Chevy II Nova Gasser: Week to Wicked Gasser Front End
In that chaotic time in the late 60’s, things were changing fast in the sport of drag racing. As technology advanced, racers were transitioning away from nose-high gassers and moving toward tube-chassis flopper funny cars. Somewhere in the middle, some wild machines rolled onto the strips. At a glance, they appeared to be stock-bodied sedans liberated from grandma’s garage. But as you squinted through all the tire smoke, they revealed wildly altered wheelbases, jacked up suspensions, and crazy powerplants. The Chevy II Nova became a dragstrip staple in those years, and that’s the period that we wanted to emulate with our Week to Wicked Nova.
The Chevy II was meant to be an economy car. An alternative to the giant, finned machines that defined the late 50’s. High performance was not originally part of its DNA. But it didn’t take long for speed hungry hot rodders to figure out that the light car was one V8 swap away from being a serious contender. It also didn’t take long for them to realize that the archaic front clip was easily removed from the body, ready to be replaced by the lightweight tubing and straight axles that made them dragstrip terrors.
The Speedway Motors kit takes this concept and bundles it into an easily installed bolt-on kit. This made it easy for us to ditch the stock, rusty front clip that came with our car and replace it with a kit that takes it back to the dragstrips and main streets of the 60’s and 70’s. Part number 91662067 gets you the subframe, steering box, tie rod, drag link, springs, shocks, spindles, and hardware. Add brake kit part number 91086267 and you have all you need to make it a roller.
On our Nova, we chose a couple upgrades. The axle itself is made of heavier wall tubing than standard. Our HD gasser axle for Chevy spindles features a 3/8” wall tube for extra strength. To add some tuneability to the frontend, we added Afco 2-way adjustable drag shocks. We also chose to substitute in the Flaming River steering box and Wilwood calipers, all meant to keep our heavy, big block powered car under control at speed.
Since all cars are different, the spring pads are not welded to the axle. You will need to mock the car up at ride height to set your caster. Ours is set at 7 degrees, which we’ve found to work well on straight axle cars. After being welded, we had our entire kit powdercoated before sending it to the Week to Wicked shop. There, we assembled it on the bench top in under an hour and were ready to bolt it up.
Once assembled, installing this kit to the car couldn’t be easier. The subframe bolts to the car with eight bolts, and the support tubes attach with six. Also note that one kit fits 62-65 cars and 66-67 cars. The mounting flange on the support tubes is drilled with patterns for both cars.
Since we are running headers where our inner wheelwells would be, we added our 91035802 Inner Fender Supports to add some stiffness to the fenders and core support. These would also allow you to mount hood hinge (if you’re running a hood, which we’re not).
It was an exciting moment when we were able to see our Nova without the rusty stock front clip and a sleek and shiny gasser straight axle in its place. This is a great option if you’re building your Chevy II as a tribute to the FX and MP drag warriors of the 60’s or the high-riding street freaks of the 70’s. We’ve done all the engineering, so it’s ready to bolt on and go!