Gateway Performance Suspension Macpherson Strut Front Suspension
Gateway Performance Suspension's New Macpherson Strut Front Suspension Adds Late-Model Ride And Handling To Vintage Mustangs
It's no secret that the '65-'73 Mustang's factory front suspension is archaic in design when compared to today's new cars, especially the fabulous '11 Mustang. The old double control arm, coil spring, and shock system was state-of-the-art in the mid-1960s, providing a good ride with decent handling, even good handling on models equipped with the heavy-duty suspension. But times have changed. These days, many owners want new-car ride and handling when climbing into the classic good looks of a vintage Mustang.
It's also getting difficult to find a tire or auto shop that knows how to align a 40-year-old Mustang front end. Think about it: The majority of today's auto technicians weren't even born when first generation Mustangs were in Ford showrooms.
Thanks to the restomod movement of the past ten years or so, front suspension upgrades have become common. Now Gateway Performance Suspension (GPS), a division of Gateway Classic Mustang, has entered the market with a new MacPherson strut system that not only improves the ride and handling, it's also easy to install.
"It's truly a bolt-on system," says Gateway's Jason Childress. "If you have any mechanical abilities at all, you can install it in your backyard with jackstands and a few tools."
When it comes to handling, Jason and brother Lonny have plenty of experience. Both drove monster trucks before launching Gateway Classic in 1999, starting out in St. Louis before moving a few miles west to Bourbon, Missouri. Today, they specialize in Mustang restomod builds, including the Red Rocker for Sammy Hagar and a special modern '68 Bullitt fastback (see "Modern Bullitt," June 2009 Mustang Monthly) for Chad McQueen, son of Bullitt star Steve McQueen. Although they have used other suspension setups in the past and even distributed the Australian-designed RRS components for a while, the Childress brothers wanted to come up with their own suspension design.
Their design is simple: a coilover strut and unique spindle replaces the factory upper A-arm, coil spring, and shock to provide both improved ride quality and handling. Jason describes the new spindle as "a fusion between the early and late-model Mustang spindles," stating that it is made in the USA from 4140 steel and uses American-made Timken bearings. With a better Akerman angle (geometry for correct turning angle when negotiating a corner or curve) and improved camber, the Gateway system also creates less horizontal stress than the factory double A-arm front suspension. By changing the location of the steering arm, the Gateway suspension eliminates a lot of the Mustang's inherent bump steer, depending on ride height.
GPS offers several versions of their new suspension, starting with the entry-level Super Stock that provides spindles and non-adjustable coilover struts but without brakes. From there, the various upgrades add brakes (from 11-inch to 14-inch rotors with six-piston calipers), adjustability (ride height and/or struts), and Koni struts. Extreme GTS Pro Touring, Extreme GTS, Road Race, and Drag Pack versions are coming soon. A shock tower notching kit is available for owners who plan to install a big-block or modular V-8 engine.
The GPS front suspension fits '65-'73 Mustangs and Cougars, as well as '60-'65 Falcon/Comet/Ranchero, '66-'71 Fairlane/Torino/Falcon/Comet, '69-'77 Maverick/Comet, and '62-'65 Fairlane/Meteor. We got a look at the new front suspension system during a recent trip to Gateway, where Jason and Lonny demonstrated the installation of the Street Extreme front suspension on a bare '67 body, sans front fenders for photo access.