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1966 Chevy Nova Rear Chassis - Rear-Surrection, Part 1

Project Getaway Gets Rear-Ended With Quality Components From Chris Alston's Chassis Works, Strange Engineering, And Wil Wood.

By Dan Ryder, Photography by Bobby Carrol, Dan Ryder

We last left Project Getaway, Ed Krawiec's '66 Nova dream car, with the front half mocked together and actually starting to resemble a car again. Our next mission was to turn to the back half of the car to begin hacking the floor out from about midway of the front seat to the rear tailpanel, thus allowing room for the installation of the Chris Alston's Chassisworks 4x2-inch rear frame configured to receive Alston's canted billet four-bar rear suspension system and FAB9 rear housing.

Since the Chevrolet Nova, or Chevy II, considered an American compact car in the 1960s, was of unibody construction (not full framed), Getaway needed some serious upgrades to handle the high-horsepower and suspension modifications we plan on throwing at it. Considering Krawiec wanted to go with a G-machine/Pro Touring-style Nova, the canted four-bar system would be right at home with its versatility. The system can be utilized for optimized handling and traction due to its self-centering design, coupled with adjustability from the aftermarket. Whether you enjoy carving corners, cruising Main Street USA, or barreling down the quarter-mile of your favorite dragstrip, the canted four-bar is a solid option.

Beyond the installation of the rear frame, we once again called upon Chris Alston's Chassisworks to provide us with its 9-inch housing featuring fabricated center-section panels, internal gussets, and consistent robotic spray arc-welded seams that provide ultimate strength and durability. With the combination of the Alston rear frame, FAB9 housing, billet four-bar system, and double-adjustable shocks, we'll have achieved a highly adjustable, easy-to-tune rear suspension system.

In order to stuff the FAB9 housing, we called upon the knowledgeable staff at Strange Engineering in Morton Grove, Illinois. Strange Engineering is a family-owned establishment that began developing products in the late 1950s out of a two-car garage and now calls a 120,000-square-foot space home. After a brief discussion with J.C. Cascio of Strange, he recommended Strange's 9-inch Pro Iron third member, complete with a Detroit Locker differential and a 3.90-ratio street gear. As for the axles, Cascio recommended the S/T 35-splines complete with bearings and a half-inch stud kit for the ultimate in strength on the street or track. The Pro Iron unit is a step away from Strange's Aluminum Ultra case, which yields a weight savings of around 10 pounds. Since we're not too worried about weight savings, the Pro Iron unit will work out great.

In order to stop this future bad boy, we'll utilize Wilwood Engineering's massive 14-inch rotors as well as the company's SL4R radial-mount four-piston calipers out back. In the previous issue of Super Chevy, we installed Wilwood's SL6R six-piston units up front along with 14-inch drilled discs. We shouldn't have any problems in the binder department.

Now follow along as we get down and dirty.

Pictured here is the CNC-mandrel-bent 4x2-inch rear frame and FAB9 rear housing as received from Chris Alston's Chassisworks. Since we were unsure of the rear end width and axle centerline needed, both items were ordered oversized so they could be cut to fit. The rear frame section is available pre-welded or can be obtained piece by piece with widths ranging from 34 to 50 inches. Once these components were put to the side, it was time to tackle the removal of the floor form Project Getaway.

We're now getting ready to lay the rear frame section under the Deuce, but not before determining the axle centerline. This is one of the more critical measurements besides ride height and properly squaring the rear in the vehicle. At first a visual is performed to see where the builder/owner would like the wheel to sit in relation to the wheelhouse opening. Once that's determine, a plumb bob is used to properly measure the centerline. We will be stretching the wheel openings a few inches at a later date to allow for a more proportionate look and easier access.

Once the axle centerline was determined, the rear frame was mocked up under the Nova, measured for length, and trued to the vehicle itself. After the crossmember and the rear portion of the frame were cut, it was tack welded into place (the frame will be fully welded once Bobby's satisfied that all the components are properly lined up and no binding occurs). Note the built-in driveshaft safety loop and 4-inch exhaust cutouts incorporated into the frame from Chris Alston's Chassisworks.



Here Bobby displays the additional length of frame that was removed. Since this piece contained the crossbar in the rear, it's advisable to attach in a new cross-piece further toward the front to keep the frame true during the installation. We caught Krawiec playing with something on the bandsaw. What the heck are you doing, Krawiec?





Krawiec is no slouch' whenever time permits he enjoys getting in the mix to further Project Getaway's progress. The Pro Stock Motorcycle racer is making fill-in pieces to smooth the look where the tail-panel meets the frame-rail. What is the reason for this offset, you? after rapping with Bobby for a bit, we found that both he and Ed decided to sink the frame up into the Nova's shell an additional 2 1/2 inches to really give it a lowered look-sinking the Nitto rubber and intro wheels way up into the well. While this looks awesome, it may create additional fabrication that is not normally needed. Stay tune and we'll keep you posted as to the additional necessities throughout the build.

Pictured is the rear frame section from Chris Aslton's Chassisworks all tacked in and already to receive the FAB9 rear. Stay tuned for the next issue of Super Chevy as we show you now to properly narrow a 9-inch rear housing with the special tools needed to square the housing ends, weld'em on, and garnish it with products form both Strange and Wilwood Engineering.

SOURCES
Carroll's Rod and Racecraft
7-32/-416-9887
www.carrollsrodandrace.com
Nitto Tire
Dept. MM&FF
6261 Katella Ave.
Cypress
CA  90630
Chris Alston's Chassisworks
8861 Younger Creek Dr.
Sacramento
CA  95828
8-00/-722-2269
Strange Engineering
Morton Grove
IL
8-47/-663-1701
Strangeengineering.net
Intro Wheels
8-00/-45I-NTRO
8-00/-454-6876
www.introwheels.com
WILWOOD ENGINEERING
4700 Calle Bolero, Dept. SC
Camarillo, CA 93012
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By Dan Ryder
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