Getting the first phases of a project car moving in the right direction can be the most crucial. You may have your mind made up about how you want your car to look, drive, and sound, but to get there you'll need to do a little research in order to compile the right parts for your ride.
Some guys are set on having a good-looking car without all the handling "bells and whistles." That's fine for some, but others need to get the most bang for their hard-earned buck and will want their car to perform as well as, if not better than, it looks. So keep in mind, wheels, tires, stance, sound, and paint all play an important part in the final outcome. Whether it's a winning track combination or a show car winner, it's all up to your personal taste.
It's no secret that we here at Camaro Performers like to go fast in as many directions as possible. Going straight is cool, but the opportunity to hang it all out in the corners is a rush that we can't seem to get enough of.
Our 2001 Chevy Camaro Z28, known as Black Betty, is pretty much in the beginning stages of receiving performance upgrades, so we decided to jump right into the suspension aspect of the car. Besides going for an aggressive look, we need our project car to handle as good or better than any fourth-gen out there.
We knew Global West Suspension, in San Bernardino, California, makes some serious handling components for fourth-gens, so we gave them a call and told them we wanted to turn our stock Z28 into a wicked-handling car that could perform well on the street and pull off some quick times on the autocross or road course.
Global West Owner Doug Norrdin is a racer himself and has been setting up performance and race cars since the early '80s, so we knew our project was in the right hands. Besides, the desperation in our voice was a dead giveaway that we would settle for nothing less than the best suspension components available for our car. Doug graciously opened up the Global West catalog and pointed us to a host of suspension upgrades that would help get our Camaro in and out of corners quickly and efficiently.
The rear suspension upgrade for our fourth-gen features rear lower control arms, antisquat brackets, Traclink torque arm, Eibach springs (keep in mind that this is racing, so Doug made us promise not to print the spring rates), and panhard bar. Up front, he suggested we go with their lower control arm bearing kit (it installs directly into your stock control arms) tubular upper control arms, coilover conversion kit that includes springs, thrust bearing kit, 3-inch helper spring, helper spring adapter, and upper spring mount. For shocks, we went with QA1 double-adjustable coilovers (PN DOE7855P) up front and QA1 double-adjustable out back (PN DTC2502P).
Normally, we would bang out this suspension installation in one article, but since there are so many important details to go over, we're going to have to do this in two parts.
In the first installment, we'll cover what went on in the rear of the car, including subframe connectors and the Global West Traclink. In part two, we'll focus on the front suspension components. We'll also have the results of our testing with stock components compared to how the car improved with the upgraded suspension.
Straight Talk About Cornering
•We have a pretty good handle on what many of the bolt-on suspension components do for our cars, but we thought it would be cool to hear it from the man behind Global West Suspension, Doug Norrdin. We hit him with a few questions regarding what all this stuff actually does.