Chassis, Suspension, and Brakes

To build a cool High Tech Road Racer Street Rod, it has to handle and stop. This dictates beefy 4-wheel disk brakes together with independent suspension on all four corners. Just to make matters more complicated, I selected a Corvette C5 drivetrain, which locates the transmission in the rear, attached to the differential, creating a transaxle. The advantage of this arrangement is better weight distribution for a front-engine car. This layout has been used on a lot of front engine cars including Ferraris and the Porsche 928.

Rear Suspension

The Corvette C5 rear suspension and drivetrain...

I got my Corvette C5 drivetrain on eBay for a song. I'm currently shopping for the rear suspension parts to complete the package. The parts are all used, and I'll have to clean them up and possibly rebuild the tranny and diff.

This component dictates a lot of what has to be done to build a chassis since it is so non-standard. If I live through the process of getting it to mate with my Ford engine, I think I will bolt it to the motor and trailer the whole thing over to Brizio or some other hot rod shop and have them fabricate the chassis. No sense in my doing everything from scratch on the very first project!

Front Suspension

I'm not completely crazy. Fabricating the rear suspension will be enough challenge. I'm going to buy an off-the-shelf street rod independent front suspension. There is some debate in my mind about possibly going with a pushrod design, just because it would be soooo High Tech Road Racer!

A pushrod front end: coil springs hide in the center:

Another weird thought. Lakes Modified's tend to have the suspension out in front of the radiator, suicide-style. What would it look like to place this Kugel IFS out front with pushrods where its easy to see? I kinda think it might look pretty cool. It sure would be different!

Suspension goes in front on a Lakes...

  On a car like this, we obviously need beefy 4-wheel disk brakes. The rear is taken care of by the Corvette C5's rear disks. Front will be even beefier Wilwood units in all likelihood.

Here are a few chassis scrapbook photos to get the juices flowing:

Somebody else's C5 drivetrain in a steet rod. He blew off the leafs and went coilover.

Shifter and brake linkage mounted to the polished torque tube.

Another look at the torque tube setup. You can see the kick up in back isn't huge.

What a basic rod chassis looks like. Mine will be pinched and bobbed in front, and will need a rear kick up to go over the 'vette rearend and hold the leafspring cradle.

Another C5 rearend in a custom frame


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All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.