Art Morrison Chassis For 1967 Nova

Divers Street Rods Installs an Art Morrison Custom Chassis

By Tommy Lee Byrd   –   Photography By Diny Divers

The availability of complete custom frames has changed the game for hot rodders, especially those in the Pro Touring segment of the hobby. Chassis and suspension technology has come a long way from the days of hacking the front suspension out of a Mustang II or Chevy Nova in a junkyard. These days, a full frame makes a lot of sense, but make no mistake—a full frame swap is a lot of work, no matter how you slice it. In the case of this ’67 Chevy II Nova, it goes a step further, thanks to the extreme fabrication efforts of Divers Street Rods located in Sultan, Washington.

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2 diagram Art Morrison Chassis

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Divers Street Rods ordered a new reproduction of the 1967 Chevy II Nova body from Real Deal Steel and a custom chassis from Art Morrison Enterprises. The process of converting a unibody car to a full frame is already complicated because many of the body’s original structural areas must be removed to make room for the chassis. Part of the Air Sport product line, the chassis was designed to use air suspension and provide the absolute lowest ride height possible. Divers Street Rods took that a step further by channeling the body over the chassis. With that in mind, Divers Street Rods gutted the brand-new body, removing the original style floor pans, trunk pans, and firewall. This allowed them to place the body exactly where they wanted it.

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02 DSR s delivery of a brand new 67 Chevy II Nova body from Real Deal Steel
DSR took delivery of this brand-new ’67 Chevy II Nova body from Real Deal Steel. The bodies are available in several configurations and are available with mini-tubs already installed.

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Divers Street Rods already had a specific tire and wheel combination in mind, so the tires were ordered to provide a nice mock-up for additional modifications. The Art Morrison chassis was ordered with a 112-inch wheelbase, 2 inches longer than the original Nova wheelbase. This was intentional, and Divers Street Rods stretched the wheel openings to account for the added wheelbase and the extremely low stance. Other body modifications included stretched front fenders, a stretched hood, shaved door handles, shaved drip rails, and much more, but the real focus of this article are the extreme measures taken to convert this unibody car to a full-frame Pro Touring beast.

04 AME Air Sport chassis with a three link rear suspension and custom crossmembers by DSR
The AME Air Sport chassis features a three-link rear suspension with Watt’s Link and provisions for airbags. DSR modified the chassis with custom crossmembers to accommodate the channeled body.

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Divers Street Rods built a floor structure out of rectangular tubing, and then used flat sheet metal for a smooth undercarriage. The custom wheel tubs, firewall, fender supports, and radiator supports are additional custom details fabricated by the crew at Divers Street Rods. The result of countless hours of design and fabrication is a 1967 Chevy II Nova that sits lower than most and has a distinct look with subtle wheelbase alterations. Divers Street Rods started from scratch with a brand-new body and chassis and made it a truly unique car inside and out. MR

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04 AME Air Sport chassis with a three link rear suspension and custom crossmembers by DSR
The AME Air Sport chassis features a three-link rear suspension with Watt’s Link and provisions for airbags. DSR modified the chassis with custom crossmembers to accommodate the channeled body.
05 Initial placement of the body over the frame showing interferences with the stock floor
Initial placement of the body over the frame pointed out the interferences with the stock floor and firewall. To get the stance dialed in, the body will need to sit over the chassis and all new floors will be fabricated.
06 Tire and wheel fitment with Pirelli tires in the mock up stage of the DSR build
Tire and wheel fitment also plays a huge role in the mock-up stage of the build. In this case, DSR is using a set of Pirelli tires, sized 245/35R19 up front and 355/25R21 in back.
07 Massive rear tires measuring 14 4 inches in width and 28 inches in diameter
The massive rear tires measure 14.4 inches in total width and 28 inches in diameter. These measurements are crucial, and physically mocking up the tires is very helpful to determine the next steps.
08 DSR crew fabricating a structure for custom floorpans after tire mock up
After the tires are mocked-up and measurements are taken for the rear tubs, the DSR crew can begin fabricating a structure for the custom floorpans.
09 Subfloor structure made of rectangular tubing following the framerails
Rectangular tubing is used for the subfloor structure. It follows the framerails, allowing for several mounting points with body mounts sandwiched in between.
10 Giant wheeltubs fabricated by DSR attached to the subfloor structure
DSR fabricated the giant wheeltubs and attached them to the subfloor structure with a custom flange. Cleco fasteners and clamps hold the tub in place during the fitment process.
12 1967 chevy nova art morrison enterprises muscle car chassis divers street rods
Next is a full body mockup on the chassis table. Hanging the front fenders and mocking up the tires helps determine the necessary body modifications needed for proper fitment.
13 AME chassis with a 112 inch wheelbase requiring adjustment of wheel openings by DSR
The AME chassis was ordered with a 112-inch wheelbase, instead of the stock 110-inch wheelbase, so the DSR crew knew they’d have to adjust the wheel openings to accommodate the stretched wheelbase.
14 DSR adding 3 inches to the rear wheel openings for low stance and large tires
DSR added 3 inches to the rear wheel openings, which centers the axle and allows for the extremely low stance and 28-inch tires. It is currently tack welded but will be finish welded after final testfitment.

