The Rusty Ragtop Part 2

Suspension Hanging and Engine Assembly

Tony Kelly Mar 12, 2003 0 Comment(s)

In our last story, the Rusty Ragtop project Nova convertible was hauled across country, scraped, pounded, straightened, and filled. The engine got a look over, but nothing was ready for prime time, so this segment of the Rusty Ragtop adventure will show what happens when the professionals get a car ready for Super Chevy's Gold Class.

In the event anyone confuses Gold Class with a Concours d'Elegance (I hope I spelled that right) or a strict restoration show, bear in mind that all these categories have somewhat different rules. Items that wear or corrode are often plated for Gold Class, but in other shows that might be considered "over-restored" or modified. About 99.9 percent of a stock entry in Gold Class is factory, but there's room for a change here and there--and if anyone knows about that, it's our builder, Ronney Kissinger. We'll try and point those out as we go along. Of course, Kissinger builds them for whatever the owner specifies; the Rusty Ragtop just happens to be patterned as a Gold Class Car.

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Still somewhat on the ragged side, the faithful straight-six is being inspected to be sure everything's all right before it gets buttoned up. The engine had been rebuilt before shipment to R&R Motor Sports, but it pays to check things out anyway. Once screwed together and painted, no one wants to open it up again for something that should have been taken care of first.

In high school, when we painted a Chevy engine, we pretty much blasted everything with a rattle can. At Gold Class level, the parts are painted individually before assembly so that the gaskets and fasteners aren't our favorite color, orange.

Notice also that most bolts and many bare-metal items are plated, something the factory did not do. In Gold Class this is allowed, but for strict restoration cars this wouldn't be done.

Here's our freshened-up and reliable two-speed Powerglide.

Our little Nova probably won't be "king of the burnouts" with this powertrain, but it will be smooth as silk.

What's the old saying..."Parts in parts?" By the time there is a collection of parts like this, there has been much sorting , cleaning, plating, painting, polishing, and even a little grief when it's found that something's missing or broken.

Fortunately, Joe Grom, Jr. at Chevy 2 Only came to the rescue many times with rare and unusual Nova parts.

Call it a front clip or a tub, but make sure it looks this good before it goes on the car. A lot of parts are attached to and surrounded by it, so it needs to look like this.

This is so clean, it's a shame to cover it up.

The front suspension goes together from the outside in, beginning with the upper and lower control arms and spindles.

Coils and shocks in the towers are shown, together with control arms and backing plates.

When the steering linkage is attached, it becomes...

...easier to see how unique the early Nova frontend really is...

...and why the engine oil pan looks the way it does.

Working from front to back, the prepped and painted third-member goes in and looks right at home after receiving the axles. The underside of that floor looks good, but it'll be hard to see later; take a long look now.

A look forward...as you may notice, these early Nova rearends were not designed for some of the ground-pounding engines that wound up in them. We do feel, however, that the mild-mannered six-cylinder and two-speed Powerglide won't overstress the springs and rear axle assembly.

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