Mustang MonthlyHow To Chassis Suspension
Install A Coilover Front Suspension
Control Freak offers an adjustable coilover and tubular control arm setup for'65-'70 Mustangs
In the Mustang hobby, we are spoiled rotten by an aftermarket that is ever-expanding to meet our every conceivable parts need. Or whim. Got a front suspension in need of a little TLC? No problem; everything from stock replacement hardware to more exotic upgrades are just a phone call or web-search away--sometimes from the same vendor. Case in point is National Parts Depot, whose parts menu is perpetually expanding. And while some might think of NPD primarily as a source of factory-type components, the company's catalogs also list high-performance options such as our subject coilover front suspension setup made by Control Freak Suspensions.
The U.S.-manufactured Control Freak line of suspension products has been around for a few years now but this kit is a fairly recent addition to the NPD catalog. Aside from conversion to quickly adjustable coilovers, this particular kit banishes the factory stamped upper and lower front control arms in favor of lighter, stronger tubular-steel replacements engineered for notably improved suspension geometry. As on the'65 Shelby G.T. 350, Control Freak's upper control arms utilize lowered chassis pickup points for a greatly improved negative camber curve as the suspension compresses, keeping more tire contact patch on the pavement. They also benefit from ball-joint angles engineered to deal with lowered ride height without binding.
The recipient of our installation is a'68 390 GT owned by Harry Martyniuk, a fastback that was recently converted to a deliciously authentic Bullitt clone by Legendary Motorcar. As our photos will show, the kit was pretty much a straight bolt-in proposition, though some good-sized holes have to be drilled to relocate the upper control arm mounting points, and you'll need a spring compressor on hand to safely extract the old coils.
In the Dream Car Garage
Aside from being host of Dream Car Garage, not to mention the head honcho at Legendary Motorcar, Peter Klutt is an experienced and nauseatingly capable road-racer, so we sought out his feedback on the effect of the Control Freak suspension mods following some before-and-after road testing. Says Peter: "As the car goes into a corner and takes a set, it feels a lot better than the original. Once it takes that set, it doesn't do anything radical as [the suspension] goes through bump or droop. Being able to adjust the shocks' compression damping also helps perfect how the car takes that initial set on cornering. The increased positive caster also makes the car more stable at high speed--it doesn't want to wander at speed."
Driving on urban roads, he couldn't really comment on ultimate grip, as that would have required a race track to safely quantify, but he did opine that ride quality was as good or better than stock, a result he contributed primarily to the characteristics of the kit's much higher quality dampers.