How well could a g-body actually handle? What's the limit?

bs009

Greasemonkey
Jul 26, 2008
119
43
Smashville
Obviously these cars are not the best handling cars on the market especially when you compare it to a modern platform where cars use magnetic ride control or some of the other wizardry they have going on.
If you were to go all out on suspension on a g-body could it compare with a modern car like a new Camaro, Mustang, BMW 3 series, etc.?

I'm hoping to hear from some of the folks who've gone all out on these cars with all of the aftermarket goodies short of doing a full on frame swap.
If you go full bolt on parts for suspension and spend the ~$6k: control arms, sway bars, coilovers, etc. will it feel similar to a modern car?


I'm used to driving a w-body myself and it seems to handle far better than my G-body GP, it's way more comfortable and the w-body really isn't that great of a handling car from what the rest of the internet says.
Control arms and coilovers are a pretty good chunk of change on a g-body

For reference my G-body has:
- 36mm front sway bar
- 19mm pro-touring rear sway bar
- Moog 5662 front springs
- Moog 5413 rear springs
- FrameFX kit boxed frame
- poly body bushings
- stock control arms with stock bushings
- 245/40-18 BFG sport-comp2 tires all around
- KYB GR2 shocks all around

Seems like there's almost limitless potential if you go with something like an aftermarket frame but at that point you're talking about $10,000 ish.

Basically I'm trying to decide if this car should really just be a drag car or if it has potential for a competitive autocross car that's fun on the mountain roads.
I can go find some pretty good handling shells of cars with bad engines for about $1k-$3k these days so that's been my plan for a little bit but I'm just curious to hear your opinions.
 
Last edited:

Supercharged111

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 25, 2019
3,589
113
Colorado Springs, CO
Without re-engineering pickup points to alter camber curves and roll centers/roll axis inclination, you're going to be a bit limited in what you can achieve. That's what the custom frames are addressing. That and being stiffer than a wet noodle. That's not to say a set of coilovers wouldn't put a smile on your face, but if you want to embarrass a modern car it's going to require big money and big determination. Being competitive in autox is going to be an uphill battle, but being fun on a mountain road has some wiggle room since it's subjective. What's your competitive driving background? If it's minimal or non-existent, I'm willing to bet you can make the car something you really like without going bonkers.
 
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My85

Traveling Man
Supporting Member
Dec 28, 2021
11
13
North Florida
Obviously these cars are not the best handling cars on the market especially when you compare it to a modern platform where cars use magnetic ride control or some of the other wizardry they have going on.
If you were to go all out on suspension on a g-body could it compare with a modern car like a new Camaro, Mustang, BMW 3 series, etc.?

I'm hoping to hear from some of the folks who've gone all out on these cars with all of the aftermarket goodies short of doing a full on frame swap.
If you go full bolt on parts for suspension and spend the ~$6k: control arms, sway bars, coilovers, etc. will it feel similar to a modern car?


I'm used to driving a w-body myself and it seems to handle far better than my G-body GP, it's way more comfortable and the w-body really isn't that great of a handling car from what the rest of the internet says.
Control arms and coilovers are a pretty good chunk of change on a g-body

For reference my G-body has:
- 36mm front sway bar
- 19mm pro-touring rear sway bar
- Moog 5662 front springs
- Moog 5413 rear springs
- FrameFX kit boxed frame
- poly body bushings
- stock control arms with stock bushings

Seems like there's almost limitless potential if you go with something like an aftermarket frame but at that point you're talking about $10,000 ish.

Basically I'm trying to decide if this car should really just be a drag car or if it has potential for a competitive autocross car that's fun on the mountain roads.
I can go find some pretty good handling shells of cars with bad engines for about $1k-$3k these days so that's been my plan for a little bit but I'm just curious to hear your opinions.
I feel you brother and while this will probably not be a reply along the lines that you were soliciting, I felt compelled to share an experience I had earlier this week when I asked my friend, relatively, the same question. And you may just get a laugh at my stupidity! So, I'm at breakfast with my good friend John, he's an older gentleman (I mean no offense to anyone by that, I only mention his age to speak to his years of experience) who loves everything cars....and he has really been there done that across many platforms. From building and racing 1000+ hp strip cars to owning several muscle cars, super cars and just about everything in between. John is a friend and mentor and a wealth of knowledge so I absolutely love asking him questions just like this. Recently, along with working on my '85 Regal I'm also messing around with my BMW 3 series. Now, I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination but friends have at times accused me of having more money than sense (I have no kids and nor wife.) Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but I will admit to occasionally doing stupid/unnecessary things when it comes to my cars. Most recent example: a stage 2 tune on the 3 series... Anyway, back to breakfast, I ask John with a smile, "what if we did nitrous on the bmw?" And "how about a supercharger?" "Could we make that work in conjunction with twin turbos?" Of course John smiled and laughed and then in his soft and slow way, imparted with one of his simple yet thought provoking responses. John said, "I guess you COULD. With enough money and determination almost anything is possible." And as only He can, (he always asks me a question to lead me to thought an ultimately an answer rather than just giving me his answer/opinion.) He asks, "But my question to you would be, WHY would you?" And as I'm thinking of exactly how I'm going to construct my iron clad response that will convince him to follow me down this rabbit hole, John unleashes his invaluable knowledge backed by years of experience by saying/asking me, "while you are working on your brilliant answer, I'll ask you another question, why do you think there are so many different makes/types of cars?" So, I switch gears and just as I'm about to answer him with the RIGHT answer, he continues..." No one car does it all. There are so many because each have there purpose and place." That along with another hour, give or take, of discussion about possibilities, impossibilities, better/ different options etc, etc. His message/advice was clear, if money is not an issue, sure, you MIGHT be able to pull, just about, anything off so why not turn the world on end. Or.....would the same 10-15-20k be better spent on a better suited starting platform that would achieved far superior results? In your example for instance, 10-20k would go a long way towards a German engineered car with world class suspension and handling that I just don't know if one could even come close to replicating in a gbody. And in my case, I have absolutely no business putting nitrous or a supercharger on a BMW!
Well, there you have it, my very humble two cents, I hope it gave you and/or others a laugh. Peace.🙏
 
