From the moment 1959 Chevys hit showroom floors there was no mistaking them for anything else. Everything about their appearance was unique, particularly when viewed from the rear. We've always had a fondness for these cars, and as we couldn't think of anything cooler to drive on the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour, we found a solid specimen and turned it over to Dean Livermore at Hot Rods by Dean to get it Road Tour ready.

While we admire the looks of our 1959, in this case beauty truly is only skin deep—underneath the stylish sheetmetal is a truly hideous chassis. First found under 1957 Cadillacs the X or cruciform frame was also found under 1958-64 Chevys. These frames had an hourglass shape and GM boasted that the design allowed the seating area to be lowered, which in turn made for a lower roofline. Although there was some truth to that claim, one of the lesser-known in-house arguments for the X-shape was cost effectiveness. The same basic frame could be used under a variety of cars, as simply changing the length of its centersection easily altered the wheelbase.

From a functional standpoint these frames had some significant shortcomings, not the least of which is the lack of torsional rigidity. While a floppy frame wasn't a big deal with the squishy suspension these cars came equipped with, but to accommodate the high-performance underpinnings a much more solid foundation would be required. We got the high-performance IFS and IRS we wanted and the new frame to hang them on from Roadster Shop.

The foundation for our Road Tour car is one of Roadster Shop's Fast Track perimeter frames, which they offer for 1958-64 Chevys. Each framerail is fabricated from four separate pieces of laser-cut 10-gauge cold-rolled steel welded together in a fixture. The completed frames are far stronger than the original design and require very minimal floorpan modifications to fit.

On each end of our new frame, Roadster Shop's Fast Track independent suspension will be found. As handling is a priority, allowances have been made to fit lots of rubber under the stock sheetmetal at all corners; there's room for 10-inch wheels with 285 tires up front and 12-inch wheels with 345 tires in the rear (we're only going to deal with the IRS this time; a detailed look at the IFS will follow).

Rather than just graft on an existing IRS, the Fast Track rear suspension was engineered by Roadster Shop for cars of this size and weight while complementing the tread width of the Fast Track IFS. The centersection is based on the venerable 9-inch Ford, heavy-duty CV joints, driveshafts are used, and the spindles are C6 Corvette.

For shocks and springs on both ends, Roadster Shop has teamed up with one of the foremost names in racing; all Fast Track suspension systems and complete chassis will now include Penske Racing Shocks as standard equipment. "Penske has long been the benchmark for high-performance shock absorbers. Instead of using a product that compares themselves to the best, we wanted to use the best in an effort to continue to bring our customers the highest quality and highest performance product out there," Phil Gerber, VP of Marketing for the Roadster Shop, says.

Our completed Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis was shipped to Hot Rods by Dean and they're already working fast and furiously to get the car ready for next summer. For information on how you can join in on the fun of the Road Tour, check the pages of STREET RODDER magazine, as well as streetrodder.com.

SOURCE
AMSOIL
925 Tower Ave.
Superior
WI  54880
800-777-8491
http://www.amsoil.com
Hot Rods By Dean
1 West Lone Cactus Drive
Phoenix
AZ  85027
623-581-1932
http://www.hotrodsbydean.com
Wilwood Engineering
4700 Calle Bolero
Camarillo
CA  93012
805-388-1188
http://www.wilwood.com
Roadster Shop
Mundelein
IL
847-949-7637
http://www.roadstershop.com
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