Pro touring frame

Discussion in 'Stock Appearing' started by jimhirt, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. jimhirt

    jimhirt 1970 Stage 1 19A, 1970 GS

    Getting ideas about a pro touring frame. I have a 70 stage 1 and a fresh engine 500hp engine. Wondering about the best money spent on suspension, drivetrain, steering ratio and all the xtras. I will keep the original interior and exterior per paint 19A interior 185. Please put your thoughts in. Original Engine and drivetrain gone.
  2. N360LL

    N360LL milehi71Stage1

    I've been thinking about what a Buick A- body Pro Touring style car would for a while . I don't think I'd use a Stage1 as a starting point. I'd find a Skylark or Post Coupe as a starting point.

    The build I have in my head start with a convertible frame for rigidity and add a roll cage to that. The suspension is tubular a-arms in front with adjustable shocks, big disc brakes with rack-and -pinion steering maybe. Rolling stock is big on Buick style wheels custom built to fit car.

    Engine would be big-block Buick with some sort of multi-carb or injection system; maybe a power adder. Transmission would be a 5 or 6 speed by McCloud or Richmond. Driveline hoop(s) a must.

    Rear suspension would be relatively stock in appearance with unequal length upper and lower control arms but adjustable on top and boxed on bottom. Adjustable shocks here too. And a watts-link a well instead of a typical anti-roll bar. Third member would be modified 12-bolt with Big discs and narrowed to allow for enough tire. This would require a mini-tub or something similar.

    The concept would be a combination or period correct Trans-Am technology, a bit or NASCAR tech and a healthy does or the GM parts bin from Chevy, Olds, Caddy and Pontiac for those very cool items that Buicks didn't get (exhaust by-pass, tic-toc-tach, etc).
  3. 73 Centurion

    73 Centurion Well-Known Member

    do a search for "Black Widow 2" and you'll find a car that is right up your alley.
  4. ss4825

    ss4825 Well-Known Member

  5. ToddsGS

    ToddsGS Founders Club Member

    You can see my "Pro Touring style" GSX in the links below.

    If I was to do it all over I would consider DSE stuff for the front & rear suspension.

    We built our own Cro-Moly crossmember and beefed up the frame with some extra Cro-Moly tubing. Look closely at the crossmember section of the frame. Overall crossmember with extra tubing was still lighter than a stock crossmember! (And definately stiffer)

    Ride is night and day over a stock A-Body. 3,380 pounds and really didn't chase the weight issue like I could have.

    Good luck with your project, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
  6. ToddsGS

    ToddsGS Founders Club Member

    One other note regarding brakes, I chose wilwoods which work just fine and still allow for the Factory 15" wheels which I do run from time to time. With my car being 3,300 pounds I didn't feel the need for big huge brakes. Your overall weight when finished may be a factor though??
  7. jimhirt

    jimhirt 1970 Stage 1 19A, 1970 GS

    I am listening Todd. Thanks for the reply. Great advice... First time at this pro touring idea, so I am way behind the eight ball. Give me time to educate myself and I am coming full stem ahead. You have a great read on the GSX rex. I found myself after years of search of the original drive train thinking of other ideas. Cheers
  8. Nothingface5384

    Nothingface5384 Detail To Oil - Car Care

    fay 2 watts seems like the best watts systyem..but look up mumford seems to be a better design then tyhe watts...bad thing for some of us is theirs no you got to custom make it..
  9. Phil

    Phil It really *is* a 350...

    I've been slowly working my way to updating my suspension and on Tuesday I finally got around to installing my tubular lower control arms and the UMI Performance adjustable upper control arms. I also installed a set of variable rate springs. The front suspension is stock except for a 1-1/4" SD Trans Am swaybar , poly bushings and 2" drop spindles.

    Sofar, the ride quality and handling have improved greatly. I'm installing a Spohn pro-touring adjustable rear sway bar this weekend as well as a detroit locker for the rear end.

    Then that's it for this year. I want to drive it so I plan on doing the front upper and lower control arms next spring. They'll be replaced with UB Machine units.

    Next summer I plan on installing front and rear coil overs. Once that's done, I'll toss in a 2-1/2 to 3 turn steering box and that should be it for the suspension.

    Good luck on the project. I've had mine since 89 and it's still not done. :)
  10. ToddsGS

    ToddsGS Founders Club Member

    I feel that the quick ratio steering boxes make these cars much more enjoyable! I'd recommend one even if your car doesn't carry a pro touring theme!
  11. online170

    online170 Well-Known Member

    Have a peak over at

    There are LOTS of ways to skin this cat. You can improve on the cars original frame. You can start from scratch, or you can modify other sports chassis to retrofit onto the A-body.

