Tri-Five Chevy's 2010 Chevy Classics Suspension Buyers Guide - The 2010 Chevy Classics Suspension Buyer's Guide

Get Superior Handling For Your Shoebox Chevy.

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The '55-57 Chevys are among the most recognizable vehicles anyone has ever built. The cars came in three series: the base model 150, mid-level 210, and the top-of-the-line Bel Air. You could also get a wagon in the lower trim level or a Nomad in the higher trim level. One thing all these cars had in common was the suspension setup. Control arms and coil springs took care of the front, while a solid axle hung on leaf springs was fitted out back. This suspension set up carried on in the Chevrolet stable for years and has proved to be a great way to soak up bumps.

What is nice about having a suspension system carry on for so long is that the aftermarket has plenty of time to come up with improvements. Add those improvements to a body style aptly named the "Hot One" and you have the potential to build a killer shoebox. Since there are so many options when it comes to suspension for these cars we decided to compile this guide of the top players in the suspension market. There is everything from bolt-on sway bars, all the way up to fully finished chassis, all designed to make the car handle better. The information in this guide has been edited for space, so once you are done checking it all out, make sure to contact the companies for the full details.

Art Morrison Enterprises
Art Morrison Enterprises is offering the company's well-proven GT Sport Chassis for the '55-57 Chevrolet. The mandrel-bent, 2x4 chassis is fully jig welded and features all the appropriate body mounts, bumper mounts, core support, engine and transmission mounts. This bolt-on chassis dramatically improves the ride quality and handling performance of your classic Chevrolet. Designed as a 100 percent bolt-on item, the GT Sport Chassis can be installed at home by most confident do-it-yourself builders. Numerous options and upgrades are available to suit the style of your project. The chassis is available for all body styles of '55, '56, and '57 Chevy passenger cars.

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Art Morrison Enterprises
800/929-7188
www.artmorrison.com

Classic Performance Products
Classic Performance Products' Totally Tubular Control Arm set is designed to add 5 degrees of caster while providing full wheel travel and minimal friction possible. They are made from 1 1/4x0.120 wall D.O.M. tubing and the pivot barrels are thick 1 1/2x0.188 wall D.O.M. tubing to eliminate distortion from welding and hard use. The bushings are made from self-lubricating non-squeak patented plastic that works at temperatures in excess of 400 degrees F. The billet 4140-alloy steel cross-shafts and sleeves are zinc plated for lasting performance. The sleeves have an interlocking design that prevents the hardware from ever working loose. The pivots carry both forward and back loads (the original cross-shaft pivot was designed to only carry a forward or back load, but not both). Ball joints are included. The control arm assemblies are a simple bolt-in installation with no modification required. They work with all factory and replacement power steering systems, with or without OE bumpstops, and are available in either black or silver.

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Classic Performance Products
714/522-2000
www.classicperform.com

Chris Alston's Chassisworks
Chris Alston's Chassisworks offers the gStreet coilover front suspension system for Tri-Fives. The gStreet kit includes precision formed, lightweight control arms fit with bonded rubber or poly bushings and billet cross-shafts. Unique to the gStreet setup is the integration of true coilover, eye-style lower shock mounts, which allow fitting of longer travel shocks. The system can be ordered with single- or double-adjustable VariShock coilover shock absorbers with your choice of spring rate. The control arms bolt directly to your OEM chassis mounts, are finished in gray hammer-tone powdercoat, accept stock-tapered ball joints, and will work with stock or dropped aftermarket spindles. Optional VariShock air suspension and specifically valved drag race variations are also available.

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Chris Alston's Chassisworks
888/388-0297
www.cachassisworks.com

Energy Suspension
By installing a complete set of Energy Suspension's performance polyurethane bushings, you'll realize an improvement in control no matter what demand you put on your vehicle. All components are impervious to oils, gasses, road salts, and atmospheric conditions, and are up to 10 times stronger than their rubber counterparts. Plus, to make ordering easier Energy Suspension has combined all of the urethane bushings for your Tri-Five into one part number: 3.18121R.

