Wicked Sus­pen­sion

TO­TAL CON­TROL PROD­UCTS’ FRONT AND REAR SUS­PEN­SIONS RAD­I­CALLY IM­PROVE THE RIDE AND HAN­DLING ON AN EARLY MUS­TANG

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To­tal Con­trol Prod­ucts’ front and rear sus­pen­sions rad­i­cally im­prove the ride and han­dling on an early Mus­tang

RIDE AND HAN­DLING ARE TRULY SUB­JEC­TIVE THINGS, LIKE GOLDILOCKS’ CHOICE IN BEDS OR POR­RIDGE. One per­son’s “harsh” ride is just right for some­one else; a car that han­dles ac­cept­ably for Joe Blow feels like driv­ing a semitruck to John Smith. Ev­ery driver has their own per­sonal tastes and tol­er­ances for the com­pro­mises be­tween ul­ti­mate han­dling and/or ride soft­ness/harsh­ness. Sim­i­larly, some guys have no prob­lem break­ing out the plasma cut­ter and cut­off wheel to mod­ify a Mus­tang, while oth­ers wouldn’t dream of chang­ing Ford’s orig­i­nal de­sign one iota. Vive la dif­férence!

As we en­tered into an­other Week to Wicked project in July 2018, the plan of at­tack was to build a 1967 fast­back (con­verted from a hard­top into a fast­back with Golden Star parts/PG Cus­toms & Bod­ies la­bor— mus­tang-360.com/project-ve­hi­cles/1807week-to-wicked-con­vert-1967-mus­tang­hard­top-fast­back-for-un­der-10000), and to power the car with a 2018 Gen 3 5.0L Coy­ote en­gine from Ford Per­for­mance. That ob­vi­ously meant we weren’t afraid to cut and heav­ily mod­ify the car—and that big Coy­ote en­gine would man­date it any­way—so we went whole hog when it came to the sus­pen­sion and chose a To­tal Con­trol Prod­ucts full kit, front to back. Yes, it re­quires TCP’s weldin front clip that re­places the stock front fram­erails, mak­ing it next to im­pos­si­ble to undo the mod­i­fi­ca­tions and re­turn the car to stock, but in this case we didn’t care. We were build­ing a hot street car from a beat-up rust bucket, so orig­i­nal­ity mat­tered not. The goal was ul­ti­mate street/track per­for­mance without too much sac­ri­fice in ci­vil­ity, and To­tal Con­trol’s front clip and coilover sus­pen­sion com­bined with their Stage 6 rear sus­pen­sion would sat­isfy both goals.

Even if you’re not build­ing a car to the level of our Week to Wicked ’67 fast­back, the front TCP coilover and clip will dra­mat­i­cally

im­prove both the ride and han­dling of an early Mus­tang. The light­weight, thin-wall fac­tory fram­erails and sheet­metal stamp­ings are not op­ti­mal for strength or in­tegrity. Even in per­fect con­di­tion, their strength (and ge­om­e­try) pales in com­par­i­son to a ded­i­cated per­for­mance clip like that from TCP. And if you’re con­tem­plat­ing a Coy­ote or mod mo­tor swap (or a big-block), the stock shock tow­ers will make you want to kill the clos­est liv­ing thing the first time you have to work on it—one big ad­van­tage to a front clip is the elim­i­na­tion of the shock tow­ers, free­ing up space un­der­hood.

Com­ple­ment­ing the TCP Front Frame Clip and Sus­pen­sion kit are five dif­fer­ent sus­pen­sion and steer­ing sys­tems with a bunch of op­tions, but they’re all based on a coilover setup that im­proves both ride and han­dling over stock, and rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing that is far more pre­cise than the early Mus­tang ’s sloppy steer­ing.

We or­dered the full boo­gie setup that in­cludes up­per and lower con­trol arms, dou­ble-ad­justable Var­iShock coilovers, a gun-drilled and splined an­tiroll bar, a power rack, and Wil­wood brakes.

We also got the trick stuff for the rear sus­pen­sion—TCP’s Stage 6 Torque Arm/Pan­hard Bar leaf­spring sys­tem that uses a torque arm, Pan­hard bar, new leaf springs, polyurethane bush­ings and shackle set, alu­minum-body shocks, leaf-spring plates, and mount­ing hard­ware. Link­ing the front and rear sus­pen­sions are TCP’s sub­frame con­nec­tors and bolt-in cen­ter sup­port that nearly turn the car into a full-frame car. While the coupe was un­der­go­ing the fast­back con­ver­sion at PG Cus­toms & Bod­ies in Texas, we had them weld in the front frame clip and sub­frame con­nec­tors be­fore tak­ing it to our shop in Cal­i­for­nia for the sus­pen­sion in­stal­la­tion.

Once in our shop, we had all hands on deck dur­ing the Week to Wicked pro­gram and had the en­tire sus­pen­sion in­stalled in a day. Of course, that’s on a two-post hoist and with about six peo­ple work­ing on it— it’ll take longer if you’re on your back in the garage or drive­way.

Here’s the com­plete TCI Stage 6 front and rear sus­pen­sion sys­tem for the 1967-1968 Mus­tang.

Dur­ing the fast­back con­ver­sion at PG Cus­toms & Bod­ies in De­catur, Texas, we had them cut off the Mus­tang’s stock front fram­erails and in­stall the To­tal Con­trol Prod­ucts front clip kit and the sub­frame con­nec­tors (not shown here).

Here’s an il­lus­trated view of the TCP prod­ucts we in­stalled—front frame clip, sub­frame con­nec­tors, and cen­ter sup­port—that es­sen­tially turn the car into a full-frame car.

For the full story on what’s in­volved with in­stalling the TCP front clip setup, check out Mus­tang-360.com (mus­tang-360. com/how-to/chas­sis-sus­pen­sion/1608-re­place-weak-stock-mus­tang-fram­erails-with-a-new-front-sub­frame).

Since our car came to us as a bare, painted body shell, we sourced a 9-inch rearend from Cur­rie En­ter­prises. It uses the new Cur­rie Cen­tu­rion heavy-duty Ford 9-inch hous­ing, Sports­man nodu­lar iron gear case, and 31-spline per­for­mance axles. It also comes with a choice of gear ra­tios—we chose 3.73s on a True­trac dif­fer­en­tial. The “crate” rearend pack­age comes with brake op­tions, but we were us­ing Wil­wood brakes that we al­ready had, so we left that off the list.

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