    Go to google and search for SC&C, Art Morrison, Swartz Performance (Gmachine), and SRG or HRG maybe? Something like Hot Rod Garage, they use c5 chassis parts and retrofit them to a completely boxed in and reinforced frame.

    The selling point is that its custom tailored to your wheel and drivetrain options.
  12. gsxnut

    gsxnut Well-Known Member

    I am not sure if you want to use it once you build it or just have something that looks really cool. If you want something with serious performance for Autocross or Road Racing check out the following.

    I would start with the SRG Frame system. It seems to be the best on the market for a GM A-Body.

    With this setup you go with C5 suspension. I would upgrade the brakes to a large brake system.

    Art Morrison MaxG

    If you go with the stock frame start with a convertible frame and then add some additional support.

    I like the SC&C front upper control arms that are adjustable

    I like Metco Motorsport for the rear upper and lower control arms.

    I like HRPartsNStuff rear swaybar setup if you go solid axle. It give a solid connection to the frame.

    I like Currie Enterprises rear ends

    I like the Hotckis front hollow sway bar

    I prefer Wilwood but Baer brakes and Brembo are also very good. I would go with 14" fronts and 13" rears for some serious stopping power.

    I prefer Bilstien or Koni adjustable shocks on all four corners. You can go very elaborate or very basic. The more you spend the more adjustability you get.

    Other parts and ideas

    I would also go with stiffer springs in the front then stock. I think I have 530 springs in the front. You could go stiffer and still be road worthy.

    Air Ride Suspension Kits - Very Adjustable

    Independent Rear Suspension - I know there is at least one kit out there and Currie sells a rear end.

    Put a cage in the car to stiffen it up.

    Minitub the car to get larger tires in the back. I saw a 72 convertible at the GS Nats a couple years back where the guy did 2 1/2" tub on both sides and got 13" wheels under the back.

    Definitely get a quick ratio steering box. Either go aftermarket or get yours rebuild. Either way it will feel a ton more like a modern car.

    Stiffen or at a minimum replace the body bushings on the car.

    Larger aluminum or magnessum custom wheels. You want to reduce the unsprung weight of the car.

    Move the battery to the back of the car. The cars are front heavy from the factory.

    Install a fuel cell in place of the gas tank.

    Need to get a modified oil pan. Either go to a dry-sump system or have a custom pan built. I like the SRE pans and the owner will work with you to get a good set.

    That is at least a decent start.

    I have the following on the GSX

    1. Metco Motorsports rear control arms.
    2. Global West anti-roll system with upper and lower control arms, spindles, stiffer springs, adjustable shocks, 13" willwood front brakes
    3. 17" x 8 " wheels
    4. Hotchkis hollow front sway bar.

    when I did mine the only parts I could find were Global West. I think the parts are good but I am not happy with the company service or business practices. I would not do business with them again.

  13. Phil

    Phil It really *is* a 350...

    Depending on what class you're racing in, you're restricted to the factory frame.

    Mark's got some expensive taste. :laugh: Everything he called out is excellent equipment but if your on a tight budget, I spent a lot of time looking into getting comparable equipment on a budget.

    For the front upper control arms, the Savitske models take the cake. They've got full adjustability, and they're not much more expensive than the UB Machine 14-092+1/8-6+1/8-L and 14-092+1/8-6+1/8-R that are non adjustable tubular stock replacement pieces.

    UB Machine's catalog is here

    The UB Machine lower control arms are still the most inexpensive units I've found anywhere at $169 EACH. The part numbers are 32-3210-RS and 32-3210-LS.

    Both upper and lower have bushings (solid) but require you to purchase ball joints.

    Upper rear control arms, I went with UMI Performance. Their fully adjustable "Ultimate" upper arms (PN# 4017) are a work of art and they cost $189 a pair. They can be found here

    I manufactured my lower control arms back in 1993 from rectangular stock and Energy Suspension polygraphite bushings. They've held up for 17 years of abuse and cost me about $75 for the bushings (upper and lower in the kit) and another $6 for the tubing. Amazing how much of a markup there is in these things. Mine are 3/4" longer than stock, and they totally eliminated wheel hop.

    For the rear sway bar, I went to Spohn and got their Pro Touring Sway Bar. It cost me $395 last summer but it's currently onsale at their site for $335.

    My front sway bar is a 1-1/4" from a 1974 Super Duty Trans Am that was waiting on the crusher in an impound yard. I used Energy Suspension bushings and end links on it. The busings cost me more than the bar did.

