Designed in the ’80s, C4 Corvettes have adequate OE suspension with the usual built-in compromises. With that said, the C4 Corvette platform has true sports car bones thanks to its short 96.2″ wheelbase, low center of gravity and 3200-pound curb weight.
Equipped with upgrades, C4 Corvettes can really hang with modern sports cars — including C5 and C6 Corvettes. Ridetech introduces two new suspension systems to pull the platform forward with modern ride quality and handling performance.
One of the Ridetech development cars, built by Hot Rods of Andice, features numerous upgrades including an all-aluminum 640 HP LT4 V8, Forgeline wheels and Wilwood disc brakes. Driver Chris Jacobs has proven on numerous occasions that C4 Corvettes can dominate performance driving events. While track-testing is important, Ridetech emphasizes that the two new suspension designs really shine on the street. It’s all about delivering the best overall driving experience.
Eighties Suspension Technology Worked Well (even in the nineties)
Designed in the early eighties, C4 suspension technology carried well into the next decade. The platform features lightweight forged aluminum A-arms and uprights upfront with matching aluminum links and cradle. Properly sized for the C4’s mass, factory transverse leaf springs save unsprung weight. Even by modern standards, the 4-wheel independent suspension layout is impressive. Heck, the ’80s weren’t so bad. This is after all the decade that gave us cable TV, VCR’s, hair metal, the A-Team, Die Hard and even the collapse of communism in Europe!
There is, of course, room for improvement. OE C4 shock absorbers fall short of modern expectations. The same can be said for the C4’s original sway bars and bushings. Properly tuned shocks or coilovers, heavy-duty sway bars and firm, self-lubricating bushings go a long way towards modernizing the platform’s ride quality and handling.
Room for Improvement — Suspension Upgrades
Power numbers from C4 Corvette L98 and LT1 small-block Chevy engines are low by today’s “LS” standards. There are many ways to add power, however — including easy LS engine swaps. If you are reading this, you re probably a hot rodder. You can figure the power equation out easily enough. Bolt-on brake upgrades and wide wheels. are also readily available. With respect to suspension, Ridetech has you covered with — not one — but two suspension packages. Everything is made in the USA.
Ridetech aimed its sights on handling and ride quality. Both systems strive to retain factory hard parts (arms, uprights, and links) with the focus placed on tuning components. C4 Corvette owners love their cars. From the start of development, Ridetech set out to elevate the overall driving experience. For the initial launch, Ridetech has chosen to focus on later cars from 1989-1996.
Starting with the Streetgrip system, Ridetech retains the C4 platform’s factory transverse leaf springs. Emphasis is placed on tuning the combination with specific shock absorber valving and custom sway bar rates. The included HQ Series mono tube shock absorbers work in concert with supplied delrin bushings to completely modernize ride quality. Rebound adjustment allows the end-user to fine-tune the shock absorbers to match their personal driving style and tire selection.
Called Musclebars™, Ridetech’s innovative new sway bar design features precision, investment-cast bar ends with spherical end links. Delrin bushing-liners eliminate stiction for consistent, noise-free movement. To complete the Streetgrip C4 Corvette suspension system, Ridetech also provides Delrin control arm bushings. All components are available separately.
Like Ridetech’s Streetgrip system, the Coilover version features delrin bushings and Musclebar™ sway bars, but replaces your Corvette’s transverse leaf springs and shock absorbers with HQ Series mono tube coilovers for greater control over ride height and spring rate selection. Individual springs at each corner have a positive effect on handling, as well. The supplied coil springs are rated at 525 lbs/in front and 425 lbs/in rear. Ridetech coilovers install by way of custom powder-coated brackets. There is no cutting or welding involved. Coilovers are great for track day enthusiasts looking to tune spring rates as well as any one seeking more control over ride height. Expect nothing less than world-class handling and vastly improved ride quality.
Don’t expect VCRs or bag phones to make a comeback any time soon. The C4 Corvette, on the other hand, is poised to become a true player in the enthusiast car universe. With great looks and tons of possible upgrades, the performance potential is real. When it comes to suspension, a Ridetech-equipped C4 Corvette will put a smile on your face every time you hit the road.
For more information on C4 Corvette Suspension Systems and parts, click HERE
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