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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the planning stages for my 55 chassis. I have a very nice original 210 sedan as my starting point. It has a solid frame that I can use. I'm planning on a 327 mouse motor (got a couple lying around) at ~350hp. I also have complete early C4 front and rear suspension which I got for a song a few years ago.

I want disc brakes (prefer 4 wheel) and power steering, something that can handle 350hp with ease, occasionally smoke the tires (arrg...arrg) without breaking, and give me a nice aggressive looking stance. But I want a "Cadillac" cruising ride (i.e. old fart with a bad back) and decent handling.... I don't need to hold 4 g's in a corner...

The C4 suspension gives me all of the technology and performance I'm looking for. If I go this route I would plan to use a C4 specific frame from someone like Chevynut.

My question is "ride quality". Can I get a "Cadillac" ride with the C4 suspension and adjustable coil overs (I'm not a fan of air-ride)? Or will I get a better ride with the stock frame, upgraded leaf spring rear and one of the readily available front spindle drop kits with disk brakes and power steering ?

I've talked with a number of guys who have some sort of modified suspension on stock frames and for the most part they seem to claim a stiff ride compared to the stock 55 ride - some even admit it "rides like s*&t. But I haven't talked with anyone who has a C4 setup on the road. I have owned a couple of C3's and ridden in the C4's but I was younger and the ride wasn't nearly as important to me then as the power and handling were.

I'm planning 17"/18" tire combo front/rear with somewhat of a mid-profile tire to help smooth out the ride. I hate the low profile ride quality where you feel every pebble on the road and any pothole sends you bouncing. I live in the eastern PA where the roads are crap and will probably never get fixed.

Does anyone have real world driving experience with the C4 setup and coli overs and not-so-low profile tires?

My driving habits will be mostly "highway cruising" with only the occasional rubber-burning, doughnut spinning chaos of my lost youth :)
 

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I had my frame modified for c4 by Newmans Carcreations and am very happy with it. It is a little rough but that is what I wanted, the Hot Rod Corvette feel. They can soften it up if that is what you want.


Jim
 

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My 2 cents worth...

I have chased the "Cadillac" ride in my 57 by upgrading my stock chassis with tubular control arms, coil over shocks etc.

Basically the car rode too stiff to my liking and actually felt worse than it did before. I ended up going back to the stock springs and Monroe shocks and new leaf springs in the rear.

I don't think there is any "Cadillac" ride to be had in these good ole cars. That being said there are several good upgrades that do make it better -

CPP 500 Steering Box

Upper control arms with 5 degrees added positive caster or more. This really makes a huge difference in the handling of the car. I have found the more positive caster you can get the more stable and solid the car feels.

Front sway bar. Best money you'll spend on your car.

With the upgrades I have settled on my 57 rides about like how a late model pickup would. Not a "Cadillac" ride but way better than it did.
 

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I have also heard the new frames and the coil overs do ride stiff and do not give the soft ride, so I am using the CPP a-arms, stock springs, with the ridetech non-adjustable shocks, Hotchkis sway bars front and rear ,new springs and putting in a rear shock bar. Its old school but I am like you I want my 57 convertible to ride well, I have a similar setup on my 55 other than the rear shock bar which should may a difference. I will post pics when I get er done.


Joe bowtie-trifive
 

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1956 chevy 210 del rey sedan
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I had my frame modified for c4 by Newmans Carcreations and am very happy with it. It is a little rough but that is what I wanted, the Hot Rod Corvette feel. They can soften it up if that is what you want.


Jim
actually if you ditched the transverse leaf and went to coil-overs with progressive springs and double adjustable you could have both a smooth ride and performance handling.
 

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Most of your aftermarket performance chassis are going to be a harsher ride. The "Performance" terminology is a big hint. A "Corvette" is not a Cadillac and will not get you a smooth, soft ride. The stock suspension is a bit mushy and, if that is what you want, rebuilding the stock stuff, with a couple of upgrades will get a nice ride.
Stay away from poly bushings, stick with the stock rubber bushings, add a couple of sway bays and some decent shocks and you will be good.
The CPP 500 box is another excellant addition to improve road feel and steering response. Best thing I did to my wagon so far. My alignment guy dialed in as much caster as he could with the stock a-arms and the car goes straight and is a comfortable one handed driver.
Mark
 

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Most of your aftermarket performance chassis are going to be a harsher ride.
I would disagree with this statement.
The stiffer frames actually enable the suspension to work more effectively because the frame is not moving as much with every pothole you hit. It reduces rattles and unwanted movement in the car and make it feel more solid.
This year, I've added an Art Morrison style subframe into my stock frame and noticed a significantly smoother and more solid ride. You really notice how the suspension works better without shaking up the whole car.
The softness of the ride is determined by the spring rate, the type of bushings and freedom of movement.
Swaybars tie the left and right side together which is good for curves but it also limits the freedom of each wheel to absorb road bumps and creates a harsher ride.
I recently learned that the friction between the individual leafs in the back is quite high and inhibits a really smooth ride. One solution seems to be to move to a monoleaf setup - ideally composite leaf springs. They significantly reduce unsprung weight and have no friction to overcome thus are very sensitive to road bumps. I'm planning to switch to these in the next year or so.
Best,
Alex
 

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Honestly, I think you're chasing a unicorn here.

