Mike Silva's Nova started out as a street car and now is a multi-time champion. We take a look inside his 2017 engine combination.
Whether it’s at the Street Car Super Nationals, NMCA World Finals, or a Super Chevy Show, Mike Silva’s ’64 Nova is a force to be reckoned with. Last year, Mike took home the championship in the NMCA’s West Coast Ultra Street class in dominant fashion with four straight event wins after qualifying for the final round on top with a 5.408 pass in the 1/8th mile and shutting down finalist Kevin Watson with a 5.43 at 128.36 mph versus Watson’s 5.57 at 124.78 mph. In competition settings where the margin between a win a loss can often be counted in hundredths of a second, consistency absolutely key.
But motorsport success for the Madera, California machinist didn’t happen overnight. “I’ve had the car for over twenty years,” he explained. “Initially I wasn’t even looking for a Nova – I wanted a ’68 Camaro. I ended up finding one but a friend of mine offered up the Nova around the same time. It proved to be the better option because I knew the history of the car, the price was better, and the Nova transfers the weight really well.”
“It used to be my daily driver, a mid-12 second car,” Silva added. “Eventually we got into the 10s and I started competing in the West Coast Hot Rod Association D-Gas 10.60 Index class, and in 2008 we took home the championship. After that we decided we wanted to step it up and do some heads up racing.”
Under the hood of Silva’s Chevy II lurks a 406 cubic inch small block Chevy built by Craig Gerfen and his team at Race Engine Systems. The Santa Maria, CA based company specializes in the design and assembly of custom racing engines, along with cylinder head R&D, porting, flow bench testing, camshaft spec & design, engine dyno-tuning and track-side support.
Spec-wise, the Dart small block boasts 13.5:1 compression, Bill Miller Engineering aluminum connecting rods, Air Flow Research 245cc cylinder heads, a custom solid roller camshaft (Mike’s keeping those specs on the down-low), and is topped with an Edelbrock Super Victor series intake manifold and a Pro Systems 1000 cfm carburetor.
In terms of pistons, Silva just started using a new JE set this season with a revised ring package. “The last set from JE lasted us through five years of racing,” he told us, “These new pistons are very similar to the set they replaced, they just provide a bit more compression.”
As for the future, Silva says he’s pretty happy with the current strategy. “It’s a great bunch of guys in the Ultra Street class and the NMCA treat us really well,” he explained. “We had a really successful year of racing and we’re looking forward to another strong showing in the upcoming season.”
Things are already off to a good start for Silva, as he took home the win at his first 2017 NMCA Ultra Street event in Fontana in April, running a personal best of 5.39 at 130.39 mph. So what’s next? “5.20s,” he told us. “The car has it in it – it’s already running 2 mph faster than last year.”