Back To The Future

With 21st Century Suspension For Vintage Steel

There's just somethin' cool about a '67-'69 Camaro. Although I can't pinpoint it exactly, for whatever reason, the Camaro has, still does, and always will shock and awe audiences. If you were to jump behind the wheel, one thing that won't leave you dazed and confused is the Camaro's handling and braking. In fact, it won't take long for you to realize the vintage steel you're piloting was meant to go fast and straight--period. What we ultimately want is to go back to the future. What I mean by that is that '67-'69 F-Body owners want an early-model Camaro because they're just plain out rad. At the same time, they want to bring the inadequate features (such as handling and braking) up to 21st Century standards.

If there's one company that knows about bringing vintage steel's lack of drivability up to par it's Heidt's Hot Rod Shop. For years, Heidt's has been making all sorts of suspension components for all types of hot rods. Most recently, Heidt's has shifted a lot of focus to developing top-notch '67-'69 Camaro frontend suspension pieces. Heidt's figured the biggest way to make a dent in improvement is to develop new control arms and spindles up front.Heidt's has come up with a new and improved 2-inch drop steel spindle that not only lowers First-Gen Camaros a full 2 inches, but also lowers the center of gravity of the car for better handling. For maximum performance, Heidt's decided it would be best if the upper ball joint was raised to the optimum amount, 1 1/2 inches, to fully correct camber action during suspension travel. Complementing the new drop spindles is Heidt's tubular '67-'81 control arms. Heidt's Hot Rod Shop Camaro control arms come in standard width, but are narrowed. The control arms are narrowed 1 inch per side, which allows the tire to be pulled in, and ultimately means the user can run a bigger wheel/tire combo up front. The upper control arms are constructed from a 1 1/4-inch diameter tube and include offset cross-shafts for ease of alignment, which permits experimentation with caster settings that will allow better straightline tracking as well as better feel in the corners. As for the lower 1 1/2-inch diameter tube control arms, Heidt's offers two different styles. One arm is designed to work with stock springs and shocks, and the other is designed to work with coilover shocks. Heidt's offers a full line of QA1 fully adjustable billet aluminum coilovers with an assortment of springs. All arms come complete with ball joints, urethane bushings to tighten up the suspension, and allow no deflection under cornering loads for absolutely solid positive handling, and powdercoated for durability.

Now it's time to talk about brakes. Although there were different brake combinations on '67-'69 Camaros, nothing compares to a newly designed system. Wilwood Engineering, which works in correlation with Heidt's, is a braking company that has had success on and off the track. Wilwood has taken what they have learned through years of experience and incorporated it into several early Camaro disc brake system options, one option being the Dynalite Big Brake Front Hub Kits. Included in the kit is forged billet Dynalite 4 Piston Calipers manufactured from stress-flow forged billet bodies. The calipers generate high clamping force without deflection from four stainless steel pistons and the square faced O-rings provide long service and positive piston retraction on release. The calipers also feature Wilwood's SRS stainless steel bridge plates. The spring-loaded action of the SRS plates eliminates pad rattle and dampens the vibration harmonics that can contribute to pad squeal. The hub and rotor is a two-piece set. The aluminum hubs are forged into shape under high heat and pressure and then CNC-machined for precise fit. Aluminum hats or backside mount plates are supplied for solid rotor mounting directly to the hub. The hubs are shipped complete with bearing races installed, new bearings, grease seals, screw-on billet aluminum hubcaps, and 1/2-20 RH Grade 8 wheel lug studs. The second part of the assembly is an SRP or HP Series 12.19-inch Vented Iron rotor, which are manufactured from premium grade, long-grain carbon iron to provide long wear with high thermal stability and resistance to distortion. The kit also comes with PolyMatrix 7112 "T" compound pads, CNC-machined brackets, and Grade 8 hardware. However, fitting and flexlines must be ordered separately.

Of course, all of this sounds great, but does it work? As I type, theSC staff is rounding up a '67-'69 Camaro, as close to stock as possible, for installation and testing. So once we know, you'll know. Until then, be on the look out.

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The new and improved Heidt's spindles provide several benefits to Camaro owners. First, the spindles lower the Camaro 2 inches without affecting the suspension travel. The spindles also create a lower stance for the car, which enhances handling. Heidt's spindles are a must-have for any Camaro enthusiasts looking to amp their car's performance.

Wilwood Engineering has several kits for early Camaros, one being the performance-driven kit known as the Dynalite Big Brake Front Hub Kit. It features forged billet Dynalite 4-Piston Calipers, forged aluminum hub with bearings, SRP or HP Series 12.19-inch vented iron rotor, PolyMatrix 7112 "T" compound pads, and more.

Heidt's Hot Rod Shop has developed some serious front suspension parts for '67-'69 Camaros. Among the mix are Heidt's new, improved camber 2-inch drop spindles, narrowed tubular control arms, and QA1 fully adjustable coilovers.

Wilwood puts every effort into developing the most efficient product possible. For that reason, the Forged Dynalite 4-Piston calipers are manufactured from stress-flow forged billet bodies. The process of stress-flow forging realigns the metal's grain structure within the contour of the caliper body. This process eliminates the breaks and interruptions to the internal grain structure that occur when machining a straight block billet. The calipers are also offered in either a black, red, or polished finish.

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