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Shock & Bar - Bolt-On How-To

Photography by Terry McGean

The development of the Pro Touring movement and its focus on overall performance has generated lots of coverage in the enthusiast media recently, mostly based on improving the performance of muscle-era vehicles. Since musclecars generally have acceleration covered, most of these upgrades deal with enhancements in handling and braking performance, although lately, much of this seems to involve complete reconstruction of the car's suspension, either by replacing most of its critical parts, like control arms, springs, and bushings, or in some cases, replacing it altogether, as with Corvette or Mustang II systems. But what if you're just looking for something a little more basic for street-going cars on a slimmer budget?

We pondered just such a query recently when trying to improve the road manners of our '67 Camaro. As a running example of a classic, we've avoided completely tearing it apart-you know what that can lead to. Instead, the approach has been to improve the car's performance for increased enjoyment on the street without disabling the car for more than a couple days at a time. Some previous upgrades included a switch to 15x7 Rally wheels with modern radial rubber, close-ratio power steering, and four-wheel disc brakes, all of which made the car much more fun to drive, but it still wallowed in the turns.

A shock absorber and sway bar upgrade seemed like a simple solution, and we found that Performance Suspension Components (PSC) offers G-Force sway bar kits for most muscle-era cars along with a selection of performance shocks. We opted for the Edelbrock IAS shocks, which are intended to offer a combination of positive ride quality with significantly improved cornering. Currently, the car combined parts-store front shocks, with (ugh!) air shocks in the rear along with the tiny stock 111/416-inch front sway bar used on all first-generation F-cars (except the '69 Trans Am).

The control arm bushings and ball joints were in good shape, and we didn't want to lower the ride height, making the shock-and-bar approach seem like the perfect plan to improve ride and handling. Since this isn't a serious corner-carver, we didn't test the hard numbers before and after, but the difference was immediately obvious. The IAS shocks tamed the buck-board ride of the stock monoleaf rear springs and work with the larger front sway bar to keep the car acceptably flat in the turns. Installation is relatively simple and was easily handled in a weekend. Take a look.

SOURCES
Edelbrock
Dept. 5.0
2700 California St.
Torrance
CA  90503
310-781-2222
www.edelbrock.com
Performance Suspension Components
Phoenix
AZ
www.performancesuspension.com
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