photos by: the author
Improving Handling and Clearing Up the Horrendous Wheel Gap
Now that the ice has melted here in the Midwest and we can get back to evolving our project cars more effectively, we’re tearing right into our ’68 Firebird project car, for the ever-evolving improvements in the way it drives, handles and performs. We’ve addressed the wheel/tire combo in an earlier segment, as well as a conversion to fuel injection, but now it’s time we turn our attention back to the pavement.
Having become use to modern vehicles and the way that they handle, it’s quite a culture shock to slide behind the wheel of a first-generation F-body with stock leaf springs and expect it to actually take a corner. How the previous generation of gearheads drove these on a daily basis boggles the mind of your author, after being spoiled by the 5th- and 6th-generation Camaros and modern Corvettes, but we’re looking to make some rather appropriate adjustments in the mannerisms of this Firebird.
Not ready to dive into hardcore suspension upgrades just yet, we elected to take a K.I.S.S. approach to see just what kind of changes we would see in a simple spring upgrade from our friends at BMR Suspension. As mouthwatering as fully-adjustable coil-overs sound, curiosity and cost kept us grounded as we ordered BMR’s front coil (SP055) and rear leaf (SP057) kits — not only helping with our cornering and ride quality, but to lower the car two inches all the way around. It’s a Firebird, not an F-100, after all. For the sake of ease, as well as ensuring that we had the proper hardware to install the rear leaves, we ordered up BMR’s own rear leaf hardware kit as well (RH015).
As you can see in the photo below, it’s rather raked and the wheel gap (particularly in the rear) is pretty substantial. We also did a before and after comparison in the way the car cornered.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.