Horsepower is so easy to come by these days that you darn near pick up 10 ponies simply by throwing a parts catalog in your backseat. The stuff's everywhere. With this incessant proliferation of horsepower, however, comes an increased risk of making impromptu off-road excursions. Fortunately, suspension and brake manufacturers like Classic Performance Parts are up to the challenge. Since 1991, CPP has been addressing the inherent handling and braking deficiencies of musclecars with cutting-edge aftermarket components. We recently dropped by CPP's shop to see what hot new hardware is on the horizon. In our talk with owner Jim Ries, we picked up a few general tips on how to set up your suspension, brake, and steering systems for maximum performance.
Origins Of CPP
Classic Performance Products was started in 1991 as a part-time business by Jim Ries, who worked weekends and evenings from a small shop in Buena Park, California. At the time, CPP had a small but growing list of dealers. "We recognized that there was a demand for many types of brake, steering, and suspension products specifically designed for the classic truck and musclecar market, so we began designing and manufacturing our own brakes and lowering kits," Jim explains. In 1996, the company had grown enough that it became a full-time endeavor for Jim. "The biggest obstacles we face are always ensuring that we produce and market the highest-quality products, and the effort we put into our engineering and development of new and innovative products," Jim says. "We recently doubled our warehouse and manufacturing capability and are approaching 50 full-time employees."
With so much of the manufacturing and assembly process taking place onsite at CPP's Anaheim, California, headquarters, the company has acquired larger warehouse facilities to house the numerous parts that it manufactures. "With an additional 10,000 square feet of space that was just added, CPP now occupies over 35,000 square feet which includes a beautiful 3,000-square-foot showroom, plus sales and business offices, and shipping and receiving departments," elaborates Jim. "Our new building will be home to our expanded manufacturing facilities, including our CNC equipment and new machines we will be acquiring later this year."
"Our position within the industry has been earned and recognized because of the emphasis we put into our in-house engineering and development program before our products reach the market," says Jim. "Our greatest strength is quality control. We were honored by SEMA in 2005 with its Best Engineered New Product award for our MCPV-1 master cylinder, the first all-in-one product on the market that integrates a master cylinder, proportioning valve, metering valve, and stoplight actuator into a single assembly. The introduction of our new Totally Tubular suspension line, which includes our upper- and lower- control arms and mini subframe kits, has earned us much respect and admiration in the industry."
Easy Disc Brakes
It wasn't too long ago that installing a disc brake conversion kit was a complicated affair. Thanks to companies like CPP, now the most difficult part of a typical installation is finding a vacuum source and bleeding the lines. Its kits include not just the brake hardware, but also new spindles and prebent hardlines to dramatically simplify the installation. Furthermore, all parts are preassembled prior to shipment to ensure proper fitment. "The performance gains of our brake kits are dramatic, even on factory disc brake cars," Jim opines. "We replaced the factory disc brakes on a Chevelle with a set of our 13-inch rotors and twin 52mm piston PBR calipers, and reduced 60-0 braking distance by 30 feet. Needless to say, it's not just for show."