G-Machine Handling for Classic C-10s

July 18th, 2011

Text and Photos by Dick De Loach

Hotchkis Turns Its Suspension Talents to Tuning Street Trucks

The classic Chevy C-10 pickup is fast becoming one of the most popular platforms for street truck enthusiasts, with good reason. They’re cheap, plentiful, easy to lower, and they look sweet when laid out.

However, in the past, street truck builders had to compromise on ride and handling to achieve the perfect lowered stance—but no more, thanks to the new Total Vehicle System (TVS) for 1967-72 Chevrolet C-10 pickups from Hotchkis Sport Suspension (in Santa Fe Springs, California).

Founded by former professional race car drivers and national champions, Hotchkis Performance was one of the first companies to design and track test performance suspension for muscle cars.

Nearly two decades later, many of the fastest street cars in the country, plus numerous road racing, drag racing and autocross racing teams use Hotchkis Sport Suspension components.

Now, John Hotchkis and his engineering team have put the knowledge gained from those venues into a suspension package for C-10s that transforms the truck into a serious G-Machine (n. an automobile capable of withstanding one g of extra gravitational force due to braking and turning at high speeds; (hence) any fast vehicle).

Before releasing the C-10 TVS for sale, nearly a year of street and track testing was done to achieve the right balance of comfortable ride quality, optimum handling and maximum traction under hard acceleration. “Hotchkis-equipped C-10 pickups have won more Goodguys Autocross truck class gold than any other system,” John Hotchkis said. “Hotchkis-equipped C-10s also took two out of the top three slots in a recent pickup truck shootout.”

A TVS-equipped C-10 also placed in the Top 10 of the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational autocross out of nearly 60 entries. “Nearly all of which were sports and pro-touring cars, not trucks,” Hotchkis noted.

The complete Hotchkis C-10 TVS system includes tubular upper and lower front control arms which extend the wheelbase 1.8 inches to center the wheels within the wheel wells for increased stability and a better look.

Steering geometry is improved by increasing caster alignment up to +9 degrees. The camber curve is improved, and bump steer is corrected with a new center link assembly and heavy-duty tie rod sleeves.

Ride height is lowered 4 inches in front and 6 inches in the rear. Handling is optimized with sport lowering springs, shock relocator brackets, Hotchkis Tuned/Bilstein shocks to handle lateral Gs, and a 1 7/16-inch front sway bar to reduce body roll and control bump steer.

The rear components include an adjustable full-length track bar (panhard rod) setup, an adjustable anti-squat bracket system to improve the truck’s instant center for maximum traction, and a blade-style sway bar to reduce body roll.

The system is manufactured in the USA, components are powder coated for maximum durability, and all necessary hardware and installation instructions are included.

To see just how the new C-10 kit installed, we visited Hotchkis’ new, larger facilities where Chief Engineer Aaron Ogawa was about to put a TVS kit on a ‘68 C-10 short bed.

No special tools were required, except an air chisel to remove rivet heads (which can be rented anywhere), but a 3-pound sledgehammer, a heavy-duty drill and a good set of tools (including ratchets and extensions) are needed. Naturally, Aaron put the truck on a lift, but heavy-duty floor jacks will work. The installation was straightforward, but it wasn’t simple. It took Aaron the better part of the day, but everything bolted up perfectly and looked super clean.

Then we took the truck to Turnbull Canyon to see just how well it handled. Our verdict: canyon carver! Assisted by its Lee power steering system, the truck handled like an autocrosser, taking the curves and switchbacks like a sports car with no understeer or rear wheel hop.

The only caveat is the price tag of the complete C-10 TVS. However, Aaron explained that the components could also be purchased in three stages to soften the blow to your wallet, each of which will improve the handling and ride.


Hotchkis Sport Suspension

Dept. STTR

8633 Sorenson Ave.

Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

877.4NO.ROLL (877.466.7655)

www.hotchkis.net (http://www NULL.hotchkis NULL.net)

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