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Church Boys Racing 1967 Chevy Nova

From full-out drag car to autocross star in two months

By , Photography by Team Super Chevy

That said, getting the Nova sufficiently and smoothly slowed was key, as the last thing it liked was more weight on that front end. Those poor 235s protested heavily but didn’t give up the fight and we got through the “Box” entry smoothly. At the exit 90-degree right, the car was happily easy to place here which gave me good transition out to the sweepers. Predictably, there was some push, but with massive Mast power, I got across the track to prepare for the switchback three-wallom section. Where sweepers over face this car’s front end, quick, lightning-fast turns are its delight. Trail-braking with the back end coming around put the Nova in a happy place and with it, me as well.

Improvements and changes? Yes, there are some. While I loved the power the LS put down, this engine combined with the disparity between front and rear tire sizes needed proper management and a deft right foot. A quicker steering ratio and my preferred inch larger diameter steering wheel would also help with corner-entry as I found the steering a bit light and slightly slower than I’d like. Adding some negative camber and positive caster, better balance in tire sizing, and my steering ratio suggestions would bring this wonderful suspension alive and allow it to do its job. Overall, I liked the Church Boys Racing Nova and as this was the very first test for version “Cornering 1.0,” I felt it did extremely well.—Mary Pozzi

On the Street
Two months from drag car to autocross car. Once behind the wheel, the design and quality of Church Boys’ suspension parts was well represented. Since this review is really about the suspension, the interior’s still drag-oriented accoutrements and ergonomics were easily overlooked. Let’s face it, if you were building this car at home, you would swap the drag seats out for some sort of comfy, hip hugging buckets pronto.

On the street this car handled more like a true autocross car, with more of the road being felt coming through the suspension and into the car. The shocks were still set for autocrossing when we did our street drive, so this was a minor issue, one easily solved by readjusting the shocks to a more street friendly setting once the day’s activities are done.

The Nova was tight, responsive, and had a sports car-ike feel to it. Turning was quick and sharp, the fast ratio of the CBR rack eliminating a lot of sawing on the steering wheel to change directions. While the suspension was tight, it wasn’t bone jarring or uncomfortable. The manual Wilwood brakes complemented the Nova’s handling prowess well.

Overall, this was another fun car, different from our other competitors, yet still providing that right balance between handling and comfort for the person looking to do both cruising and autocrossing. And with the bolt-on features of everything Church Boys offers, in a weekend anyone with a garage and modicum of mechanical skill could transform the typically weak-kneed and wandering stock Nova suspension into something that’d let you pull some lateral G’s without fear. —Patrick Hill c

Specs
Engine
Type: Mast Motorsports 416 from Pace Performance
Block: Aluminum
Fuel Delivery: Mast fuel injection, Ricks Tanks w/Vapor Works system
Drivetrain
Transmission: Abruzzi Racing 4L60E
Stall: Abruzzi 3000
Rearend: Moser 9-inch with 3.50:1 ratio and a Wave Loc diff.
Chassis/Suspension
Chassis: GM
Front Suspension: CBR upper and lower tubular arms with bolt-in rack
Steering: CBR power rack-and-pinion, 3.5 turns lock to lock
Springs: CBR 2-inch drop 450 lb rate
Spindles: GM
Shocks: Varishock coilovers double adjustable
Swaybar: CBR 1-inch
Brakes: Wilwood six-piston calipers and 13-inch rotors
Rear Suspension: CBR triangulated four-link
Springs: CBR 2-inch drop 175-lb rate
Shocks: CBR double adjustable
Swaybar: None
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers and 12-inch rotors
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Forgeline DS3P, front-17x8, rear-17x11
Tires: Nitto NT01, front-235/40R17, rear-315/35R17
Cost of Suspension:
$5,667 (not including brakes)
Weight
Total: 3,128 (pounds)
LF: 889 | RF: 810 | LR: 679 | RR: 750
Percentage
F: 54.3 | R: 45.7
Results
Skid Pad: CW 0.84g, CCW 0.87g, Average 0.85g
Slalom: Best 46.9 mph, average of 5 runs 45.5 mph
Autocross: Best 52.82, average of 5 runs 53.83*
*One rear shock was broken during all the autocross runs
Baseline 1
2013 Corvette Grand Sport
Skid Pad: CW 0.98g, CCW 0.99g, average 0.99g
Slalom: Best 48.5 mph, average of 5 runs 46.9 mph
Autocross: Best 51.10, average of 5 runs 51.58
Baseline 2
1972 Chevelle SS396
Skid Pad: CW 0.69g, CCW 0.76g, Average 0.74g
Slalom: Best 38.7 mph, average of 3 runs, 38.2 mph
Autocross: Best 1.03.87, average of 3 runs 1.08.64

Testing facility provided by AMCI at eltorofield.com

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