23 1940 ford coupe upton

15 DSR stretching the wheel opening 2 inches on the front side of the Nova
Even in stock form, these early Novas have minimal wiggle room at the leading edge of the front wheel opening. DSR stretched the wheel opening 2 inches on the front side.
16 Proper tire placement and clearance with tack welded fender and air suspension
Now that the fender is tack welded and the tire is mocked up we can see the proper placement and adequate clearance. Keep in mind this car will have air suspension, and these mock-ups are with the car completely aired out.
17 LT5 engine and 8L90 transmission placement in a channeled body with custom transmission tunnel
Because the body is channeled over the frame, it places the LT5 engine and 8L90 transmission a little higher than usual. A custom transmission tunnel is the beginning of an intricate process of building a trick floorpan for this slammed Nova.
18 Underdash booster and master cylinder by Kugel Komponents in the Nova
Another piece of the puzzle is the underdash booster and master cylinder. This is accomplished by a Kugel Komponents 90-degree bracket and pedal assembly. This is mocked up, so the firewall and dash can be fabricated.
19 Early layout of the wiring harness in the car s electronics
It might seem a little early to be laying out the wiring harness, but it’s important to have a home for all the car’s electronics before final assembly.
20 Flat sheetmetal floorpans mounted to the underside of the rectangular tubing
The flat sheetmetal floorpans mount to the underside of the rectangular tubing, giving this Nova a super-slick undercarriage.
21 DSR fabricated smooth steel pans covering the three link crossmember
The floorpans get a little more complicated toward the back of the car, and DSR fabricates smooth steel pans to cover the three-link crossmember.
22 Custom stainless steel fuel tank from Rock Valley Antique Auto Parts in the trunk pan area
A custom stainless steel fuel tank from Rock Valley Antique Auto Parts takes up most of the trunk pan area and fits nicely within the framerails. Custom filler panels tie the trunk area together with the wheeltubs.
23 Placement of the LT5 engine and 8L90 automatic transmission in the chassis
Up front, one of the first steps was placing the LT5 engine and 8L90 automatic transmission in the chassis. Notice how high the engine sits in relation to the fenders.
24 DSR starting from scratch on the fender and radiator mounting arrangement in the Chevy Nova
Since the Chevy Nova originally had a unibody construction with built-in inner fenders and radiator support, the guys at DSR had to start from scratch on the fender and radiator mounting arrangement.
25 Custom fender supports built out of square tubing in the Nova
You’ll notice the custom fender supports built out of square tubing. This ties into the radiator support, while custom lower fender supports extend from the framerails.
26 Crowded engine bay with custom cold air intake pipe and carbon fiber intake cover
The engine bay is starting to get crowded, as more components are mocked up. DSR fabricates a custom cold-air intake pipe and fits the carbon-fiber intake cover.
27 Real Deal Steel reproduction hood installed with relief cut for the LT5 engine
With the Real Deal Steel reproduction hood installed, you can see the necessary relief cut for the LT5 engine. A flange will be fabricated for a clean look on the bottom side.
28 Slammed stance of the 67 Nova with wheelbase adjustments and custom hood treatment
The Nova is sitting on the ground, showing off its slammed stance. The wheelbase adjustments, stretched front fenders, and custom hood treatment give this ’67 Nova a new attitude, thanks to high-end fabrication from the crew at DSR and a custom chassis from AME.

Sources

Art Morrison Enterprises
(800) 929-7188
artmorrison.com

Divers Street Rods
(360) 799-1327
diversstreetrods.com

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