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Make Your A-Body Hook - GM A-Body Suspension From DMR

Make That Big Car Hook With A GM A-Body Suspension.

By Bart Quick, Photography by Bart Quick

Before this tune-up, when the green light lit this '71 Buick Skylark would smoke the Mickey Thompson stickies down the first 100 feet or so of the track before hooking up and running. The starting-line tirespin was maddening. Part of the solution we'll show here applies to production cars with coil-sprung, nonparallel four-link rear suspensions such as '64-'72 GM A-bodies (Chevelles, Skylarks, Cutlasses, and Tempests) and Fox-and-newer Mustangs. Next month, we'll dial it in.

We sought guidance from world-reknowned street-racer-turned-Pro-Street-guru Mike Moran, who has raced every kind of vehicle you can imagine and coaches a lot of Fastest Street Car racers through his business, Moran Motorsports. Surprisingly, he started his quarter-mile passion behind the wheel of an A-body Buick, so he knows these vehicles. Moran's initial suggestion was simply to change the shock absorbers to help speed up and control the transfer of weight from the front end for added bite, but after discovering the car's poor 60 percent front-end weight bias, Moran and his business partner Bart Lemeux decided that some more serious suspension parts might be needed.

The plan involved installing a Dick Miller Racing (DMR) rear-suspension kit to improve the launch grip of the vehicle. The kit repositions the upper-link mounting points on the rearend housing to alter the four-link geometry, moving the theoretical intersection point of the upper and lower control arms lower and rearward. This changes the leverage point of the suspension, leading to more body rise during launch, and therefore more pressure on the tires for improved traction. The DMR kit is also adjustable to preload the suspension for drag tuning, and it stiffens the factory mounting points. Similar kits are available for coil-spring Mustangs.

The suspension overhaul also included a DMR adjustable, preloadble rear sway bar and Strange adjustable shocks. We had to modify some of the DMR components to fit, because a Moser 9-inch rearend was installed a few years ago in place of the stock GM 10- bolt , and this kit is built for a factory rearend.

By Bart Quick
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