A car's suspension can make or break the enjoyment of the driving experience. If it's responsive and well tuned even a car with minimal horsepower can be fun to drive through the curves. But a loose suspension can take all the joy out of driving even if you've got a blown big-block or injected Mouse under the hood.
We recently got our hands on a vintage '70 Monte Carlo. The classic's front suspension wasn't in too bad of shape and appeared to have been rebuilt at some time, but the rear underpinnings were down right unsafe. In fact, after we had swapped some larger wheels and tires on it shortly after it was purchased, the suspension's shortcomings became readily apparent. As we pulled out onto a highway, the rearend swayed side to side so much that we pulled over to check that the lug nuts were tight because it felt like the wheels were coming off. A rebuild was definitely in the plans.
Our main objective for this rebuild was to establish a good starting point on which we could later expand. We will eventually upgrade to better brakes and suspension components, but the goal is to be able to test some of these products to find out how much of a difference they make. To do this we needed to build a good foundation. We contacted PST and ordered one of their Performance Polygraphite Super Front End Kits, a center link, a set of KYB shocks, a rear trailing arm bushing set, and coil spring isolators. For less than $700 we had everything we needed to get that old Monte down the road safely. As you will notice, we did not replace the springs or box the rear trailing arms-these modifications will come later.
We gathered up our parts and drove over to Sleeper Suspension Development to have the very capable hands of Jim Sleeper help us out. Sleeper has been working with some of the best-known hot rod and custom car builders for the last few years but has recently set up his own shop again. With a background in setting up race cars and high-dollar hot rods, Sleeper knows his stuff, so our Monte was a walk in the park for him.
Once we got all the necessary pieces from PST, they were given a coat of Eastwood's Spray Grey to make sure that the new parts would stay looking new for a while.