HEMI-FIED LEAF-SPRING SUSPENSION
REBUILD YOUR FIVE-LEAF AND TURN IT INTO A HEMI-TYPE SUSPENSION FOR IMPROVED HOOK AND HANDLING.
Rebuild your five-leaf and turn it into a Hemi-type suspension for improved hook and handling.
We don’t care what the Brand Xers say, we know the vintage Mopar suspension system (torsion bars and leaf springs) works quite well when set up properly. When adding big doses of power (like our ’65 Coronet that’s receiving an 825hp Street Hemi), a serious suspension upgrade is critical for improved control and road holding. In three of our previous installments using our Project Hemi Coronet, the front suspension (PST), steering (Borgeson) and unibody (US Car Tool) were strengthened for responsive steering and handing, and to prevent body twist from the torque of our new Elephant engine.
This time we’ll beef up the rear suspension. Previously, we rebuilt the ’68 B-body Dana 60 and outfitted it with Wilwood 12.19-inch rear disc brakes. All along we’ve strived to maintain a stock-looking suspension for when someone takes a peek underneath, yet have a responsive, good-handling B-body that’ll hang in the turns with today’s cars. Sure, there’s no argument that modern aftermarket suspension systems can outperform our vintage stock setups, but what we’re doing here will return much more responsive handling and traction than just a stock rear suspension rebuild.
A little more before we move out back. Up front we replaced the wimpy rubber with tough poly bushings. Now, with poly bushings in the rear we’ll have much less deflection amongst all the suspension components. Also up front we used thicker 1.03-inch diameter torsion bars (stock is 0.92 inch) and add a Hellwig 1 3/8-inch front sway bar. To stiffen the rear suspension to match the front mods, we’ll be adding leaves to the stock five-leaf setup and a Hellwig 7/8-inch rear sway bar. Back in the 1990s the Dodge’s stock leaves were re-arched for that period-correct stance (the rear raised 1- to 2-inch higher than the front). Here, we’ll be adding two leaves left (seven leaves total) and three leaves right (eight total) for not only the right look, but even better performance than the muscle cars of the era that came equipped with the Hemi rear suspension (six leaves left and seven leaves on the right).
Looking through my new Classic Industries catalog, I noticed many performance parts, besides a wide range of restoration offerings for our A-, B-, and E-body cars. In the rear suspension section, I noticed ’64’74 Hemi-type (six leaves l/s, seven leaves r/s), ’66-’76 Hotchkis geometry corrected (1-inch lower) and ’66-’71 HD lower leaf springs (two per side). Yearning to maintain that right stance, we decided on the HD Lower Leaf Springs. By adding a pair (two leaves) of the HD Lower Leaf Springs to each side of our re-arched stock leaves, we can have Hemi-type rear suspension for our “Cool Blue” Coronet. We also ordered the ’67-’74 Leaf Spring Rebuild set to properly rebuild and detail the original units. Rounding out the package are QA1 double adjustable shocks to separately adjust compression and rebound for the ultimate ride, handling, and traction for our intended type of street or strip driving.
We’ve been building Project Cool Blue to be a low-key, stealthy/stock-looking B-body bruiser. We went with a pump-gas Street Hemi rather than a period-correct crossram Race Hemi to hide the 825hp elephant under the stock flat hood. Having an old-school muscle car that can safely handle, hook, and brake on today’s roads is important, plus we won’t be afraid if a modern muscle car pulls up alongside us.
Until the next installment with Cool Blue, check out these latest workings as we continue to inch closer to completing this exciting project car.