The puzzle is finally starting to look like something. The hefty pile of parts we started with just a few weeks ago is slightly resembling a hot rod the magazine can be proud of. In our previous segment, we installed the Fat Man Fabrications Trick front suspension, complete with tubular control arms, coilovers, and rack-and-pinion steering for added ride quality and superior cornering. The GM Performance Parts ZZ454 is quietly awaiting its chance to lay some rubber as well as the Level 10 Performance 4L60E automatic transmission.
This month, we install the Fat Man Fabrications four-link suspension and Currie Enterprises 9-inch complete rearend. The factory suspension in the '71 Camaro is a multi-leaf spring configuration that is still used today on many truck production lines. In our Camaro, it is simply going to hinder us in our pursuit of speed and agility.
Bolting directly to the frame rails and body, the mounting brackets for the two upper links fit the contour of our Camaro perfectly and were quickly installed with an electric drill and the supplied hardware. The lower links install in the buckets for the factory leaf springs and provide the perfect geometry for us to set the Currie 9-inch in place.
The rear suspension kit is offered two ways: with either coilovers or Air Ride Technologies' air bags. Air Ride has put this kit through its paces on more than one occasion and has proven its worth around the cones. This was a tough decision to make. Ultimately (and for the sake of simplicity), we went with the coilover setup.
We spent a good amount of time with the mock-up to ensure our angles and links were installed properly, but when we were all said and done, we had proper pinion angle, side-to-side alignment, and axles centered in the wheelwells. At this point, the front and rear suspension is mocked and ready for paint.
Our GMPP ZZ454 and 4L60E are awaiting installation and bodywork is being performed just about every day. The finish line is getting closer and we think we have finally picked a color for the Camaro. Follow around as we just about get the 'Maro on all fours.
We decided to install the mounts for the upper links first. These mount to the framerails and the rear firewall. We lined the mounts up the only way they fit snuggly and used a magic marker to mark the spots we needed to drill. Using a unibit, we were able to keep drilling the holes bigger until we reached the correct size for installation. These brackets mount to the rear firewall via backing plates that install from the cockpit side and are shown above.
Once both sides were fabbed up in place, we placed some spot welds to ensure they didn't move. The brackets bolt to the frame rail via self-tapping screws that are sufficient, but we felt a little more comfortable adding some welds and after a call to Fat Man, they suggested we do so.