Putting it to the test
Sure, the new parts looked great, but what we wanted to know was how much better the ’67 would perform. To keep this a suspension test and not a tire test we made sure to install our new 17-inch Vintage Wheel Works wheels and Nitto 555R tires prior to the baseline testing. This way we had a true before-and-after testing of the suspension and brakes.
The big-block ’67 looked like it was getting ready to flip over onto its roof. It was fun to watch, but not conducive to good handling. Before getting motion sickness our wheelman, Nick Licata, was able to nail down a best time in our 420-foot slalom of 6.82 seconds, which equates to 42.1 mph and far better than we expected. On the other hand the four-wheel manual drum brakes were abysmal with a best 60-0 mph braking distance of 192.90 feet! That’s past the point of being bad and firmly into the dangerous category.
With all the suspension parts installed, and the ’67 wearing a fresh coat of black primer, we headed back to our El Toro test track. After a few warm-up laps we were rewarded with a best slalom time of 6.22 seconds or 46.2 mph. This was a substantial improvement over the previous tests. Moreover the El Camino’s body roll was now under control and the tighter steering made the Chevy easier to weave through the cones.