How to Make Your Muscle Car Handle

How to Make Your Muscle Car Handle

by Mark Savitske


When automotive manufacturers stuffed large V-8 engines into intermediate-size cars, the American muscle car was born. Built from 1964 on, the vast majority of these amazingly fast machines did not carry cutting-edge chassis and suspension systems, and now these cars are up to 50 years old. Today, owners do not have to settle for poor handling and ride quality.

Muscle car and suspension expert Mark Savitske has built his business, Savitske Classic and Custom, on making muscle cars handle and ride at their best. With this updated edition, Savitske shows you what it takes to transform the handling of these high-horsepower machines. He explains the front and rear suspension geometry so you understand how it functions, and in turn, you realize how to get the most from a particular system. He also reveals the important aspects of spring rates, shock dampening, and ride height so you select the best spring and shock package for your car and application. He discusses popular high-performance tubular suspension arms and sway bars, so you can find the right combination of performance and adjustability. The suspension system has to operate as an integrated part of the car, so you’re shown how to select best suspension package for a well-balanced and responsive car. He also discusses how to extract maximum performance from popular GM, Ford, and Mopar muscle cars.

You can harness the potential performance potential of your muscle car and put much more power to the ground with critical chassis and suspension updates and products. A muscle car that carries modern suspension technology not only provides far better handling and ride comfort, but it is also much safer. How to Make Your Muscle Car Handle is the essential guide to unlocking the handling and performance potential of your muscle car. If you yearn for better handling, comfort, and performance for your muscle car, this is the book for you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781613251751
Publisher: CarTech, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Mark Savitske has been building hot rods and race cars since 1984. He has been recognized as an authority on suspension design and his specialty has been in developing street-friendly, track-capable upgrades for popular American muscle cars for the last decade. His extensive research on materials, alignment settings, and adjustable components has shown great success on some of the most recognizable Pro-Touring cars ever built. He now markets components and offers trusted advice from his growing Savitske Classic and Custom business in Coopersburg, PA.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 4
Introduction 4

Chapter 1: General Front End Geometry 7
Standard Definitions 7
Front Suspension Relationships 15
Bump Steer 17
SLA vs. Strut 21
SLA Suspension Fixes 22

Chapter 2: General Rear Suspension Geometry 27
Rear Suspension 27
Relationships 30
Leaf-Spring/Hotchkiss Suspensions 31
Four-Link Suspensions 38
Torque Arm Suspensions 40
Three-Link Suspensions 41
Ladder-Bar Suspensions 42
Truck-Arm Suspensions 43
Lateral Axle Locators 44
Solid Axle vs. IRS Suspensions 48

Chapter 3: Springs, Rates and Shocks 51
Springs 51
Ride Height 52
Spring Rate 57
Air Springs 58
Shock Absorber Technology 60
Coil-Over vs. Coil Spring 67

Chapter 4: Aftermarket Arms 71
Metal Matters 72
Design Development 73
Tubular Lower A-Arms 75
Bushings 76

Chapter 5: Sway Bars 80
Basics of Function 80
Learn What You Need 81
Selection Tips 82
Adaptation Options 83
Rear Bars 83
End Links 83
Heim Joints 84
Splined Bars 85
Quality Matters 85

Chapter 6: Wheels and Tires 87
General Tire Behavior 87
Wheel Diameter 88
Tire Selection 90

Chapter 7: Total Package 92
Chassis Stiffness 92

Chapter 8: GM Muscle Cars 98
GM A-Body 98
GM G-Body 1981 to 1988 110
GM First-Generation F-Body 113
GM Second-Generation F-Body 119
GM Third-Generation F-Body 120

Chapter 9: Ford Muscle Cars 123
Front Suspension Options 123
Rear Suspension Options 128
Ford Fox Body 1974 to 1978 131
Ford Fox Body 1979 to 1993 132

Chapter 10: Mopar Muscle Cars 135
Front Suspension 135
Rear Suspension 140

Afterword 143
Source Guide 144

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