Suspension kit - '71 GTO Convertible - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
 
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Suspension kit - '71 GTO Convertible

I'm in the middle of a frame-off restoration. My goal is to have a car that I can drive on a daily basis for a couple of months a year. I've been thinking about the Hotchkis Stage 2 kit and then saw kits from BMR and UNI. I know Hotchkis is good stuff so was leaning that way...saw that BMR was quite a bit less expensive so thought it might be a good option.

I'm looking for a modern day ride that is comfortable for around town and highway...I'm not going to race the car (although it will be a 455).

I contacted BMR and they basically tried to talk me out of their kit saying it was made for racing...it was a bizarre exchange.

Hotchkis got back and said stage 2 was right on although race shocks that come with kit would be fairly stiff.

Has anyone installed either of the kits? Will they give me a modern day ride without rattling my teeth?

I've seen thread that talk about specific components...I'm not smart enough to understand those threads (I'm not a mechanic)...was hoping some had experience and opinion on the turnkey kits....

Thanks
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 08:49 AM
 
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I have used Hotchkis before, but not BMR. They have high quality parts. Not exactly sure what your expectations are when you say "modern ride." IMO the performance of new set of Hotchkis parts will be similar to a new set of standard suspension parts. The new original equipment parts will cost you much less. Regards, Matt

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the response...the "modern ride" is about reducing the sway in cornering, keeping the wheels on the ground over bumps and not floating so much on the expressway. There are several Hotchkis videos demonstrating before and after handling capabilities (e.g. through a slalom course). I've seen videos and shows where people put together their own suspension packages...but I'm not that sophisticated. I like that "after" handling in the Hotchkis videos...just don't want the ride to be so stiff that I can't use the car as an everyday driver....
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 06:45 AM
 
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Right. I saw an improvement in handling after installing the Hotchkis kit too, but I replaced old worn out parts. I have gotten similar results from replacing a worn out suspension with new original equipment components. My point is the basic configuration of the suspension does not change with Hotchkis, so you will still get some roll in cornering - that's more a function of the suspension design than the name brand of the parts. Again, they have quality stuff. If you have a worn suspension, you will really like the improvement. Regards, Matt

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks...was your car an older car? My understanding is that the suspension kits for the older muscle cars is that it does change the geometry of the suspension set-up and that it isn't just refreshing old parts...

I had a 1971 GTO in the early 70's...got it with around 30k miles and it did not handle like cars do today...so I was under the impression that these suspension kits changed the handling characteristics of the car so that they were "better than new". Maybe I was about ready to spend a lot of money needlessly?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 12:42 PM
 
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I installed the Hotchkis suspension parts on a 69 Chevelle. On my 68 GTO, I went with the new original equipment parts. I'm currently down to the frame on a 67 Lemans and about to go with new original equipment parts again. To be clear, I like the Hotchkis parts, but I have not experienced the "better than new" feel you are referring to. Admittedly, I was only about 10 years old when these cars were new. All that said, I'm into spending money when I can get something better, but in my opinion, I don't see (or feel) the significant difference here. I think you want the Hotchkis set up. Try it and see what you think. Best wishes on your project. Hope spring gets to you guys up in Michigan before June. Matt

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for feedback...I don't have a burning desire to buy Hotchkis...again I was under the impression it gave that better-than-new ride. Did you install the full TVS 2 kit?

If there is no real difference in ride I'd rather go with NOS...

It is actually going to get above freezing here for a bit...may take an inch or two off the snow cover but expecting I will be able to skate on my lake into April this year!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 02:01 PM
 
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Yes sir. I believe it was the stage 2 kit. Based on the weather patterns, I'm thinking you will still be on the ice in May.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 08:42 PM
 
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Lets not talk about Michigan's winter, oldest daughter was smart enough to skip town down to Georgia, thats been a popular spot for visits this year. I'm just south of Metro Airport SMC, where you located?

I agree with Matthew, for what the stage two kit costs, you can do whole new Stock suspension with the judge sway bars fore and aft, front and rear Disc brakes and premium gas shocks. Add in a set of Drag bags for your rear springs to help with roll and traction and maybe some adjustable upper and lower control arms and still have some change in your pocket.

I think my Tempest rides better than most of the "new" cars i have had. Lets remember it's a 2 ton full frame coupe that's probably got 18" more wheel base than your new car. It's was meant to be a boulevard cruiser and does quite well at that, with the right tweaks it can be thrown into some corners with limits. These cars were always a little traction deficient mainly do to the torque our motors make down low.

I think the 71-72's are the most muscular looking of the line, love the "in your face" hood, lets see some pics.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 09:11 PM
 
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Glad I read this thread. Was thinking of doing something similar, but if it doesn't really change things that much I'll stick with the standard stuff as well.... Side note, I have 1971 lemans sport that I'm starting to dig into. I'll start a thread on it shortly i guess....
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