The early Chevelle represents one of the most classic American two-door cruisers. Despite their size and weight, by '60's standards the Chevelle had a reputation for a great ride and better than average handling. In recent testing, we determined that almost every modern sedan or coupe we could get our hands on out-performed our stock '64 A-body. But, with modern advances in bushing material, suspension geometry, and dampening the A-body can be updated with state-of-the-art materials and made to perform as well as any modern 3,500-pound vehicle. We know it sounds hard to believe, so we quantified our results on the SUPER CHEVY "Road Rage" test track.
The standard '64 Chevelle Malibu was designed with all rubber bushings front to back, as urethane was not yet used in these applications until many years later. The front suspension utilized a very small sway bar, springs that were designed for ride height, and shocks for good comfort. The rear suspension was not supported with any antiroll mechanism, nor was there any rigidity in the suspension itself. The greatest detriment of all for the '64 was the wheel and tire combination. The rubber used in the tires was harder and provided less grip than the compounds used in today's tires. In addition to the compounds themselves, sidewall technology and overall tire size has been greatly improved for modern applications.
When rebuilding our '64 we chose to outfit the classic with a combination of urethane and rubber bushings, new ball joints, new inner and outer tie-rod ends, stiff lowering coil springs, adjustable shocks, larger sway bars for both front and rear, and an overall beefier rear suspension. None of the changes we made required any fabrication skills. Time and a bit of patience in the dirty-hands department were our greatest challenges. When finished we brought our '64 to long time SUPER CHEVY contributor, Jim Sleeper, to set up our alignment for the following day at the track.