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Energy Suspension
888/913-6374
www.energysuspension.com

Fatman Fabrications
Fatman has been building frames and chassis for the aftermarket for over 20 years. The Fatman '55-57 chassis features fully boxed steel construction with extra bracing and rigidity to handle a myriad of horsepower and performance levels. A four-link suspension design is used in the rear, while up front an improved Mustang II-style suspension with Fatman control arms is used. Customers can have the chassis built for their intended engine combo, and any Tri-Five body style, from station wagon up to convertible.

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Fatman Fabrications
704/545-0369
www.fatmanfab.com

Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts
Heidts has released its new '55-57 Chevy Triangulated four-link kit. This kit does not require a Panhard rod and comes with chassis and axle brackets, adjustable links, full upper coilover crossmember, adjustable Heidts black coilovers, and all necessary hardware. No cutting or floor modifications are needed and adjustable four-link mounts allow for suspension tuning. "Our Chevy Triangulated four-link is designed to handle lots of horsepower and make the Chevy Tri-Fives handle corners better than what the original designers could ever have dreamed of," says Frank Happ, owner of Heidts. The kit is available in plain steel or polished stainless steel tubes. Optional items are available, including 9-inch housing with third member, axles, and rear disc brakes.

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Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts
800/841-8188
www.heidts.com

Global West Suspension
Global West manufactures and offers several components from front to rear for the '55-57s. The list starts out with tubular upper and lower control arms with billet shafts and Global West's Del-a-lum bushings. In addition, power steering components, coilover shocks and springs, sway bars, brake kits, leaf springs-stock, 2- and 3-inch drop are available-along with a new Del-a-lum leaf-spring bushing/shackle kit.

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Del-a-lum bushings work similarly to a bearing and provide smooth movement with no bind or squeaks, plus they have a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. The control arms are supplied with special billet shafts that extend the bushing surface area for greater control and provide upgraded geometry over stock. The control arms carry a limited lifetime warranty and are powdercoated black. Using the control arms will provide straight-line stability, improved corner entry for the more aggressive driver, and better tire life.

Global West Suspension
877/470-2975
www.globalwest.net

Hotchkis Performance
The Hotchkis Sport sway bar package for Tri-Fives works with factory A-arms and other hardware to dramatically improve cornering performance and traction. The package offers fine tunable rear roll stiffness previously unavailable for the classic Chevys. The kit includes a 1 3/8-inch tubular steel front sway bar that's lightweight, durable, and 60 percent stiffer than the stock sway bar, and a 1-inch tubular steel rear sway bar. Both bars are powdercoated black. The system has two adjustment options on the rear bar for optimized handling balance to compensate for larger rear tires and front/rear weight bias. Also included are TIG-welded endlinks with easy to lubricate polyurethane bushings, premium mounting hardware including stainless steel U-bolts, laser cut axle mounts, polyurethane bushings, and grade-8 bolts. The bars bolt-on in front and require minor drilling in the rear.

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Hotchkis Performance
877/466-7655
www.hotchkis.net

Hotrods to Hell Inc.
If you want NASCAR technology for your classic Chevy, then check out the truck arm rear suspension setup from Hotrods to Hell. This kit adds three crossmembers, plus crossbracing to your chassis, making for very rigid, flex-free frames. It also removes the leaf springs and brackets from the outside of the framerails, making room for some serious rubber. Ride height is adjustable with a ratchet via screw jacks accessed through the truck floor aft of the back seat partition. The kit comes with truck arm crossmember, Panhard crossmember, and screw jack crossmember in pre-welded subassemblies. Also included are the arms, springs, shocks, hardware, bracing, and full instructions, with pictures for ease of installation. Ride quality, handling, and forward bite are what this rear suspension is all about, but where this system really shines is when you nail the throttle. You can feel the torque reaction through the arms plant the back tires and just launch the car.

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Hotrods to Hell Inc.
530/365-6561
www.hotrodstohell.net

Mike McGaughy's Classic Chevy Parts
Over 25 years ago, Mike McGaughy's Classic Chevy started up because of a need for power steering for the Tri-Fives. Shortly after the power steering was done, Mike had the first drop spindle for the '55-57 cars, which lowered the front of the vehicle 2 inches and converted it over to disc brakes. The spindles use factory GM components, including rotors, bearings, and more. The reason the company does this is so if you're on a cross-country cruise and something goes wrong with your brakes, you can get the components at any local auto parts store.

