I chose another Mopar gear head , named Ron Jenkins , owner of Magnumforce Racecar Fabrication as the chassis builder for the SV HEMI
I had always assumed that sooner or later I'd sell the old 440 and switch over to the HEMI after I got my NHRA license.Ironically enough , just the opposite has occurred.People find this a little hard to believe , but while HEMIs are always cool , it's actually a little boring to drive.Magnumforce did such a great job building a very straight chassis with a strut front end and 4-link , that the car just sits back and goes without much fanfare.The old 440 however , due to its weight ( 3500 lbs ) , higher center of gravity , much lower first gear , and lower rear gearing , lifts up the wheels , bounces a little at the shift and is just - how do I put it - a ball to drive.
To stabilize Susanne's launches , Ron
also suggested throwing out the leaf springs and going with a set of ladder bars , which of course he
built , and a pair of dual adjustable coil over shocks from Aldan..
And while it started to look like a real race car I always disliked the old Chrysler K-Member and torsion bar setup.Ron Jenkins
showed me a new chromoly , bolt in , K-Member replacement that used rack and pinion steering that he
was about to bring to the market.This piece matched up well with his
tubular upper and lower control arms.My old K-Member was toast from years of being beat on to get pan clearance and I know how hard it is to find good Mopar K-Members these days , so the new K-Member/Control Arm/Coil-Over front end seemed like a message from Heaven.You wouldn't believe the weight and space that combo saves.Along with discarding the heavy steel K-Member goes the torsion bars , steering box , ties rods and everything related.And there's a secondary benefit - the rack and pinion steering mounts up front so there's no more hole through the oil pan for the steering tie rod.Now I can get the pan off the motor while it's in the car without having to dismember the beast.My guess is , I tossed between 100 and 200 pounds in the trash.