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Fantastic Foundations

High-tech chassis for Tri-Five Chevys

Aug 19, 2005

In the last decade or so, huge strides have been made in the realm of aftermarket Chevy chassis, suspension components, and assemblies. Here, we're focusing on one specific offering that is the culmination of components from two pioneers who are experts in this particular area--Kugel Komponents and Art Morrison Enterprises. Both entities are extremely well known in the automotive performance niche and are leaders in the industry who have recently melded their cutting-edge technology to produce what may well be the benchmark in Tri-Five Chevrolet performance chassis.

Art Morrison is perhaps already one of the most well-known and respected chassis and suspension manufacturers in musclecar and drag racing circles but, Kugel Komponents (though a virtual household name in the street rod, lakes, and salt-flat arena) may not be as familiar. With this in mind, let's give you a bit of background on Jerry Kugel to bring you up to speed.

Jerry has been a suspension expert since the '60s and was a pioneer in the conversion and use of the Jag independent front and rear suspension in the street rod world. His advances soon led him to design and build his own line of IFS and IRS components (back in the early '80s) which rectified the shortcomings of the Jaguar units and were much more suited to the world of high-horsepower and high-performance handling. Since then, Kugel Independent Suspension Systems have become the premier "komponents" in the street rod industry. Above and beyond street rods, Kugel has been a fixture in the world of lakes and Bonneville racing, as well.

Recently noticing the increased interest in the realm of the Tri-Five Chevrolet, Kugel began to consider expanding his expertise to include the venerable shoebox Chevy. Upon serious investigation, he realized that Art Morrison had already developed what Kugel considered the ultimate Tri-Five chassis. With the chassis design handled and with Morrison's blessing, Kugel instead went about using his vast knowledge to design and manufacture his own Morrison-chassis-specific independent suspension systems, thus creating his own version of what has become the ultimate platform for the ultimate hot rod. If the Tri-Five Chevy is the choice for your next project or perhaps your current ride, we'd strongly suggest checking out the cutting-edge products both of these companies have to offer. Heck, if you're planning to build the best, you've got to use the best.


The Kugel Belair chassis is based on a mandrel-bent, 2x4 rectangular steel Art Morrison GT Sport Tri-Five frame.

Kugel utilized Morrison's exquisite geometry to develop an IFS that is specific to the AME frame. Stainless uprights, heavy-duty 1 1/8-inch diameter tubular control arms, and a 1 1/8-inch sway bar make for exceptional stability and sports car-like handling.

Adding to the setup's handling and stopping characteristics are huge 13-inch Wilwood brake assemblies and Aldan coilover shocks.

Kugel's signature independent suspension is used out back. Kugel IRS is the gold standard in high-line street rod circles, and has been for decades.

The system is designed around the venerable Ford 9-inch center section and utilizes huge 1 1/8 inch-diameter control arms and a 1 inch-diameter sway bar assembly. The unit's eye-catching billet machining makes the Kugel IRS one of the most glamorous and highly coveted designs in the industry.

As holds true with all of the components, the large-diameter sway bar and heavy-duty links contribute to an assembly that'll stand up to even the most spirited driving.

Inboard disc brakes and quad coilovers are another Kugel hallmark that look as impressive as they perform.

Leon Pettit's Kugel equipped '57 was thrashed hard at California Speedway and performed impressively, pulling nearly 0.82 G's on the skidpad and equally well in braking and handling tests, proving that utilizing the best technology from two of the leaders in the industry is nothing short of fantastic for the likes of us. So we'd suggest hitting the Web sites or calling for catalogs from either or both of these fine establishments and get the full lowdown--you'll be extremely glad you did!

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