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Streetbu

Know it all, that doesn't
Supporting Member
May 22, 2011
3,292
113
Central NY
Yes they can be made to handle. How much you consider handling is subjective though. You can probably get them reasonably close to a slightly modified C5 Vette, but not just wirh bolt on. You'll have A LOT of sweat equity into modifying the a arm mounting points and moving them. Think hundreds of hours of measuring, remembering, welding, measuring, etc. It has been done before, and works well, but is VERY labor intensive and a huge learning curve. Pays off well, but most won't spend the time to do it properly. Contact Ron Sutton, he helped another G body enthusiast do this and knows the G body very well. Once you get past a modified C5 Vette, and into C6, C7 or know even a C8 Vette, once they are modified, and given a good driver, they will be faster than your G body on an autocross track.
So can they be made to handle? Absolutely. Just bolts on, yes, but if you're looking for race winning with bolt on, probably not. I have the Ridetech system with adjustable coilovers and the difference is night and day over KYB shocks and cut lowering springs. I would not consider it race winning by any means though, especially given a prepared Vette. Just my .02
 
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melloelky

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 22, 2017
3,710
113
mass
Obviously these cars are not the best handling cars on the market especially when you compare it to a modern platform where cars use magnetic ride control or some of the other wizardry they have going on.
If you were to go all out on suspension on a g-body could it compare with a modern car like a new Camaro, Mustang, BMW 3 series, etc.?

I'm hoping to hear from some of the folks who've gone all out on these cars with all of the aftermarket goodies short of doing a full on frame swap.
If you go full bolt on parts for suspension and spend the ~$6k: control arms, sway bars, coilovers, etc. will it feel similar to a modern car?


I'm used to driving a w-body myself and it seems to handle far better than my G-body GP, it's way more comfortable and the w-body really isn't that great of a handling car from what the rest of the internet says.
Control arms and coilovers are a pretty good chunk of change on a g-body

For reference my G-body has:
- 36mm front sway bar
- 19mm pro-touring rear sway bar
- Moog 5662 front springs
- Moog 5413 rear springs
- FrameFX kit boxed frame
- poly body bushings
- stock control arms with stock bushings

Seems like there's almost limitless potential if you go with something like an aftermarket frame but at that point you're talking about $10,000 ish.

Basically I'm trying to decide if this car should really just be a drag car or if it has potential for a competitive autocross car that's fun on the mountain roads.
I can go find some pretty good handling shells of cars with bad engines for about $1k-$3k these days so that's been my plan for a little bit but I'm just curious to hear your opinions.
you've done some solid upgrades(that frame jig is cool btw)but you're leaving a bunch on the table by not utilizing a set of good aftermarket(there's a difference) control arms(front-rear) that have some math to them.between the construction/design themselves and the different height ball joints available there's more than just an alignment gain to be had there.you didn't list a current tire/wheel size as that plays a role as well.I've $pent a pile(as i'm sure a lot of us have) on the underside of my pile and it's the best handling car i've ever owned.that said I've never owned a modern car like you mention so i can't speak to that portion.
 
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abbey castro

G-Body Guru
Oct 31, 2015
679
93
Harker Hts TX
IMO:
it is not possible to pin on suspension parts on our cars and have it drive like an Audi RS3 or an M3. Computers control take into account the speed, surface of the road, cornering, stopping requirements and acceleration. My Audi has 3 drive mode: The soft cloud like ride with easy steering to very firm steering and road feel. In the individual mode I can select from a menu what setting I want for steering, damping and exhaust sound.
Take a pig and put lip stick on it and spray perfume on it, it's still a pig!
 
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403Olds

Master Mechanic
May 31, 2014
417
63
South Central Ohio
I feel your pain. I have a series of back to back curves on my drive home. I can compare corner speeds thru this section. I can tell you that my Wbody will surprisingly do well, against my Cutlass, which is pretty equally setup as yours, but I have the 5660 springs in the front, versus the 5662. The tall upper and lower balll joints did help the camber curve. You might look into that. I would be interested in what you think of the 5662's, if you had to cut them at all. My limiting factor is the 15" 60 series tires. You don't state what tires you are running, but a set of sticky low profiles will help also. I have the Hellwig rear bar, but it still pushes a little, but I think that is the flex in the sidewall's mainly.
 
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Supercharged111

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 25, 2019
3,589
113
Colorado Springs, CO
I feel your pain. I have a series of back to back curves on my drive home. I can compare corner speeds thru this section. I can tell you that my Wbody will surprisingly do well, against my Cutlass, which is pretty equally setup as yours, but I have the 5660 springs in the front, versus the 5662. The tall upper and lower balll joints did help the camber curve. You might look into that. I would be interested in what you think of the 5662's, if you had to cut them at all. My limiting factor is the 15" 60 series tires. You don't state what tires you are running, but a set of sticky low profiles will help also. I have the Hellwig rear bar, but it still pushes a little, but I think that is the flex in the sidewall's mainly.

Pushes when? Under braking? Throttle? Steady state? Understeer and oversteer are something the driver is able to manipulate.
 

motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
8,993
113
Saskatchewan, Truckistan
Better than most, and a better ROI than a Schwartz chassis.


Could have been even better with an UMI Sales sponsorship.
 
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