One of the people who continues to have a huge impact on our hobby is Brent VanDervort of Fat Man Fabrications. He's sort of street rodding's everyman, is down to earth, straightforward, and the products he produces reflect that as well. Brett builds components that are simple, affordable, and work as they should.

While Fat Man has built his reputation on independent front suspension kits, there's a traditional side to the man, too. He likes solid axles; he just wants them to work more like independents. So by doing a little mechanical cross-pollination, Fat Man developed the Vintage IFS. The reasoning behind it is simple: those rodders who choose an axle like the traditional looks, while those who choose IFS like the improved ride, and the Vintage IFS provides both.

Basically, the Vintage IFS splits the axle in two, much like Ford did with the twin I-beam under trucks. The advantage to this is that when one wheel hits a bump, the other isn't affected, just as with an IFS. In addition, unsprung weight is reduced, which makes it easier for the suspension to react, thereby improving ride quality.

Installing a Vintage IFS requires cutting a tube axle in the middle, welding bungs in place, and installing the included 3/4-16 threaded urethane ends. The modified axles are then attached to the center bracket. This ingeniously designed piece not only anchors the ends of the axles, but by varying the spring pack and utilizing the shims that are included in the kit, the camber can be adjusted (0- to 1-degree positive is recommended). Caster adjustments are made in the same manner as a solid axle; Ford calls for 4 to 9 degrees for '28 to '46 Fords, but Brent suggests 6 degrees.

With the axles in place, all that's left is to hook up the steering. The Vintage IFS requires a cross-steer configuration, as with a Vega box. A short draglink runs from the pitman arm to the bellcrank. From there, individual tie rods attach to the spindles, and that's all there is to it.

Fat Man's Vintage IFS is a combination of the old and the new. It offers the look of a classic tube axle with the ride and handling qualities of a contemporary suspension system. All that and it's easy to install, too. But then, what else would you expect from Fat Man?

Fat Man Fabrications
8621-C Fairview Rd., Hwy. 218,
Dept. SRM Web
NC  28227