Build 'Em Big
Your Shop Talk in the Feb. '10 issue hit home with me. I own a '94 Caprice Classic with BMR adjustable rear control arms, Speed Tech front lower A-arms, and lowered 2 inches all around. I also have 3.42:1 gears, an Eaton posi, and Impala SS wheels with P245/60R17 (soon P275/R40 on rear) tires. I'm still deciding which shocks to go with, but I will be ordering a set of BMR front and rear sway bars soon. So, yes, I hope you decide to showcase B-bodies in upcoming issues.
More B-Body Fun
I have been a reader of CHP for some time now. Actually, a letter I submitted earlier was put in one month asking about parts to do what I am going to tell you about. Your latest Shop Talk inspired me to write as I have one of those portly B-bodies, and would love to see some ideas on her. You see I am the original owner of a '96 Impala SS. Back in 1997 (through 2000), I started with basic bolt-ons that eventually led to the installation of LT-4 heads, Hot Cam, LT-4 intake, timing chain, Arizona Speed and Marine headers throttle body and cold-air intake, and the like. With 3:73:1 gears rounding out its shapely rear, mild torque converter, and a little shot in the pants with a Nitrous Express 150 shot, and wouldn't you know it, we were pulling down 12.5s at 113 mph. Heck even at one event, I don't even know what year anymore, probably 1998, it was the quickest and the fastest Impala at that track event. No awards or anything, only bragging rights for me. I replaced the shocks with KYBs, and springs with Intrax lowering springs. The car handled well, even at the occasional autocross event. Somewhere I have some videos of auto crossing, and have seen almost 140 mph at Road America, where I cooked my power steering reservoir, I might add. But I always thought the spring rates in the front were way too high as it always seems to ... "What's the reverse of lunge?"... spring I guess, up when you hit a bump.
Now I have worked the rear trailing arms to make them stronger, and also to center the rear wheel in the wheelwell, as I'm sure you are aware no Impala's rear wheels are centered unless this is done. But I sure would love to see how one of these bad boats can be made to turn and burn with the best of them; trailing arms, sway bars, and drop spindles perhaps. Heck I have even tossed around the idea of a RideTech air suspension. Not so much for lowering purposes, but for ride comfort and adjustability.
This car was daily driven for about six years, and then was parked for about eight or nine more with really never seeing the road. Now with the economy the way that it is and the industry, the old girl has been brought back out for daily use as I need her now again, as the wife is back to work. A fresh set of rubber, fresh oil, and the car has performed great since April of last year. A couple little issues with ground wires, but nothing major. This makes me glad, and proud once again of the first car I ever bought new.
So if you think it would be interesting, I would love to see what you could do with a 4,200-pound land yacht, and tear up some black top. And wouldn't you know it? I have a perfect car for you to play with, as long as I can have it back when you're done.
It's always good to hear stories for car guys, especially when they're passionate about their rides. While we've never taken on or borrowed a vehicle for long-term testing, mostly because of the liability and insurance reasons, it certainly opens up the doors for additional ideas. Hmmm ... Until then, I'm glad to hear more people want to see suspension hop ups for the bigger chassis cars.