Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 1, 2013
Photos By: Source Interlink Media Archives

Fatman Fabrications

The engineers at Fatman Fabrications took a long, hard look at the early Mustang and realized it was best to maintain the OE forces acting on the shock towers and firewall versus cutting everything away and starting anew. To that end, Fatman designed a crossmember that strengthens the frame rails by tying them together and also allows for revised pickup points for the lower control arms and new rack-and-pinion steering, which still allow for suspension loads to be carried into the shock towers and firewall. In doing so, they were able to utilize stock '79-'93 struts, '94-'04 Mustang brakes and spindles, and even a Ford rack-and-pinion (from the '90-'03 Escort). The struts, brakes, spindles, and rack-and-pinion are all sourced by the installer, allowing you the choice of buying budget service parts or going “all out” with aftermarket struts, brakes, and more. Of course Fatman can provide all of these parts as well, either individually or in a complete kit, to help finish off your coilover conversion.

Application: 1965-1973 Mustang
Shock/Strut: coilover strut sleeve (you supply stock-style strut cartridge)
Adjustable: depends upon aftermarket strut used
Kit Contents: mounting crossmember, tubular lower control arms with ball joints, upper strut mount with camber adjustment, coilover strut sleeves/adjusters, steering shaft and U-joints
Pricing: $2,095

Gateway Classic Mustang

A strut-based coilover system is a popular way to improve handling while also allowing more room in the engine bay, as the lower two-thirds of the shock tower can be trimmed back for engine or header clearance. All you need to retain is the top of the shock tower for the upper strut mounting point. Gateway Classic Mustang offers strut-based coilover systems from mild-to-wild, starting with a basic strut system that is non-adjustable and sans brakes all the way to a fully adjustable strut for ride height, compression, and rebound with adjustable coilover and massive six-piston 14-inch disc brakes. These kits replace the upper control arm, shock, and coil spring parts and you retain the stock Mustang lower arm and strut rod (though GCM does offer boxed lower arms and adjustable strut rods as upgrade options). The strut cartridge is actually rotated for ride height adjustments in this kit while strut height is adjusted independently via the coilover spring collar. Camber is adjusted via a bolt threaded into the top of the spindle, which pushes against the strut and moves the top of the spindle in and out; simple and effective.

Application: 1965-1973 Mustang
Shock/Strut: coilover strut
Adjustable: Base kit is fixed, optional single and double adjustable strut kits available
Kit Contents: fixed or adjustable KYB struts for ride height and compression/rebound depending upon kit, Eibach springs, custom spindles; the base kit does not include a brake system, all others include 11-14 inch disc brake kit with multi-piston calipers
Pricing: $1,595-$7,695

Global West

Global West actually offers two different geometry versions of their kits depending upon use and even utilize separate lower control arm designs between the '65-'66 kit and the '67-'73 kit. The kits are offered in a Negative Roll design with relocated upper control arm mounting points for street and handling applications, as well as a MST version for drag racing, which keeps the tubular arm in the stock mounting position. The upper arms feature increased caster (3-degrees positive) for better stability and corner entry. By designing the increased caster into the tubular upper arm, you don't have to play with relocating the lower arm for caster (how Ford did it), which can limit wheel and tire fitment. On the '65-'66 kits, the lower control arm and strut rod is replaced with a one piece control arm that uses the old strut rod mounting point on the frame as the forward pivot point, similar to the '05 and up Mustang style arm. This true A-arm style improves braking and stability in cornering. For '67-'73 models, a new tubular lower arm is used with an adjustable strut rod with rod ends. The coilover kits also include a unique tubular shock tower support with revised bump stop. Stock spindles are retained when using the Global West kit, which allows any manner of aftermarket brake kit to be utilized, or even the stock Mustang discs if on a budget.

Application: 1965-1973 Mustang
Shock/Strut: coilover shock assembly
Adjustable: adjustable for rebound with external knob, double adjustable is an option
Kit Contents: tubular upper control arm using standard four-bolt ball joint, tubular lower control arm using screw-in ball joint, QA1 or Viking coilover shocks, Eibach springs, billet aluminum upper shock mounts, antisway bar, tubular tower support with suspension bump stop ('65-'66 only), adjustable strut rods ('67-'73 only)
Pricing: $2,390.94-$2,999.95