Early last summer, I stopped to help push a friend's '66 Nova into a driveway. Chris, the owner, had me take a look at the new suspension recently installed by Hotrods to Hell. Wow! I'd never seen that type on a street machine. So I got one." If only all missions were so succinct.
Frank Valvo sourced his soon-to-be road animal from the second owner, who got it from his grammy. All the documents were there; the original paperwork, including the purchase agreement, was now his. Oh yeah, and that Daytona Yellow coupe with a straight body too.
As we have experienced firsthand, the HTH Centerdrive truck-arm suspension becomes the focal point of the vehicle for one excellent reason: It's the ultimate live-axle rendition. It works like a mother to plant the rear tires off the line while at once imbuing the car with excellent road manners, high-rate handling characteristics, and a ride like big Cadoo.
That's a tall order, but one that HTH has deftly rolled into a very tight package that works deliriously well. Along with the truck-arm suspension hardware, Hell is now developing all the required ancillaries (mini-tubs, tubular front control arms, springs, and shock absorbers indigenous to the system). If there is a caveat, it would be that the axle and the arms command most of the room at the rear of the car, so the exhaust must exit in front of the back wheels.
As a street crawler, Frank's '69 Camaro would benefit from both the handling and the acceleration realms, and the HTH transformation was first on the agenda and could easily accommodate all the crap his 406 small-block could ladle out. Frank's a big fan of driving without angst. He wanted a strong motor, but nothing too hairy. His car is a street piece, after all, one that must be civilized and act somewhat responsibly. Still, he lavished it with bucks, using forged internals and housing them conveniently in an aftermarket cylinder block. But it's a 406 in name only and wholly without the skuzzy shortcomings of the 400ci stock-block conversion.
In a nod to nostalgia, Frank's engine includes products from the back-in-the-day file too: Isky, Edelbrock, Doug's, Milodon, and C&O (then owned and operated by Gene Conway, one of the favorite local Funny Car pioneers in the mid to late '60s with the C&O Hydros Jeep) transmission.