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1971 Chevy Nova - Project SuperNova Part VIII

This 1971 Chevy Nova Is Being Transformed Into A SuperNova

Photography by Matthew King

We planned to take this month off with our SuperNova project because we'reworking on something really big for the March issue, but just before the deadline came crashing down on this issue, we managed to sneak a quickie tech piece between the covers.Actually, an ad fell out so we had to write fast.

Over the past several months, we've rebuilt virtually every key component on our '71 Chevy Nova, including the front and rear suspension, steering linkage, engine, trans, and rearend, and now that we're clocking some pretty quick e.t.'s (11.77) and high-mph trap speeds (113 mph), we're really putting the old chassis through its paces. Last time out, we noticed that the steering column was shaking around to a disturbing degree at the top end of the track, which got us thinking about what's really holding it in the car.

Anyone who's familiar with the construction of the second-generation '68-'74 Chevy Novas and their GM clones, which are virtually identical to '67-'69 Camaros and Firebirds, has possibly wondered about which brilliant GM engineer came up with the idea of bolting the front end of the car to the floorpan (maybe he's the same guy who designed C-clip axles). If you're not familiar with these cars, allow us to explain. Unlike a typical unibody car, which incorporates front and rear subframes welded to the floorpan structure, the GM design bolts the front clip, which carries the engine, transmission, and entire front suspension, to the floorpan with six large bolts and rubber bushings. Guess what? Those bushings tend to wear out after 30-plus years on the road, and that allows the body and the suspension to flex independently of each other. Not good.

There are several solutions to this problem: replace the stock bushings with new rubber ones, replace them with solid aluminum bushings, or replace them with bushings that lower the car 11/42 inch. We opted for the third choice, a set of 11/42-inch drop solid subframe bushings from Global West Suspension Components, and we were pleased to find the installation to be significantly less than the nightmare we anticipated. We had the job done in less than two hours for the bargain price of $69.95. Global West also makes solid subframe bushings for '70-'81 F-bodies.

SOURCES
Global West Suspension Components Inc.
1455 N. Linden Ave.
Rialto
CA
9-09/-349-2090
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