1965-1973 Mustang Suspension Buyer's Guide
Make it Handle
If you’re a car show groupie and love to hang out and talk about your Mustang you probably haven’t put much thought into the car’s suspension. Sure, during your restoration or rebuild you might have stuck some handling springs in or a larger antisway bar; maybe even some urethane bushings in key locations. While these parts certainly do what they claim, they are, more-or-less, Band-Aids on an antiquated suspension that was designed to save Ford money building a large volume of vehicles. Ford wasn’t in the habit (and still isn’t) of spending any more than it needs to in order to meet a certain car’s design and safety aspects. This is one reason why once Carroll Shelby got ahold of the Mustang to build his G.T. 350 he relocated the upper control arms, added rear traction bars, and more—the best he could do with ’60s technology at the time.
So here we are today, with computer-aided design (CAD) capabilities, modern shock tuning, high-strength tubular control arms, and more now available to suspension companies looking to improve on a decades-old design—sometimes even completely cutting that old design out of the front structure and replacing it with a better solution. These modern suspensions have evolved considerably in just a few short years, so it is worth taking another look at the suspension systems available to the ’65-’73 Mustang for those of you who really enjoy driving your vintage Mustang. We’re not specifically talking about track use here, either. No, club driving events or just increasing the fun quotient of getting to where you’re going with vastly improved handling, steering, and braking mean the drive is more fun. And if the drive is more fun that means you’re going to go out and drive your vintage Mustang more, and that’s what we want everyone to do!
We’ve put together a buyer’s guide of front and rear suspension systems available from the top names in suspension. On the next several pages you’ll be able to see what each company offers, the contents of their suspension kits, and more. While we unfortunately do not have the room to run every single offering each company sells for the ’65-’73 Mustang, be sure to call these companies or hit up their websites to learn about their full line of product offerings and what they can do for your Mustang to make it the great handling car you want it to be.
Anthony Jones Racing
Anthony Jones Racing (AJE) has made a name for itself designing bolt-in suspension upgrades for the Fox-era late-model Mustang. AJE adapted their familiarity of the Fox design strut front suspension and four-link rear suspension to the ’65-’70 Mustang chassis and branded it as the Colt 65 suspension system. The front system consists of a bolt-in front crossmember with motor-mount brackets that becomes the pickup points for the tubular lower control arms. Caster/camber plates and coilover strut assemblies are included as well. You simply supply ’87-’04 spindles and brakes and a ’79-’93 rack-and-pinion. AJE can optionally supply spindles, brakes, rack-and-pinion, and more in upgraded kits. Engine mounts are available for small- and big-block V-8, 2.3L four-cylinder, 4.6L modular, 3.8L V-6, and the new 3.5L EcoBoost.
AJE’s rear suspension system is designed to not only upgrade your Mustang from leaf spring to a four-link, but provide a bolt-in solution to swap the popular Fox Mustang late-model 8.8-inch rear axle assembly into your vintage Mustang. The AJE rear kit includes a bolt-in sub-frame, your choice of fixed or adjustable upper and lower tubular control arms, and a bolt-in tubular antisway bar.
Classic Performance Products
Adding new front suspension to improve the handling of your vintage Mustang doesn’t mean you have to use an engineer and a welder to install it. Classic Performance Products (CPP) understands this and offers a unique Mini Sub-Frame kit for the ’65-’70 Mustang that bolts to the front framerails and core support. This Mini Sub-Frame utilizes new tubular lower A-arms that replace the stock lower control arm and strut rod assemblies. The Mini Sub-Frame is compatible with stock upper control arms, or you can upgrade to CPP’s tubular upper arms and its coilover conversion kit. As a side note, CPP’s coilover conversion can be installed as a standalone upgrade on your stock upper control arms so you can actually upgrade your front suspension in stages and can start with either kit first. Best of all, CPP parts are guaranteed for life.
Do you spend every waking moment thinking about how to make your vintage Mustang get around the track faster, but you still want a streetable solution that won’t beat you to death on the street? Detroit Speed’s Aluma-Frame front and QuadraLink rear suspensions just might be what you’re looking for. Detroit Speed’s Aluma-Frame front suspension solution uses a cast aluminum suspension cradle that offers high strength with lower weight, improved suspension geometry, and 6 inches of suspension travel. Attached to this new aluminum cradle are upper and lower tubular control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, aluminum coilover shocks (available in several configurations of adjustment/valving), splined antisway bar, a forged spindle with sealed hub, and engine mounts for your choice of small-block, FE big-block, or modular engine platform. Serious rubber can be used with the Aluma-Frame system; a P265/35R18 on a 9-inch rim for ’65-’66 applications and a P275/35R18 on a 10-inch rim for ’67-’68 applications (’69-’70 cars can even squeeze in a P295/35R18 on a 10.5-inch rim up front!).
