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Old 03-07-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
Back in the 60's when IRS was a fairly new technology, maybe. It would take a lot of work to make a vintage car with leaf springs outhandle a modern sports car with IRS.
i would agree with you except that by the time the E type jag came out, the IRS and four wheel disc brakes had been well sorted out, and were quite good even compared to todays standards. as for it taking a lot of work to get a leaf spring car to handle as well as a modern IRS car, again rubbish, it just takes the proper set up, and that is just a few simple modifications.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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I don't know if he's still in business, but the chief designer of at least some of the Trans-Ams, Herb Adams, had a tuning business and sold parts to uprate handling on older Detroit live-axle cars.

Your original question is more about the live axle than it is about the leaf springs, IMHO.

As has already been posted, you can approach but not equal IRS particularly if you have a lot of bumpy turns to deal with. On a very smooth road or track, the greater unsprung weight of the live axle matters less.

When people talk about handling, sometimes they are actually talking about how many lateral G's the car can pull on a smooth skid pan, and sometimes they are talking about the more nebulous ability of the car to inspire confidence in the driver that it will go where he tells it.

Just one case in point would be a bone-stock MG-B - it has king pins, live axle, looking at the specifications of it's steering and suspension it has nothing going for it but front disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering. Stock, they even have "knee-action" shock absorbers, like a 1930's Detroit car. But, the system is well tuned, and it actually works pretty well.

For Camaros and Firebirds, depending on how hard-core you want to get, there are kits to put harder bushings into the suspension links, where the General originally put rather soft rubber in the interest of a softer ride, and the old 60s and 70s cars generally benefit from at least replacing the bushings, since they have generally deteriorated with age and wear.
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