Recommendations for '63 suspension/brake upgrades? - Impala Tech
Brakes & Suspension Conversion Questions & more

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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Mankato, MN
Posts: 3
Question Recommendations for '63 suspension/brake upgrades?

I won't turn this into an introduction thread, but new guy here. I've got a '63 Impala that I inherited when my grandmother passed away a few years ago. They bought it circa '66, and Grandma drove it for many years. It was her favorite car and she never sold it, instead parking it in a barn on the family farm around '79 (the last registration date). I brought it home in the fall of '15 and finally got the title sorted out a few days ago. It needs complete restoration but is very solid for its age and this part of the country.

I've got too many projects that have either started and stalled or else still sit, waiting to be started. This is one I want to do right but also be able to drive sooner rather than later. With that in mind, I'm thinking about lifting the body off the frame, getting the frame cleaned up, redoing the suspension, brakes, fuel lines, etc., dropping in a drivetrain I've already got just begging for a home, then putting it back together with bodywork, paint and interior being taken care of at a later date. It doesn't need to look pretty as long as I can drive it safely.

So ... because I want to do this right but minimize expenses, I'm looking for recommendations on suspension upgrades, front disc brake conversion and anything else that commonly needs to be addressed on these cars. I don't mind piecing parts together instead of buying complete kits if it means I can save money, but I don't want to do any metal fabrication. The attached fresh-out-of-the-barn photo more or less shows the stance I'm looking for, except it's riding a bit high in the front. Drop spindles should sort that out nicely, and I know CPP has some great stuff (I've bought parts from them for the past decade), but if I can use something like their spindles and brackets along with off-the-shelf components I can source myself, that's the kind of info I'm looking for. I'm also looking for opinions on some of the more affordable tubular control arm kits (both front and rear) that are available. Would I see a definite difference if I spend a few to several hundred on aftermarket replacements? Obviously I know I could stay stock to save every last penny, but that's not my point. I want to make smart long-term upgrades as long as I'm doing this, but I don't want to put thousands into Hotchkis and Wilwood parts for a weekend cruiser that will never see a racetrack or even get too much spirited driving on a windy road.

For what it's worth, the drivetrain I've got in mind is a 383 stroker dynoed at 502 HP/500 lb-ft torque and a 700R4 built to handle it. I know that's overkill for Grandma's car, but I've had it waiting in the wings for three years (don't ask) and it really needs a home. That may influence responses. (I already know that the driveshaft and rearend will be weak spots, and I'll address that appropriately.)

I know all of my questions are answered elsewhere if I spend days/weeks/months researching, and I appreciate that I'm asking people to repeat info that's already out there. If you don't mind taking a few minutes to share your experiences and expertise, I'd be quite grateful. If not, please don't take even a few seconds to tell me to Google it or search the forums; I already know that's an option.

Thanks in advance,
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