In the April ’11 issue, we introduced our E-Rod swap project, dubbed the EcoNova, and explained our rationale for choosing the lesser appreciated later X-body platform to those who may not immediately understand the appeal. To briefly recap: Our ’76 Nova represents the first year required to pass smog certification in California and the standard cutoff model nationwide regarding most legislation involving classic car emissions regulation. Plus, we contend that these cars are affordable and underappreciated entry-level muscle with great potential as comfortable daily drivers or weekend play toys. Speaking of that, ours is actually due for smog testing again before its next registration, so it’s time to get to engine swappin’!

As we make our first steps toward 430 clean horsepower, we’ve enlisted the fabrication, wiring, and retrofitting expertise of BS Industries. Both of Bodie Stroud’s last two major projects, the Scarliner in the April ’11 issue and the ’69 Mustang in last month’s issue, feature complicated electronics and EFI swaps. This will be a piece of cake comparatively, thanks to GM’s forethought.

Since ’75-79 GM X-body cars share the same front subframe as ’70-80 F-body cars, dropping the E-Rod LS3 into the engine bay is a fairly straightforward process, but there are a few things to know going in, as well as a couple of newly released parts from Holley, that will make the process go much more smoothly and quickly. Because we want to help take the fear out of a swap like this, we’re going to show you exactly what’s necessary to get an LS3 sitting in the engine bay before we dive into the plumbing and electrical requirements.