Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsHow To Chassis Suspension
Granatelli Tubular Front End Install - Dietary Supplement
Drop 67 Pounds Off The Front End Of Your Ford With A Granatelli Tubular Front End And A Set Of Skinnies.
The laws of physics cannot be broken or altered, and with that, we know a lighter car runs down the track quicker than a heavy one. That said, one of the easiest ways to get unwanted weight off your street/strip Mustang is to replace the heavy, stock K-member and A-arms with a tubular lightweight setup, like what is offered by Granatelli Motor Sports. The company offers front suspension components (amongst a selection of rear suspension parts) from '79 through '09. This article will focus on the installation of a kit for the '79-'93 variety. We shaved weight, improved handling, and thanks to the coilover springs, our front suspension is better suited for a fast-supercharged combination.
By now, most Fox-body Mustangs have had some hard mileage racked up, along with a need to update the underpinnings, as was the story with our featured vehicle. It was sitting on the side of the house nearly abandoned, but had some good parts and we wanted to bring it back to life. Despite its dormant status, the '89 LX coupe has a mere 64,000 miles on the odometer. The body is in excellent condition, save for a much-needed buff and wax job. The coupe belongs to my brother, Dominick, who unfortunately got too busy building a career to keep up with the car. So he parked it, but now it's time to shine up the hot rod and bring it back to its life as a fun street/strip Stang. The car is totally old school, but won't stay that way for long.
The front suspension was bone stock, save for four-cylinder springs and KYB struts. The short-block is original, but the upper half of the engine has been replaced. A set of TFS Street Heat heads, a Lunati cam, and a Ford Racing GT-40 intake help usher in the 15 psi of boost from a Vortech S-Trim blower. The car had run 10.93 once, in excellent air and was a consistent low 11-second player at the local tracks. We have some new plans for a powerplant that you will read about in a later issue, but for now we wanted to focus on getting weight off this 3,220-pound (without driver) notchback. Coupes are known for being lightweight, but this car still carries most of its street amenities-minus the air conditioning because it quit working.
Dom had removed the compressor, condenser, and hoses. A six-point rollbar adds weight to the total package, but helps for rigidity and safety. It killed us to make that modification, but the car was run at the track quite a bit and it is required by NHRA rules. Adding to the "heavy" parts list is a Dynamic Racing AOD transmission. The trans is far heavier than the paperweight T-5 transmission. The minimum weight is a shocker at first, but when you add in those bits of information, it's not a surprise the coupe was carrying that much mass down the 1,320. We remedied that situation in one day with a trip to DMC Racing in Halifax, Massachusetts.
Granatelli Motor Sports shipped us a tubular front end kit, which includes tubular K-member and A-arms, a coilover strut conversion, and caster/camber adjustment plates. The tubular products come powdercoated. We reused the stock spindles, but added five-lug brakes thanks to Late Model Restoration's complete five-lug conversion kit. The kit comes with front and rear brake conversions-this month we installed the front parts. Be sure to check the next tech installment to see how we installed the five-lug rear brakes.
Our final modification to the coupe was in the rolling stock department. Due to the five-lug brakes, we added a new pair of front wheels. One phone call to Summit Racing provided us with Weld Racing Drag-Lite rims (15x3.5) and Mickey Thompson Sportsman front-runners, which are D.O.T.-legal, too. There are dozens of styles of wheels for Mustangs, but we love the classic Drag-Lite look. After all, this car is old school and the traditional Fox-body Mustang look was fitting.