You got to love the beefy construction on the CPP arms; they're made of 11/4-inch diameter
I brought our Project Nova over to Classic Performance Products in Anaheim, California, for the series of installations, and was met by CPP's Craig Chaffers. Using a four-post lift, we finished Part 1 in about three hours. This consisted of the upper and lower front control arms, front lowering springs, KYB shocks, and a front sway bar. Since we plan on upgrading to CPP's Big Brake disc package, we swapped out the drum spindles for CPP's 2-inch lowering spindles, but those will be covered with the brake install later. Our tally for these items (minus the spindles) was $1,050; this is way less than a complete front subframe swap, yet should give us 90 percent of the benefit of systems costing five times as much.
As cool as a classic Nova or Camaro is, one thing is certain: all the joy of ownership evaporates the moment you take a corner hard. Originally built as a six-pot, drum-brake car, our Nova is especially disobedient in traffic. With CPP on the job training our Nova, we predict a well-behaved performer capable of taking a bite out of the competition!
Another close-up of CPP's control arms showing the beefy MIG-welded construction and heavy
Getting A Grip
There's a long road ahead for our '68 Nova project car, and it starts with the right tire/wheel combo. No suspension system is worth a hoot without a grippy set of tires. Moreover, you won't want to even think about ordering good brakes without choosing your wheels first, so we were forced to deal with the cosmetic aspect of the wheels before addressing the rest of the performance.
To rectify the situation, we reached for two of our favorite companies: Vintage Wheel Works and Nitto. First, the rolling stock. Nitto makes more super sticky tires than just about anybody, and their NT01 is our favorite all-around street/track tire. They're on our '68 Chevelle and '65 Olds, and they were on our '76 Camaro. They flat-out work when pushing a car at 10/10ths on the track, and they are quiet and unobtrusive on the highway. With a 100 treadwear, they also have a decent life expectancy, and we fully expect to go 15k on them while tracking them regularly. (That's like, what, seven dog years?)
The four-post lift made the swap from old to new a cinch; Novas are really simple to work
For wheels, we ordered a set of Vintage Wheel Works V40s, the same hoops that are on our '68 Chevelle. We researched wheels for the '68-72 Nova, and settled on 17x7 for the front (4 7/8-inch backspace, 5x4.75-inch bolt circle), and 17x9 for the rear (5 3/4-inch backspace, same bolt circle). We also optioned a set of VWW's flat block-off caps for that sinister track-ready look. When mounted with the Nitto NT01s (235/40R17s front and 255/40R17s rear), we carefully observed the clearance, and found no rubbing issues-even with no front sway bar and lots of body roll.