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2014 Super Chevy Suspension and Handling Challenge

Super Nova – Tested: Church Boys Racing’s ’67 Nova

 Jan 27, 2015 

We all know the formula for going fast and one of the key factors is cash. Spend more money and most likely you’ll have faster lap times. But what if you don’t have stacks of Benjamins just sitting around waiting to be spent? Well, companies like Church Boys Racing feel that if the cash you have is spent right, the payoff can be much better handling compared to stock.

The gang from Church Boys Racing is always the first company to RSVP for the Super Chevy Suspension & Handling Challenge. They are not afraid to mix it up with the often much higher dollar entries. And frankly, we’ve never been disappointed by anything we have tested with its parts.

For this year’s Challenge they brought a relatively mildly modded ’67 Nova. No mini-tubs housing huge rollers, no massive brakes with rotors the size of a medium pizza. In fact, if you look at the cost of their suspension parts, it ends up being far down the less-expensive side of the bell curve. And, in keeping with the wallet friendly theme of their suspension parts, they worked it so the other bits you would need can be found without breaking the bank. For example, the braking system is from a ’98-’02 F-body and can be found for under $900—for all four corners. It makes for an overall system that gives you a lot of handling performance for your money.

After all, wasn’t the Chevy II Nova the Bow Tie’s value leader?

On the Road — Jim Campisano

I love going back to the logbook a few weeks after test driving a vehicle to see what my impressions were and if they jibe with what I remember. In the case of the Church Boys Racing Nova, the answer is absolutely. Here are the first two sentences from my entry: “Everything feels like it’s working together. The ride is smooth, not jittery.”

Taking this a step further, everything seemed to be in harmony in the suspension. Everyone tries to get that perfect combination of ride, handling and NVH, and for a spend on a workingman’s budget, Church Boys achieved that with this Chevy II. It pulled more g’s on the skidpad than our C5 FRC Corvette bogey car, and was 1 mph faster through the slalom. The only place the Vette had an advantage was in the lap times on the autocross/open track event.

 

More from the logbook:This suspension is finely tuned. It’s stiffer than the convertible they brought last year and that makes a lot of difference. It just feels more refined.” Refined is not a word you often associate with an early Chevy II, but the Church Boys products inspire praise like this. The Nova kept its composure, even over the rough stuff on our test route. I especially liked the steering, which was tight and on-center, but not darty or twitchy."

 

Track Test Evaluation — Mary Pozzi

Our two-day Super Chevy Suspension & Handling Challenge allows every company that brings a car time to test, then adjust to improve whatever needs improving for the different ways they’re driven in the official timed portions. Things like sway bars, tire pressures, shocks … even springs and sometimes alignment, get tweaked to make those five timed laps special and, uh … fast. Some cars need a lot of changes while others need none. Today, the only thing the Church Boys ’67 Nova needed was something it couldn’t have … a big, fat tire so all that suspension goodness could be shared with the pavement.

This year’s Nova was purchased by the present owner about 20 years ago and had a somewhat storied life as a drag/show car. As there are limited opportunities for both, the car sat in the garage most of this time and as the owner told me, “It stopped being fun.” Fast forward to 2009 and once Chuck Church entered the picture, things started happening. Tubular arms, Viking and Afco double-adjustable shocks, bars and springs, and a Church Boys triangulated four-link rear found their way into a small garage and eventually onto the little Nova. Fitting the car with upgraded brakes donated by a late-model Camaro (fronts) and Mustang (rears), and Billet Specialties wheels wrapped with Dunlop Durezza tires completed the build, and guess what? The Nova became fun once more.