Airbags are a fantastic way to lower your ride while maintaining control over the height, and cutting coil springs can be an affordable way to drop a custom in the weeds if you're on a tight budget. However, if a totally traditional custom is what you desire, then the tried-and-true method of lowering springs, drop spindles, and blocks is the only way to go. Unfortunately, most builders try to cobble together their own combination of parts to achieve the look and ride height they desire, and quite often it takes several tries and some serious head scratching to get things right. That's why the techies over at Jamco Engineering have put together a comprehensive kit that includes everything necessary to slam a '49-53 Ford the traditional way, with some added modern benefits such as ball joints and disc brakes thrown in for good measure. Last month we detailed how to install one of these setups, utilizing drop spindles, drop springs, and a ball joint conversion from J&M Enterprises, all of which is included in their Jamco Deluxe Ultra-Cruise kit. Once the nose was scraping pavement, we decided to finish things off the right way with a Low-Profile Rear Spring Kit and a Front Swaybar Kit, also from Jamco.
Scott Guildner of Guildner Kustoms in Van Nuys, California, chopped the top on this Shoebox about six months ago, but before finishing off the bodywork, he wanted to get the car's stance dialed in to get a better idea of what the finished product should look like. The ball joint and disc brake conversion kit worked great on the front of the car and bolted up without a problem, so it came as no surprise when we were able to finish off the rear suspension in less than a day. The only major snafu we ran into was that the car ended up sitting so low the tires had a hard time clearing the wheelwells, a problem that will be easily remedied when new rims and whitewalls are ordered some time down the road. By reformulating the rear leaf-spring design and putting them together with Poly-Moly slider material, Jamco claims that their kit will drop the rear end of a car 4 inches. The Deluxe rear kit also includes new gas shocks designed specifically to work with drop springs, as well as new shackles and U-bolts.
We opted to use a front swaybar kit just to tie things together for a little extra handling prowess on the newly converted ball joint frontend, which should ride and drive significantly better than the old kingpin setup. A little bit of drilling is required with the swaybar installation, but no major fabrication is necessary. Follow along as we drop down the tail and give this Shoebox a whole new outlook on life. With a fresh street brawler attitude firmly in place, the next stop for this Shoebox is the paint booth!