Editor's Note: Since the January 2009 issue, we have been bringing you the results of our 1st Annual Super Chevy Suspension & Handling Challenge, presented by Nitto Tire. This month, we conclude this series by presenting the Chris Alston's Chassisworks '70 Nova and The Roadster Shop's '70 Chevelle. For more pictures and video, please visit www.superchevy.com.
This '70 Nova was unique to all the other rides at the event in that it was the only one that was destined to be raffled off. Yep, this killer Chevy is the one to be given away to some lucky gearhead during the Goodguys '09 show season. Built by Precision Coachworks, this Nova is filled with Chris Alston Chassisworks and Air Ride Technologies goodness. Finished shortly before our event, it had only run a couple of autocross events and was still a long way from being properly tuned and set up. But that didn't stop the Air Ride and CA Chassisorks teams from bringing the highly-modified Chevy out to our venue for a little track thrashing.
The graphics on the hood and the menacing exhaust note warns of the 600-plus horsepower LS 427 under the hood, while the stance boldly states that this ride is both at home in the twisties as it is at the dragstrip. The performance doesn't mean Precision Coachworks neglected that aesthetic side of the equation--far from it. Every panel on the Nova has been tweaked and customized, sometimes in ways too subtle to notice at first glance. Flush mounted glass, recessed fog lamps, sucked in bumpers, ghost graphics, flattened firewall, and the list goes on.
After our event the crew plans on dialing in the handling at the many Goodguys autocross events across the country. If you're in the area be sure to check it out; we've heard they offer rides through the cones.
Driver's Impression - On The Autocross CourseLike several other cars that preceded this one, this Nova's job today wouldn't be an autocross. It had the same Air Ride Technologies suspension as the Air Ride Chevelle, but the set up felt more like what I`d expect for a nice street ride instead of a corner carver. Don't get me wrong, as there were a lot of good things about this car. For one, traction and acceleration was excellent. It was responsive and handled power application very well. The overall ride quality was also good.
For the negatives, this car felt "higher" than the ART Chevelle and didn't transition as well in the slalom portions of the course. The brakes were somewhat hard to modulate and extra pedal effort was required to get this car slowed down. As a result, feedback to me was somewhat delayed which affected corner entry and track-out.
I do think that this car is a great street ride; it's comfortable and easy to drive at slower speeds in its present configuration. Knowing the adjustability and ability to tune this suspension, the Chris Alston car could be a player on an autocross course.--Mary Pozzi
Driver's Impression - On The StreetThe Chris Alston's Chassisworks Nova proved once again that these little econoboxes make outstanding high-performance machines. Witness the fact that the Chassisworks Nova blew through the autocross over two seconds quicker than the C5 Corvette and was a full 4 mph faster through the slalom. This isn't grandma's grocery getter.
I found the steering to be too light for my tastes (loved the wheel, though), but the ride was very, very good--among the best in this group of nine cars. From the logbook: "No surprises here. It corners flat, behaves well and rides very smoothly."
Another plus is that the whole suspension system bolts right in. No cutting or welding is required. Yes, $8,200 is a serious amount of cash. But if you enjoy driving your super Chevy, this outlay delivers serious performance --Jim Campisano