One of the preferred upgrades by performance and muscle car enthusiasts, involves the suspension system, and for good reason.
Automotive suspension systems - as well as car handling - have come a long way when compared to their vintage counterparts, and older muscle cars can definitely benefit, not only for performance but also for safety reasons, from a suspension system upgrade.
From simple bolt-on components to complete suspension redesigns, How To Make Your Muscle Car Handle covers them all. And although it is not hard to upgrade your car's suspension, you want to make sure it is done correctly.
Author Mark Savitske has made a career out of improving the suspension design and performance of classic muscle cars, and his vast experience is available to you in How To Make Your Muscle Car Handle.
I suspect that this is probably the chapter that people first flip to while perusing this book in a bookstore. Another racing invention of the early 1920s, tubular A-arms and trailing arms have taken the automotive aftermarket by storm.
Every hot rod magazine has articles and ads about them, so they must be pretty important, right? Yes, of course they play a very important role in your suspension, but you may be surprised to learn that it is only a supporting role.
Earlier, I addressed suspension pickup points and how they define the suspension geometry. Look at any serious engineering book on suspension design and you see endless discussion about where these points should be located and why. Curiously, you find very little about the design of the A-arms.
References are usually along the lines of, "...moving the lower ball-joint pickup point outboard may improve the scrub radius, but will necessitate a longer lower A-arm." That's because the arms connect some of the pickup points together but they don't define them.
For example, let's say a stock upper A-arm is 9 inches long from the centerline of the cross shaft to the pickup point of the upper ball joint.
Then shorten it 1/2 inch, which gives you more static negative camber in your alignment (assuming you don't change the number of alignment shims).
Then take the same car, leave the upper A-arm at the original 9-inch dimension, and add 1/2 inch of alignment shims. You still get the same static camber change.
Doesn't the shortened arm yield a more aggressive camber curve because the radius that the upper balljoint pickup swings in is more abrupt? Sure, technically, but by such a small degree you can barely measure it.
Any benefits are clearly coming from the substantial alignment change, not the tiny incidental geometry change.
Subject: Transportation: Automotive Suspension Systems: Suspension system improvements for classic muscle cars. ISBN-10: 1934709077 | ISBN-13: 9781934709078 | CarTech SA175