Building A Foundation With Chris Alston’s Chassisworks’ Frames
As any builder knows, a solid foundation is the key to any successful project. Imagine the epic failure if the Egyptians had not ensured the base of the Pyramid of Giza was beefy enough to support the multi-million tons of weight. Our street rod projects aren’t quite to the same magnitude as one of the Wonders of the World but it can certainly feel that way sometimes. A hearty chassis can make all the difference for the longevity, durability and performance of your Rod. Chris Alston’s Chassisworks of Sacramento, CA knows the value in a correctly built foundation.
Since the ‘70s, Chris Alston has been building winning drag race chassis’, gaining him multiple “Best Engineered” awards from the NHRA. Utilizing the lightweight technology of drag race chassis design, Alston began building parts with options to allow for countless configurations, pushing the envelope on the pro-touring front. Chris Alston’s Chassisworks offers a variety of build routes to cover the wide ranging diversity of the performance automotive community.
A prime example of CA Chassisworks’ engineering is the 1970-1981 2nd Generation Chevy Camaro Full-Frame System. Comprised of 3 modular frame sections, this system is the perfect core to a competition dominating, corner carving, Pro Touring or Drag Racer. The front and rear sections are independently usable from each other, and can help anyone at any stage of their build. “The modularity of our entire system is the biggest plus, it can be used for any vehicle set up, street to race,” shared Lino Chestang of CA Chassisworks.
Not ready to tackle the front end of your car but need to do something about the aging components out back? No problem, drop in a g-Bar Rear Suspension with Full Length Frame option and choose your poison. The front g-Machine Front Sub-frame can also be done without having the rear and is the high performance steering and suspension solution to your decaying OE parts.
Also available is the bridge between the two; a Chassisworks Subframe Connector System which ties the whole thing together. This section offers additional support for the lower suspension points as well as the entire vehicle.
Moving Up Front // Front End
Front Suspension Options
• Control Arms: Street-Machine (available in polished stainless or black gloss) or g-Machine (available in matte black).
• Spindles: High ductile strength cast spindles (available in bare or black gloss), fabricated 4130 drag-race that weigh less than 6lbs (available in black gloss) or new Billet Aluminum upright with unit-bearing wheel hub.
• Brakes: Drag-race, 11-3/4-inch street, 13, 14, or 15-inch performance with up to six piston Wilwood or Baer caliper options.
• Shocks: VariShock coilovers or air-springs in 16-position, single- or double-adjustable versions, 4-way adjustable single body or remote reservoir coilovers. All featuring high-end technology, American made components and tons of adjustability.
• Steering: Billet manual rack and pinion (available in polished or satin) or Billet power rack and pinion (available in chrome or black gloss). Uses classic tie-rod ends or bump-steer spherical rod end kits.
• Anti-Roll Bar: Urethane bushed OEM style bars or splined billet torsion arm versions.
• Tubular transmission crossmembers for many popular factory and aftermarket automatic and manual transmissions.
The 2nd Gen Camaro factory front suspension lacks adjustability. A basic shock nestled inside a spring, though not a coilover, was an extremely popular factory style front suspension at the time, but is limited by design with today’s standards. For any serious driver or racer, adjustments are needed. Adjustments and fine tuning make the difference between a good car and a great car.
The g-Machine Front Subframe has the goods required for immense adjustability and is designed to directly install into a 2nd Gen Camaro. The fully fabricated chassis is loaded with OEM body mounts as well as OEM bumper and core support mounts to ensure easy integration into your vehicle. A one piece mandrel-bent crossmember, built from 4×2-inch steel, spans the gap between the rails.
Small-block, big-block or LS Engines can easily find a home with engine side-mount stands. Or for a more intense setup, optional motor-plate mounts are available with corresponding mid-plate mounts. Four different moveable tubular transmission crossmembers are available to cover all applications as well. The entire front subframe can be ordered in various systems, covering the budget side, as well as the moderate and all the way up to the extreme racing/performance end. Not to mention, it’s really nice to have the customization of being able to piece together your perfect kit based on your specifics.
Tying It All Together // Middle Bridge
Bridging the gap between the front and rear frame sections, the Subframe Connector System supports the entire chassis and vehicle as well as strengthening the lower suspension mounts. Various mandrel bent 2×2-inch connectors are available for a bolt-in installation into Chassisworks subframes or even the OEM factory subframes. A bolt-in center support ties the two sides together to tighten up the chassis even more. An optional driveshaft loop can be added for extra safety and race legality as well.
Out Back // Rear End
Factory leaf springs are simple and fairly effective for some purposes. But when going to the track and pumping even well-tuned factory horsepower numbers to the rear differential, leaf springs can be the enemy. Spring wraps create wheel hop and will not only ruin your track times but they could potentially hurt your prized vehicle.
The best solution for improving the efficiency of transmitting the power to the asphalt through a solid rear axle housing is to link it up with solid bars and coil-overs or air-springs. The g-Bar and g-Link suspensions are canted-4-bar systems designed to replace the OEM rear leaf springs and shocks, dramatically improving all-around performance and handling.
The g-Bar system utilizes Poly Bushings and the g-Link system utilizes Pivot Ball technology. The systems are completely bolt-in if a CA Chassisworks FAB9 is installed at the same time; welding is required for installation with all other housings, including OEM 10 and 12 bolts. “Chassiswork’s second generation g-Bar and g-Link suspension systems represent the current state-of-the-art systems in canted-4-bar design,” shared Chris Alston, President of CA Chassisworks.
