By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson has wheeled different cars in different NMCA categories in the past fifteen years, but he has been rocking his red 1972 Nova in Detroit TrueTrac Nostalgia Muscle Car since 2014.
The car with a small-block Chevy under its hood — and Granny’s Garage — on its doors, has been good to Wilson, who wrapped up wins in the 10.25 and 10.50 indexes, and most recently, a fourth-place finish in points in 2019 and a third-place finish in points in 2018.
But the Tennessee-based driver plans to sell the car, and has been working on a different car, a blue and silver 1970 Nova that he will introduce to MagnaFuel Open Comp this year.
After choosing a 565 cubic-inch big-block Chevy built by Jeff Burns Racing Engines, a new fuel system and a BTE Powerglide to power the car, Wilson got to work.
“The car was a small-tire car when I bought it a few years ago, but I completely back-halved it for wheel tubs because I wanted more tire to handle more horsepower,” said Wilson, who was a mechanic for FedEx Corporation for 33 years before retiring three years ago. “I also replaced the car’s stock 10-bolt GM rear-end with a Chris Alston’s Chassisworks fabricated 9-inch rear-end.”
Wilson, who said he enjoys working on cars as much as he enjoys racing them, also gave the car new balljoints and bushings, as well as a new steering box, and removed its heater to shed some weight.
He recently painted the engine bay, and rewired the car which rolls on Weld wheels wrapped with Hoosier slicks.
“This has been a couple years in the making because I worked on it here and there when I could, but it turned out really nice,” said Wilson, who hopes to clock low 9s in the quarter-mile at the 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines, March 5-8, at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, and the remaining five events on this year’s NMCA tour.
Just like all of his previous cars, the 1970 Nova wears Granny’s Garage graphics, in honor of Wilson’s grandmother, who years ago, let a teenage Wilson work on his cars in her two-car, dirt-floor, garage.