87 GN: Difference in performance between "poor man's" suspension upgrade and ridetech coilover/musclebar?


Mar 27, 2021
I have an 87 GN that I am going to upgrade the suspension on. The expensive option, which I don't think I'd ever regret, is to get the ridetech coilover package. But this is big $$ (~$4500 from one vendor). Alternatively, I could just do the Poor Man's suspension, which supposedly gives a pretty great street package. I am not building this for autocrossing, and I'm running 16" GTA wheels (which limits me). What I'm wondering is what % of the improvement I'd get w/just the poor man's approach vs the Ridetech. I get this is very subjective, but is it 75% of the improvement of the Ridetech? Or better or worse? Love to hear thoughts of those who have done the poor man's route. Especially if anybody has ridden in both cars.


Nov 18, 2009
Ottawa, Ontario Canada
I guess that's one way.


Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Sep 17, 2017
I have a version of the Poor Mans suspension on my Cutlass and I am very pleased with it. Mostly explained in my sig, but I need to update it. Let's see if I can get it right- '79 Cutlass, 305 auto, Moog 5660's -1/2 coil in front, Moog 5401 coils in rear, 1-1/4" factory front stabilizer bar with poly bushings, Blazer rear stabilizer bar, Summit upper control arms in front, stock lowers, +1/2" taller upper and lower Proforged ball joints, and stock rear CA. The only high dollar item(s) are the Ridetech HQ single adjustable shocks, but well worth it. Streetbu(Project long time coming) has the full Ridetech coil over setup and frequently comments on its benefits.
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Know it all, that doesn't
Supporting Member
May 22, 2011
Central NY
I have the RideTech coilovers on the front of my car. They definitely did NOT cost that much though. There is a WORLD of difference in how it handles and rides compared to stock suspension. I had poly bushings and cut lowering springs with KYB shocks before. There is no comparison. So much smoother, not as stiff, yet handles so much better. I bought the tru-turn front suspension and HQ coilovers. Used a F body 36mm front sway bar. Already had adjustable rear upper arms, and poly bushings in my stock rear lowers with a factory rear sway bar. Still running regular lowering coil springs and KYB shocks in the back.. Just do it and don't look back.
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Master Mechanic
Feb 26, 2014
Buy once, cry once.
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Aug 8, 2011
Quit messing around and just get the Schwartz chassis. ;)
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Sep 14, 2014
Elderton, Pa
Quit messing around and just get the Schwartz chassis. ;)
Just petty cash for one of those. I love the IRS option that cost more than the basic frame.

Rt Jam

Mar 30, 2020
Ontario Canada
What is considered an upgrade. Improved lap times around a road course, feels better, less lean, more stability? This must be defined before anyone can make a decision.

The Ride Tech or any package from a vendor. Most of the money is for the engineering and convenience.

Front, I am going with single adjustable coil over shocks and UMI arms in the front. This eliminates the rubber bushings, improves geometry (mainly positive caster).
Rear will be remove uppers, torque arm like an F body or GNX and a panhard. No more g body shuffle. Also single adjustable coil overs.

I have built enough cars to learn. Trying to find the right spring in the middle of a build is very challenging. Coil overs are relatively cheap to change the spring rate and fully adjustable ride height is a feature I must have.


Dec 29, 2019
I have a "Hot Rods-to-Hell - HTH" truck arm suspension in the back and tubular A-Arms in the front (not sure what shocks I have). It rides very well and corners great, but when you really hit speeds that I will not mention here, the car becomes a rocket sled on rails, it hugs the ground, rock solid stability and feel with exceptional directional control. With the correct gearing it would probably do 200mph on a NASCAR circuit and still ride nice and smooth on ordinary streets at posted speed limits! But Truck Arm HTH suspensions do not come cheap.
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