Randy initially went the "slammed" route, bolting on Ford Racing Performance Parts' lowering springs and aftermarket upper/lower rear controls arms. As one would expect, the pieces worked very well on the street, providing the low and mean stance that makes Mustangs look hot, and improving cornering and overall handling. But at the dragstrip, in this suspension trim and with Mickey Thompson drag radials mounted on lightweight Bogart racing wheels, the Pony's best 60-foot time was 1.68.
"If you're trying to seriously drag-race an S197 Mustang, one of the car's biggest drawbacks to achieving good traction is its suspension system, which is not conducive to front-to-rear weight transfer," says Randy. "Our car was lowered, and that hurt its ability to hook and launch hard even more. I had been keeping tabs on how well the new Cobra Jet Mustangs have done at the track over the last year, and decided to try the bolt-on suspension kit on our car."
An antiroll bar is a tubular leverage device that attaches to a Pony's chassis and rearend housing, and helps increase or decrease the rear suspension's firmness. The adjustable bar basically works against chassis roll (brought about by torque), enabling a Mustang to plant both rear tires and launch squarely.
Of course, we've got photos and details for you straight away, so keep reading and see how Bryan Stepinski and Louis Sylvester Jr. (that's right, the NMRA Factory Stock racer) handled this bolt-on project, which takes about two-and-a-half to three hours to accomplish using basic hand and air tools.
On The Dragstrip
With the new suspension pieces in place, Sutton High Performance's return to the track and logged much-improved 60-foot statistics (1.62 compared to the previous best of 1.68).
"We're impressed with this setup," says Randy. "According to Kyle, the launch is much different and solid, with no roll and great hook. I'm sure we can get into the 1.50s with this suspension."
Since the upgrade, the Sutton HP crew has been fighting the challenge of getting the 'Stang to leave without bogging the engine. "The car now dead hooks when Kyle launches at 6,400 rpm. It never did that with the lowering springs and stock antiroll bar," says Randy.
Swapping the stout bracket...
Swapping the stout bracket and double-adjustable upper link is the most challenging task in this or any S197 rear-suspension installation. The upper link sits in the tight space that's directly above and forward of the rearend's center section. The arm allows Brian to dial-in the best pinion angle for the Mustang's new drag configuration.
The 'Stang's lowered look...
The 'Stang's lowered look is gone, but the tail rides higher now, hopefully for the sake of improved launch traction. "Ford Racing states this is a drag-race-only kit. After driving the car for about four months, the only concern is a little noise over bumps from the antiroll bar setup," says Randy. "Other than the noise, the ride quality is good and about the same as the original setup." Sutton HP is working on a quick-disconnect for the antiroll bar, which Randy says will make the system "much more streetable," from a creature-comfort perspective.
Brian adds preload to the...
Brian adds preload to the passenger-side, by turning the antiroll-bar link. This adjustment will increase downforce on the right side of the 'Stang.