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78 stock car

7397 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  darkendbeing
so being twenty i never knew that dale earnhardt raced in a 78 nova and i found this a few weeks and have been sitting on the idea of turning mine into one.

so i was wondering what to do to turn mine into one besides the obvious roll cage and racing seats.
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How far are you looking to go? I also like the look of it. This what I did with my nova
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thats a great looking nova.
i was thinking of fully doing it just like that one is set up but i dont want a replica so i would do a difrent paint job but still a race one. i'm mostly wondering if they ditched the sub frame and did a full tube frame welded to the body. a key thing i want is the hight of the car i love how stock cars hug the road like super cars or sports cars do, but still have the unbeatable look of a nova.
Back in the late 70s to mid 80s NASCAR Sportsman series ( later called Busch series, now called Nationwide series) cars were almost all 4th Gen Novas, Skylarks, Omegas and Venturas.
Heres another pic of dale in the early 80's next to his 78 nova

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figuring they ran, what, a 12" tire front & rear... you'd be radiusing both front & rear wheel openings to accommodate that fat ol'tire...

other than that, it's the stance which should be no problem... paint scheme, interior etc are up to you as far as design etc...

i've always liked the look of the Winston Cup cars m'self... they just say MEAN all over ;)


R.I.P. Dale, i miss ya...
Definitely opening up the front and rear wheel wells, compare the stock nova to this one and look from the top of the front fender to the top of the wheel well, looks like over 6" difference in my opinion.
Believe it or not but when they list that car they list it as a 89, They ran them in the late 80s with guys like Dale And Davey Allison and Larry Pearson, I have that Diecast in 1/64th scale, I bought the 1/24th scale off QVC the friday night before Dales wreck and death, I miss him like a family member I sold the 1/24th scale cause it hurt to see it, I felt as if I lost my best friend, Racing hasn't been the same since
thats a great looking nova.
i was thinking of fully doing it just like that one is set up but i dont want a replica so i would do a difrent paint job but still a race one. i'm mostly wondering if they ditched the sub frame and did a full tube frame welded to the body. a key thing i want is the hight of the car i love how stock cars hug the road like super cars or sports cars do, but still have the unbeatable look of a nova.
I have both of the 1/24th die casts that were made of these Busch cars, one is Dale Earnhardt's and the other is Davey Allison. Typically, these higher end 1/24ths are pretty accurate and true to the original cars.

If you accept that premise, then yes they were full framed cars, built on whatever was the standard Busch chassis at the time, which is a full framed square tube box frame, with truck arm rear suspension, panhard bar, coilovers up front, the single side exit exhaust, and of course the cage and other race-car-only stuff. It also sports a Ford 9" rear.

Bascially, these were standard stock car chassis that the Nova sheetmetal was hung onto, that's part of the reason that they sat so low is because the chassis itself was designed to sit low.

Can it be duplicated? Sure, just depends on how far into the weeds you would want to go and how much you want to spend. There are all kinds of shops still fabricating stock car chassis all the time that could probably work with the Nova wheelbase and make it happen. I can speak from personal experience that the truck arm rear suspension setup really works well with these cars. Not sure where you are going to score an 850hp 358, but with unlimited funds I'm sure anything is possible.

From a financial standpoint, though, you probably just want to imitate the look without going the full-blown racecar route. That should be easy enough. Gut the interior down to the bare bones, Drop the front suspension about 4 inches, the rear about 6. Add some period correct NASCAR wheels and tires and you'd be pretty close, especially with a paint job imitating one of the original Busch cars. If you want to get really fancy, you could add a bolt in cage and there are several shops that carry the parts and pieces to build a single side exit exhaust just like what the Cup cars of today use.

I love the idea and those old Busch cars really are bad to the bone. I'd love to own an original one just to use as a weekend track car at vintage racing events. I think I read somewhere that the person that owns the original Dale Earnhardt Nova actually did some vintage racing with it back in the 90s. Not sure what happened to it after Dale's death, but I would assume it ended up in a museum or someone's private collection, probably will never see the road again.:(

Good luck with this idea. Keep us posted if you decide to go this route.

J
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About a year or two ago, I read that Gene Felton was restoring the car. He's in Roswell GA. I spoke to Gene regarding some 4th Gen parts he had listed on CL back then. His voice has been damaged due to a wreck, so it's raspy. Helluva competitor and won races with 4th Gens. He has the car for sale if anyone is interested...:cool:
i knew the full blown race car is out of my budget at the moment but trimming the fenders and setting the car up right isn't. i also have a lot of friends with off road shops that build chassis and would only charge me meterial for the frame so that is a possibility.
some thing just hit me could i build a subframe thats welded to the roll cage instead of building an entire tube chassis?
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