Mr. K’s Amazing 1964 Chevy Nova SS

After 42 Years of Ownership, This Pro Street–Style Chevy Nova SS is Just About Perfect . . . for Now

By Cam Benty   –   Photography by Wes Allison

It’s an age-old story.  High school kid wants a car. Friend introduces kid to car. Deal is made and the car comes home. Forty-two years later the car achieves current “perfection,” with the crowning touch: a celebratory champagne paintjob.

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003 Driver Side 1964 chevy nova

Most movies are made from less engaging plots.  But in all seriousness, Mark Krzystofczyk’s “relationship” with his ’64 Chevy Nova SS has been a constant in his life. The little Chevy was purchased way back in 1981 when he was in high school in Simi Valley, California. The Chevy Nova SS served as a great “classroom” back then, teaching him about automotive mechanics, horsepower, driving, and much more. From there he went to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) where he honed his wrenching skills. For the last 28 years, he’s been the owner of House of BMRs where he cures the complex problems to be found in super expensive BMWs on a daily basis. But working on his Chevy Nova SS, well, that’s a labor of love.

004 Rear End Passenger Side 1964 chevy nova

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“When I bought the car for $1,500 back in 1981, it came with a 350hp 327 and a 12-bolt rearend,” Mark states. “Included in the deal was the original 283ci engine and Muncie transmission. First thing I did was install an Art Carr TH350 automatic to make it shift consistently but then I ran into a bunch of traction issues. I just could not get the car to hook.”

007 Rear End 1964 chevy nova

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After high school, Mark applied and was accepted to UTI and set out on a career in automotive repair. While at the technical college, he worked on his Nova—part of his continuing education program. The highlight of his time at UTI was winning his class of competition at the UTI drags against their archrival Arizona Automotive Institute (AAI) tech school. That experience delivered not only an education but even more motivation to make his Chevy something special.

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010 Front End 1964 chevy nova

Notes Mark, “After graduating from UTI, I really had a chance to dig in on the Nova with a special focus on my traction issues. With the help of the guys at Perry’s Auto Fabrication we installed the massive rear wheeltubs. I still drove the car on the street as a cool Pro Street car but now we had the ability to install proper drag tires if racing was part of my agenda.”

011 Open Hood 1964 chevy nova

To further bulletproof the driveline, Mark added an Art Carr–improved Turbo 400 transmission with internal transbrake and a 5,400-rpm stall speed torque converter. Out went the 12-bolt Chevy rearend, replaced with a ’73 Ford Thunderbird large-bearing rearend housing and a Ford 9-inch equipped with a Detroit Locker differential, Moser axles, and 5.14:1 gearing. During their time together, Mark has installed two other 350ci engines in the SS, finally arriving at the current 383 (built by Jeff at Jim Grubbs Motorsports and Mark), which puts out in the realm of 640 hp.

012 Custom Polished Chevy Block Cover 1964 chevy nova

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“By far the biggest change of late, other than the new paint, was the Chris Alston’s Chassisworks front end that I installed just about a year ago,” Mark says. “It was a total makeover of the front suspension and I installed all of their ancillary parts, including the inner fenderwells, rack-and-pinion, and full shock system. The new frontend is super light and allows for lots of critical alignment adjustment. The new front brakes from Wilwood are really impressive and came as part of the package from Chassisworks. In the end, it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth the effort.”

015 Roll Cage 1964 chevy nova

While today, Mark’s days are generally filled with pulling apart high-end German-built vehicles, he enjoys driving the Chevy around town and looking at ways to improve on his longtime friend of more than four decades. But even with all those upgrades, there’s always room for further changes in the future.

025 Custom Fuel Tank 1964 chevy nova

“I had no idea that I would still own my high school car after all of these years,” Mark concludes. “But the car means a lot to me and I enjoy the simplicity of the design and my ability to continue to evolve the car over time. The Chevy was an important part of the early automotive technology education, and I love it today as much as when I first laid down that $1,500 to buy it so many decades ago.”

026 Custom Taillight 1964 chevy nova

TECH CHECK
Owner: Mark Krzystofczyk
Vehicle: ’64 Chevrolet Nova SS

Engine
Type: ’64 Chevrolet small-block
Displacement: 383 ci
Compression Ratio: 10:1
Bore: 4.030 inches
Stroke: 3.700 inches
Cylinder Heads: Chevrolet cast-iron Bowtie Stage 2 angle plug
Rotating Assembly: Forged Chevrolet crankshaft, Manley “H” Series rods, JE short skirt pistons
Camshaft: Lunati, solid lifter camshaft, Chevrolet valvesprings, and SS roller rockers
Induction: Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, Screaming Demon 750-cfm, double pump, MSD ignition and wiring
Assembly: Machinework by Jim Grubbs Motorsports, engine assembly by JGM and owner
Exhaust: Hooker 1.5-inch primary headers with MagnaFlow single-chamber mufflers
Ancillaries: Be Cool aluminum radiator, Stage 1 Moroso water pump, serpentine belt drive, 10-gallon fuel cell in trunk
Tuning: JMG Machine and dyno
Output: 640 hp at 4,000 rpm

Drivetrain
Transmission: Chevrolet Turbo Hydro 400 transmission by Trans King with integrated transmission brake
Torque Converter: Trans King 10-inch diameter with 5,400-rpm stall speed
Rear Axle: ’73 Ford T-bird 9-inch rearend with 5.14:1 gearing, Detroit Locker posi, 33-spline Moser rear axles

Chassis
Front Suspension: Chris Alston’s Chassisworks Street Machine front clip suspension, Vari-strut HD iron hub spindles with Mustang II front rack-and-pinion steering
Rear Suspension: Custom suspension with Art Morrison ladder bars and Panhard bar, Chassisworks antiroll bar, ADS Varishock rear coilovers
Brakes: Wilwood master cylinder, Wilwood brakes with 11/75-inch-diameter front rotors, 12.19-inch rear rotors with four-piston calipers, Lokar pedal assembly

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Weld Superlite II wheels (15×10 front, 15×11 rear)
Tires: Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires (26×7.50×15 front and 33×21.50×15 rear)

Interior
Upholstery: Chevy factory-style loop carpet, original door panels
Seats: Procar by Scat seats with RJS racing seatbelts
Steering: Modified Chevy steering column, Grant GT steering wheel
Shifter: B&M
Dash: Stock
Instrumentation: Auto Meter throughout
Rollcage: Custom-built 12-point ’cage by Perry’s Auto Fabrication

Exterior
Bodywork and Paint: Premier Auto Body (Frank Jr., Canyon Country, CA)
Paint: Axalta Chromax Eastwood Champagne
Hood: Factory original steel hood
Rear tubs: Installed by owner and Perry’s Auto Fabrication
Trim Pieces: Factory original including grille, windshield surrounds, and door handles
Front Bumper: Factory original
Rear Bumper: Factory original

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