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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings to all, I’d like to share an interesting story about my findings of the drivetrain from a ’66 L79 Nova.
While attending high school in the mid to late ‘70s, my cousin and I both drove ’67 Novas. His was an SS, 4 speed with a 283. Mine was a 2 door sedan with a 283 and “3 on the floor” Even at the early age of 16, I was already familiar with L79’s, Bill Jenkins, Doug Marion, Reggie Jackson and a guy named Tom Migot, to name a few. All these men owned and drove/raced L-79 Novas, at one time. I’d follow their activities like a hunter follows his tracks. These were my “sports heroes”. I knew all their statistics and I would buy any car magazine that featured any of their Novas or related articles.

This was in the City of El Paso, Texas, where I knew of only two L79 Novas in existence. One was a marina blue ’66 SS that was dedicated to the drag strip only. The other was a red ’66 Sedan belonging to the owner of a local auto parts store. After high school, I tried my luck and attempted to buy either of these L79s. As I expected, none were willing to part with their jewels.
Fast forward 15 years (year 1994)The blue ’66 gets a makeover with a full roll cage, back half modified race car and it’s drive train replaced, dropping my hopes and interest of pursuing it.
The red sedan is sold to a local, without my knowledge. I visited the previous owner at the auto parts store in search of information of tracking the Nova. He tells me that the Nova had been wrecked by the new owner and appeared to be damaged beyond repair. He also told me he still had the original dual snorkel air cleaner and the chrome oil filler tube. I offered a couple of hundred dollars for both and move on in search of the wrecked Nova. It was easy to find within a week. To my disappointment, the engine was sold and gone. I made a reasonable offer and purchased the 12 bolt rearend (posi, 3.31s, metallic brake shoes) and the M20 4 speed transmission with bench seat shifter.

By this time, I had become owner of my cousin’s ’67 SS and had begun cloning a ’67 hardtop I purchased in 1980. I installed the 12 bolt rearend, a non-matching 327 and the M20 into the clone “L79” and drove it for 10 more years. I sold this Nova in 2006 but kept the rearend, air cleaner, oil filler tube, and 4 speed transmission.
My plans were to restore and keep my cousin’s ’67 SS since it had been in the family since 1976.
I went idle for 4 years until early this year when I paid a visit to a long time friend who runs a mechanic shop in town. As we start on some hardcore bench racing, he mentions he has a 327 engine he’d like to install into a mid 80’s truck. He asked me to take a look at it and give him any input or recommendations. You all probably know where this is going. Yes, his 327 engine sitting on the engine stand was a ’66 L79 he purchased from a wrecked Nova, years ago. I ran the numbers, pulled a head and checked for all the clues. There was no doubt; it was a ZI Block with all the correct hard parts.
He did not want to sell it but was willing to trade for a 327 worthy enough.
Last week, I went to him with a high dollar freshly rebuilt 327, with TRW flat tops; aftermarket intake, cam kit and tons of chrome/polished accessories. I offered it as a trade along with a scattershied and a cable winch that I knew he needed for his trailer.
Load and behold, he agreed to the trade and I’m now the owner of a complete numbers matching drivetrain from an L-79 Nova.
Big plans are in the works now to finish restoring the ’67 SS and install all the L-79 goodies. While it’s not an L-79 car, it comes as close as you can get to one and also as much as I can afford with my limited budget. Even though it took me a long time to piece the puzzle together, I estimate the total cost for all the L-79 parts is still under $2,000. Yes, $2,000 for the engine, factory chrome accessories, transmission and 12 bolt rear. FYI, the stamp on the front pad reads: F06I3ZI. Casting number is 3791362. Heads are 3890462 and dated F-7-6. Intake manifold casting is 3890490. Pistons are .030 TRW 11:1 replacements. 551 Cam.
I will attach pictures of the engine, tomorrow, as I found it and a picture of my Nova. I will keep you guys posted on progress made. I am also open for comments, input and recommendations. I am no stranger to early Novas but I do respect the knowledge some of you hold and offer. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Be Safe. Rick Flores, El Paso, Texas.
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