For the rear, Detroit Speed’s QuadraLink suspension features a parallel four-link design with Swivel-Link ends to eliminate bind as the suspension articulates and to keep the rear tires planted. The upper crossmember stiffens the rear framerail structure and the included Panhard bar keeps lateral axle loads in check during hard cornering. The QuadraLink systems include an antisway bar, coilover shocks, and will clear up to 3-inch exhaust systems. The QuadraLink is compatible with Detroit Speed’s mini-tub kit for vintage Mustangs as well.
Strut-based suspensions have been a mainstay of the Mustang since 1979, 36 of the Mustang’s 50 years of production. Fatman Fabrications’ GTech Strut IFS Conversion Kit melds the newer Mustang’s strut system with the vintage chassis using a custom front subframe assembly. The subframe bolts into the chassis and features tubular lower control arms, bolt-on steering arms, coilover conversion parts for stock Mustang struts, and upper strut mounts. You provide ’94-’04 Mustang spindles and brakes, ’79-’93 Mustang struts, and a ’90-’03 Escort power rack-and-pinion unit. Alternatively, Fatman Fabrications offers these parts as add-ons so you don’t have to search elsewhere for the needed OE parts for the installation. The very top of the shock tower is required for the strut mounting, but the remainder of the tower can be trimmed back for engine or exhaust clearance.
While many suspension solutions use a double control arm configuration, Gateway Mustang’s Gateway Performance Suspension (GPS) division uses the McPherson strut design, as used on the ’79 and later Mustang, for its suspension packages. The GPS system utilizes an adjustable strut with an externally threaded body. This allows easy ride height adjustments by simply threading the strut assembly in or out of the spindle bracket. The strut also features a threaded upper body with a coilover spring, which is where ride quality is adjusted. Camber is adjusted with a single bolt against the strut. The strut system bolts to the stock (or aftermarket) lower control arm. Systems start with the Super Stock application for ’65-’73 Mustangs and feature a stock drum brake spindle for you to swap your aftermarket brake kit onto. GPS also offers brake systems, such as the Street Avenger, that feature the popular SN-95 Mustang spindle and Baer brakes.
For the rear, GPS offers its Three-Link kit with Torque Arm. The system features Afco coilover shocks (base kits are non-adjustable, upgraded kits feature single- or double-adjustable coilovers), an extra-long torque arm assembly, adjustable tubular steel lower control arms, a torque arm mount, an upper crossmember, and a fully welded 9-inch axle housing to make the Three-Link kit a complete bolt-in affair. Just add your own 9-inch centersection and axles and rear disc brakes to complete your build. GPS offers Baer rear brake kits to complement the front brake systems as installed on its strut front suspensions.
For over 30 years Global West has been building superstrong tubular control arm suspension packages for just about every popular muscle car and truck on the road. When it comes to vintage Mustangs, Global West offers its coilover suspension kits that dramatically improve a Mustang’s handling. Offering two different versions, a standard system for drag racing and street use, and a Negative Roll system for road racing and performance street use, its coilover front systems are all inclusive. Minor drilling is required for installation, but not to worry; Global West includes drill templates to take all the guesswork out of the equation. The typical coilover kit contents include upper and lower tubular control arms, adjustable strut rods, aluminum coilover shocks with optional single- and double-adjustable models available, billet aluminum upper shock mounts, and all necessary hardware. The control arm’s ball joints accept all stock Mustang spindles so you can retain your current brakes, or use aftermarket brake packages. Global West offers rear leaf springs, shocks, bushings, and more a la carte to finish your suspension upgrade.
Released for the ’65-’70 Mustang last year, Hotchkis’ Stage 1 Total Vehicle System (TVS) is a complete spring and antisway bar package that is designed to improve handling dramatically with bolt-on ease. The TVS kit features new coil springs up front and reverse-eye leaf springs for the rear, both of which lower the car’s center of gravity for better handling and improved looks. The rest of the kit includes front and rear tubular steel antisway bars (the rear is three-position adjustable), and all necessary installation hardware and bushings. Hotchkis also offers tubular control arms, Hotchkis-tuned Fox Racing mono-tube shocks in fixed and adjustable configurations, subframe connectors, and strut rod kits to support and enhance the TVS package as well.
