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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!
working on my first gasser build. Found this 65 Nova out in Bakersfield and couldn’t be happier. Thing has a solid pan, no engine/trans, 10 bolt 8.2 with 3.08 gears. I swapped the 10 bolt into my 63 and am going to build a custom 8.8 Ford and eventually a 327 up front. Gotta find a few parts like hood hinges, lights all the way around, seats and some missing window trim pieces. I love the Patina look so not gonna touch the outside, just rubbed it up with some linseed oil and looks fantastic. Rear wheel wells are gonna be cut to fit 15x8 rims and tires in the back so the damage that is shown will eventually be hacked out. I have a great partner who is guiding and collaborating on this build together. Learning a ton and how freaking cool will this be when it’s done! Still parts gathering right now and need to decide which straight axle setup gonna run up front. But super excited and glad to be out of this forum. Tons of helpful info on here!!! Cheers fellas! 🍻
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It looks like you have a good start there. We love photo's and lots of info about your car. Make sure to check ino the new member section to tell us about yourself and where you are headed on this. Pulling up a chair and grabbing the popcorn.
 

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Welcome to the forum!
I doubt there's many cars as well supported by the aftermarket industry as a 1st gen Nova is! Especially as it pertains to bolt on gasser style front subframes! There are plenty to choose from, but also not hard to build up your own subframe and install springs and axle on it. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome to the forum!
I doubt there's many cars as well supported by the aftermarket industry as a 1st gen Nova is! Especially as it pertains to bolt on gasser style front subframes! There are plenty to choose from, but also not hard to build up your own subframe and install springs and axle on it. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!
So I’ve seen!!! Trying to decide in a straight axle setup now. Looks like speedway is best bang for your buck. Not sure if it’s top notch engineering but planning on welding extra bracing and tie it into the roll cage. I’m finding that most gasser aftermarket parts are pretty reasonable compared to stock original crap. Makes you question the quality when you see the pricing but in these little novas there’s not much too then.
 

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So I’ve seen!!! Trying to decide in a straight axle setup now. Looks like speedway is best bang for your buck. Not sure if it’s top notch engineering but planning on welding extra bracing and tie it into the roll cage. I’m finding that most gasser aftermarket parts are pretty reasonable compared to stock original crap. Makes you question the quality when you see the pricing but in these little novas there’s not much too then.
I have a friend with the Speedway complete front clip in his blown '65 Nova gasser, and it seems to be great quality. My only question on it has been how much axle tube hangs outside the spring perches, as it seems like quite a lot beyond the perches. I've noticed his seems to have more camber than normal, as I can see the top of his wheels angled in. Not sure if the tube is bent, or if it came with the excess negative camber, as he bought it already done, and not sure what it looked like new?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a friend with the Speedway complete front clip in his blown '65 Nova gasser, and it seems to be great quality. My only question on it has been how much axle tube hangs outside the spring perches, as it seems like quite a lot beyond the perches. I've noticed his seems to have more camber than normal, as I can see the top of his wheels angled in. Not sure if the tube is bent, or if it came with the excess negative camber, as he bought it already done, and not sure what it looked like new?
Keep that front end off the ground and nothing to worry about. Lol. Ive actually heard nothing but good things about the speedway setups. Since this is no show car I’ll prob go with the “chipper chicken” and go with speedway. It’s my first gasser build so gonna see how cheap I can build with my own upgraded modifications. If I’m not mistaken this was the the way the old schoolers did it, junk yards, frankensteined parts on a minimal budget, so why not!
 

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Keep that front end off the ground and nothing to worry about. Lol. Ive actually heard nothing but good things about the speedway setups. Since this is no show car I’ll prob go with the “chipper chicken” and go with speedway. It’s my first gasser build so gonna see how cheap I can build with my own upgraded modifications. If I’m not mistaken this was the the way the old schoolers did it, junk yards, frankensteined parts on a minimal budget, so why not!
That's the way I've been building them since the 60's. Of course if I had deep pockets I might do it differently. But on a budget, I'd probably build up a rectangular tube subframe for a Nova, and use a old I beam axle from a late 50's Chevy truck, or a Chevy or Ford van. I think a guy could be less than half the Speedway $1900 price tag. But the Speedway kit certainly makes it a much simpler, and faster install.
 

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cool project! +1 for building your own front end. I did it for my car, and spent way less than $1900. I found my front axle / springs online for may $150, the square tubing from a local metal supplier, the steering box from a junkyard. the only things I used from speedway were the threaded rods, steering arms and heim joints. all in was well under a grand. Plus, I have the satisfaction of doing it myself and setting it up exactly how and where I wanted it.
 

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If you are a good welder..do your own..if not a good welder buy it...bolt it on and be done with it....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you are a good welder..do your own..if not a good welder buy it...bolt it on and be done with it....
The more I research people setups the more I want to fabricate my own. My partner in all this has built quite a few in his day and new had some write ups in motor trend and hotrod so a little nudging and I think we may go in our own direction instead of prefab. Best way to learn right!!!! 🍻
 

