Immediately after World War II there weren't many new fresh and exciting cars in the nation's showrooms, but by the mid 1950s things were changing. All the car companies began pushing the envelope and as the decade was coming to a close the stylists had pulled out all the stops and fins were the name of the game—and in 1959 Chevrolet decided to play that game.
When the new Chevys for the 1959 model year were introduced, the design (particularly the rear fins, often referred to as "bat wings") was hated by some and loved by others. We've always been in the latter group so the decision was made to build one for the 2014 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour car. Once a likely candidate was found we shipped it off to Hot Rods by Dean for construction.
Everyone involved agreed that these cars can look cool, but underneath all that sculptured sheetmetal is a chassis that had no redeeming qualities when new, and they haven't gotten better with age. Heaving an original 1959 Chevy into a hard turn at speed will have the body tilting precariously and the passengers hanging on for dear life. And panic stops accurately describe any attempt to bring the car to a halt in a hurry. For our purposes the stock squishy suspension, weak X-frame with little torsional rigidity, numb feeling power steering, and borderline brakes had to go.
From the beginning the purpose of the Road Tour was to prove that street rods built with aftermarket parts could not only be great looking and fun to drive but be safe and reliable as well. Our requirements mean that these cars have to be part hot rod and part grand touring car so we turned to Roadster Shop for a solution to the original suspension system's shortcomings. In the February issue of STREET RODDER we detailed the construction of Roadster Shop's replacement 1958-64 Chevy perimeter frame and their new RS Fast Track independent rear suspension; this time we're taking a look at their new RS Fast Track independent front suspension.