1972 Chevy Nova

Everyone loves a well-done sleeper, and Dan Ballard's 1972 Nova is basically an education in how to do it right in the Pro Touring genre. Step one: Find a superclean, unmolested stock muscle car. Step two: Modify it subtly, leaving the original charm intact. Sounds simple, right? It is, but doing it right requires restraint. Ballard was originally more into the custom truck and mini-truck work at his shop, until he attended a Goodguys event with a customer and his pickup and met some of the contestants. The camaraderie and excitement hooked him, and he knew it was time to build something ready to corner. As soon as he got home, he sold his S-10 project and began looking for a clean Nova. When an immaculate original-paint 1972 popped up for a mere $3,500, he pounced. The car had a 355 and few suspension parts, but Ballard hated the way it drove, so within a week he was tearing into it. The plan was to just bolt on a few parts and run it as-is, so with a smattering of Detroit Speed & Engineering and RideTech parts he hit the autocross.

When the 355 blew shortly thereafter, Ballard decided to keep it simple and just build a small-block better prepared for the task, and get a touch more aggressive with the suspension. Still mostly bolt-in, the suspension got the full RideTech treatment, but a set of DSE mini-tubs were spliced in to make room for wide Forgeline wheels. "It's really just a fun car that anyone could bolt together slowly," Ballard said. "You don't have to spend $15K on suspension to go out and have fun, you can spend $5K and get out there with everyone."

Eventually, after more autocrossing, the only thing not touched is the body and paint, and some of the interior, and Ballard plans to leave it that way as long as possible. He has built high-end cars for customers, but Ballard wants to keep this Nova a very low-maintenance ride—one he doesn't have to fret over scratches and paint chips from track and daily driving.

1972 Chevy Nova
Dan Ballard
Cincinnati, OH

Type: 372ci small-block Chevy by D&D Engines
Rotating assembly: forged stroker kit from D&D Engines
Cylinder heads: AFR 210
Camshaft: D&D Engines custom
Induction: Edelbrock intake with Holley HP EFI
Exhaust: Dynatech headers with custom 3-inch exhaust
Ignition: Holley DIS

Transmission: Tremec T56 six-speed with Spec clutch
Rearend: 3-inch narrowed Chevy 10-bolt with 3.90 gears

Front suspension: RideTech control arms with RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers, RideTech MuscleBar
Rear suspension: stock leaf springs with RideTech triple-adjustable coilovers
Steering: Detroit Speed & Engineering box, RideTech Tru-Turn
Brakes: C6 Corvette Z51 front, fourth-gen Camaro rear
Chassis: DSE subframe connectors, front subframe down-bars
Wheels & tires: 18x9.5 and 18x12 Forgeline with 275/35 and 335/30 BFG g-Force Sport

¼-mile Drag (best): 13.133 at 111.69 mph
⅛-mile Speed-Stop (avg.): 9.916 seconds
Autocross (avg.): 50.156 seconds
Overall score: 99.827