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As gassers go the Novas are probably one of the easiest to build a subframe or stub vs. anything else. No oddball steps in the frame required. Just two straight rectangle tubes with a plate that bolts it to the firewall, and a cross tube up front to hold it parallel. The firewall braces can be built separately to bolt to the upper firewall, and frame rails, making it easier to assemble, or remove if needed. Some 2"x3" box tubing with 3/16" wall, and the 1.5" tube for the down braces. Plus some plates and angle to make up the mounting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As gassers go the Novas are probably one of the easiest to build a subframe or stub vs. anything else. No oddball steps in the frame required. Just two straight rectangle tubes with a plate that bolts it to the firewall, and a cross tube up front to hold it parallel. The firewall braces can be built separately to bolt to the upper firewall, and frame rails, making it easier to assemble, or remove if needed. Some 2"x3" box tubing with 3/16" wall, and the 1.5" tube for the down braces. Plus some plates and angle to make up the mounting.
What do you recommend for the axle itself? Instead of hunting or manufacturing I was thinking that may be the one piece I may buy premanufactured. Thinking axle, spindles and disc brake kit. Got a 8.8 rear off a 94 explorer at the junk yard that has a disc set up too. So looks like I’m disc all the way around which I didn’t expect.
But yes these lil novas are great beginner projects into the gasser world. Not too much to them. Got my eye in a tri5 that may be a different story. But first I gotta make a few passes in this thing and gain some experience. Having a lot of fun working in this thing! Prob would be farther along but working on a stock 63 II SS and had a few prob this past week with my 66 elco. More cars more problems.
 

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What do you recommend for the axle itself? Instead of hunting or manufacturing I was thinking that may be the one piece I may buy premanufactured. Thinking axle, spindles and disc brake kit. Got a 8.8 rear off a 94 explorer at the junk yard that has a disc set up too. So looks like I’m disc all the way around which I didn’t expect.
But yes these lil novas are great beginner projects into the gasser world. Not too much to them. Got my eye in a tri5 that may be a different story. But first I gotta make a few passes in this thing and gain some experience. Having a lot of fun working in this thing! Prob would be farther along but working on a stock 63 II SS and had a few prob this past week with my 66 elco. More cars more problems.
I guess it depends on what you want, as new or used? Your 70" body width eliminates several good used options like the Chevy and Ford van axles from the 60's, or the 55-59 Chevy truck axles. Unless you have a good welder/fabricator whose confident in narrowing an axle. I used a narrowed 55-59 Chevy truck axle in my '39 Chev coupe, which happens to be the same width as your Nova, and I had to narrow it 5" to fit.
As you can see the Z cut goes down halfway through and then up halfway through, then horizontally through 3 of the holes I drilled in the axle. Then welded back together, and plated inside the web on the backside with 3/8"plate. Then new holes drilled through the plate to hide the extra plate behind.



A piece of round tube clamped into the beam to align it, and a piece of box tubing clamped to the top to align it that direction during most of the welding.





I bought the axle for $100, and the Speedway disc brake conversion for $225.

The other option is to simply buy the Speedway axle and spring kit for about $965, but I prefer the I beam axle look, and I'm a cheapskate. I've narrowed several I beam axles, and the Chevy truck 55-59 axles, plus Econoline and Chevy van axles are steel, and weld nicely. Not sure about other axles, so I only weld what I know works right.
 

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Congrats on the score of the 65 Nova Coupe. Taking it to gasser mode is exciting as they make a great looking car with altitude and attitude. I too share the passion for these cars and have a 65 ready for the subframe exchange. I opted for a Bill Thomas design from Nickey Chevy . Quite expensive and along with chroming the tube and springs I'm in deep...lol. Today on a trek to Maple Groove Drags for the Chevy event (formely Super Chevy ) I found a set of 65 Nova SS bucket seats. My car is a true SS and the interior is already done so the set of seats today are extras and will be set aside possibly for a future tri five . Looking forward to your progress on the lil Nova .
 

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What do you recommend for the axle itself? Instead of hunting or manufacturing I was thinking that may be the one piece I may buy premanufactured. Thinking axle, spindles and disc brake kit. Got a 8.8 rear off a 94 explorer at the junk yard that has a disc set up too. So looks like I’m disc all the way around which I didn’t expect.
But yes these lil novas are great beginner projects into the gasser world. Not too much to them. Got my eye in a tri5 that may be a different story. But first I gotta make a few passes in this thing and gain some experience. Having a lot of fun working in this thing! Prob would be farther along but working on a stock 63 II SS and had a few prob this past week with my 66 elco. More cars more problems.
If you want the best tube axle, check out Bill Carlson or WAC Customs on Facebook. A lot of pics of how he builds his straight axles and what makes them better than others. Prices competitive with Speedway for bare axles. I think he was working on a Chevy II subframe, too. I just put one of his axles on my car in the early spring.
 

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Very cool Nova build. Nice start. Thanks for posting pics.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update!!!
Looks like plans have changed!!! We are full throttle on the 65’ deuce with a deadline of 37 days to unveil Suicide(name of car) for the Gasser7 event in El Segundo, CA next month. Just finished scraping and painting the underside pan, tomorrow will install the rear end, mark and cut out wheel wells, figure out offset for rims. Gotta start cleaning up the interior pan and once the rear is done we’ll chop the front and start building the front clip. Ended up going with the speedway ford axle/spindle/disc brake kit and gonna manufacture the rest ourselves. Exciting times and love working under pressure. I’m pretty motivated on this build so I have full confidence in 37 days we are gonna have one hell of a car!!! Few pics of progress.
 

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Looks similar to my start. Did my rear wheel wells too. Just used round steel stock and tucked it into the lower belt line. Turned out nice.

I also left the front clip stock. Used plates for the spring perches and used a speedway kit for the axle. I use the stock steering but mine sits high in the front. If you don’t want to go that high switch to front steer.

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