Who needs a fancy new Mustang when you can make a classic shoebox Nova handle just as well? Bryan Fargo worked as a mechanic for Roush Industries in California while in school to become an engineer, and took some heat for being the only guy in the heart of Mustang performance to be driving a Chevy. (Roush sells thousands of souped-up new Mustangs annually-including supercharged versions-through a network of Ford dealers.)
After purchasing the Nova as a running project in '99, Bryan sold his '72 Malibu to pay for paint and bodywork on his new driver. Slowly and over time on the weekends, upgrades were made to the car as school and money allowed. After all, the Nova was his daily driver and he couldn't have it sitting.
Once he could afford a daily commuter, Bryan retired the Nova to weekend cruising and dragstrip duty. But going in a straight line got boring, and the call of corner carving was the siren song necessary to turn Bryan to upgrading the Nova's handling abilities. Since a front subframe was out of the question cost-wise, Brian decided to upgrade the existing subframe and suspension. After doing some research, Bryan went to the suspension pros at Classic Performance Products (CPP). CPP had the products necessary, and within budget for the project. Here's what he got:
$699.00 6267TCA-UKS Mini-subframe with upper & lower tubular arms. These come pre-assembled with bushings and ball joints.
$569.00 6267COK Coilover spring and shock kit.
$149.00 CP108U A 1-inch diameter front sway bar. Black powdercoat finish, bolts on in OE mount, works with OE lower control arms & CPP tubular lower control arms.
$139.00 CP916U A 3/4-inch diameter rear sway bar. Black powdercoat finish, bolts to rear axle, requires simple drilling.
After installing all these parts, Bryan and some friends fabricated a rack-and-pinion steering system on the cheap (being an engineer has its advantages) to keep the Nova going straight and with better steering response than stock. The finishing touch was a big-brake upgrade so the Nova had plenty of whoa power. After hitting a couple of autocross events and doing some tuning, the '67 was ready for our event.
Driver's Impression - On the Autocross Course
I watched Nick Licata take each car through the slalom and was immediately impressed with CPP's Nova. The car appeared to be very well balanced with good response to directional changes and I wasn't disappointed one bit when I got my turn behind the wheel. This car started off fast and just improved from there. A couple of negatives, however, as the tilt column chose that day to self-destruct. This was remedied by bolting it in place. The steering wheel ended up a bit low and there was a hint of play every time I needed to change direction but not to worry, we got it done.
Another issue was having the accelerator pedal partially unhinge itself and then drop below the pedal rod. Being in the end sweeper when it happened didn't slow me down and I was able to power the Nova back and finish the run. The errant pedal was removed and ceremoniously thrown to the masses and my third, fourth, and fifth runs were made sans pedal. I think these runs were faster, too.
I loved the Nova in the offset slalom section and exiting this element heading for the crossover allowed for some intentional rotation. At the end of the hourglass just before the sweeper, I trail-braked hard and this car just slowed and turned in like expected. The brakes were great and stopped the car with minimal lockup, if any.