For more years than he’d probably like to count, Chris Alston of Chris Alston’s Chassisworks has been one of the best-known names in the chassis business. Alston came to prominence in drag racing and was the first to develop a door-slammer chassis kit in the ’70s, but this is not a guy who rests on his laurels. Today, Alston’s product line has expanded to include replacement frames, frame clips, and front and rear suspensions for what he describes as “road-race-style muscle cars.” Call them Pro Touring, G-machine, restomod, or whatever, Chassisworks has the components to build it.
Some of Alston’s most popular offerings among their array of products are the NoFAB chassis components that can be installed with ordinary hand tools without welding. Included in the NoFAB line are the g-Bar and g-Link rear suspensions. Both kits are the canted four-bar style. The differences between them are the types of ends used on the control arms: urethane is used on the g-Bar and pivot balls on the g-Link. Available for 1967-’81 Camaros, 1962-’67 Chevy IIs, and 1968-’74 Novas, the g-Bar and g-Link kits directly replace the OEM leaf springs and shocks and can be configured for Chassiswork’s bolt-in FAB9 or the original axle housing.
To enhance handling, Chassisworks offers two types of rear antiroll bars. Their sliding-link antiroll bar system features a 5/8-inch solid bar mounted to the same frame adapter brackets as the g-Bar/g-Link suspension with billet-aluminum housings and greasable polyurethane bushings. The sliding-link mechanism provides six incremental adjustments to vary roll stiffness.
Another antiroll bar option, and the one we used, is the Chassisworks splined-end system. It features a 3/4-inch diameter, bent-tube design that mounts to the axle brackets below the rearend housing.
Holding up the rear of the car is done one of two ways: Chassisworks offers air springs and coilovers for their rear suspension packages—we went with the latter. Alston’s VariShock coilovers are available in fixed, single-, or double-adjustable versions. As the name indicates, fixed shocks are just that and have no adjustment, while single-adjustables have a knob at the bottom of the body with 16 positions to tailor rebound damping as needed. For the ultimate in suspension tuning, the double-adjustable shocks allow compression and rebound damping to be customized individually. Each function has a knob with 16 positions that together provide 256 unique combinations. All adjustment positions on single- and double-adjustable shocks are indicated by a detent that can be felt when turning the knob, and an audible click as the knob locks into position.
When it comes to suspension tuning, one of the advantages of using coilovers is the ease with which spring rates can be changed. For small-block powered vehicles with rear g-Bar/g-Link suspensions that see regular street use, Chassisworks recommends 175-200 lb/in springs depending upon desired ride quality. They also suggest that for every 100-pound change in rear vehicle weight, the spring rate needs to change by 25 lb/in. And when it comes to springs, there’s no shortage of choices as rates from 80 to 650 lb/in are available.
There’s an old saying that a building is only as solid as its foundation—the same thing holds true for the frame of a performance car. To provide a solid foundation for the g-Bar/g-Link rear suspension systems, Chassisworks uses a combination of factory attachment points and a custom substructure with suspension mounting brackets that bolts to the original subframe with no modification to the car.
Chris Alston’s Chassisworks has made it easy to improve the rear suspension of Chevrolet Novas, Camaros, and Chevy IIs with their canted four-bar and coilover (or air spring) rear suspension systems. Recently, we had the opportunity to follow along as a FAB9 housing and g-Link rear suspension system was installed under a 1969 Camaro, and we can tell you, noFAB is no sweat.
01. Our updated rearend package from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks includes a FAB9 housing, Wilwood brakes, and g-Link coilover suspension with a splined-end antiroll bar system. Does it look cool? You bet. Does it work? You can count on it.
02. This is the Chassisworks g-Link suspension system and FAB9 housing. Note the framework that attaches to the car’s subframe and provides attachment points for the upper control arms and coilovers.
03. Here we have the original 10-bolt axle and mono-leaf springs—the factory shocks were staggered with the left behind the housing and the right in front. Not the hot setup for handling.
04. The first step in the installation procedure is to clamp the framework in place. After double-checking the measurements, the stock framerails are marked for drilling.
05. Four holes are drilled up through the bottom of the framerails. The supplied hardware will attach the framework brackets to the original stamped U-channel.
06. Here, the brackets are attached to the framerails and the connector is installed between them. On each side there are three upper mount options for the coilovers and two for the upper control links to allow for suspension tuning.
07. Before installation, the bottom links are measured and adjusted to be the same length as shown in the instructions.
08. The chassis ends of the lower links attach to the original front mounts for the parallel mono-leafs. Note the zerk fittings for the greasable g-Link pivots.
09. Here, the front bracket has been bolted in place. The spacer used moves the control arm toward the center of the chassis for increased tire clearance.
10. This is the pivot ball end that is used with the g-Link system, they provide more articulation than the urethane variety but provide less cushioning.
11. With the FAB9 housing hoisted into position, the four links are attached. The bracket with six holes is the lower attachment point for the coilover bracket. With this style suspension, a Panhard bar is not required.
12. FAB9 housings can be ordered with g-Link brackets welded in place. In addition, this one has brackets for coilovers and a splined antiroll bar.
13. Chassisworks places the lower shock bracket in double shear for added strength. The additional holes are for ride height adjustments.
14. We used the double-adjustable shocks. Note the double nuts on the bottom of the threaded body that are used to establish preload on the springs. Spring rate affects ride quality, ride height, roll rate, and handling characteristics. Additional tuning springs are available at a discount when purchased with a Chassisworks system.
15. Before installation, the splined antiroll bar is adjusted according to the instructions to clear the FAB9 housing.
16. The Chassisworks splined-end antiroll bar mounts below the rearend housing and fits into the special brackets welded to the FAB9 housing. Alston strongly advises that the g-Link axle brackets with integrated antiroll bar socket boss be selected at the time of purchase if that’s the route want to go.
17. An adjustable, billet-pivot-socket mechanism threads into the g-Link lower axle bracket sleeve and allows the bar to rotate smoothly in a play-free joint. Bars are available in stock and narrowed widths for use with mini-tubbed vehicles.
18. Billet aluminum arms extend forward and are connected to the chassis through links consisting of adjustable-length, 3/8-inch rod-end assemblies. This allows the antiroll bar to be precisely set in a neutral, non-preloaded state.
19. Here’s our updated rearend package installed and ready to roll. Thanks to clever engineering, the entire package is a bolt-in deal with no welding or cutting required.