Even though the Nova sported some of the same high-output powerplants as its close sibling, the Camaro, the X-body never had a true handling package option like the Z28. In its prime, the classic Nova muscle car was always a go-straight, go-fast, quarter-mile sprinter. Fast forward to the 21st century, and with the help of Speed Tech, an econobox Nova can easily become all the corner-carving terror its brother ever was.
This black beast originally started out as Super Chevy's aborted "No Bull Nova" project. Speed Tech adopted the car, stripped it back down to bare steel, and rebuilt the X-body into a deft handling street machine, in a matter of just three months. Because of the car's history, the crew at Speed Tech rechristened it "ResurreXion" in homage to its X-body designation. In 2009, Speedtech brought out its cone-destroying Fathom Green big-block '69 Camaro, and the Nova was definitely a worthy standard bearer for the company at the 2010 challenge.
Up front, the Nova has Speed Tech's own front subframe with its high-clearance upper and lower control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, American Touring Specialty (ATS) forged spindles with C6 Corvette hubs, and massive Baer 14-inch brakes. Out back, the car has Speed Tech's torque arm system with Articulink trailing arms in place of the factory leaf springs, adjustable coilover shocks, and a Bear's Performance fabricated 9-inch housing stuffed with a Strange aluminum center section, axles, and tracloc system.
Driver's Impression - On the Autocross Course
The Speed Tech Nova started out wonderful and didn't vary a whit throughout all five autocross runs. Filled with LS power and spinnng 3.89 gears through a T56 box, the drivetrain combo was absolutely perfect for this course. Especially fun was how I took to this car immediately, with each lap feeling better and better. Settling back in the seat looking down the course, the start was quick, and the slalom was dealt with smoothly and accurately. Talk about throwing darts! This car went where pointed, courtesy of the perfect and precise steering.
Flying through the first crossover and sliding the Nova through the second had me flirting with Superman status, as I could do no wrong. With awesome feel and high traction threshold, the car offered great feedback and super grip, with absolutely no push. Did I say this car is all-out fun with a capital "F?" The fun stopped, however, when I hit the binders. I had to apply massive pedal pressure to get this beast slowed down. Once I realized their inherent nature, I really got to trust those manual brakes, and let them complement the already excellent handling this car showed.
Solidly headed into the end turn and downshifting under hard braking, the Speed Tech Nova ratcheted back, settled down nicely, and smoothly turned in. Looking ahead while trail braking into the corner, I felt the car willingly stay connected underneath me, and then the rear came around slowly. I lightly counter-steered and applied a hint of throttle, and merrily worked it quickly around, through, and powered back out onto the short straight. I mean ... wow! Such execution and predictability; each run was a carbon copy of the one before. Amazing feel and feedback-you don't often get to enjoy spirited driving with a car this fun.
Coming back through the offsets found the Nova remaining compliant and well balanced, and if I remembered to stand on that brake pedal when necessary, I was fine. If I was late, so was the Nova, and that's all on me, as cars don't brake themselves. This X-body makes it so easy to drive well, and what I liked best was the efficiency in a corner. By this, I mean the car rotates nimbly, turning around its middle rather than leaning and straining, shakily grabbing for elusive bits of traction and balance. This wastes time and in autocrossing, time is everything.
This Nova proved itself a willing partner and I had a blast behind the wheel, wishing I had more than my allotted five runs available. My only complaint was the brakes, and as I've said before, I'm more of a power brake "linear" feel gal. Brakes aside, as I can learn to love these stoppers, the Speed Tech Nova royally rocks it!
Driver's Impression - On the Street Whereas last month we applauded the Hotchkis Camaro for the OE feel and manners it delivered while bringing insane grip, this month we give a standing ovation to the Speed Tech Nova, which had all the handling prowess you could ask for, but in a package that was right on the edge of polite society. This one was for the guy who wants his exhaust note to make his neighbor's china cabinet rattle and set off car alarms wherever he goes.
Its interior ergonomics were definitely track-oriented, with a small-diameter steering wheel, snug-fitting OMP seats and race harnesses. In the test log, we described the overall comfort level as, "good, but definitely edgier than some of the competition." The steering was nicely weighted and very direct. I'm a sucker for great steering and the Speed Tech Nova had me at the first turn. It might strike some as heavy, but it made this car go exactly where you pointed it.
Like Mary, I was no fan of the manual brakes, which definitely required a lot of leg to function. On the other hand, the handling on the street was first rate. The ride was firm, and the Nova's reflexes were cat-like. And if you were going to an open track event, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more willing dance partner. In the timed events, it simply devoured the '10 Camaro SS bogey car in every category. It held a 3.4-mph advantage through the slalom over the fifth-gen and its 52.22-second time on the autocross (twice) was only .02 off the fastest time of the day by any entry at the Challenge.
There is no doubt Speed Tech's parts worked as advertised. Despite its show-car appearance, the Nova was a track-day beast.-Jim Campisano
Speed Tech '72 Nova
Type: LS 6.0L
Block: Stock iron
Clutch: Mcleod dual disc
Rear End: 9-inch with custom sheetmetal housing
Chassis & Suspension
Speedtech Track Time Suspension System
Speedtech upper and lower tubular control arms on Speedtech front subframe
Springs: Hypercoil 550-lb rate
Spindles: American Touring Specialties with C6 Corvette hubs
Shocks: QA1 double adjustable
Sway Bar: 1 5/8-inch Speedtech unit
Brakes: Baer 14-inch rotors with Proplus six-piston calipers
Speedtech Rear Torque Arm system
Springs: Hypercoil 220-lb rate
Shocks: QA1 double adjustable coilover
Sway Bar: None
Brakes: Baer 14-inch rotors with Proplus six-piston calipers
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Forgeline WC3, Front: 18x9, Rear: 18x11
Tires: Nitto NT05, Front: 275/30ZR18, Rear: 295/35ZR18
Cost of chassis/suspension:
Front/Rear Balance Percentage
F = 52.4%
R = 47.6%