The Heidts crew has been doing muscle car suspension systems for a long time and they have been back in the engineering lab tweaking and updating its entire line of suspension offerings for vintage Mustangs. From its popular base Mustang II crossmember kit up to the top-of-the-line Pro-G setup, Heidts has been busy adding engine fitment options and other upgrades. At the time we spoke to Heidts its updated Mustang II system was just going into production and by the summer of 2015 Heidts’ updated Superide II and Pro-G systems will be ready as well.
Heidts’ Mustang II suspension system features a notched crossmember for oil pan clearance to get your engine as low as possible (an FE will fit without using a cowl hood), tubular control arms, springs, shocks, manual rack-and-pinion, and 11-inch disc brakes. Options include larger brakes, power rack-and-pinion, and 2-inch drop spindles. Moving up to the Superide II system, shown here, Heidts offers adjustable coilover shocks standard on this system and provides better suspension geometry over the base Mustang II kit. The soon-to-be-released updated Superide II will feature fitment for FE big-blocks and the modular engine family, such as the popular 5.0L Coyote. Lastly, the Pro-G system ups the ante with Wilwood disc brakes standard, and has been updated to fit FE and modular engines as well.
For the rear of your ’65-’70 Mustang Heidts offers two options. Heidts’ Pro-G 4-Link kit is a great option for those looking for a fully adjustable four-link rear suspension. The Pro-G 4-Link features bolt-in brackets that require minor drilling to install, but no welding is required when you order an axle housing with the four-link (otherwise you have to weld the provided pickup point brackets onto your housing). The four tubular control arms are fully adjustable, as are the included coilover shocks for ride height. The included Panhard bar locates the axle housing laterally. Options include subframe connectors, axle housings, axles, centersections, and a plethora of brake choices.
Above the Pro-G 4-Link Heidts offers its Pro-G IRS assembly. The Pro-G IRS, shown here, is for those who want the ultimate in handling. The Pro-G IRS features a stout billet aluminum 9-inch housing stuffed with a 31-spline Traction Lok differential and your choice of gear ratio. Inboard 12-inch Wilwood disc brakes are fitted with heavy-duty half-shafts to take all the horsepower you can throw at it. The kit includes a bolt in mounting cradle, subframe connectors with struts, adjustable control arms, and more.
Jim Meyer Racing
Jim Meyer Racing is relatively new to the vintage Mustang suspension scene, but its new bolt-in IFS brings with it some interesting features. For starters, the complete cradle/crossmember assembly truly is a bolt-in design. It features upgraded suspension geometry with an adjustable stance, tubular A-arms (uppers adjustable on the car), 11-inch disc brakes, aluminum adjustable coilover shocks, a 1-inch antisway bar, and a rear steer rack-and-pinion steering configuration that leaves plenty of room for traditional front-sump V-8 oil pans. The steering radius is tighter than the OE configuration and several disc brake options are available as well. The upper control arm/shock mount attaches to the OE upper mount location in the shock tower, but still allows wide engine fitments if the customer so chooses to trim the upper half of the shock towers. All it takes is eight holes to be drilled and everything bolts right in.
If you’re looking for a nice, clean suspension upgrade with a stock appearance that improves your Mustang’s handling without breaking the bank, then check out Performance Online’s Stage II Suspension Kit. The Stage II system features all bolt-in components and will take your Mustang’s handling to the next level. The kit features front and rear springs (your choice of stock ride height or 1½-inch front/2-inch rear drop), three-way adjustable shock absorbers, front and rear antisway bars, and all attaching hardware. Performance Online offers a limited lifetime warranty on the Stage II kit and they also offer additional suspension parts, such as control arms, shackles, and more, if your Mustang needs these parts replaced at the time of the Stage II upgrade.
RideTech is famous for its air ride systems, which feature air-adjustable suspensions for muscle cars, trucks, and modern performance cars. RideTech also has designed its own aluminum coilover shocks as well, offering the end user the choice of air ride or coilovers and in three different suspension levels. Each level includes StrongArm tubular control arms front and rear, bolt-in four-link rear cradle, air ride or coilover shocks, and installation hardware. The ’65-’66 Mustang kits feature RideTech’s Tru Turn steering package, while all ’65-’70 Level 3 packages feature RideTech’s Musclebar antisway bars for the front and rear.