C-nut makes great stuff and lives about 60 miles from me. I've seen his work in person and it is second to none. You'd best ask him about ride quality, but remember, you're putting a Corvette under your tri-five...it probably won't ride like a Cadillac.

I have all the bolt-on stuff...and no, the car doesn't ride like a caddy. It's pretty stiff actually, but I like it. A C4 is a stiff car too...no doubt about it. I've driven a tri-five with rack and pinion steering with stock suspension...it actually rode really well and the steering was great in my opinion. Great cruiser in my opinion.

If you want something simple, I'd stay with stock stuff and upgrade the steering and brakes. Lowering is easy with drop spindles and lowering springs...no biggie. Be sure to add at least a front sway bar...this really helps these old cars and the front is probably the best upgrade you can do, handling wise on these cars, hands down. It's cheap and easy too.

The C4 stuff is great and all, but I think it's a little more complicated than most admit. Also, I don't think a stock tri-five rear end with a posi will have any trouble handling an old 350 horse 327 on the street.
 

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Honestly, I think you're chasing a unicorn here.

C-nut makes great stuff and lives about 60 miles from me. I've seen his work in person and it is second to none. You'd best ask him about ride quality, but remember, you're putting a Corvette under your tri-five...it probably won't ride like a Cadillac.

I have all the bolt-on stuff...and no, the car doesn't ride like a caddy. It's pretty stiff actually, but I like it. A C4 is a stiff car too...no doubt about it. I've driven a tri-five with rack and pinion steering with stock suspension...it actually rode really well and the steering was great in my opinion. Great cruiser in my opinion.

If you want something simple, I'd stay with stock stuff and upgrade the steering and brakes. Lowering is easy with drop spindles and lowering springs...no biggie. Be sure to add at least a front sway bar...this really helps these old cars and the front is probably the best upgrade you can do, handling wise on these cars, hands down. It's cheap and easy too.

The C4 stuff is great and all, but I think it's a little more complicated than most admit. Also, I don't think a stock tri-five rear end with a posi will have any trouble handling an old 350 horse 327 on the street.
Have to agree with Hutchenc for the most part. You can't add a C-4 suspension and expect a Cadilac ride. Upgrading suspension: Front-A-arms, drop spindles with disc brakes, new springs and swaybar.
Rear- 4 leaf with maybe Caltracs (for burn outs) and new rear. My original 17 spline rear would not take the occasional burn outs of 350-400 hp (broke gears than axle). Or an airide suspension all around.

Maybe you can go to some shows or cruise nights and ask people how their ride is and maybe take you for a ride.? Just an idea.
 

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Agree . . .

I'll add my comments to the chorus that says you may not get a Cadillac - but you can get comfortable! We have the CPP 500 - 2" dropped spindles w/discs on the front - sway bar front (a must) - new stock leaf springs in rear. We just got back from BG, and with a side trip to Ann Arbor we had 3300 miles logged and my Wife agrees it is a very comfortable ride - her only problem is finding a good sleeping position on the stock bench seat - may have to come up with a removable head rest!
And I'm going to check on getting more positive caster - thanks for that! AWC
 

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C4 Corvettes rode like buckboards due to stiff spring rates. If you don't want to pull 4G's then the Vette suspension is a waste of time and money.

Coil overs that are double adjustable and a wide range of spring rates will really let you tune it where you want to be. Tubular control arms will be a waste of money in you pursuit as well. Shocks are the brains of your suspension system - spend your money there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
hi Oldman,

Thanks for your reply. You used Progressive front clip, which is really no different than my C4 front clip - just done with aftermarket parts rather than a complete c4 front. Is that also a C4 rear I see in your pics ?

I think you've hit the mark with the air-ride suspension. I wasn't sold on the look of the airbags but yours do look pretty nice. I may have to re-think the coil-overs and consider the air-ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Gm fiddled with the spring rates alot on the c4.There is a 3 letter code molded into c4 springs.The soft set of springs + oem grade rubber bushings+ no rear sway bar would probably be fine. link to spring rates http://www.netmotive.net/articles/hib/c4/sustunch.pdf
Yes, I know I can do a lot with spring rate. I'm definitely not going to use the transverse springs though - just don't like the look and no adjustability. So it is either coil-overs or air-ride.

The other BIG problem with the C4 suspension is the bushings. I agree that rubber is the way to go but I have not found any place to purchase RUBBER bushings for C4 suspension. The only thing available is poly. Let me know if I'm wrong on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
c4 suspension vs other options

actually if you ditched the transverse leaf and went to coil-overs with progressive springs and double adjustable you could have both a smooth ride and performance handling.
yeah, I am would definitely not be using the transverse spring. Originally I said no to air-ride but I am re-thinking that option.

I still think you should be able to dial in a nice smooth ride with fully adjustable coil-overs. Hoping to hear from more folks that have that setup.
 
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