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Nova Steering & Suspension Upgrade - Get A Handle On It

Nova Frontend Upgrades

By Jim Rizzo

It's a well-known fact that there's room for a great deal of improvement when it comes to the handling characteristics of early musclecars. With this in mind, and with a big-block Nova that sincerely needed help in the handling department, we thought we'd take advantage of the components and technology available these days and perform a few bolt-in mods to correct those deficiencies.

To this end, we approached a few of the leaders in the suspension and steering industry (namely Fatman Fabrications, QA1, Classic Performance Products, Wilwood, and Hellwig Products) and procured the components needed for the upgrade. The '71 Nova was originally a six-cylinder car that had been outfitted with a 396-cube big-block and a TH400 trans. The original suspension, though, was not upgraded along with the engine, adding insult to injury in the handling department.

To improve the less-than-satisfactory handling characteristics of this nose-heavy hauler, it was imperative that we start with coil springs of the correct rate. Along with a pair of CPP springs, we also installed a set of Fatman tubular control arms and G-Force spindles, a Hellwig sway bar (provided by Fatman Fab), a set of QA1 fully adjustable shocks, a CPP quick-ratio steering box assembly, and Wilwood Dynalite Pro disc brakes-confident that this combination of components would go a long way in improving the handling, ride, and stopping power of this muscular Nova. See how uncomplicated the installation of these aforementioned components was, and keep in mind, we'll be back with a few rear suspension upgrades as well before our final track testing, so stay tuned.

Fatman Fabrications
4700 Calle Bolero, Dept. SC
Camarillo, CA 93012
Classic Performance Products
175 East Freedom Avenue
CA  92801
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By Jim Rizzo
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