You live and breathe Mustang. Whether it’s tinkering with it, driving it to shows, or just arm chair racing against your buddies, your Mustang holds a special place in your heart. It’s practically a member of the family, so it deserves something a little special.
The plan isn’t to beat on it every weekend, but it should rise to the occasion when called. Want to hit up an autocross? It’s ready to go. Track Night in America? You bet. One Lap of America? Sure, why not. You need something that will hold it’s own but won’t break the bank or completely reengineer your car.
Welcome to the Blacktop Package.
This package is geared toward the guy who appreciates working on classic cars and wants something a little more involved than what you’d find in the Spec+ Package. It’s a complete package that replaces and evolves the entire front and rear suspension, brakes, steering, and chassis. Some minor welding will be required (for the subframe connectors) but the rest of the package is bolt on, requiring the use of typical hand tools. Blacktop is the last stop before we start talking more involved installations.
And this thing rips like you wouldn’t believe.
What’s in the Blacktop Package
Up front we call in our MOD 1 Front Suspension Kit, a complete kit that replaces the stock upper and lower control arms, strut rods, shocks, sway bar, and bushings but doesn’t reengineer it. Look, Ford was on the right track with the original design, but it’s been 50 years and we’ve learned a lot.
For instance, caster. Caster is essentially the alignment angle of the upper and lower balljoint (it’s more complicated than that, but let’s keep things simple). In the 60s no one thought it was that important, so they set up a degree or two. Today, we know that the sweet spot is 6-7 degrees to minimize darting on the highway and improve high speed stability. That’s why we’ve engineered our upper arms to be offset, increasing base caster to fit in with our modern demands.
On the camber front, we offer a redesigned lower control arm with an adjustable heim joint. This allows you to easily dial in your preferred camber while also giving us a new way to attached our solid mount strut rods (which are also adjustable).
Are you sensing a trend here? The goal with our MOD 1 Front Suspension is to not only improve everything about the front of the car, but also to give you a level of adjustability that the old suspension simply could not offer. Combine this with an alignment from a shop that actually knows what they’re doing and you’ll feel a tighter, more responsive front end that’s point and shoot.
We know that leaf springs can flex side to side by as much as 2 inches. In a sharp turn (like when avoiding something in the road) they flex out and suddenly snap back. This feeling is hard to describe, other than “I don’t like that.” So our goal is to create stability, and a positive feeling in the rear of the car when you need it most.
We start with our proprietary leaf spring. Leaf springs get a bum rap, mostly because the ones on the market today are typically constructed of the lowest quality steel in a design that hasn’t been touched in 50+ years. So we went back to the drawing board and came up with a design that improves lateral control, minimizes wheel hop (even on high horsepower applications), and utilizes an unusual mix of bushings to improve ride quality. We then back this up with a set of Bilstein shocks. Simple and effective.
If you’ve ever tried parking one of these cars without power steering, you know just how essential it is. But finding the right combination of pieces is a daunting task. Our focus started with the proper steering geometry, a bunch of math that helps tell us engineers how natural the steering is going to feel. After all, it shouldn’t take 13 turns of the wheel to turn a corner, nor should it take half a turn to make a u-turn.
So we start by replacing the steering box with a high quality KBS unit with a 14:1 ratio. We back that up with a KRC Power Steering pump, the likes of which can be found on everything from street rods to race cars. From there we source quality replacement components: center link, tie rod adjusters, and inner and outer tie rods. Again, focusing on the best stock replacements we can find, not the ones from the discount bin.
Okay, we get it. You want four wheel disc brakes. Though we’re big fans of drum brakes in the rear, we understand that rear discs brings some advantages, especially in track scenarios. But there’s a reason we like the stock brakes: the rear axle flexes. It flexes a lot. I don’t care if you have a Currie unit from a Sherman tank, the rear axles will flex. This has the effect of pushing the rotors (which are mounted to the axles) around within the caliper. So instead of having the pads gently riding the rotor, there’s a gap. This gap has to be filled when pushing the brake, which makes the whole system feel inconsistent and scary.
So what do guys do? The buy a bigger master (which moves more fluid at a lower pressure, resulting in even worse brake feel), they back it up with a brake booster (don’t get me started) and then they start asking about firewall reinforcements because they have to put so much effort into the brake pedal.
We want to use discs in the rear, so how do we overcome this problem? We opt for a floating caliper, like the one found in the Wilwood D154 setup. The floating caliper effectively moves with the rear, minimizing the air gap that’s naturally created. Frankly, it’s the only rear setup we really like.
Up front we like the Wilwood Dynapro 6 Brake kit, but you have a choice to make, because the Superlite 6 kit also makes sense.
The Dynapro has slightly less mass, so it fits under a smaller wheel and works well for autocross and the occasional light track day. The Superlite 6 is a bigger caliper, and more size means better heat management. This caliper is better suited for those who want to get aggressive on the track.
Either way, the new 6 piston designs more effectively manage brake pad wear. Couple this with an upgraded brake pad and a tandem master cylinder and you’ll have a system that stops on a dime and gives you back 9 cents in change.
Big Pin Spindles
In 1970, Ford introduced a beefier wheel spindle that is easily adapted to the front of the earlier cars with variations of the same parts listed above. Not only does this give you a stronger unit to bolt your wheels and new disc brakes to, it allows you to use a DRP Bearing spacer. These spacers lock the bears in one place, eliminating wheel flex on the spindle, improving wheel spin, and allowing you to “lock down” the wheel bearings.