View Full Version : A Studebaker Hot Rod Chassis

08-15-2014, 09:16 PM
OK, I'm planning the frame, suspension and brakes for the Commander. The engine will be a blown V6, a 4L60E automatic and a Dana 44 with a 3.54 final drive. I'm planning on Turner front brakes and drums in the back. The engine will be injected with EFI. I want the car slightly lowered to give it a nice stance.

Given these parameters, do any ideas come to mind? I could cut a coil or two out of the front springs. I could rearch the rear leafs. I'm not going to put an S-10 under it. Are there Studebaker tricks to give me a decent ride? I want it to look reasonably stock from the outside and yet be able to get some traction. Ideas?

08-16-2014, 09:13 AM
Perhaps start with 6 cyl. front springs for the front... for the rear go with some lowering blocks and longer u-bolts instead of re-arching as the blocks take into account that the present springs have already done their settling. As for traction start with a TT rearend...if wheel hop is a problem perhaps fabbing a set of CalTrac style traction bars. What year of Commander? What size and make of v6? sounds like fun to me. junior

08-16-2014, 11:08 AM
Sounds like a 4.3L Chev. Nice little motors, but ditch those Vortex heads.

08-16-2014, 11:36 AM
Yeah, it's going to be a 4.3L V6. The newer vortex heads flow a lot better than the older heads. And a centrifugal blower, like a Vortec, will work wonders. The Commander is a Canadian '64 and it currently has a six. It's rusty, but I think it can be saved.

55 56 PREZ 4D
08-16-2014, 02:26 PM
Rebuilt front suspension.
Anti-sway bars, front and rear.
Gas shocks.
Smaller steering wheel. With lighter weight up front, steering effort should be lighter.

08-16-2014, 08:02 PM
Here is what you are looking for....

08-16-2014, 08:28 PM
Changing the ride height by modifying the coils throws off the suspension geometry and that hurts handing and wear. The ride is worse because you lower the car you loose suspension travel and bottom out on the rubber stops on the frame. Rebuild the suspension with new parts heavier sway bars front and rear and good shocks and tires will give the best overall result for a street car.

08-16-2014, 10:44 PM
I want a 4.3L without the balance shaft. I'm trying to find an early engine.

08-16-2014, 10:47 PM
But this is why this tread is here. I want the front end lowered. Give me and option to cutting coils that will get me to the same place. Stock height isn't an option...

08-17-2014, 01:56 AM
Good Choice..........Get it down there!
Good Roads

08-17-2014, 02:03 AM
If you have good fabrication skills, consider using a front crossmember and suspension from a modern car that uses coilover shock struts. Then you can get aftermarket coilovers that are adjustable for ride height. Take a look at the Crown Vic front suspension - readily available, cheap, has a good power rack and everything mounts on a crossmember which can be adapted to a frame.. The page below has a good photo of the Crown Vic front end.


08-17-2014, 10:48 AM
It was looking good till I saw the strut's. Not much adjust-ability there. I would rather have the torsion bars.

08-17-2014, 12:18 PM
But this is why this tread is here. I want the front end lowered. Give me and option to cutting coils that will get me to the same place. Stock height isn't an option... I'll probably never build another custom C/K, but if I did, I'd give serious consideration to air suspension. Today's systems are really, really good.

Then, going down the highway, where the must-have low stance is not the focus of attention, the front can be raised to have enough suspension travel for a decent ride. Coming into the meet, the fairgrounds, when parking, the front can be lowered to get the look.

jack vines

08-17-2014, 12:36 PM
I only want to drop the front 1 or 2 inches and an inch in the back. I'm not looking to put it in the weeds. That's why I was looking at cutting a coil. I guess I'll check with QA1 for the coils and Eaton for the leaf springs. I'll start with the factory sway bars and go from there. Does anyone know if Koni ever made adjustable shocks.

08-17-2014, 01:10 PM
My car has the front coils cut, but I've done it to the extreme to get it as low as I can with the stock front end parts. I'm still not happy with the height. I would like to go lower. But, again, thats just me. I will probably succumb to a different front suspension at some point to get where I want to be. My car has some negative camber now even though I've adjusted the stock camber to its max. I think I had up to 1-1/2 coils cut and was still able to adjust the camber to near zero. As it sits now, and even after trimming the bump stops, I've bottomed out a couple of times. Not too hard, but that problem does exist. I would suggest you start with 1-1/2 coils and see where that takes you. All cars and springs are going to be different, as age and use will take a different toll on each combination. Then, if you just gotta go lower, try another 1/2 coil. Adjust your camber each time. Then you'll have a good idea of when you're reaching the end of your rope. Also know that a small amount of negative camber is not horrible. If you're driving a lot, you'll get tire wear, but my car handles great. 1-1/4 inch sway bar up front makes a HUGE difference. Good luck.