    If I had the budget for it, I'd get a Ride Tech Muscle Bar and save about $250 over DSE's splined bar.

    My rear springs are a set of variable rate springs for a 1979 LeMans (or so I was told). But if you're going pro-tour I'd go coil-over. I've been looking at kits and they are all pretty comparable on price. I've pretty much decided on the bolt-in kit from Ride Tech. The kit from UMI Performance is a bit less but it requires welding. the Ride Tech kit also gives you a lot of upgrade options.

    As for brakes, I'd look at something inexpensive that works, maybe B-Body or 1LE Camaro brakes.

    I'm just attacking the equation from a budget perspective. I'd love to have resources to purchase the equipment that Mark has on his beautiful GSX but I figured it'd be nice to have a small list of alternative selections that can get the job done.
  14. gsxnut

    gsxnut Well-Known Member

    Those are some awesome ideas Phil. I agree the list I put together does not take into account a budget. I did not see anything on the post that asked to account for a budget so I threw out some hi end stuff. The landscape has changed drastically in the last 10 years since I bought my equipment.

    I really like the musclebar. I had not seen that. All of your other idea are also really great and cost conscience too.

    I have to admit that I spent a good chunk of change but at the time I could not find any other alternatives and I looked for months to find them. I did not know anyone even attempting it at the time.

    IMHO - If I was not serious about actually taking the car on track days, I would not spend near the money on the parts.

  15. Phil

    Phil It really *is* a 350...


    Yeah I'm sorry I didn't mean to come off sounding like a knob. :( The last thing I want to do is diminish anyone's work, no matter the cost. I knew right away from your selection of hardware that you we're serious about running it on a track.

    Anyways, I'm just budget minded because I know there's a lot of guys like myself who over the years have found the budgets for their muscle car being reallocated for other things, like a new patio, a swimming pool, water heater, dish washer, braces, college tuition, etc. :)

    My intent was just to throw out inexpensive alternatives to the otherwise great list of equipment you posted.

    I know what you mean about the Global West thing cornering the early market too. No one around here even had tubular lower control arms back in the early 90's. When I fabricated mine on the bench in my garage no one even thought they'd work let alone last. If I'd had half a clue that I could have used some *round* tubing and nice rod ends I'd have done that instead. :)

  16. jimhirt

    jimhirt 1970 Stage 1 19A, 1970 GS

    I want to thank everyone who has commented on this thread. Your knowledge/research has given a more positive move towards a pro touring car. I should add my car will have a date coded correct 455 engine as well and the trans and the rearend gears are still open. My budget and my wife budget make this thread an almost sticky thread. So thanks in advance. Fall/Winter is coming soon and the garage will be ready for fall and winter changes for my 70 BUICK . Some may hedge the stage 1 car I want to change to a pro touring car. I have tried to find to no avail ...and I have none of the drivetrain. Hence, date coded correct parts is a tad bit less maybe in the money, but my son will be driving in 7 years. So Cheers, Jim :beer
  17. ToddsGS

    ToddsGS Founders Club Member

    Don't worry about that, it's your car so you should build it the way YOU want. Besides, no matter what you build - you will NEVER please everyone. So build it the way it pleases you! After all, that's what Hot Rodding is all about.

    Have Fun - Keep us posted!
  18. GSX4me

    GSX4me Well-Known Member

    If you want an A-body Pro Touring chassis for LOOKS :kodak: & HANDLING:3gears: , check this out;

    RS Performance Concepts:

    I've seen a few of their finished projects at local car shows, with '55-'57 Chevy's, and the quality is over the top!

    A modernized version of Brad's Prototype (White) GS-X (with similar colors & patterns, inside & out; different materials & smooth/modern/High Tech appearance)...
    that handles like Todd's (Yellow) GSX/G-Rex...
    T/A Performance Aluminum 455/EFI/twin turbos/serpentine...
    Indash & A-pillar Dakota Digital gauges (Blue & Red)...
    Original mirrors removed & replaced; Cameras hidden in new Camaro Sport Mirrors/rear window; Monitors indash/overhead console...

    :shock: Oops, I've said too much, already...
    (closing the garage door now, so you didn't see all the GS-X parts you thought you saw...:bglasses:)
  19. ToddsGS

    ToddsGS Founders Club Member

    That is a VERY cool Frame!!
  20. GSX4me

    GSX4me Well-Known Member

    ...and located close enough to get the engine/driveline in it, wheels on it, and DRIVE it home!:bglasses:

    Read up on the Green '70 Chevelle that they have in their articles, and For Sale; pretty impressive, overall, for autocrossing/track performance/street handling!:shock:

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