SC&C has been building hot rods and race cars cars since 1984. Our staff are all hardcore automotive enthusiasts with backgrounds in street and race car building, racing, fabrication,design, etc. We pride ourselves on offering suspension packages and components that bring the classics up to par with modern performance cars and can be driven anywhere,anytime with complete reliability.
Why are SC&C’s Street-Comp packages supposed to be better than just using other makers’ tubular arms? They claim big handling improvements.
Changing just the upper A arms can only do so much. The length and offset of the arms has very little effect on camber change, roll center or overall handling. They add sometimes + caster which can make the car track straighter at speed and improve turn in. However too much can make the car feel vague and the steering sluggish so that only goes so far. As the + caster is increased there is a tiny improvement in camber as a side effect when the wheels are turned. SC&C’s SPC adj. upper arms have this benefit as well as more and easier caster adjustment. To make any profound improvement in the suspension geometry of cars that need it the actual pivoting points (pickup points) that determine that geometry need to be moved vertically. Road race cars like Penske’s ’69 Camaro SCCA TransAm Series race car used special taller spindles, raising the upper ball joint pivot points like our Street-Comp packages do. This was the genesis of the AFX tall aluminum spindles. For years circle track racers that run stock G or F body chassis have used taller truck upper ball joints to improve the geometry. They’ve been doing this kind of thing for years by fabricating new parts, mixing and matching stock parts, modifying suspension/frame mounts etc. That’s how to win races with a less than perfect factory chassis and a small budget. We’ve taken that race experience, applies new technology and brought it up to date with our Street-Comp packages. Major suspension improvements, not just shiny parts.
All parts we sell are both race and street tested. We use them on our own cars and live with them everyday. Their durability and longevity are excellent and in most cases far exceed that of factory parts. Many like the SPC arms and Howe ball joints and tie rod ends are adjustable for wear and fully rebuildable.
Yes…and no. They’ll physically bolt together and you could drive the car around but there’s a catch or two. There’s the fact that the original arms on A, G and 1st Gen F body cars were originally designed to droop down over the frame and have the ball joints at the proper angle for a full range of travel. Once you lower the car, go to taller spindles or ball joints etc. the arms end up closer to level and the ball joints end up close to binding at ride height. Hitting a big bump can bind up the ball joints and put a tremendous amount of stress on them as well as the upper A arms and A arm mounting bolts. They’ll only take that for so long before something fails…
Much of it also has to do with alignment. A lot of folks think if their car goes straight and doesn’t chew up the tires that it’s aligned properly and working as well as it can. They’re kidding themselves and they’re missing out on a LOT of performance. The alignment specs recommended in the `60s and `70s (and even `80s!) were anything but performance oriented. In fact they’ve changed little since the 1940s. Today almost every car is using power steering and we’re all running high performance radial tires (except for the resto guys but that’s another story…) these tires are often more than twice the width of the originals, we’ve also got another 40 years or so of experience to draw on. What’s more, once we’ve corrected the geometry so that it works like a new performance car it demands the same type of alignment those cars run to achieve peak performance.
Modern performance cars run a LOT more + caster and – camber. The + caster helps the cars track better at highway speeds and gives better steering feel. The – camber helps keep the tire’s contact patch flat on the road surface during cornering. It’s part of what makes new cars drive like new cars. Using these kinds of settings on older cars yields a BIG improvement in drivability and performance but because they were designed around different specs it’s usually impossible to attain the best numbers with stock parts and shims. Lowering the car or increasing the effective spindle height with taller spindles or taller ball joints all add more + camber making it ever harder to dial in a – camber setting (which is what we want). That’s the big reason for different upper arms. The taller spindles or tall ball joints make the big geometry improvements and the proper upper A arms make it possible to combine the new parts and geometry with the proper performance alignment, an unbeatable combination!
Will SC&C’s SPC arms work with the B car spindle swap? What’s the difference between Street-Comp and the B swap?
Yes, our SPC arms will work with the taller B and 2nd Gen F body spindles. That said these swaps, which were popular in the `80s and `90s have fallen from favor as much better solutions have become available. This swap requires a shorter upper arm so you just adjust the arms to fit and set the alignment. The B/F swap offers better than stock brakes and improves the camber curves and roll center height due to their taller overall height. That’s the good news, but the bad news is that the B/F spindles were designed for a totally different car. So while they can be bolted on (with mods), not everything lines up correctly. The steering arms are longer which slows the steering ratio and upsets the ackerman angle (the difference in the angles of the tires when you turn). Worse, it doubles the amount of bumpsteer, which is really bad to begin with! This makes the car very unnerving to drive at high speeds and annoying to drive at cruising speeds. The B setup is also quite heavy and increases the track width of the car, which may lead to tire clearance problems with fenders. Street-Comp packages such as the Stage 2-Plus and StreetComp-AFX even more geometry benefits than the B/F swap while correcting virtually all of the factory bump steer, retaining (or improving) the ackerman and saving weight! There are simply no downsides, because the components aren`t haphazardly thrown onto a car they weren`t designed for, they`re purpose built for that application. Braking can be easily upgraded with premium performance pads and rotors or aftermarket kits such as those offered by Baer Brakes.
For general performance street use we usually recommend SPC Performance Touring springs. Sold as a kit with matched front and rear springs they yield a firm but comfortable ride and much better handling than stock springs. They also lower the car about 1.25″ in the front and 1″ in the rear. We used to recommend another brand but were put off by occasional incorrect springs and poor customer service. SPC`s quality and customer service are both absolutely top shelf.
We haven’t had the best luck with Moog springs the last several years so we no longer recommend them at all.
There is a point of diminishing returns with spring rates where you gain less and less performance for a increasingly larger trade off in ride quality and rough road holding ability. Very high spring rates also require matching dampening rate shocks and can give the car a very nervous ride due to those springs higher natural ride frequencies. For cars that will see very race oriented use we can recommend specific spring rates and/or coil over springs for your application. Bottom line, run as much spring rate as you need for your application but no more than that.