Frank H. Cicerale
December 1, 2008
Photos By: courtesy of Crazy Horse Racing
Introducing Project Silver Stealth Stang, our newest addition to the MM&FF stable. In this first installment, we install a Hotchkis suspension underneath this '99 Mustang GT.

These days it really doesn't take much to get a Mustang to rip down the quarter-mile with blindingly quick elapsed times and mind-boggling speeds. One needs to look no further than a Terminator Cobra or a Shelby GT500 with a couple of bolt-ons installed.

The thing is, while going fast in a straight line is great, there are some who not only want killer straight-line power, but matching performance when it comes to turning left and right. With performance driving schools, track days, and autocrossing becoming more and more popular, another arena in which to exercise your Pony's legs has presented itself. Just like those who are interested in the dragstrip, there are those who want the best affordable performance they can get out of their Mustang's suspension system when it comes to slinging through corners. With that in mind, we enter our latest project car, Silver Stealth Stang, owned by our own Yo Ken. Our first installment-a Hotchkis adjustable suspension system, front and rear sway bars, and a set of the company's caster/camber plates was installed by Chris Winter and the crew at Crazy Horse Racing in South Amboy, New Jersey.

As is the norm, we took our Pony out for some before evaluation. While the Raceway Park road course wasn't technically available for lap times, we did have enough real estate to push the car hard and get a realistic evaluation of the car's handling characteristics with the stock suspension components and rolling stock.

Our new project car is a silver '99 Mustang GT. The Pony serves as Ken Miele's daily driver, and the plan for the car is simple. Make it an all-around performance vehicle without detracting from the car's drivability and road manners. As is the case with most of our other project cars, we approached this Mustang like we would if we were building a house. You can't furnish the inside if the foundation is weak and the roof leaks. With that in mind, we set out to shore up the underpinnings of the car before we start throwing power at it.

We would have loved to have given you some before and after road course numbers, but our test facility, the road course at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, was undergoing some renovations. Regardless, we performed the install of the new Hotchkis components, and the results were fantastic. Since we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves, let's take a step back and check out just exactly what we installed.

Hotchkis' Adjustable suspension package includes the company's adjustable upper trailing arms. These sturdy pieces replace the factory items (obviously) and afford enough movement to adjust pinion angle. Adjusting the pinion angle helps improve the car's launch characteristics.

As previously stated, we replaced the Mustang's stock suspension components with those included in Hotchkis' adjustable suspension package. The package contains adjustable upper and lower trailing arms, along with Grade 8 hardware and polyurethane bushings. We also installed Hotchkis' caster/camber plates, as well as their Sport sway bars.

"The suspension components, when compared to the stock items, will improve traction, stability, handling, and suspension adjustability, all while reducing body roll," explains John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Peformance. "Our product was designed for improved street and track performance on mildly built cars. The system itself is designed to improve handling performance, not necessarily dragstrip performance."

The upper and lower trailing arms are fabricated from 0.120-inch steel tubing, and feature Hotchkis' exclusive CNC-machined spring perch. "The adjustable upper trailing arms allow for pinion angle changes to improve launches, while the lowers reduce flex and improve handling and traction," Hotchkis explains. This is done through the construction of the arms themselves, which is much sturdier than the factory items.