Some years ago, builders were dredging through salvage yards searching for Mustang II independent front suspension components to graft onto their framerails. Back in those days, Heidt's Engineering, TCI, FatMan, and other manufacturers developed a Mustang II IFS Kit complete with crossmember coil spring/shock hats, upper and lower A-arms with 2-inch drop spindles, and disc brakes (rotors and calipers). These kits have been very popular. To alter the ride height of rear suspensions, folks would typically just flip the rearend housing from its stock location under the leaf spring packs to above the leaf spring packs, creating approximately a 6-inch drop in the rear. After relocating the rearend housing above the leaf spring packs, the rearend's travel becomes limited due to the distance from rearend housing to the framerails. To allow for adequate suspension travel the framerails are notched. Other alternatives of rearend suspensions are to eliminate the leaf spring packs and install a four-link or four-bar system with coilover springs to control the suspension travel and a Panhard bar or watts linkage to eliminate any lateral movement. To this end, we have seen the Corvette IRS, Jaguar IRS, and Dutchman or Kugel IRS systems.
We are seeing the introduction of Corvette C4 suspensions being adapted to post-war Chevy '47-'59 trucks, '67-'72 Ford F-1s and F-100s, and other '48-'65 pickups. This suspension will deliver both a firm ride and superior handling, producing pure fun for the driver.
Nissan's '04 Armada SUV features rear independent suspension that includes disc brakes, and we wonder how long it will take for it to be adapted to suspending the back half of a custom truck, because its unique design separates the shocks and springs.
Adapting both front and rear independent suspension will totally change the truck's turning, braking, acceleration and overall ride characteristics. Currently, we are seeing pneumatic spring and 'bag suspension falling in favor with the custom truck and rod crowd. Air Ride's ShockWave is an air spring/shock absorber system that allows the ride height of the vehicle to be adjusted to the point of the framerails or body rocker panels to rest on the ground. Depending on the pneumatic manifold system, each corner can be independently adjusted.
The stance of any vehicle is definitely one of the major contributors (besides wheels, tires, and paint) to a classic's overall image.