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Mike McGaughy's Classic Chevy Parts
559/226-8196
www.mcgaughys.com

Jim Meyer Racing
Jim Meyer builds a corner-carving Tri-Five chassis that will bring your ride into the 21st century. It has a new chassis, front and rear subframes (IFS or gasser), rearend kits, engine/trans mount kits, and more for any '55-57. The company will build a 2x4 box tube, mandrel-bent chassis or a subframe with any wheelbase for an IFS or straight axle gasser build. You can get the chassis/subframe with under floor or firewall-mounted brake components plumbed with stainless brake lines. The company also has a bolt-in system for stock chassis that gives you modern power or manual rack-and-pinion steering and tubular A-arms with big disc brakes.

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Jim Meyer Racing
541/994-7717
www.jimmeyerracing.com

Newman Car Creations
Newman Car Creations offers a scratch-built replacement frame for the '55-57 that lets you bolt-in front and rear C-4 Corvette independent suspension. The frame features a 5x4 main tube construction with a 0.120 wall thickness throughout the entire frame, greatly increasing chassis rigidity. Your stock body fits onto this frame with no modifications. The frame comes as bare metal with NCC's custom cast-aluminum crossmembers, torque arm, and rear steer assembly, ready for you to install your C-4 suspension. NCC can also supply the frame in package "B" form that consists of powdercoated frame, brake lines and refurbished C-4 suspension installed on the frame. NCC also has many extras to help you with the build, e.g. motor and transmission mount packages, new Dana 44 replacement differentials, fuel tank and mounting brackets, radiators, brake boosters, brake upgrades, full exhaust systems, and more.

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Newman Car Creations
805/226-9201
www.newmancarcreations.com

QA1
QA1 offers the Stocker Star shocks for '55-57 Chevys at a budget-conscious price. These stock-mount, non-adjustable shocks feature easy bolt-in installation, and provide better ride quality over stock. Engineered with deflective disc valving to provide increased response, control, and consistency, the lightweight aluminum shocks also feature a three-step sealing system that eliminates seal drag and dirt intrusion. The shocks come standard with all mounting hardware for both upper and lower mounts. They are also revalveable and rebuildable by QA1 authorized service centers. QA1 also has single- and double-adjustable shocks available for those who want to dial in their ride preferences.

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QA1
952/985-5675
www.qa1.net

The Roadster Shop
The Roadster Shop has the answer for those looking to create a Pro Touring Tri-Five. The company's frame starts with a 4x4 rail to provide superior strength. A redesigned center crossmember provides the strength of a double level tubular design, while incorporating the ease of exhaust ports and the strength of an integrated mid brace. The chassis is designed to be a direct bolt up to all stock body mounting locations, bumper mounts, and core support mount. It requires no modifications to your existing body. The chassis can be set up for any GM engine and transmission. Standard features now include a DSE front suspension, quick ratio power rack-and-pinion steering, splined front and rear sway bars, adjustable, custom valved coilovers, 9-inch rear with 31-spline axles, and a triangulated four-bar rear suspension. The chassis can be upgraded with Wilwood brake packages, Ridetech packages, chrome and polish packages, and coilover upgrades.

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The Roadster Shop
847/949-7637
www.roadstershop.com

Ridetech
The AirBar from Ridetech is a four-link rear air suspension that will directly bolt into the OEM leaf-spring mounts of your prized shoebox. No cutting or fabrication is necessary; just four small tabs need to be welded to the axle for the upper bars. The ride height is typically lowered by approximately 2 inches and 5-6 inches when fully deflated. The four-link bars offer more precise positioning of the rear axle to eliminate flexing and increase stability through the corners. When combined with a ShockWave or CoolRide front suspension kit, your classic can enjoy the benefits of modern handling and ride quality technology.

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Ridetech
812/482-2932
www.ridetech.com

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