Known for building incredible street rods, the Roadster Shop has been designing and building its own full frames and front and rear suspension systems for popular muscle cars for several years now. For the vintage Mustang market the Roadster Shop offers three products for ’65-’73 Mustangs. First to market was the Roadster Shop’s Fast Track Crossmember system (shown here). The Fast Track crossmember is a weld-in product that utilizes OEM spindles, hubs, and other pieces since they’ve been designed by OEM engineers for years of trouble-free service. Coupled with these OEM bits are the Roadster Shop’s own tubular control arms, billet steering arms, and more. Penske coilover shocks are included, as is a quick-ratio rack-and-pinion steering assembly. Adjustable coilovers, disc brake packages, and engine mounts are all available as options.
Moving up the ladder is the Roadster Shop’s Fast Track Front Subframe. The front subframe system uses the same suspension and steering components as the Roadster Shop Crossmember, but in a complete front frame stub setup. This system replaces the weak stamped front framerails with fully boxed rails for better strength and less flex. If your front framerails are questionable or needing replacement, the Fast Track Front Subframe is your best bet.
Lastly, the Roadster Shop offers a true full perimeter frame upgrade for ’65-’73 Mustangs. The Mustang Fast Track Chassis is a fully boxed and welded perimeter frame design that works with the stock unibody and mounting points. The front suspension is the same as the Crossmember and Front Subframe systems, while at the rear the Roadster Shop outfits the chassis with either a 9-inch axle housing and four-bar suspension, or an optional three-link or independent rear suspension with optional billet aluminum cantilever coilover shock system.
Rod & Custom Motorsports
One of the first companies to modify the popular street rod Mustang II IFS to fit the vintage Mustang front framerails, Rod & Custom Motorsports has been fitting ’65-’73 Mustangs with its crossmembers for over 20 years. R&C’s Mustang II IFS offerings can be had under one of two complete kits: RC-106 with traditional coil springs and shocks (shown here), or RC-107 with adjustable coilover shocks. The RC-106 is fitted with springs and shocks to complement the engine/weight of the vehicle, while the RC-107 uses QA1 coilovers that are fully adjustable for ride height and ride quality. Other features of the R&C Mustang II include tubular control arms, shock tower inner panels, steering hookup kits, manual rack-and-pinion steering (power optional), 1-inch antisway bar, engine mounts of your choice (small-block, Cleveland, 385 and FE-series big-blocks, and modular V-8 engines), stock or 2-inch drop spindles, and 11-inch disc brakes. Options include brake upgrade packages, righthand-drive crossmembers, springs, and more.
Several years ago R&C completed their vintage Mustang suspension offerings by adding a rear coilover four-link suspension system to their long list of hardware. The four-link is a triangulated design and features a 3⁄4-inch antisway bar, adjustable coilover shocks, and can be bolted in using R&C’s optional axle housing top plate. Welding is optional by welding the four brackets to your axle housing. R&C can also provide a new axle housing with brackets pre-installed up to and including a fully built rear axle assembly. The R&C four-link will accommodate the vintage 8- and 9-inch axle housings as well as the modern 8.8-inch axle housing as found in the ’86 and later Mustang.
A seemingly unique option that is growing in popularity for suspension upgrades is the full frame conversion. In a nutshell you remove the suspension’s tendency to not be able to handle cornering and road changes due to the inherent flex in the Mustang’s unibody construction, not to mention the ability to reduce suspension and road noise, and replace it with a fully boxed frame housing better suspension components. Schwartz Performance has its solution with a full frame conversion for ’65-’73 Mustangs. The G-Machine Chassis features tubular control arms with adjustable RideTech coilover shocks, splined antisway bar, and quick-ratio rack-and-pinion steering up front with plenty of room for modular engines (as seen by this product shot). In the rear, the G-Machine Chassis uses a Moser 9-inch full floating rearend suspended by a triangulated tubular four-link and RideTech coilover shocks. The 9-inch houses a Truetrac posi unit and 31-spline axles; 13-inch Wilwood discs with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers are included. Installation requires trimming the engine bay sheetmetal and front framerails and welding mounting tabs to the front of the unibody. Once complete, the body simply bolts to the chassis via the new tabs welded in front and the original leaf spring forward mounts and framerails in the rear. Options include Heidts IRS, single- and triple-adjustable coilovers, and larger brake packages.
