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Chevrolet Nova TCI Tubular Front Clip Install - What A Drag

We Install A TCI Tubular Front Clip In A Street/Strip Nova.

By Dan Foley, Photography by Dan Foley

As most Super Chevy readers already know, swapping over to one of today's high-tech front clips in your vintage Bow Tie will offer superior drivability, handling, roadworthiness and braking. We really dig the look of an old-school ride sporting tubular suspension coming at you out on the street.

It seems like everyone is using these front clips to bring the handling of their '60s and '70s muscle cars into the 21st century. One of the main benefits of these tubular front clips is their lighter-than-stock weight. When talking with Sal Solarzano of Total Cost Involved (TCI) at the 2009 Super Chevy Suspension & Handling Challenge, he mentioned TCI's front clip would take 140 pounds off the front end of a car. This got us to thinking: Could one of these front clips benefit someone who wants to go drag racing in his street machine?

For the intended purposes of this '72 Nova SS-that is, an enjoyable big-block street driver and True Street drag competitor-we weren't concerned about autocross or road racing. For our application, we needed 15-inch front skinnies for the track, so we went with 11-inch Wilwood disc brakes up front.

Many drag racers we spoke to felt there would not be enough suspension travel in a tubular front clip that utilized coil-over shocks. But that 140-lb weight loss gnawed at us, especially since we were installing the 669-horse 509 Dart Rat motor we built in our November and December, 2009 issues ("Real Fine 509, Parts 1 and 2). So, in the interest of science and trying to build a modern, well-rounded street/strip machine, we are going to install this TCI front clip in a Nova. Past experience with hot rods that use TCI front clips guarantee that it'll definitely make the Nova an infinitely better street car, and we're going to find out if it will work on the strip, too.

By Dan Foley
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