This LS-Pow­ered VW GTI Wowed at SEMA

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aes­thet­ics di­aled in, Au­to­mo­tive Di­ag­nos­tic Spe­cial­ties in Chan­dler, Ari­zona, tuned the engine’s Hol­ley Dom­i­na­tor ECU. On the com­pany’s engine dyno, it cranked out 671 hp at 6,800 rpm and 594 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, giv­ing a healthy 1,800 rpm be­tween peak power and peak torque that al­lows the engine to keep pulling hard on up­shifts.

As for the shift­ing, a close-ra­tio T56 six-speed was built by Rock­land Stan­dard Gear and is linked to the engine with a Cen­ter­force Dyad 8¾-inch clutch and a Quick­Time bell­hous­ing, while the con­nec­tion to the driver is made with a cus­tom short-throw shifter by Detroit Speed. The re­main­der of the pow­er­train is equally as track-ori­ented, with a car­bon-fiber drive­shaft lead­ing to an ex­pertly built Ford 9-inch rear axle. It’s filled with 31-spline Moser axles and a TrueTrac lim­ited-slip with 3.89:1 gears treated to C&R Rac­ing’s REM fin­ish-

ing process to in­crease dura­bil­ity and strength.

To keep the lit­tle Chevy planted through the cor­ners, Detroit Speed used one of its own Nova front sub­frames that tie the front rails into the fac­tory lo­ca­tion in the floor­board as well as the fire­wall. Brac­ing runs from the fire­wall to just for­ward of the con­trol-arm mounts and is hid­den by off-the-shelf Detroit Speed in­ner fend­ers to cre­ate an in­te­grated sus­pen­sion that stiff­ens the chas­sis con­sid­er­ably. Their pro­pri­etary spin­dle and con­trol arms use dou­ble-ad­justable JRI shocks and PAC springs, which are also used on the rear sus­pen­sion, where a Detroit Speed Quadralink has re­placed the leaf springs.

While the busi­ness of build­ing a quick track car was a pri­or­ity, Bob’s Nova also had to look the part in­side and out. To set his Nova apart from its gro­ceryget­ter roots, the body was smoothed and stream­lined by adding flush-mount glass and by re­mov­ing body side mold­ings and drip-rail mold­ings. Ad­di­tional body mods in­clude Detroit Speed door han­dles, S500 Mus­tang side mir­rors, flush door-lock cylin­ders, and bumpers that are tucked into the body. One trick mod­i­fi­ca­tion that isn’t ob­vi­ous is the ad­di­tion of full-length rocker jack rails that al­low for safe and easy trackside tire changes.

Reach for the cus­tom, flush-mount Detroit Speed door han­dles and the in­te­rior that awaits is vir­tu­ally all busi­ness. While the seats are padded enough for grand-tour­ing duty, they are also deeply bol­stered and ready to throw down on the track, keep­ing the driver per­fectly po­si­tioned. The re­main­der of the in­te­rior is de­cid­edly lack­ing in cushy crea­ture com­forts, save for the Vin­tage Air vents and con­trols that are neatly tucked into the dash. The door pan­els are min­i­mal­is­tic, with blacked-out alu­minum and siz­able sheets of smooth car­bon fiber punc­tu­ated by only a grab han­dle, win­dow crank, and latch lever. Even the gauges are no-non­sense, with per­ti­nent rac­ing data dis­played on the Hol­ley dig­i­tal dash.

The to­tal build took just less than two years to com­plete, and the Nova was ready for its de­but at the 2017 SEMA Show. If you’re at time-at­tack or au­tocross events in the South­west, you just may be able to catch it mak­ing laps.

[ CNC-ported Brodix heads on a 427ci LS is a recipe for big horse­power—671 at the fly­wheel, in fact. Detroit Speed con­sid­ered the en­tire engine bay when de­sign­ing its Nova parts, and the header fit­ment is proof. They have 17⁄ 8- inch pri­mary tubes and...

[ A Detroit Speed mini­tub al­lowed for 305mmwide rub­ber to fit on the com­pact Nova. Front tires are 275/35ZR18 and the rear tires use 305/30ZR18, both BFGoodrich g-Force Ri­val S. Wheel widths are 8 and 10 inches, re­spec­tively.

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