Hilborn-Injected 421 cid Small Block Chevy Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Hilborn-Injected 421 cid Small Block Chevy Engine

It doesn't get much cooler than a bright red 1967 Chevy Nova... that is until you add a Hilborn stack-injected intake manifold onto a 421 cubic inch small block Chevy engine and stuff it between the frame rails! Built by David Senderhauf and Knowlton Thunderheads & Racing Engines and tuned by Starr Performance Tuning, Joshua Norris' Nova is certified badass. Check it out.

Engine of the Week is presented by

Over the past few months, we’ve struck up a friendship with Andrew Starr of Starr Performance and Consulting. Andrew was formerly with Hilborn Injection before starting his own tuning business. Andy is a wealth of knowledge, and as such, he’s been helping us here at Engine Builder Mag with some tuning content. He also helps a lot of customers by tuning their cars and making them run at peak performance. We happened to cross paths with him at this year’s Sick Week in Florida.

Andy was working on a couple cars the morning of day two at Bradenton Motorsports Park when we saw him, and he told us we should go check out Joshua Norris’ ‘67 Nova. Andy tunes Josh’s car as well, so we knew it would be something cool. We walked into the pits and found Norris and his Nova getting ready for another pass. Josh was happy to take a break from prepping his car to tell us about the Nova, which he’s had for most his life. The Nova features an awesome Hilborn-injected 421 cid small block Chevy engine.

“I’ve owned the car for about 31 years,” Josh Norris told us. “My dad and I were going to a big car show called ‘Back to the ‘50s,’ and we were walking through the car corral when I happened to see this car and I knew that’s the car I wanted. We went and bought it the next day. I’ve been progressively building it since then. I try to pick a couple upgrades every year. This year, I put the Smith Racecraft front end on it.”

The ‘67 Nova is powered by a 421 cubic inch small block Chevy engine, which features a Dart Little M block, 245cc AFR heads and a Hilborn EFI intake manifold.

“I bought the electronic Hilborn from Andy Starr and he is now the primary tuner at Starr Performance,” Norris says. “He’s been my co-pilot now four times, and I’ve competed in six Drag Weeks. I actually built [the engine] around the Hilborn because I love old-school stuff, so it started there and we built an engine around it. We went with finned valve covers, and I love gassers and straight axles – all that stuff. The car was kind of my modern day interpretation of a gasser. I wanted to keep the full interior and stuff like that, so when you look at it, it doesn’t look like a straight up race car.”

Both Norris and Starr are seasoned drag-and-drive guys, and it shows in Josh’s Nova. Aside from a Dart block, AFR heads and the Hilborn EFI setup, the engine is also equipped with a Scat 4.185” stroke crankshaft, 6.000” Eagle connecting rods, JE pistons, and T&D rockers.

“The original combo was built by David Senderhauf and all the machine work was done by Travis Knowlton and Knowlton Thunderheads and Racing Engines,” he says. “Nathan Shaw of One Guys Garage did the one-off headers. It’s been a pretty proven combo. I’ve beaten the living heck out of it now for five years and virtually done nothing to it. It runs pretty consistent 9.60s-9.70s.”

While Norris has done a number of Drag Weeks over the years, this trip to Florida was his first Sick Week.

“We decided to come down this year and try it out,” he says. “Usually, we go to Lights Out. I ran Lights Out last year in the 6.0 class, but we decided to come down to sunny Florida and enjoy the weather.”

Josh competed in Sick Week in the Naturally Aspirated class, and recorded passes of 9.66 at 139 mph, 9.73 at 136 mph, 9.66 at 138 mph, 9.73 at 137 mph, and 9.94 at 137 mph for an average of 9.74 at 137 mph. You have to admit he was consistent! That consistency is thanks to good tuning work from Andy Starr on the 421 small block Chevy and it’s 760 horsepower at 7,300 rpm.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor OilElring – Das Original and NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

Turbocharged 388 cid LS Engine

When you look at a Volvo wagon, all sorts of things come to mind, but running quarter-mile passes of any speed usually isn’t one of them. However, Mikael Borggren’s 1987 Volvo with a turbocharged 388 cid LS engine capable of 6-second passes is definitely a sight to see! Read up about all the engine details!

We first got a glance at Mikael Borggren’s LS-swapped Volvo wagon at the inaugural Sick Week in 2022, and we instantly fell in love with it. The unassuming, “soccer mom” vibes of the Volvo paired with the performance of a turbocharged LS engine made for a surprising result on the track – 6-second quarter-mile passes at 200+ mph!

118mm Turbocharged 540 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

These days, a 200+ mph pass at a drag-and-drive event like Sick Week, is commonplace. However, it’s not every race you watch a competitor’s doors literally get blown off. Stefan Gustafsson did just that while running a PR of 6.43 at 218 mph thanks to his C4 Corvette and its turbocharged 540 cid big block Chevy engine. See what’s in this 2,100+ horsepower engine!

Twin-Turbo 400 cid LS Next Engine

Achieving five consecutive days of mid-6-second passes and 1,000 miles driven on the street earned Michael Westberg the 2023 Sick Week overall win. His Chevy S10 features a 400 cubic inch twin-turbo LS Next engine. See what’s in this engine build done by ACE Racing Engines!

Turbocharged 388 cid LS-Swapped 1973 Toyota Celica

Proof that cars from the ’70s were awesome is Steve Groenink’s 1973 Toyota Celica. Saved from a farmer’s field, this Celica features a turbocharged 388 cid LS engine capable of 6-second passes. Check it out!

Twin-Turbo 429 cid Ford Boss Engine

Earl Schexnayder of Schexnayder Racing is a Ford guy through and through. As such, he has been entering drag-and-drive events with his 2000 Cobra Mustang and a twin-turbo 429 Ford Boss engine since 2011. Check out what makes this Ford combo a sweet one!

Other Posts

World Products Sportsman II Small Block Chevy Cylinder Heads

This high-performance cast-iron cylinder head has been continuously improved since its introduction over 20 years ago.

Scott Mueller’s Supercharged 406 cid Small Block Chevy Engine

Scott Mueller is no drag-and-drive rookie. He’s been drag racing and daily driving his 1934 hot rod for a number of years. Helping him compete is a supercharged 406 cubic inch small block Chevy and we got the details during Sick Week 2023 at Gainesville Raceway. It’s our Engine of the Week. Related Articles –

Jason Sack’s Turbocharged 429 cid LSX Engine

Jason Sack had arguably one of the nicest Novas we saw during Sick Week 2023. The car’s beauty had some sort of gravitational pull as we walked passed it in the pits. Naturally, we gave in and stopped to have a chat with Jason Sack about his 1969 Nova and its turbocharged 429 cid LSX

1968 Chevelle with a Twin-Turbo 427 cid LS Engine

This 1968 Chevelle, owned by Tanner Stover, was thought out from the beginning to handle drag-and-drive competitions, and no detail was left undone. The gorgeous car features a twin-turbo 427 cubic inch LS engine capable of running 7-second passes! It’s our Engine of the Week! Related Articles – Mild vs. Wild (Diesel Edition) Ep 5