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Corner Carving The Bird

The New Suspension Is More Compliant, Even With The Shocks And Struts Set On Full Firm

Photography by Tony Nausieda

One of the advantages of building a third-gen GM F-body is having a pretty stout chassis to start with. When they were new, the Z28 and WS6 cars were among some of the best-handling machines ever to grace the performance car market. Despite having been used and abused, our ’88 Firebird still drove surprisingly decent after we rescued it from the previous owner and bolted on a set of Edelbrock wheels with Yokohama treads to replace the ancient dry-rotted rolling stock. But that’s not to say there wasn’t room for improvement.

The 80,000 hard miles had taken their toll on the struts and shocks, so the damping wasn’t quite adequate at higher speeds, causing the car to bounce a few times after hitting a bump on the freeway. That not-so-safe feeling was compounded by a persistent thunk sound coming from somewhere under the car. And the stock four-wheeler ride height wasn’t doing anything for our image. We felt it was due time to go through the chassis, but you expect more than a stock rebuild from Car Craft, right?

We headed out to the Edelbrock empire in Torrance, California, to get the ’Bird outfitted with all the third-gen goodies offered by big E. Tokico supplied us with its excellent five-position adjustable struts and shocks, which should help us dial in the car if we ever get around to autocrossing it. Now the car’s a blast to drive at any speed, and strangely enough, the new suspension is more compliant, even with the shocks and struts set on full firm. Follow along and see how it was done.

SOURCES
Edelbrock
Dept. 5.0
2700 California St.
Torrance
CA  90503
310-781-2222
www.edelbrock.com
Tokico
Dept. MM&FF
8105 NE 91 St.
Vancouver
WA  98662
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