Some companies — RideTech included — still make parts in the USA. Likewise, you will be pleased to hear that some companies still develop and test-fit products on actual cars before sending them out to customers. Known as “Product Validation” RideTech endeavors to install parts on multiple vehicles ahead of every product launch. Such is the case with our recent StreetGRIP G-Body product launch. The R&D process began with the purchase of a very nice, bone stock Monte Carlo SS. Like most of you, we have fun shopping for cars on the internet. Upon arrival, we align and measure each development car, test performance in stock trim, then tear them apart. While it was around, the Monte SS became part of the RideTech family. As is the case with the entire development fleet, staff members would routinely borrow the keys to the Monte SS. As a group, we provide product feedback with engineering staff providing the most critical input. Of course, with a Test Track on site, the validation process is anything but boring.
With the prices of early A-bodies on the rise, G-bodies present themselves as a great alternative. The price of admission is lower for G-bodies, but the driving experience is very similar. As much as we liked the Monte Carlo SS development car, we sold it. Where did it go? Once the previous owner laid eyes on it with its upgraded wheels and improved stance, he bought the car back and drove off into the sunset. From there, the validation process continued. A local Indiana enthusiast let us borrow his very original 442. We pulled a production StreetGRIP kit from the shelves and repeated the validation process 1) Align the car, 2) Measure the car 3) Test drive the car in stock form on the street and on our track. 4) Swap Suspension, 5) Re-align the car. 6) Re-test the car on our track and on the street. 7) Return the car to its owner. Like Christmas in June, he gets to keep the new suspension in exchange for letting us use his car. We kept going. We really wanted to convert a Buick Turbo V6 car.
We reached out to Scot Walkowiak of GNS Performance to see if he knew of a Buick G-body that we could borrow. It turns out Scot had access to the super-rare 1987 Buick Regal T-Type shown here. Owned by Donnie Brooks, the dark sliver Buick is documented as being one of only five Methanol Test Cars built by GM. Rarity, however, has not stopped Donnie from hot-rodding the car. It has a GNS Performance-built Turbo V6 pushing 500HP at the rear wheels. The car has won several car shows. A daily driver for most of it’s life, the car came to us with 100% stock suspension.
For testing purposes, Scot and Donnie borrowed a set of period factory mesh wheels. Once Donnie returned home, he installed street/strip wheels and tires. We think the car looks great with its improved stance. Donnie reports that the lowered ride height, combined with his wide rear tires, does not induce any rubbing whatsoever. Some impromptu test launches suggest an increase in traction. Donnie plans on testing the StreetGRIP setup at the dragstrip to back up his “seat of the pants” evaluation.
As for RideTech and “Evaluation Cars,” we are kicking around the idea of getting a Buick G-body of our own. The improved StreetGRIP stance really sharpens the car’s look, while the modern ride and handling makes these cars far more enjoyable. The right T-Type or Grand National would look nice parked next to RideTech’s 1970 GSX.
To learn bore about G-body StreetGRIP Suspension, Click HERE
Special thanks to GNS Performance.