Cruise Missile: Radical Improvements for 58-64 Chevy B-Body Suspension

This stunning 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air, built by Boris Maryanovsky at Street Machinery, sits perfect thanks in part to RideTech's CoolRide suspension system.
There was a time when “Full-Size” actually meant large. Today, it gets you a Toyota Avalon. Back in the day, however, you and all of your friends could pile into the vehicular embodiment of the American Dream — a Chevrolet B-Body. Built so long and so low, these cars are like cruise missiles for the road.

 

This particular article focuses on the 1958-1964 B-body Chevrolets. Available in two door, four door, and station wagon configurations, all three options offer comfortable, spacious cabins and acres of trunk space.  For family cruising, a B-body station wagon is one of the best ways to enjoy hot rodding without leaving your loved ones behind. Early sixties sedans are gaining in popularity — especially the “pillarless” sports sedan configuration. With all four side windows in the down position, it’s hard to find a more inviting body style. B-bodies make perfect cruisers; it’s that simple. Even hardcore Camaro, Nova, and Chevelle enthusiasts should take a long, hard look at adding a B-body to their collections.

This 1962 convertible shows the B-Body platform's versatility. You can choose from a variety of styles including coupe, sedan, station wagon, convertible and don't forget the El Camino.
This 1962 convertible shows the B-Body platform’s versatility. You can choose from a variety of styles including coupe, sedan, station wagon, convertible, and don’t forget the El Camino.

As cool as it is, the B-body chassis suffers from suspension geometry that was designed in the late fifties. Fortunately, RideTech has two options for updating the design: CoolRide and StreetGRIP. CoolRide is a self-contained air spring assembly that fits in place of your B-body’s original coil springs. The design bolts in place and relocates the shock absorbers accordingly.  The StreetGRIP system is built around maintaining your car’s traditional coil springs. Suspension components are updated with with modern, factory-fit parts.  Either approach will radically improve your full size Chevy’s ride and handling prowess. Let’s take a quick look at the two options, starting with StreetGRIP.

Here's the complete 1958-1964 StreetGRIP kit with dual rate springs, drop spindles, tall ball-joints, Delrin Bushings, big sway bars and RideTech's adjustable HQ Series monotube shock absorbers.
Here’s the complete 1958-1964 StreetGRIP kit with dual rate springs, drop spindles, tall balljoints, Delrin bushings, big sway bars, and RideTech’s adjustable HQ Series monotube shock absorbers.

The 1958-1964 B-body platform utilizes coil springs at all four corners. At 50-plus years of age, there is much room for improvement, both in regards to technology as well as serviceability. The original spindle design leaves much to be desired, and the original front control arm geometry greatly benefits from the installation of tall ball joints.  They raise the upper control arms to improve the camber curve, keeping the front tires planted during cornering. Well past their useful life expectancy, the original bushings, ball joints, and shock absorbers will have long since deteriorated. In every way, the RideTech StreetGRIP kit will change your B-body from an old dinosaur to a capable performer.

From the side, you can see the stance of RideTech's StreetGRIP B-Body system. Wheels shown are 20" diameter. Ride quality is exceptional.
From the side, you can see the stance of RideTech’s StreetGRIP B-Body system. Wheels shown are 20″ diameter. Ride quality is exceptional.

The list of components includes new custom-matched, dual rate coil springs, drop spindles, tall ball joints, heavy duty sway bars, Delrin bushings and adjustable monotube shock absorbers. RideTech’s R&D team carefully matched all components for balanced performance and a lowered ride height. RideTech HQ Series monotube shocks are far superior to any twin tube design.  Starting with the bodies, RideTech HQ Series monotube shocks feature forged aluminum housings and beefy 1/2″ hardened shafts with billet ends. Monotube shock valving offers a larger piston surface area for significantly greater oil control when compared to twin tube valving. With RideTech HQ Series monotube shocks, your tires will always feel planted; your chassis will always feel settled and confident.

CoolRide includes air springs, mounting brackets, and of course, RideTech's excellent HQ Series adjustable monotube shock absorbers.
CoolRide includes air springs, mounting brackets, and of course, RideTech’s excellent HQ Series adjustable monotube shock absorbers. Shown is a front setup for a 58-64 B-body with stock lower control arms.

CoolRide adapts air spring technology without cutting your original frame (some drilling is required). The air springs fit into the pre-existing spring pockets.  Utilizing closed air springs, the shocks are relocated for optimized geometry. The main advantage to the CoolRide system is an adjustable ride height. While the marketplace is flooded with air spring alternatives, it important to note that RideTech’s CoolRide system includes HQ Series monotube adjustable shock absorbers. With custom-matched valving, RideTech’s shocks control spring movement better than anything else on the market.

Special thanks to Boris from Street Machinery for its photos. As Boris stated: "For over 20 years Street Machinery has grown with the help of RideTechs' quality engineered and time proven components. From the very first CoolRide systems to the great handling and installer friendly StreetGRIP packages, RideTech makes us shine.
Special thanks to Boris from Street Machinery for supplying photos. As Boris stated: “For over 20 years, Street Machinery has relied on RideTechs’ quality engineered and time-proven components. From the very first CoolRide systems to the great handling and installer-friendly StreetGRIP packages, RideTech makes us shine!”

To learn more about 58-64 B-body StreetGRIP Systems, click HERE.

To learn more about 58-64 B-body CoolRide, click HERE.

To connect with Street Machinery and Boris on Facebook, click HERE.

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