1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Suspension - Big Car Canyon Carver

Nailing it Down

Arvid Svendsen Sep 1, 2006 0 Comment(s)
Sucp_0609_02_z 1965_chevrolet_bel_air Sway_bar_kit 1/25

The Hotchkis Sport Sway Package includes a 1 1/4-inch-diameter front sway bar, and 1-inch-diameter rear sway bar. The powdercoated bars feature lightweight hollow construction, and include greasable polyurethane bushings, stainless U-bolts, end links, brackets, fabricated links, and all necessary hardware. The Rear Suspension Package includes boxed lower trailing arms, adjustable upper trailing arms, adjustable Panhard rod, and hardware.

Two years ago, Mark Webster, restoration manager at Brent Jarvis' Performance Restorations in Mundelein, Ilinois, (www.performancerestorations.com) owned arguably one of the nicest '65 numbers-matching 396/425-horse L78 Biscaynes in the country. With approximately 13,000 original documented miles, the car was immaculate. The bright red paint and matching red interior combination made the four-speed, bench-seat car stunning. However, for the sake of preservation, driving the rare Biscayne had to be restricted to shows and magazine shoots. Pedal to the mat, bangin' gears driving was limited in light of the value of the completely numbers-matching drivetrain. Restraint behind the wheel of a big-block musclecar was particularly frustrating, because in Webster's words, "I'm a hot rodder." The logical choice was to sell the L78 car, and replace it with a hot rod that he could enjoy, modify, and beat on.

Prior to selling the L78 car, this '65 Bel Air post car had been located. Originally powered by a six cylinder, a healthy 396 big-block with Muncie four-speed had been transplanted under the hood. For that reason, originality was a non-issue, and high-performance modifications and driving could take place with a clear conscience.


Sucp_0609_01_z 1965_chevrolet_bel_air Front_driver_side_view 2/25

When the L78 sold, Webster proceeded to tear the "new" car apart and suit it to his liking. The 396 was benched in place of a healthy 454 motor. Anticipating long, extended cruises, the Muncie four-speed was replaced by a Richmond five-speed and 3.08 posi. Disc brakes and factory big-block sway bars were installed to bring the stopping and turning levels up to a tolerable level. Wider than stock, body-colored steelies gave the car the bare-bones musclecar look. It was better, but still lacking in the handling department. Body lean and powerboat handling finally made the case to do perform a first class suspension upgrade. Enter Hotchkis Performance, which has recently come to the rescue of B-Body car owners.

Sucp_0609_03_z 1965_chevrolet_bel_air Front_sway_bar 3/25

On the Bel Air, the stock front sway bar passes through the frame supports. The bigger sway bar fits without any modification to the frame supports.

Sucp_0609_04_z 1965_chevrolet_bel_air Hotchkis_suspension 4/25

The stock front sway bar is removed with front wheels on the ground, turning the wheels to work the stock bar out (detailed instructions on the entire installation, including stock sway bar removal are included with the kit). With the front sway bar removed, the Hotchkis sway bar is positioned in order to attach to sway bar end links.

Sucp_0609_05_z 1965_chevrolet_bel_air Sway_bar_end_links 5/25

Still with the wheels on the ground, the bar must be centered and located for attachment to end links.

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