When it comes to 1962-67 Nova front suspension and steering upgrades, there are a lot of choices on the market. You can find everything from budget replacement parts to OE reproduction to complete sub-frame kits costing thousands. So what’s the best middle ground for a driver-quality Chevy II without breaking the bank? That’s what we are trying to find out during this project.
Related Article: Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Nova Rear Suspension
Four-Door 1963 Nova Project Car
The specimen undergoing the front suspension and steering makeover is a run-of-the-mill 1963 Chevy II Nova. It’s got four doors, paint and body that looks alright from 50 yards and a handful of “upgrades” you might expect to see on an old Nova that’s been around for almost 60 years. Some highlights include front disc brakes, a generic small-block and an automatic transmission converted to a floor shift.
The owner is a videographer we’ve worked with over the years during the Week To Wicked builds and other video projects. This 1963 Nova is his foray into the world of muscle cars. He wanted something that was cheap but running and driving. He also wanted something with plenty of aftermarket support so he could make upgrades as his bank account allowed. So a four door Gen I Nova is what he found.
Step one is getting the car to ride, steer, brake and handle in a manner that was at least akin to a modern passenger car. With some tried-and-true parts in mind, we told him we’d take care of it for him.
The Test Drive: 59-Years-Old and Feelin’ It
Before tearing into the car, Lead R&D Jason Scudellari took it for a drive around the block. Then we stuck it on a lift for a closer look underneath. Our “research” indicated the Nova was riding on some seriously worn out suspension. The steering was even worse, with factory power assisted steering that had been since disconnected.
That all added up to handling characteristics that would have been considered lousy even 50 years ago. In 2022, the steering and suspension made the car downright unsafe. At least the front disc brakes were good enough to bring the car to a stop so we could get it off the road ASAP.
With the Chevy II safely back in our R&D department, we began to piece together a complete suspension and steering kit.
Best Budget Nova Front Suspension and Steering
The basis of upgrades would be our Mini Sub-Frame Kit. Like most CPP kits, the Mini Sub-Frame can be had a-la-carte or optioned to the nines. The basis for the kit (PN: 6267TCA-K) is a 1/4-inch steel crossmember that ties together and strengthens the Chevy II’s notoriously weak front sub frame. It also ditches the factory bind-happy strut rods in place of Totally Tubular™ lower control arms.
For a modest further investment, we decided to go for the Deluxe Mini Sub-Frame Kit (PN: 6267DTCA-K). This adds tubular upper control arms with ball joints, nitrogen gas shocks, lower shock mounts and 2-inch drop springs.
As for the front sway bar, we would normally go with our standard 1-inch bar (PN: CP108U). Instead, we opted for our new High-Clearance Front Adjustable Sway Bar (PN: 6267HCSBK-125). For just a few bucks more you get a stiffer bar that offers plenty of tire clearance and has built-in adjustability.
Then, to take care of steering, we went for a CPP 400-Series Power Steering Box and conversion kit (PN: 6267PSK-SB) along with a complete steering linkage kit (PN: 6367SLK-CP) and upgraded Billet Aluminum Tie Rod Sleeves (PN: ES2032SP-A). This will give the ’63 Nova true power steering, a quicker ratio box and get rid of all that slop from the worn out components.
Step-By-Step Install Videos
Keep checking back here at TeamCPP.com or, better yet, go subscribe to our YouTube channel for a bunch of how-to videos we will be releasing over the coming weeks!