Ken Johnson's Boosted Nova
Ken Johnson's @BoostedNova
The beauty of building an American Muscle car is...you can build it your way! That's what Ken Johnson set out to do. He didn't do it alone as he had inspiration, help, and time on his side. Ken's had his vision tranferred to a digital/graphic rendering over seven years ago. Small iterations were made during that time but the initial stance, color scheme, and feel were the same as what you see today.
Before purchasing the 1971 Nova, "this car had been teasting me at my office. It was sitting in a warehouse for years," Ken explained. He had the opportunity to buy it but couldn't make it happen. Then it switched hands between a few friends of Kens, but he always kept an eye on it. When he was finally able to pull the trigger, he did just that!
“I drove it around and enjoyed the car for about six months. During this time I kept dreaming about what changes I wanted to do to the car. I took the car to Rob Lindsay of RJ Fab for a little work and next thing I knew, we were building the car from the ground up,” explained Johnson.
Ken knew he wanted a bad ass Pro Touring machine. A car that could do it all from the track to cruising with his wife on the weekends, or when he runs the largest Quarantine Cruise in the USA. That meant the car had to have lots of reliable power, great suspension, and a comfortable yet performance minded interior.
Boosted Power Plant
Starting with the powerplant, Ken wanted this car to have a supercharger. He went with the recommendation from RJ Fab and started that journey by reaching out to Moruzzi Race Motors. They assembled an LS3 block and bored it out to 4.080-inches then installed a 4” stroker crank from Callies. With a Magnuson supercharger in mind they installed a set of OSS dished pistons to drop the compression ratio to 9.8:1 and the final displacement was 418 cubic inches.
Cam Motion specified a custom camshaft, which tickles the Ferra stainless valves and Smith Brothers valvetrain to operate the ported LS3 heads. The cherry on top is the Magnuson TVS2300 blower and Granatelli ignition. Exhaust flows through a set of Stainless Works 1-⅞” long tube headers combined with an RJ Fab 3” exhaust system topped with Black Widow Venom 250 mufflers.
Eddie Motorsports serpentine kit handles moving fluids around while a CBR Performance radiator cools everything down. The end result is a combo that has 754WHP and 630 lb-ft of torque. All this travels through a built 4L80e transmission which is then sent to a Currie Turn9 housing that’s fitted with a Strange S-Trac limited slip diff and 3.73 gears and 35-spline Currie axles.
With cruising down PCH and curvy mountain roads a priority for Ken, he partnered with Detroit Speed for a complete suspension system. In the front a pair of DSE spindles and JRi shocks were outfitted to the stock subframe along with DSE control arms. In the rear a QuadraLink system was outfitted under the Nova with a pair of JRi shocks. Budnik Vapor billet wheels are 18x10” in the front and 19x12” in the rear and cover the huge 14” rotors and six-piston brakes from Baer which are activated by a Baer ReMaster cylinder. The wheels are wrapped in 255/35/R18 and 345/30/R19 Toyo R888 tires.
This was no easy task as the boys from RJ Fabrication took some time to be able to tuck the massive 345's out back making it one of the few third-gen Nova's with this combo.
Black 'n Grey
The outside of the car has a very sinister appearance. Ken connected with Ricardo and Monica Lopes of Customs by Lopez who helped make the rendering a reality with paint and body and laid down a BASF Anthracite metallic hue to make this 1971 Nova look incredible. The Autometal Direct’s grill, trunk lid, and the Harwood bumpers were all painted gloss black. KinDigIt recessed door handles and a Lokar side view mirror finish off the outside. Body modifications were kept to a bare minimum.
On The Inside
When you have over 700-horses under the hood, suspension that handles better than a ‘Vette and brakes that will shove you through the dash, you need an interior that’s up to par.
Going back to his vision, Ken would need a seat that’s performance minded, but still comfortable for long drives. What he chose was our Chicane-II seat. These are racing inspired, but can still recline for the ultimate in comfort. The seats were stitched up in TMI’s Sport-SS pattern that have a set of racing stripes in them to give it even more of a racing feel. Sparco harnesses ensure Ken stays put.
The rest of the interior had some challenges for TMI since the Nova has a roll cage. What TMI did was created flat door panels and a special headliner to fit around the cage. Other touches include a TMI console, dash pad, quarter panels and rear seat delete. Everything was stitched up in a #508 Distressed Blood Red Vinyl #6500 Carbon Fiber vinyl inserts. The Distressed Blood Red Vinyl was chosen as it compliments this high-end Nova's style, functionality, and it's easy to maintain. A salt and pepper gray carpet was chosen to bring the outside colors to the inside.
Instead of having a bare metal trunk, Ken opted to upgrade to a TMI Sport-R Trunk Kit with carpet. Stitched in the same #508 Distressed Blood Red Vinyl, this trunk kit brings the same level of finish to Ken's Nova as the rest of the interior. With a car this nice, you can't have a bare and unfinished trunk.
Boosted Nova was wired with an American Autowire Highway 22 system. Other interior finishes include a Lokar shift, Holley 12.3” Pro Dash, Vintage Air to keep Ken cool, ididit steering column, and Clayton Machine Works door handles.
With everything done, Ken took his Nova to SEMA 2021 in the Boxo Tools booth where it was a huge hit. For SEMA 2022, Ken’s Nova was called up to be apart of the 360Booth display where it was once again a huge hit.
Ken entered his Nova in the 2022 TMI TRIM Awards where he picked up the trophy for best TMI car interior! Now it’s time for him to start logging miles and enjoying his vision coming to fruition.