The Next Big Thing: Modernize the 78-88 G-Body with StreetGRIP Suspension

In 1987, Guns N’ Roses made the Billboard 100 Chart with their hard rock song “Welcome To The Jungle”. GnR did it again in 1988 with a rock ballad called “Sweet Child O’Mine”. Unfortunately, not everything about the 80’s rocked.  The auto industry, in particular, was still recovering from the seventies. Auto manufacturers were dominated by bean-counters and policy makers rather than enthusiast-engineers. Horsepower ratings were just barely starting to climb after a long dry spell. With respect to mid- and full-size cars, American suspension technology was essentially carried over from decades past. Through fresh eyes, however, ’80s muscle cars are starting to look really cool.

Among our all-time favorite shapes from that era are NASCAR-inspired G-bodies. To this day, these long-nose coupes conjure up memories of Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte dogfighting on the high-banks of Talladega.  General Motors even went so far as to develop “aero” variants of Monte Carlo and Grand Prix models in support of NASCAR motorsports efforts. Back on the street, the turbocharged 1987 Buick GNX was crowned the king of the 80’s muscle cars. Highly collectible, only 547 GNXs were built. The record price at auction for a GNX is a mind-blowing $165,000, all-in, set at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach back in 2015.  The future looks bright for the 1978-1988 G-body platform.

Auto enthusiasts are experts at spotting opportunity. The G-body’s restricted engines, for example, can be swapped for LS V8s or modern Gen 1 crate engines. As for G-body suspension, RideTech has you covered. We have offered air suspension and coil-over suspension systems for years. Recently, we developed an entry level StreetGRIP suspension system that completely modernizes the G-body’s ride quality and handling. Available as a package or as individual components, StreetGRIP can be tailored to any budget.

As a complete system, StreetGRIP will transform any G-body – even with period 15” radial tires.  Body roll is significantly decreased thanks to custom height StreetGRIP coil springs and drop spindles. That wallowing, floating 80’s ride quality will give way to StreetGRIP’s surefooted mix of control and comfort. Handling is best described as modern and confident. The dual rate coil springs again play a significant role as do front and rear MuscleBar sway bars and impact-forged monotube shock absorbers.  The shocks are custom-calibrated for the G-body platform. Built-in rebound adjustment lets you custom tailor the shocks to your specific driving preferences. An added benefit, self-lubricating delrin bushings virtually eliminate deflection without the binding and squeaking that typically occurs with poly bushings. Tall ball joints are the last piece of the StreetGRIP formula.  This simple upgrade works to improve the camber curve of the front control arms for improved “camber gain”. Front tires remain planted and flat through corners.

Great examples of 1978-1988 G-body cars – Monte Carlo, Cutlass, Regal, and Grand Prix, as well as Malibu, El Camino and Bonneville can still be found at great prices. Crafty enthusiasts can build a great StreetGRIP-equipped LS-powered G-body for under $10,000. We’ve seen it done for $5,000! You had better grab a G-body before everyone realizes that they are an awesome bargain.

StreetGRIP G-Body Suspension Systems fit the following applications:

  • 1978-1988 Monte Carlo and Monte Carlo SS
  • 1978-1987 Buick Regal and Sport Coupe, T-Type, Grand National, GNX
  • 1978-1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass (all) and Hurst/Olds, 442
  • 1978-1987 Pontiac Grand Prix
  • 1978-1987 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 1978-1987 Chevrolet El Camino and GMC Caballero
  • 1982-1986 Pontiac Bonneville

For a complete listing of General Motors G-platform vehicles, please click HERE

AFTER: This video freeze-frame tells the story. After the StreetGRIP Suspension System install, our Olds 442 test car takes corners with minimal body roll. Your G-body will be much easier to drive at speed. Compare with the photo below.

 

BEFORE: This video freeze-frame clearly shows significant body roll in stock form. The same tires, brakes, and all were used for the Before/After tests. Look at that outside tire folding under. Poor tire!

 

AFTER: We located a bone-stock 442 for our validation testing. The only modification is the addition of  our StreetGRIP System. Stance after the install is greatly improved — even with stock spec 15″ wheels and standard tires. We really like the look of this 442.
BEFORE: Cutlass and 442 G-bodies were always good looking cars. Here is the stance before the StreetGRIP Suspension kit install.

 

Recently sold, RideTech’s Monte Carlo SS was one of the favored Test Vehicles around RideTech HQ. It drives and handles like a modern car. After seeing and experiencing the StreetGRIP upgrades, the former owner liked the car so much that he bought it back.

For more information about StreetGRIP, click HERE

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