Many classic car enthusiasts are not purists when it comes to building and restoring their cars. Often these adventurous souls seek to improve the performance, handling, and safety of their cars, but without drastically altering the car’s original appearance.
The number one modification many consider is improving the cars braking system but number two on that list is improving the handling of their cars. Handling improvements can include wheels, tires, sway bars, control arms, spindles, springs and shocks. Most roads have improved greatly from the conditions they were originally designed for 50-plus years ago, and today’s drivers seek a more responsive feel to their cars.
One popular suspension upgrade is converting to adjustable coil-over shocks from otherwise stock struts, coil springs or leaf spring suspension. It is true that coil-over shocks often lead to a stiffer ride quality, but that is often a trade-off the enthusiast makes to get a lower center of gravity, less body roll while cornering, adjustable ride height and adjustable shock compression/return rates.
Ride height is one of the chief reasons coil-overs are installed but from my own experience the control arms for a coil-over rear suspension help keep the axle firmly in position and improve handling 10-fold when compared to stock leaf springs. Off-road enthusiasts will be quick to point out that Coil-Over shocks can be used to lift vehicles as well as lower them and that same adjustability allows them to dial in the off-road machines to the conditions they face.
Ross Kiehl joins up with Mark Simpson to add some adjustable suspension performance to a 1968 Chevelle SS, that once spent its weekends driving a quarter-mile at a time, but has been reborn as a pavement pounding street machine.
For the Rear Coil-Over Conversion Kit they selected one built by the fine folks at QA1, specifically designed for the GM A-Body (Chevelle, GTO/LeMans, Gran Sport, Cutlass). The complete conversion takes only a few hours but the benefits of this upgrade will be enjoyed for years to come.