I have a 70 Nova L-78. For those who didn't know, in 70, the 396ci was
actually bored out from the factory to a 402ci. I was wondering if anyone
knew why GM didn't update or change the HP and tourque ratings from the
pevious L-78's. Insurance reasons?
Does anyone have any actual stats of the 402? I would think they should be different.
Or does anyone know what the actual HP is? I heard it was pretty underrated...
OK, I'll bite;
- The reason they never changed the tag on the engine was to capitalize on six years worth of "brand recognition".
- The reason they never updated the stats on the engine are that firstly the 396 L-78 (as well as the 402ci version) were underrated anyway, The only change to the technical statistics was the overbore and from a performance standpoint, the additional 1.5% displacement didn't add enough power to worry about.
- The best guess I can give you on actual horsepower for a stock L-78 is right around 400hp (as per my other post). Consider that the L-78 396, the L-72 427 and to a slightly lesser extent, the 454 LS-6 were all basically built to the exact same specification (ie. 4 bolt mains, steel crank, 11:1 comp, rectangular port heads, solid lifter cam, alum intake and big holley 4bbl) and they all produce roughly 1hp per cubic inch.
- Now, 400hp was an admirable figure for a stock big block displacing only 396ci (or 402ci), but the engine had another advantage as well and that is it's ability to rev which allows you to run lower gears without overreving at the end of the 1/4. The L-78 is good for 7500 rpm according to most sources although I will tell you that in the good old days I used to shift an L-72 427 at 7,800 rpm when racing with the odd run up past 8,000 rpm! Engine was bone stock other than headers. Nothing like the sound of a solid lifter big block chevy at over 7,500 rpm!
You have quite a car there, the L-78 in a relatively light car like the Nova makes for truly legendary performer. I recently was in the market for a musclecar after a 15 year hiatus and I made a list of 25 cars I would be interested in owning; the '68 - '70 L-78 Nova was definitely on the list! In fact, I did find one (rotiserie resto) and enquired on the price, but the $92,000.00 Can. asking price was more than I wanted to spend.
Cheers and happy motoring,
Thanks for the info Dave! I figured that it was around 400 hp, but good to
hear from someone who knows what they are talking about!
Are you in Canada too? Where was the car that you saw for sale?
I'm a fellow Canuck from Kelowna, British Columbia. The Nova that I had enquired about was from Legendary Motorcars in Toronto. I knew they'd want a pretty penny and there is no question that they do a top quality resto, but I knew my wife wouldn't sign off on a car that cost more than our first home!
Tell us more about your car. When did you get it? Original or restored? You should be very happy with your ride! Lots of people don't fully understand the differences between an L-78 and your basic 325hp 396; two totally different animals! No stock musclecar built could walk away from a well tuned L-78 Nova with 4:10's.
Actually, I bought mine from Legendary a year ago and I can't wait for the
snow and salt to be gone so I can drive it again! Mine has 3.73's in it and
she's pretty fast! It's my first muscle car, so I really can't compare it
with anything else. I have yet to see another black, 70, L78 with buckets
and a 4-speed, which is one reason I bought it. Lots of Camaros, Chevelles
etc out there but I haven't seen another like mine. I also love the
"sleeper" :sleep: aspect of it. The redline tires are nice and add to the
classic look, but they're bias-ply, so they're like ball bearings, but I
guess that stops me from breaking the expensive stuff, huh? I'd like to
take her to the pure stock drags this summer to she how I do. PM me your
email address and I'll send you some pics if you like, plus I'll tell you
some things about Legendary. Do you have any pics of your's? I like Mopars
too, but my buddy's a real fanatic! He'd love to see your car, I'm sure.
I have some pics, but I'm at the very beginning of a total resto, so there
isn't much shiney stuff to look at yet!
The pure stock drags have interested me too. Might check them out.
Sent you a PM.