The very definition of badass, Shawn Ellington’s 1969 Nova is one of the most well-known cars in the country. When we first met Shawn two years ago, his Pro Line–built big-block Chevy was carbureted and supercharged. Since then, he’s switched to electronic fuel injection and a pair of turbos—specifically a pair of 88mm Pro Mod turbochargers from Precision. The engine itself is pretty basic, considering it makes about 3,400 hp. It’s a 572 built with a Lunati crank, Oliver connecting rods, Diamond pistons, and 380cc Dart Pro 2 cylinder heads. At the heart of the engine is a Comp solid roller cam, and Comp lifters and pushrods. The camshaft is geardriven off the crank.
FuelTech’s FT500 sequential-port fuel-injection system runs the show, and it incorporates Billet Atomizer fuel injectors built by Alan Kennedy, which are fed by a beltdriven fuel pump. Jeff Lutz built the headers and turbo plumbing using tubing from Stainless Works, Precision wastegates, and a Precision air-to-water intercooler. Shawn says they placed the turbochargers in the rear of the engine compartment near the firewall for better weight balance and transfer. The engine is cooled by the same water that runs through the intercooler. It gets pumped from a Chiseled Performance aluminum tank mounted in the trunk, to the intercooler mounted under the dash on the passenger side of the car, then through the engine before returning to the tank in the trunk.
The transmission is a TH400 built by Rossler with a 2.10:1 First gear. A carbon-fiber driveshaft from Precision Shaft Technologies connects to a Strange 9-inch housing with a Strange spool and axles. Strange disc brakes are on all four corners.
Don Dial’s Race Shop fabbed the rear four-link and built a stock-style front suspension with TRZ control arms. Chris Bell from Kinetic Engineering built the Penske double-adjustable shocks, front and rear, and helped Shawn set up the suspension.
Electronics are a part of any car making this much power at this level of competition, and Shawn’s car is no stranger to technology. He’s got a Davis Technologies bump box, MSD’s Power Grid ignition system, a boost controller from Hyperaktive Performance Solutions, and a Racepack dash and datalogger. Though he’s got plenty of onboard electronics that can function as traction control devices, Shawn says he’s tried them, but feels more comfortable and runs faster without them.
With a 9.3:1 compression ratio and spooling 42 pounds of boost (though he can turn it up more than that), the Murder Nova runs on 116-octane Q16 oxygenated gasoline from VP Racing Fuels, and Shawn recently ran 4.42 at 178 mph in the eighth-mile on 275 drag radials in this configuration. He expects to see very low-4s on a set of 315 radials at No Mercy 6 later this year in Valdosta, Georgia, if the show’s shooting schedule permits.