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1970 Chevy Nova Suspension Overhaul - A Slip Of The Clip

No Cutting, No Welding ... No Kidding!

By Mike Harrington, Photography by Vern Dietsche

Remember back in the early part of '07 when we ran a story called the Bionic Camaro? It was about a Camaro that received a full TCI chassis upgrade. It appears that the folks at TCI (Total Cost Involved) refuse to rest on their laurels and are swinging their bats at a whole new piata. This time their efforts are focused on the '68-72 Nova suspension. On a personal note, these third- or second-gen Novas (whatever term you prefer) are some of the sharpest looking musclecars when they are done right.

This particular 1970 Nova has just been reworked and reborn into an amazing street machine (more on that later). Prior to the rebuild we gave it a bare-knuckle beat-down at the California Speedway to see how the OE suspension would handle the violence. It wasn't pretty, but it was fun to watch. And we do have numbers. Since this is a two-part install, we will have the results in our next issue when the rear clip is installed.

Why should the first-gen Camaros get all the glory when it comes to upgrades and cornering ability after the upgrades? The '68-72 Novas look nearly identical when you lift up their skirts and stare at their undersides. The advantages of removing the burdensome OE steel clip and replacing it with a mandrel-bent tubular clip include improved performance and less weight. The performance gain is in the double-rail tubing, coilover shocks and improved steering geometry-and the loss of 120 pounds in the front does not go unnoticed either. The engine mounts in this clip will readily accept a host of Chevrolet mills (is there any other type worth mentioning?), including small-block, big-block and LS1, -2 and -7 power.

Urethane bushings come standard with the tubular upper and lower A-arms, along with 2-inch drop spindles, new manual rack-and-pinion gear, 11-inch GM disc brakes, billet aluminum adjustable shocks with black powdercoated springs, sway bar, and a bolt-in multi-position transmission crossmember. If bling is your thing, you can upgrade to the shiny stuff. Give TCI a holler to see what options they have available.

In all its bare-metal glory, this is what the new subframe looks like. It bolts into all the stock locations, and so no cutting or hacking into the body is required. The only things that needed work were the access holes on the lower firewall and some 3/8-inch holes drilled for mounting it to the body. The flange needs to be ground down 1/8-inch, so the new clip can be flush-mounted against the firewall. When the clip is shipped, it arrives in bare metal. Powdercoating or painting is up the owner.

By Mike Harrington
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