As the old saying goes, "Medicine has to taste bad to be good." We've all heard it so often that we have come to believe it. In the world of musclecar suspension, the old timers will tell you "A car that handles well can not give you a nice ride." You've probably heard that so often that you've come to believe that, too. Well, those guys were tearing up the pavement and their cars long before owners Kyle and Stacy Tucker at Detroit Speed and Engineering (DSE) came along.
Previously located in the city where American musclecars were born, DSE now resides in the heart of NASCAR country-Mooresville, North Carolina. Having settled into their new, larger facility, DSE excels in creating some of the finest ground-up restored First-Generation Camaros and early Novas around. But there's more to DSE than finely restored cars. They've taken their experience in designing exceptionally engineered musclecar components and carefully nurtured a growing performance parts business. DSE now supplies the parts-hungry restoration market with ultra high-quality suspension components, springs, deep tubs, body parts, steering gear, and rear suspension systems.
Next month DSE will set out to prove that great handling and a great ride can exist simultaneously. As you read this, the engineers at DSE are dropping a new 383 crate motor with aluminum heads into a '69 Camaro SS to prepare it for some serious A/B performance and handling tests. Plans are in place to compare the Camaro's performance, handling, and ride after removal of the old rear leaf suspension and the installation of their new Quadra-Link rear suspension system with wider rear tires. While four-link rear suspension systems have been around for a long time, the Quadra-Link is a quantum leap in Technology.
Utilizing their patented Swivel Link, DSE has overcome the binding and noise problem associated with other four-links that use Heim joints and bushings, resulting in great handling and a great ride. The Swivel Link allows the rear suspension to fully articulate with a smooth solid motion and no binding. Unlike other systems, the Quadra-Link utilizes a Panhard rod that provides precise and effective rear axle lateral location during hard cornering, which keeps the rear tires firmly planted on the pavement. Quarter-mile times are lowered since the Quadra-Link eliminates axle hop by transferring power more efficiently to the pavement. The Quadra-Link is available as an easy do-it-yourself bolt-on kit, or you can have DSE custom-build one on a new axle and ship it right to your door. Next month we'll see if it lives up to all the fanfare.
Performance testing of the Camaro will be done at a local Mooresville track, with true objective data being collected by a VBOX data acquisition system. Testing will measure lateral acceleration (the number of g's reached before the end breaks loose), slalom times, and quarter-mile times. Subjective ride quality data will also be collected. In the before tests, the car will use Fikse wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 245/40 ZR18 tires on the front and 275/40s on the rear. Modifications will then be made with the installation of the Quadra-Link system, DSE deep tubs, and 335/30 ZR18 Goodrich tires on the rear, followed by post modification testing.
See you here next month with the installation process and the track test results. If you can't wait that long, you can get additional information at www.detroitspeed.com.