Speed Direct may be more known for its Steeroids rack-and-pinion steering conversions, but the folks at Speed Direct know how to make a Mustang handle too with its bolt on Vector Series Performance Package for ’65-’70 Mustangs. The Vector Series Performance Package is a true bolt-on upgrade system that features the Vector front coilover shock kit at the heart of the system. The coilovers are fully adjustable for ride height and are single-adjustable units for ride quality. Double-adjustable shocks are an option. The rest of the front suspension upgrades in the Vector package include a 1-inch antisway bar, and its Steeroids rack-and-pinion steering system (manual or power). The rear portion of the Vector Series Performance Package includes new leaf springs that drop the rear 1 inch, a 3⁄4-inch antisway bar, single-adjustable shocks (double-adjustable optional), and all attaching hardware. While not included, Speed Direct does offer matching tilt steering columns as an option if you’d rather not cut and modify the end of your stock steering column.
Total Control Products
Total Control Products (TCP) knows how to make a Mustang handle, which is why the Eleanor Mustangs built for the Gone in 60 Seconds movie remake all wore TCP suspensions for the Mustangs to be able to handle at speed. Now you can have the same great handling as Memphis Raines under your ’65-’73 Mustang. Up front TCP offers its coilover conversion system. The VariShock coilovers are available in single-, double-, and double-adjustable with adjustable remote reservoir, and the included VariSprings are available in a multitude of spring rates. Upper and lower control arms are made from tubular steel. The upper arms can be ordered with an optional dropped upper shaft. The lower control arms and the strut rods both feature TruCenter pivot sockets, which have more rotation than standard rod ends.
TCP hasn’t forgotten about the rear of your Mustang either, as its Canted 4-Bar rear suspension conversion has just what you need. Available in g-Bar and g-Link, the main difference between the two is the type of pivot end on the control arms. The g-Bar uses a polyurethane end while the g-Link utilizes a pivot-ball style end. Lower control arms are available in several configurations, including poly-bushed, pivot-ball, and pivot-ball billet arm, while the upper arms are available in poly-bushed and pivot-ball styles. Coilover shocks are included and can be ordered as single- or double-adjustable and there’s an option for VariShock Air-Spring setups as well. The Canted 4-Bar suspension can be set up using your own axle housing (welding of brackets required), or TCP can fit your project with one of its Fab9 direct-fit axle housing packages (shown here) with all brackets pre-welded for a true bolt-in installation.
Total Cost Involved Engineering
As popular as the modular Ford engines have become for swaps, especially now with the ’11 and up Mustang “Coyote” 5.0L DOHC, it can often be hard to fit these wide engines without removing the shock towers to make room. The typical Mustang II front suspension can fit these engines if engine mounts and special crossmember clearance is provided. Total Cost Involved (TCI) Engineering offers a custom IFS (that is not a Mustang II derivative) engineered just for swapping in these wide modular engines into ’65-’70 Mustangs. Designed to fit the 4.6L two-, three-, and four-valve engines, the 5.0L DOHC “Coyote,” and even the 5.4L modular common to trucks and SUVs, the TCI Engineering custom IFS includes a custom crossmember, frame reinforcement plates, 1-inch antisway bar, 11-inch drilled and slotted disc brakes, standard or dropped spindles, tubular control arms, RideTech single-adjustable coilover shocks, and inner fender panels. Your choice of engine mounts is included as well. Besides the modular and 429-460 big-block V-8 applications, TCI Engineering offers a custom IFS part number for small-block and FE big-block V-8 applications as well. Additional options include larger Wilwood disc brakes, double- and triple-adjustable coilover shocks, air ride, power rack-and-pinion, and more.
For the rear TCI offers a unique package that includes a torque arm configuration. A torque arm mounts to the axle housing and utilizes a sliding coupler tied to the bolt-in subframe connectors. This arm rotates during suspension articulation, yet allows the coilover shocks and antisway bar to control the lateral handling. The kit includes subframe connectors, driveshaft loop, coilover shocks, Panhard bar, and more. The kit is a bolt-in except for welding of the necessary attaching brackets to your axle housing. Alternatively, you can purchase an axle housing with all brackets already in place for a bolt-in solution. Options include antisway bar, single- and triple-adjustable shocks, and air ride. Like all TCI Engineering products, its Mustang front and rear suspensions feature a limited-lifetime warranty