John Hedenburg
March 1, 2001

Picture this: You're laying on the floor of your garage, trying to wrestle that new set of rear springs into your favorite 5-liter Mustang. Your friend is cranking on the jack handle while you're busy trying to get that stubborn spring into position with a prybar. You finally finish the job and fly on down to the race track to see if all that hard work will help your Mustang hook up on the starting line any better. Sadly, it doesn't, and the first thing that crosses your mind is how much of a hassle it was just to change those rear coil springs.

The pursuit of high performance and low elapsed times is often fruitful, sometimes seemingly fruitless. Once you've exhausted the usual bolt-ons and you've got crazy horsepower, you then have to look hard to find significant improvements in performance. Usually, this is in the chassis. Hard-core drag cars can have pretty elaborate (and expensive) setups to help them hook, but you don't have to spend a fortune to get your car to work. Case in point: Central Coast Mustangs, in Tehachapi, Calif., has introduced a kit that will convert your stock springs and shocks to user-friendly, coil-overs, and the best part about this conversion kit is that it bolts right in-no welding required. Sound easy? It is.

Most racers know that making rear suspension changes or adjustments can sometimes be a real hassle. Having a chassis shop install coil-overs to replace the factory shocks and springs will surely help, but it can be expensive and time consuming because of all the welding and setup work that's involved. Central Coast Mustangs' new coil-over conversion kit bolts into '79-present Mustangs with no serious modifications needed.

What is a coil-over shock you ask? As most are aware, on the rear suspension of a factory Mustang, the coil spring and the shock are two separate units. A coil-over is a shock that has the spring slipped over the top of it, making it a one-piece design. The spring can be adjusted up or down by simply turning the threaded collar on the bottom of the spring, which will adjust the ride height and spring tension of the setup.

Shock and spring adjustments or changes can now be made without having to remove the lower control arms to fish out the spring. A factory rear spring has no adjustment, so once it's mounted, that's it. Picture changing over to a different spring rate, or just altering the ride height in a matter of minutes. Best of all, these coil-over shocks don't require any fabrication or welding to install. For a road racer or a serious drag racer that might be making a suspension adjustment more often than the average person, this kit can be a real time (and ET) saver.

"It gives the user ride/height adjustability, an infinite variety of spring rates for drag or road racing, plus more desirable geometry because of the leverage ratio at that point," said CCM proprietor Dennis Hilliard. "A guy can corner-weight the car much easier, especially if he is using coil-overs up front. It offers a lot of versatility, and overall, I believe a slight weight savings."

Disadvantages? The kit won't work with every rear shock out there, though CCM is working on making it compatible with more of them. Best of all, it can be tailored for both road or drag racing, not to mention everyday street driving. Nor does it cost a fortune: Suggested retail is $299 (without the shocks). "The [coil over] kit is functional and we're very proud of it," said Hilliard.

Ride quality is not upset whatsoever and because of the coil-over design, it allows you to lighten spring load considerably (though he does recommend stiffer springs if you are running a torque arm).

As if this new coil-over kit isn't cool enough, Central Coast Mustangs also offers its Ground Pounder series of adjustable lower control arms to complement its coil-over shocks. These lower control arms have three advantages over stock. First, they have an adjustable heim joint on the front mounting point of the control arm.

You can adjust the pinion angle (the angle of the driveshaft in relation to the pinion gear in the rear end), to tailor your car for optimum traction and handling by simply turning the nut to lengthen or shorten the control arm mounting points. Second, they are much stronger than the factory arms (a race car never seems to be strong enough), and last but not least, they are a little lighter than the stock arms.