 4160-style, 770-cfm four-barrel carburetor utilizing vacuum secondaries. There is also an electric choke added for a smooth transition as the engine assumes operating temperature.

Even More Modern Upgrades To This Chevy Nova

Another aspect that appeals to us is the use of modern upgrades throughout while keeping with a somewhat original muscle car theme. Whether these upgrades would be considered a valid day-two muscle car upgrade or not isn’t even an issue in our mind. Other modern highlights of this Chevy Nova include the Calvert Racing Caltracs. While they don’t stand out like the traction bars of old, they do enhance traction for those ultimately seeking super-low 60-foot times.

The exhaust gases can be set free thanks to electric cutouts underneath. The Caltracs tuck under the car nicely but do a great job of keeping the driveline stable. There is also an LPW Ultimate cover with an optional axle-tube brace for the "ultimate" in strength.

The redline BF Goodrich Silvertown radials will give a much better ride and handling than any ‘Stones or Poly-Glass tires from back in the day and the dog-dish hubcaps hearken back to a time when money was spent judiciously on performance parts. During those “good ol’ days” folks needed to mechanically open up any exhaust cutouts for the most free-flowing exhaust possible. This nasty little Nova has a set of electronically-controlled cutouts for those moments when even those free-flowing mufflers are still too restrictive.

This Astro Blue Nova has a black vinyl interior featuring a slightly-modified bench seat. While a die-hard performance junky may not have checked the box for it, we also like the black vinyl roofline found on this particular car.

The inside stays with the OEM muscle car theme but also features nice touches such as the blue stitching on the bench seat. We like the vinyl top too!

Truth be told, there are a lot of things we like about this particular 1970 Chevrolet Nova. So many in fact, that we were enticed to part with a few greenbacks to get our chances of owning this very car when the winning ticket is picked on November 30, 2023. Tickets can be purchased until November 16th on the Dream Giveaways Nova website. And as a thank you for being a Chevy Hardcore reader, you can use the code CHEVYHARDCORE to get double the tickets if you purchase 20 tickets or more. Good luck!

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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