Chevy Nova Suspension - Let's Right this Nova Ship

Get your '68-'74 Nova to Handle Like a Track Star With Some Dynamite Suspension Upgrades

Sucs_0827_05_z 1972_chevy_nova Hotchkis_suspension_installation 2/59

First bit of business is to remove the tie rod by loosening up thecastle nut on the spindle. Don't be afraid to bang it loose. After 35years, a little persuasion may be necessary to get the tie rod separatedfrom the steering arm.

I took the Nova through the slalom course a number of times in an effortto get keyed in on the response (or lack of) and handlingcharacteristics of the tired suspension. After about 10 or so passes, Iwas able to get the car to navigate the course in a best time of 7.35seconds. That translates to 39.2 mph. Not ground breaking by any means,but a good baseline number for comparison testing. We'll give the car alittle break and take into consideration it's got some "skinnies" upfront--definitely not a huge help in this situation.

On the skidpad, we take the counterclockwise and the clockwise times,add them together, and divide by two. This gives us the average time thecar took to make its way around the circle. Due to the weight of thedriver and other considerations, times vary depending on the directionthe car is traveling. With the car whipping around the course in anaverage time of 13.13 seconds, the measured lateral g-force came to .71g's. Again, not lighting up the course, but nevertheless we have ourbaseline numbers of what a basically stock '72 Nova will do underperformance driving situations.

After Test

Once the suspension upgrades were performed on our freshened-up '72Nova, we again hit the track and performed the same exercises at thesame location under similar conditions as with the stock suspensioncomponents.

Sucs_0827_06_z 1972_chevy_nova Hotchkis_suspension_installation 3/59

With the shock removed, it was time to pull out the cotter pin and beginto remove the ball joint on the lower A-arm.

The rejuvenated Nova, now upgraded with the Hotchkis performance suspension goodies and super grippyHoosier A6 autocross tires (treadwear rating of 40), literally camealive on the slalom and skidpad course with newfound vigor andaggression.

The first thing I noticed when getting into the car with the suspensionupgrades and track-purpose tires was the insane attitude the car hadacquired. The car revealed an instant improvement over the stockcomponents. After a few warm-up runs to get reacquainted with the car, Iwas able to drive aggressively and managed to make a best pass of 5.72seconds in the 420-foot slalom course. That translates to an averagespeed of 50.6 mph!

On the skidpad the car managed an 11.47-second run. That numbertranslates to .94 g's--a vast improvement over the stock suspensioncomponents.

The car's new and improved track behavior made it a blast to drive in atest situation, but I was anxious to see how the car would feel on cityroads. So I took it out on the street to check the comfort level in aneveryday driving situation. I was pleasantly surprised how thesuspension felt while on the surrounding roads. The ride was nicer thanI had expected, and I would have no problem taking this car out for along drive.

Sucs_0827_07_z 1972_chevy_nova Hotchkis_suspension_installation 4/59

When you remove the spring, be sure to use a spring compressor or afloor jack to get it out safely. You don't want a compressed spring toinadvertently come flying out of the lower A-arm pocket, as it couldcause some damage to the car or you if you're standing in the wrongplace.

Front End Suspension Upgrades

Front end upgrades are quite possibly the most important aspect toimproved handling, especially in a classic car. By using the HotchkisTVS Nova kit, the ride height is brought down due to the 2-inch loweringsprings. This gives the car a lower center of gravity for increasedcornering response. The 1 5/8-inch sway bar also plays an important roleby reducing body roll and improving cornering. The Hotchkis tubularupper and lower A-arms offer superior strength over stock increasinghandling and control. Smooth operation and free articulation is achievedwith Delrin bushings, and the properly tuned Hotchkis/Bilstein HPS 100shocks offer optimum performance.

Rear Suspension Upgrades

The sport leaf springs offer increased handling and performance, and the2 inch lower ride height ensures better handling than stock springs.Incorporating the rear sway bar reduces body roll and increases rollstiffness, also adding to cornering capabilities.

Subframe Connectors

Subframe connectors do just what they suggest--connect the front subframeto the rear. This conjoined effort reduces chassis flex during corneringand acceleration, and makes the front and rear suspension componentswork together for better quality and performance.


Hotchkis Sport Suspension

Flaming River

Foose Wheels

Hoosier Tires

MSD Ignition


Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print