Late model American-made musclecars commonly feature a canted-4-bar suspension. Adding this technology to classics such as the 2nd Gen F-body brings two worlds together. A bolt-in bracket system is available to add a g-Bar or g-Link suspension to an existing OEM chassis or a full-length frame option is available for the more aggressive approach.
Built from 3x2x.120-inch wall mandrel bent and fabricated steel, these replacement rear framerails are available in an OEM copy, or shortened and/or narrowed sizes. The g-Suspensions do not need, nor do they include, a panhard bar.
By design, a canted-4-bar suspension centers itself with the use of triangulation. Six combinations of control arms are available; three options for the lower arms and two for the uppers.
Greaseable poly-bushed fixed length bars for budget minded projects that also provide a quiet ride for street driven cars. Adjustable Pivot Ball Lower Links step up the ante on both ends with a billet bearing housing, polymer race, pivot ball and a threaded retaining ring that can be tightened as the unit wears. The billet Pivot Ball Lower Link goes one step further into racing glory.
Chassiswork’s second generation g-Bar and g-Link suspension systems represent the current state-of-the-art systems in canted-4-bar design. -Chris Alston
This ultimate link utilizes the same rebuildable Pivot Ball technology and adds the strength and durability and weight savings of billet aluminum. Each piece is milled with an I-beam design from one solid piece, setting the vehicle apart from the competition. Each Lower Link Bar is externally greaseable on both ends and bolts to the vehicle through the OEM leaf spring mount.
The two options of Upper Link Bars are both built from billet alloy steel with a clear zinc finish for years of corrosion resistance. Each piece is adjustable to allow for pinion angle adjustment and feature a Chassisworks exclusive 7/8-inch rod end shank for incredible strength. Choose between poly-bushings for a budget friendly quiet ride or precise track leading Pivot Balls.
Rear Suspension Options Include:
- Rear Frame: Bolt-in weld-supported brackets, short forward weld-in narrowed rails, or full-length narrowed rear framerails
- Control Arms: g-Bar (urethane), g-Link (pivot-ball), or billet g-Link (pivot-ball) arms
- Rearend Housing: Factory 10- or 12-bolt, or FAB9 conversion housing -(FAB9 Options: mild steel, 4130, full floater, and cambered)
- Brakes: Drag-race, 11-3/4-inch street, and 13 or 14-inch performance with Wilwood or Baer calipers
- Shocks: VariShock coil-overs or air-springs in 16-position, single- and double-adjustable versions or
- 4-way-adjustable coilovers with remote reservoirs, multiple mounting positions built into frame and differential brackets
- Anti-Roll Bar: Chassis-mounted sliding-link solid bar or housing-mounted splined-billet-arm tubular bar
Continuing with the theme of adjustability, VariShocks do not disappoint. Ride height can be adjusted via a one piece billet locking lower spring seat that travels up and down on high-load capacity ACME threads. Performance levels are further optioned with the choice of Chassisworks Factory set ride-sensitive valving, Air-Springs for variable ride height and several shocks with 16+ adjustable valving settings. “VariShocks QuickSet mechanism combines sophisticated shock valving with all-new, American made components” says Alston.
The adjustment technology uses “Deflective Disk Valving” in the pistons to eliminate spring fatigue. The piston rods are built from hollow 5/8-inch ground hard chrome steel to extend life expectancy. Each shock component is engineered by VariShocks exclusively for this product line, providing precision to inevitably expand the time between rebuilds.
High-Travel VariSprings are specifically manufactured for the VariShock line. The ultra-high tensile wire used provides more compression than typical chrome silicon wire. Each rung is able to completely compress and touch the next without any adverse effects. More travel improves traction and control through the range of motion. Many spring rates are available for the various lengths of springs that go along with each VariShock.
Shock Options Include:
- SensiSet (SS) – Factory set, ride-sensitive valvingQuickSet 1 (Q1) – Single 16-position knob adjusts bump and rebound simultaneously.
- QuickSet 2 (Q2) – Dual 16-position knobs adjust bump and rebound independently.
- QuickSet 4 (Q4) – Four 16-position knobs provide high- and low-speed adjustment of bump and rebound independently.
- QuickSet 4 Remote (Q4R) – Gas-pressurized remote reservoir version of our QuickSet 4 valve system offers higher performance and increased travel range.
- Coil-Over Shocks – Traditional coil-spring configuration offers selection of spring rates and adjustable spring seats.
- Air-Spring Shocks – Integrated air-spring configuration allows variable vehicle ride height with benefit of adjustable shock valving.
- High-Travel VariSprings offer more travel than the competition and are available in many ratings to better match the specific vehicle and driver.
Personalization is what every performance builder wants; build the car so it does exactly what they want it to do. Chris Alston’s Chassisworks Frame System allows adjustments galore helping every dream to become a reality at their pace and on their level. The hot rod, musclecar, and pro-touring scenes are constantly evolving and you can bet that CA Chassisworks will continue doing the same.
Make sure to gas on over to Chris Alston’s Chassisworks website, www.cachassisworks.com, for more info on this and other high-tech suspension solutions.