At one time or another, most of us have been guilty of scheming for added power, even taking the time to hash out the aesthetics, way before ever giving thatratty old suspension a second thought. Adding fuel to the fire, we need to take into consideration that today's average small-block is easily throwing down in excess of 400 hp; truth be told, we need to come to terms with the simple fact that our beloved musclecars were never intended to be subjected to these types of extremes some 10-plus years later. That said, mingle the power with the dated, ill-handling road manners, and you've concocted a recipe for potential disaster.
While we're not going to get into the historical outline of shock absorbers, we do want to point out that all shocks are not created equal. In their simplest form, shocks are nothing more than a means to help provide a smooth ride by controlling excessive suspension movement. For a really smooth ride, a well-designed shock will allow the use of a softer spring rate, while the shock itself will control the rate at which the spring will react to bumps. Or, to put it visually, have you ever noticed a vehicle with its front wheel bouncing up and down uncontrollably, all while tracking straight? That's a worn-out set of shocks at work.
If you're only looking to exchange your vintage junkers for a factory replacement, then just about any new shock will suffice; however, if you're looking to step into the performance arena, this is where the door really opens up. The good news is, unlike yesteryear, we have a wide variety of quality shocks to choose from. Depending on your application and what you're trying to achieve, the aftermarket offers everything you need for cruising, open-track, or drag-racing applications. Going one step beyond, several manufacturers now offer their own lines of shocks with custom valving to match their suspension components. This means less guesswork on settings and easy bolt-on applications. Another viable-yet more extreme-option is getting into single-adjustable shocks that allow for additional tuning or, for the ultimate in suspension tweaking, you can go with a set of double-adjustables, which allow custom tailoring for any road and track conditions. So whether you're looking for a basic replacement to something exotic, we've listed the best of the best, and now you'll be in the know of what's out there.
Believe it or not, many prefer nonadjustable shocks over their trick counterparts, namely for the sake of simplicity. Depending on what manufacturer you opt for, nonadjustables tend to feature a wide range of valving to accommodate for various types of energy (bumps), large or small. Another advantage is the price point, which is still slightly higher than OEM replacements but generally less than adjustables.
Bilstein has had a tremendous history in motorsports, from Winston Cup to off-road, and with its success, the company has taken advantage of the data to produce shocks that offer improved handling and stability without having to sacrifice ride comfort.
|Boot included||Contingent on application|
|Applications||'65-90 Caprice/Impala, '68-02 Camaro, '64-66 Chevelle/ Malibu, '53-82 Corvette, '64-96 Impala SS, '73-88 Monte Carlo/SS, '68-74 Nova|
|Price (each)||Front: from $109|
|Rear: from $109|
|Contact||858.386.5900 · bilstein.com|