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Ken Johnson's 1971 Chevy Nova "BoostedNova"

Ken Johnson's 1971 Chevy Nova "BoostedNova"


Ken Johnson has been around speed and horsepower for his entire life, so it’s no surprise that his recently completed 1971 Chevy Nova provides plenty of both. Ken knew from the get-go that the nova was going to need forced induction, hence the name BoostedNova. Dapper Lighting is proud to be involved in such a high caliber, radical build. The BoostedNova features Dapper Lighting LED Seven headlights with Black housings, HDR Switchback halos, and Clear Glass Lenses. With the maddening amount of horsepower on tap, those 30 Watt LED projector lights will go to very good use when the sun sets. To learn more aobut the LED Seven Headlights, click here.


The infamous boosted LS motor was commissioned to Moruzzi Race Motors. They started with a GM LS3 platform, but bored to 4.080-inches with a Callies forged 4-inch stroker crank and forged H-beam rods, the final displacement is a healthy 418 cubic inches. Dished OSS pistons keep the compression ratio in the forced induction range at 9.8:1. A Smith Brothers Valvetrain with Ferrea stainless valves reside in the ported LS3 heads. The custom Cam Motion camshaft grind was specified by Moruzzi. And of course, the infamous blower sitting on top is a Magnuson TVS2300.


On the outside of the motor, ignition components were handled by Granatelli and the engine bay features a ton of beautiful bronze hued Cerakote 21. The accessory drive is handled by an Eddie Motorsports drive system. Stainless Works 1 ⅞-inch-long tube headers feed down to a custom RJ Fab 3-inch exhaust system and raspy Black Widow Venom 250 mufflers. And for cooling the boosted package there’s a CBR Radiator up front. When Ken was finally able to get the Nova on the dyno (like a true gear head he isn’t afraid to post slips) it laid down 754 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque.

A 4L80E transmission handles shifting duties while the power is sent through a Hi Desert 3.5-inch driveshaft to a Currie Turn9 housing with 35-spline axles. To make sure all the ponies get to the pavement, a Strange S-Trac limited-slip differential houses 3.73 gears.


Of course Ken wasn’t going to be satisfied with just high dyno numbers. He wanted the car to be a track-capable beast. So he went with a Detroit Speed and Engineering suspension system. Up front is a DSE Speed Kit with DSE spindles and Double-adjustable JRi shocks. In the rear is the DSE QuadraLink system and a matching pair of JRi shocks with the optional DSE rear anti-roll bar.

Look into the Budnik Vapor billet wheels (18x10-inch front, 19x12-inch rear) and you’ll see Baer 6P calipers with 14-inch slotted and drilled rotors. The brake system also uses a Baer Remaster master cylinder and proportioning valve. Wrapping the Budniks are 255/35R/18 front and 345/30R/19 rear Toyo R888 tires.



The Gray, Black, and Blood-Red custom interior was handled by TMI, starting with the Chicane II Race-Style Seats with Sparco harnesses. An RJ Fabrication roll cage is neatly tucked in, but TMI superbly worked around it with custom flat door panels with Clayton Machine Works door handles, and a custom headliner. Tons of interior bits were TMI custom made including the center console, dash pad, quarter panels, and rear seat delete. TMI then rounded it off with a complete trunk kit. RJ Fab custom fabricated the dash, based on a mold created by Kenny Pfitzer Designs. The tilt steering column is an iDidit column with a Sparco wheel. Shifting is via a Lokar Shifter, and a Vintage Air Climate system keeps things cool. All the wiring was redone using a American Autowire Highway 22 system installed by Jason Scudellari.

The body fabrication was taken care of by RJ Fab, and then the Nova was in the hands of Customs by Lopez, who laid down a mirror finish in a BASF Anthracite metallic hue and gloss black combination. Other exterior bits include an Autometal Direct grille, KinDigIt recessed door handles, and Lokar side view mirrors.


The BoostedNova went deep into the rabbit hole, and managed to come out even better than expected. It made its well-received debut at the 2021 SEMA Auto Show, and continues to pop up. Ken built it to drive it hard, so don’t be surprised if you see a loud, nasty, ‘71 Nova with Dapper Lighting Halo headlights roaming the SoCal roads.

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