It's actually called a "Dampener Unit" (see number 5 below, P/N 3981802), so I don't believe it was to cure wheel hop, but for some kind of harmonic vibration supression. Only used from 1969 through 1971 on the Nova, so apparently it was useless! I pulled a set of Lakewood "Traction Action" traction bars off a 70 Nova once, and the springs had those on them. At the time I was really confused as to:
a. If they were original
b. What they were used for
c. If they were used on any other car
I had a Nissan 4x4 years ago and it's leaf springs were weighted like that. I carried a small 6pack cab over on it from time to time and in order to put a helper spring on I had to cut off the weights. I never could find anyone that could tell me what they were for or what would happen if I removed them. No ill effects that I recall...
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