[Image: Chevrolet Nova SS 350 Coupe 1973 by RaulCC BY-SA 2.0]

Q: I have a 1973 Nova with a GM 350 crate engine.

The engine has Trick Flow 23° cylinder heads, a Lunati cam, Edelbrock Performer intake, an Edelbrock Performer 600 cfm carb, and an MSD HEI distributor.

The car also has a Turbo 350 transmission with a 2,500 stall lockup converter, Richmond 3.73 gears in the rear axle, and 3-inch dual exhaust.

The problem is that I expect this ride to burn rubber, but I can barely make the tires chirp.

I was thinking about boring the engine out .030 over and adding a Trick Flow cam (246°/254° duration at .050 inches, .495 inch/.510 inch lift), but I don’t know if my transmission can handle that. Help me out, please. I do race in this car and hate to lose!

A: Looking over your list, we feel you have all the right pieces in place to make good power.

We think your problem is probably in the tune.

Take a look at your ignition timing—initial, centrifugal (mechanical advance) curve, and total—and check for low cylinder pressure (cranking compression).

If your total timing is too high, the cylinder pressure is between 120-130 psi, and the carb is neither adjusted nor calibrated, the engine will not give you the power you’re looking for.

The Edelbrock carb may be a little small for this application. You may want to look at one of Edelbrock’s 750 cfm models instead.

You really don’t need an overbore unless there’s a ring-seal problem and you probably don’t need the larger cam either. Just tune what you have and you’ll be in business.

This is another in a series of weekly Q&A Mailbag sessions with Summit Racing’s tech department, in which there are hundreds more. Click here to see them all.