To "have your cake and eat it too" is something most gearheads aspire to achieve when building their perfect rides. Not too long ago, cars could only be built for one purpose. If you wanted to go drag racing, you set the car up to hook hard and go straight. But if you also wanted to go through some tight curves, you were either out of luck or had some serious chassis redesign ahead of you.
The trend today, however, is to build street machines that do everything well. We want to go fast in a straight line but also have fun on the road on the way to the dragstrip. Lucky for us companies are starting to offer products which make this possible.
Shocks are a big part of how your car is going to react to these different environments. Of course, there is the option of swapping them at the track, and in most cases this is not too difficult to do. But thanks to QA1 Motorsports, there's a better option. The company's shocks feature an external knob that allows the shocks' dampening to be adjusted at 12 different rates. Turn the knob counter-clockwise to the No. 1 position and the shock is at its softest setting. Turn it 12 clicks clockwise and it's at the stiffest. These aluminum-bodied, rebuildable shocks are designed to replace most stock musclecar applications, so we figured that our '70 Monte Carlo would be a perfect candidate to test them on.
When we got the shocks, we were immediately impressed with their build quality. The shock bodies are machined from lightweight billet aluminum and then clear anodized. Adding to the shock's strength, the 5/8-inch piston rod is hard-chromed.
Our Monte Carlo's suspension has been rebuilt with polyurethane bushings and tuned with Hotchkis coils, trailing arms, and sway bars. We tested it a few months ago, checking its performance with different-size tires and decided to stick with the 17-inch Yokohama AVS S/Ts for this test, as well.
We took the Monte and the shocks over to Hotchkis Performance and installed them. The day of the testing the weather did not look promising. The track surface was wet and the sky was cloudy. Luckily, a few hours later the track had dried out and we were ready to run. The temperature stayed cool and kept the track a little cooler, which might have contributed to our speeds being a little off from the last time we tested (during a warm SoCal day). But by the end of the session the new shocks more than made up for it.
The QA1s worked very well and the Monte performed great. It's a fun car to shoot through the slalom and take out on the road. We have some more suspension mods in mind, so we will continue to play with the shocks' adjustments to see how our new modifications react. Hopefully we'll get a new engine in so we have some power to actually test them out on the dragstrip.