Marc Albright’s Pro Touring 1966 Chevy Nova

By Nick Licata – Photography by Wes Allison

Basically every muscle car enthusiast has no problem recalling the person or event that pulled them into the scene. Marc Albright remembers the path quite clearly. “My dad got me into cars as a young kid,” Marc says. “He raced Formula V in his youth, which was always his interest growing up. That passion carried over to me early on, as every year we would go to the Long Beach Grand Prix for my birthday because I had such a love for Indy Cars.”

With racing and horsepower in his blood, Marc drove a healthy 1969 Nova throughout his high school years. The car was fast and well known within the local street scene. It was his daily driver—his only mode of transportation. Being his high school days took place in the mid-to-late ’90s, his burley ride was unlike most other cars in his high school parking lot, even in Southern California’s Inland Empire, an area known as a mecca for vintage muscle cars. It was a time when imports and practical rides where the norm. He was cool with the 1969, but Marc always had a fondness for the smaller, 1966-1967 Novas, and in 2000 he was introduced to a 1966 Chevy II by his friend, Jeff Delisle, who was selling the car for $3,000. It was mostly complete, minus engine and trans. The car was in primer and the bodywork was fresh and sleek, it was almost ready for paint. Marc parted ways with the 1969 and pulled the trigger on Delisle’s 1966. All was going well with the project until Marc decided to leave his In-N-Out Burger gig to pursue a career as a firefighter. That change in employment sent the car into a 10-year slumber before he was able to finally give it the necessary attention it deserved.

As luck would have it that marinating process turned out to be a positive for the car and for Marc. A few years down the road, while attending the Del Mar Goodguys show in 2010, he bought the little Chevy a full suspension kit from Detroit Speed consisting of their QUADRALink setup out back and a hydroformed subframe up front. That purchase transpired into a relationship with Detroit Speed’s owner, Kyle Tucker, which led to the car being shipped to the Detroit Speed headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, for further R&D on their 1962-1967 Chevy Nova suspension kits and to dial in wheeltubs and header fitment. Marc was happy to oblige.

After a year of separation, Marc received the car in its newfound suspension glory and was excited to dig into the build. “Once the car came home, I installed the rollcage and did a bit of fabwork,” Marc says. “In July 2017, I enlisted the help of Cris Gonzalez at JCG Restorations for wiring, exhaust, paint, and final assembly.” Milo Albor of Restomod Shop pitched in and was a huge help as well.

With the car’s handling abilities dialed in, he went to the crew at CBM in Colton, California, to build a more-than-capable 402ci stroked LS2 that hammers out 620 hp—plenty of grunt to put a hurting on the competition and a mile-wide grin on Marc’s face. Although power was a priority, looks would also play an important part in the engine bay. Marc skipped the shiny stuff and went with a menacing scene consisting of a black anodized Vintage Air Front Runner drive system, black Summit Racing air cleaner, black valve covers, black Baer brake master, black anodized Eddie Motorsports hood hinges, and even a black aluminum C&R radiator. Those vital parts complement the, you guessed it, black custom inner fenders.

With the intention to autocross and put plenty of road miles on the car, a manual trans was a must. A TREMEC Magnum six-speed got the call and relies on a GM ZR1 clutch for smooth gear changes. A 9-inch rearend armed with Mark Williams 31-spline axles, Moser 3.89 gears, and a Truetrac limited-slip differential ensures all that power gets evenly pounded into the asphalt.

 

To scrub speed, a set of Baer brakes consisting of 14-inch rotors and six-piston calipers reside on all four corners behind a set of custom gold wheels, 18×9.5 up front and 18×11.5 out back.

The stealthy theme carries on into the cockpit where only necessary tools exist, keeping Marc’s office clutter-free. Ron Mangus took on the custom interior scene. He laid down a base, starting with German loop black carpet and worked in the custom door panels covered in black suede. He carried the process into the dash and center console for continuity. The Sparco seats and Pro 1 safety harness provide Marc a secure perch while gripping the Driven steering wheel with one hand and hammering gears via the Hurst shifter with the other. Marc stays in tune with the Nova’s vitals by way of the Speedhut dials prepensely arranged in the custom dash.

Gonzalez and the crew as JCG Restorations in New Braunfels, Texas, interpreted Marc’s vision of the car’s exterior by massaging the body to perfection prior to laying down the Glasurit White 5 paint. The gold stripes on the lower front fenders add some welcomed flair while breaking up the constant sea of white. Marc took the honors of shaving the bumper bolts, filling the marker light holes, and deleting the license plate slot on the rear bumper for a clean appearance.

 

Revealing he took on a project that developed into something way beyond his expectations, Mark admits, “I’ve always said I was building a car I have no business building. Financially, it is way more car than I had imagined and it tested me on multiple occasions.

“Just as I started the build, my dad [died],” Marc says. “So I named the car Full Circle as it reflects on my love for racing early in life and how I came full circle to once again love it and to pass that passion onto my boys, Kyle and Conner, just as my dad did with me.”

TECH CHECK

Owner: Marc Albright, Yucaipa, California
Vehicle: 1966 Chevy II Nova

Engine
Type: Chevrolet Performance LS2
Displacement: 402 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
Stroke: 4.0 inches
Cylinder Heads: Patriot Aluminum
Rotating Assembly: Eagle crankshaft, Eagle rods, Arias pistons, Clevite bearings, Total Seal rings
Valvetrain: GM rockers, Manley valves/valvesprings
Camshaft: CBM custom grind
Induction: Edelbrock intake manifold, Holley EFI, Summit Racing 14-inch air cleaner
Ignition: GM
Exhaust: Detroit Speed headers, Custom JCG-built 3-inch exhaust, Borla XR1mufflers
Ancillaries: Vintage Air Front Runner accessory drive system, Eddie Motorsports hood hinges, GM LS2 valve covers, C&R aluminum radiator, SPAL dual 10-inch fans
Machine Work and Assembly: CBM (Colton, California)
Output (at crank): 620 hp at 7,400 rpm, 570 lb-ft at 7,200 rpm

Drivetrain
Transmission: TREMEC T56 Magnum six-speed, GM ZR1 clutch
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch, Truetrac limited-slip differential, 3.89:1, Mark Williams 31-spline axles

Chassis
Front Suspension: Detroit Speed hydroformed subframe, tubular control arms, coilover shocks, integrated splined sway bar
Rear Suspension: Detroit Speed QUADRALink system, coilover shocks, sway bar
Brakes: Baer 14-inch rotors, six-piston calipers front and rear, Baer master cylinder

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Custom Gold, 18×9.5 front, 18×11 rear
Tires: BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S 275/35R18 front, 315/30R18 rear

Interior
Upholstery: Alcantara Black Custom by Ron Mangus Interiors (Rialto, California)
Carpet: German loop black by Ron Mangus Interiors
Seats: Sparco
Steering: ididt column, Driven Motorsport steering wheel
Shifter: Hurst
Dash: Suede custom
Instrumentation: Speedhut
Audio: Kicker head unit, Kicker speakers and sub, Kicker amp installed by Ron Mangus Interiors
HVAC: Vintage Air
Rollcage: Marc Albright

Exterior
Bodywork: JCG Restorations and Customs (New Braunfels, Texas)
Paint By: JCG
Paint Brand: Glasurit
Color: White 5
Hood: Stock
Grille: Stock
Bumpers: Stock, modified by Marc Albright
Headlights: Dapper Lighting
Taillights: Eddie Motorsports
Door Handles: Eddie Motorsports

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