Needing Dragracing specific suspension guidance for my 81 Regal

Birdoprey

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Sep 5, 2022
20
3
Looking for some suspension guidance/direction from the experienced drag racers! I picked up my 81 Regal a couple months ago(my first G-Body). The guy i got it from street raced it evidently on a budget. $$$ was spent on the motor/drivetrain and the suspension/brakes were left wanting...lol. It has a 555" BBC thats supposed to pump out around 800hp n/a(Meaux Racing Victor alum heads, Reheer/Morrison ported Super Victor intake, Solid roller cam, Davinci 1150 Dominator among other things). Also has a 250 shot. 3800 stall feeding a built Powerglide with trans brake. Ford 9" rear with alum center section(3:73 gears) and aftermarket axles. Not sure if it has a spool or some type of limit slip/locker but its def not an open carrier. Suspension wise, its sporting UMI non-adjustable rear LCA's and UMI single adjustable rear UCA's. There is a pretty thick(over 1" thick) sway bar attached to both LCA's out back. There is no bracing that i see. Car does have a 6 point roll bar which i'm sure i'll need to upgrade as well. Front shocks are old Comp Engineering adjustable shocks that are leaking so need replacing. The rear shocks look to be some type of stk shocks. Front upper and lower control arms are stk. Rear wheels are Summit 15X8's with MT 275/60R15 ET Street Radial Pro's i believe. I have yet to take it to the track as it had some oil leaks from the motor(fixing those) and the brakes are stk disc up from and stk drum in the rear with a manual master cylinder. I've run it up the road to see how it handled and lets just say its pretty scary. I plan to upgrade the brakes front and rear including the master. Will still be manual brakes but will be MUCH better. After doing some research, i feel the rear suspension will need more than what it has to be safe and have a chance at hooking up. I "think" the drivetrain to be capable of high 5's to low 6's in the 1/8. If not, i will be addressing that so that it IS capable of running somewhere in the 5's in the 1/8. With that being said, what do you G-Body Dragracing Suspension GuRu's suggest as far as suspension? Would love specific part info from someone that has run that fast or faster if possible.
'
 

64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
5,086
113
Upstate NY
Adjustability in the rear anm mounting points so you can adjust the instant center. Definitely need adjustable uppers and lowers. Coil overs are preferred, but need double adjustable shocks at a minimum. And ARB if some nature is definitely required.

Jdam wingnutks GroceryGetter83

These guys have pretty well designed rear suspensions . wingnutks saved my bacon with some excellent general setup knowledge. My setup is minorly adjustable with a decently good IC and double adjustables - but it is 100% a budget minded deal and nothing you want to copy for a hard hitting BB with nitrous.

If you have the money, then there are plenty of weld in setups you can buy or have some one install for you.
 

Birdoprey

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Sep 5, 2022
20
3
Adjustability in the rear anm mounting points so you can adjust the instant center. Definitely need adjustable uppers and lowers. Coil overs are preferred, but need double adjustable shocks at a minimum. And ARB if some nature is definitely required.

Jdam wingnutks GroceryGetter83

These guys have pretty well designed rear suspensions . wingnutks saved my bacon with some excellent general setup knowledge. My setup is minorly adjustable with a decently good IC and double adjustables - but it is 100% a budget minded deal and nothing you want to copy for a hard hitting BB with nitrous.

If you have the money, then there are plenty of weld in setups you can buy or have some one install for you.
My $$$ situation requires me to be budget minded! That being said, I’ll do what needs to be done once I figure out what that is.
 

81cutlass

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 16, 2009
4,362
113
Western MN
Honestly-

Put in a nice 8.50 cage kit

Have whoever is welding your cage in put these in too

Good set of adjustable shocks

And a real drag style rear roll bar
 
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Reactions: 1 user

81cutlass

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 16, 2009
4,362
113
Western MN
Do you have any photos of the existing 10.0 legal cage? A 10.0 cage MIGHT be able to be upgraded to a 8.50 if the bars are in the right spot, but MRC makes the pre bent kit these days that's actually nice and an easy weld in.

The issue is a chassis shop (since you mention you aren't a welder) is going to probably charge more to upgrade a decent 10.0 cage rather then just buying a new good quality 8.50 kit and starting from scratch. If you are in the central, east, or south in the US there is likely a chassis shop that can put a pre bent cage in under week for ~$2500. I'd expect a pre bent kit to be $5000 installed and NHRA inspected. There are additional things like battery cutoffs, bellhousing/trans blankets, driveshaft hoops, harnesses, etc that aren't included in there.

Low 9's is a serious car. If the 10.0 cage is well done, you could likely look at just getting some instant center improvement bolt on or light weld on brackets and going from there. If the cage is OK possibly pull some timing out, try to get it to run 10.0's reliably. The jump from 10.10 to 9.70 is significant in terms of safety equipment so I'd get the car to be reliable 10.10 first, and then look at going into the low 9's.

I totally get the staged, budget build. The issue is when you jump into a car that already is a serious high HP setup it's tough to grow with the power as it's already there. You have a lot of deferred chassis/safety mainentence.
 
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Rt Jam

Master Mechanic
Mar 30, 2020
340
63
Ontario Canada
I've run it up the road to see how it handled and lets just say its pretty scary.
'

The adjustable uppers are ONLY to change pinion angle. The lack of adjustment on the lower arms is fine. You only need to adjust upper to change pinion angle.
As for traction, only changing the mounting position of the lower arm will change that. If you have an aftermarket housing, it might have optional mounting points.

None of those stock or upgrades will change your original complaint. Why is it scarey? All over the road or poor brakes? Explain in detail.
 

64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
5,086
113
Upstate NY
Start with a good cage and stiffen the car first.
Definitely the 1st step that I left out. I kinda assumed that this was in the works, but it needs to be mentioned.
 

64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
5,086
113
Upstate NY
My $$$ situation requires me to be budget minded! That being said, I’ll do what needs to be done once I figure out what that is.
Re-reading your 1st post and seeing ^^^^, it sounds like you’re trying spend your money wisely which is a great idea.

Are you concerned about being NHRA legal? If yes, then get the 8.50 cert cage done 1st as that will stiffen everything a bunch. Decide on a ride height and a tire size. If you intend to lower the car or raise it, then that will require different parts or parts with A LOT of adjustability. But you can save some money by losing some adjustability if you start out at a ride height and stay with it.

Are you going to run slicks(guessing yes), but if you intend to run a radial, then that will change things in the rear suspension.

IMO what you’re trying to do is not impossible at all, but not easy with a non-turbo car. NA, nitrous, blown setups are much more difficult than turbo setups because it’s all about the 60’. If the budget is unlimited, then it becomes easier as well.

A local guy with the right knowledge is worth some frequent visits with a present (beer works best me ;) ).

Good luck- Jim
 

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