Here’s a bit of obscure trivia for you: all fourth-gen (’75-up) V-8 Novas were equipped with GM’s perfectly adequate 8.5-inch 10-bolt—except the ’76 305 V-8 model. Those cars got the same frail 7.5-inch rearend found in the six-cylinder cars. And guess what our EcoNova project car was originally?

Now when we entered into the E-Rod install, we knew we’d need to at least rebuild the rearend to get it within the spec range needed for the E-Rod calibration—ideally 3.42 gears and a limited-slip differential.

We could get the parts to equip the stock 7.5, but the real problem is the limited power-handling ability of the puny rearend. Unlike the 8.5-inch 10-bolt we would’ve gotten any other year, this one couldn’t be made to work (or more importantly, to last) for any amount of money. Under repeated abuse even with moderate power levels, bearing failures, broken carriers, and mangled gearsets are common with these things. (Just ask fourth-gen F-body owners.) We’ve even had the housing itself bend under hard stress. The stock LS3 in the E-Rod package packs 430 hp (maybe a bit more by some reports), which would be plenty to scatter the best 7.5 if we didn’t keep mindful and baby the throttle. We don’t drive like that, though.

No, we’re notoriously hard on our project cars and known for putting our parts through their paces. We needed something strong and reliable in a fairly heavy car and easily serviced should the worst happen. And rather than junkyard scouring, if we could lay hands on a properly spec’d piece with a fresh set of brakes with just a few clicks online, even better. That’s where Currie Enterprises comes in with their crate rearends designed for muscle cars.

Currie has built tens of thousands of custom spec rearends over their 53-year history. What they’ve discovered is the vast majority of customer inquiries on custom-ordered rearends shared the same basic housings, axles, and specs. This is why they launched the new crate rearend database that allows hot rodders to order up a Torino-style large-bearing 9-inch housing already tailored as a bolt-in for 27 popular muscle cars. That means anyone can get the benefits of a 9-inch in most muscle cars without having to make a single calculation or measurement. All you have to do is pull up Crate-rearends.com, select your car, your third member, gear ratio, brakes, and you’re done. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely locked in; since we’re starting from scratch with a known set of specs, minor alterations can easily be substituted to tailor the rearend to your car. You’ll see what we mean.

Standard practice is to ship out the crate rearend in pieces with final assembly up to the buyer and his choice of shop. That does save on shipping, but for a very small fee Currie will handle all the assembly for you and stand behind the work. As vast as their resources may be, believe it or not, Currie’s Brian Shepard told us that to his knowledge they never built a crate 9-inch for a fourth-gen Nova. The good news is that after measuring and verifying, we discovered that ’75-79 X-body Novas and their brethren have identical specs to the previous ’68-72 generation. And just like that we helped create a new part number for Currie. So if you’ve got big plans for your own ’68-79 Nova, a fully setup 9-inch rearend is just a few clicks away.

SOURCE
Currie Enterprises
382 North Smith
Corona
CA  92880
714-528-6957
www.currieenterprises.com
Bodie Stroud Industries
818-768-7600
www.BodieStroud.com
Summit Racing
Akron
OH
800-230-3030
330-630-0240
www.summitracing.com/