smalldrobanner.gif (3353 bytes)

It's What's Up Front that Counts

by Sky Wallace


A blown small-block looks right at home in this installation.

Okay so you finally found that "Deuce" you’ve been looking for and you have decided to turn it into street stormer that will also do duty at the drag strip. After looking at the front clip of this thirty-something Chevy you come to the realization that the stock front clip, suspension and braking are going to leave something to be desired. What the old Chevy is going to need is a front end that is stronger, lighter, offers better braking and more clearances for headers and other things.

Chris Alston’s Chassisworks front-frame kit for GM’s 1962-67 Chevy II/Nova models meets all of those requirements. The Chassisworks front-end clip has been designed for assembly and installation with a bare minimum of common hand tools. No welding or special fabrication skills are required, which means you can do it yourself and save some of your hard earned cash.

With the aid of a floor jack, the factory front frame is rolled away from the firewall. The only OEM part that will be returned to the car is the radiator core support.

Rather than dealing with the compromises involved in trying to make existing parts fit, the Chassisworks engineers basically started from scratch. Before the revolution in computer design and manufacturing capabilities, a project like this would have been impossible for anyone not linked with the Detroit automakers.


The new factory-welded main frame segment, which includes all the suspension mounts, is simply held in place as it is bolted to the car

However, with computing power that far surpasses anything Detroit possessed when these cars were built, and with the extremely sophisticated CNC milling centers in the Chassisworks facility, all that has changed.  Just about every part inthis kit simply did not exist before this project was started, and everything has been designed specifically for this purpose. In fact, more than 400 new parts were created in the process.

With the lower frame securely mounted, the front struts are then installed. The top of the struts also attaches to the firewall in the factory location.

upfront_05.jpg (13765 bytes)
This is the new Chassisworks Gemini connector used to attach the struts to the frame. Aside from looking cool, this assembly underwent serious destruction testing and proved that the tube will break before the connector fails.

Instead of providing a set of blueprints that might be hard to follow and intimidating for the first-time builder, the NoFab kits come with photo-illustrated installation booklets that demonstrate each step of the conversion.   Without the variables inherent when cutting-and-welding components combined with the fact that there is only oneway for these bolt-on assemblies will fit together to be assembled this is the do it yourself guys dream kit.

It’s amazing what can be achieved these days without a welder. The abundant space in the engine bay is also readily apparent.

While the kit shown in the photos is for a Chevy II/ Nova by simply changing the width of the front crossmember, mounted A-arm suspension components will fit into a wide variety of cars, as will the company’s new billet-aluminum hubs, cast-iron spindles and brake rotors.

Stainless steel A-arms are used with this suspension system.

upfront_05.jpg (13765 bytes)
The new spindles designed for use with this kit are shipped to Chassisworks as raw castings, and the final CNC matching is completed in one pass.

Chassisworks also designed and now manufactures its own steering rack, one that provides extra ground clearance while also allowing proper bump-steer control. The first rack in the industry built specifically for street machines, it is available in one-inch increments from 15.5 to 29.5 inches wide, to fit any car with a front-hub width that measures between 51 and 65 inches. This extra ground clearance could be very helpful when installing headers or if you have a deep sump oil pan.

With shock simulators holding the A-arms together, the new Chassisworks steering rack is laid in place.

In fact Chassisworks is manufacturing its own headers specifically for these cars. Chassisworks developed equal-length -style headers for both big and small block applications that clear all frame suspension and steering components, but an aftermarket "mini-starter" is required.


This  view from a different perspective, under the car,  shows the frame and suspension components, along with the midplate for a clutch-equipped motor.

The car undergoing the transformation in these photos is a 1963 Nova. During it’s extended stay in the Chassisworks shop, this Nova also acquired a 4-link rear suspension and subframe kit, FAB9 rearend housing, 10-point roll cage with swingout sidebars, and new, wheel-tubbed interior tin with a steel driveshaft tunnel, all of which are found in the company’s catalog ($6 postpaid to Chris Alston’s Chassisworks 8661 Younger Creek Drive Sacramento, CA 95828)

This is the assembled look of the Chassisworks bolt-on front-frame kit for the 1962-67 Chevy II/Nova, which also removes around 50 pounds from the nose of the car.

The Chevy II/Nova kit we’ve shown you here is the first in a line of high-tech, NoFab products. Currently under development at Chassisworks are the next offerings, which will provide front clip help for first-generation Camaro and Firebirds and kits for 1968-74 Novas. Eventually, the company also plans to offer specific NoFab packages for popular street machines dating back to 1955.

For further information, check out or call 800-722-2269.


photos by Sky Wallace




Copyright 1999, Drag Racing Online and Racing Net Source