One of the drawbacks many of the full-size passenger car makes from the late '40s to the early '60s suffer from is that those boys in Detroit were still trying to perfect the independent suspension design. While at first it seems like something that wouldn't necessitate an upgrade, "Can't we just bolt on some dropped spindles and disc brakes?", one soon realizes that many of the frame designs of that era just don't live up to the modern amenities we now take for granted.

While it is possible for many models to accept bolt-on upgrades, oftentimes it leaves other areas of the performance genre high and dry. We ran into this problem when it came to the front suspension of our '56 Ford Courier project. While it shares, for all intents and purposes, the same chassis as its two-door sedan brethren, more importantly it suffers from what many of the makes of the '50s suffer from: frame-integrated coil spring pockets and a poorly designed control arm setup. This translates into an aftermarket dry of upgradable control arms, which means you're stuck with whatever performance the old bird can produce. Of course, that doesn't hold up these days.

Luckily, Fatman Fabrications has come up with a solution for many of these old steeds that solves not one, but three or four birds with one stone. What they offer is a frame stub that replaces the stock suspension components as well as the old box steering and cleans up the entire front frame section nicely. But installing a frame stub is inherently more complicated than the more common crossmember-style upgrades common amongst straight axle-equipped cars and trucks. As one could image, cutting off the front of the frame yields many more problems than just trimming some sheetmetal away and replacing it. The whole front sheetmetal relies on the careful placement of the support holes on the chassis and when they're removed, the whole skin is hangin' in the breeze.

That said, we're gonna walk you through the first half of installing a Fatman stub, right up to the do-or-die point where the frame is whacked off at the firewall. Next month, we'll come back and finish up the job, but for now, take a look at the first part, arguably the most important, where the careful measurements are made and all the preparation is done to yield a new stub where everything bolts back up correctly.

SOURCE
Fatman Fabrications
8621-C Fairview Road, Highway 218
Charlotte
NC  28227
704-545-0369
www.fatmanfab.com
Engineered Components Inc. (ECI)
860-872-7046
www.ecihotrodbrakes.com
HTP America Inc.
3200 Nordic Road
Arlington Heights
IL  60005
800-872-9353
www.htpweld.com
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