In The News

Mustang Monthly - - Independent Rear Suspension in a Ford Mustang
Mustang Monthly - - Independent Rear Suspension in a Ford Mustang

The Mustang’s front and rear suspensions were designed in the early ’60s, based on similar designs from a decade earlier. They worked just fine—back then. The car had crappy bias-ply tires and lack of a really good-handling domestic car to compare it to, but that was a long time ago. By today’s standards, early Mustang suspension is, shall we say, a joke. So much has been learned in the way of suspension design and geometry during the half-century since the first Mustang rolled off the assembly line. Unless you’re doing a concours-level restoration, or for some other reason don’t want to cut on the car, there’s no reason not to convert the suspension to more modern, robust, and far better performing designs from the aftermarket.

Nowadays, many companies offer upgraded suspension parts and kits for early Mustangs. But very few of them give you the option of swapping the rear suspension’s stock leaf spring and solid axle setup for an independent rear suspension (IRS) similar to that of the new 2015-later Mustang. Generally speaking, an IRS handles and rides better than a solid axle, and the coilover design allows a lot more options and tuning for ride height, stiffness, and alignment. Plus, it’s trick, which can be the main calling card for many people,


A previously cloned 1967 Shelby G.T. 350 convertible. “The 1967 Shelby has always been among my favorites, we wanted to take the approach, What would Carroll do if he had all the current engines and suspensions available in 1967, including an independent rear suspension?’ I wanted to keep the iconic body and interior exactly the way Shelby offered it in 1967, but update the drivetrain, suspension, and brakes to modern specs.”

Heidts selected its Pro-G front and rear suspension, which incorporates a new front clip with upper and lower A-arms, coilover shocks, anti-roll bar, and rack-and-pinion steering. Out back, the Pro-G includes the independent rear suspension (IRS) that’s designed with its own tubular cradle, 9-inch center section, coilovers, and inboard brakes.

“This project coincided with the increasing demand for high-performance, pro-touring suspension systems for early-gen Mustangs, It provides superior handling and matches current-model muscle and performance cars. We also wanted it to accommodate the modern and more powerful engines that are now available.” In fact, the front engine cradle and engine mount options can accept virtually all Ford engines, from 289 and 351 Windsors, to the FE and modular-series powerplants, too.

To perform not just the front and rear suspension installations, but also redo the whole car, Heidts commissioned BlackDog Speedshop in Lincolnshire, Illinois, to build the car according to the vision. This story is not meant to be a bolt-by-bolt regurgitation of the installation instructions. It’s more of an overview of what to expect if you’re thinking about installing this suspension on your own car.

And come back next month as we take the finished car to Autobahn, a “country club” road course outside Chicago to thrash it and see how all these fancy parts work.


Blackdog Speed Shop - Dealer of the Year
Blackdog Speed Shop - Dealer of the Year

Blackdog Speed Shop Named 2016 Dealer of the Year by Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts!

Las Vegas, NV - Nov. 1, 2016 - Blackdog Speed Shop proudly receives Dealer of the Year Award at SEMA Show 2016 from Heidts Hot Rod and Muscle Car Parts. Blackdog specifies, sells, and installs Heidts chassis and components for our customers vehicles whether for Tri-Five, trucks, or to improve street stability and performance, Blackdog delivers professional results.

Visit our 55 Bel-Air Convertible with 505HP LS-7, 6-speed and Heidts IRS chasiss at SEMA booth 23778 in the Central Hall at Hot Rod Alley.

Revealing the '55 Chevy Bel-Air Convertible, 505HP Custom Cruiser at SEMA 2016

Lincolnshire, IL - October 28, 2016 - One of the most iconic period and drag racing stories of life in the 1960's was George Lucas' movie "American Graffiti", which stands out as one of those films that captures earlier times well remembered. One of the heroic moments in the film is the final drag race between a '32 Ford Deuce Coupe and a '55 Chevy Bel-Air Hard Top (driven by Harrison Ford's character).

Since its introduction to the marketplace, the 1955 second generation Tri-Five Bel-Air was advertised as the "Hot One" in GM's ad campaigns. BlackDog Speed Shop is a custom builder, racing and motorsports shop located in Lincolnshire, IL. For their 2016 SEMA project, the company found a Tri-Five in decent condition and then put the BlackDog Speed team to work.

The SEMA project focused around bringing out the beauty and delivering speed for the Tri-Five platform. Working from the ground up, BlackDog utilized a Heidts PRO-G IRS chassis kit and then had the chassis powder coated to make it pop.

BlackDog replaced the power plant with a Chevrolet Performance LS-7, normally aspirated 7.0L (427 CID) partnered with a 6-speed Tremec transmission.

BlackDog custom work includes a hand-made LS-7 custom intake which matches the body lines of the fenders, set off by die cast 427 fuel injected emblems. Making this black beauty hum is the through-the-rear custom exhaust manufactured by BlackDog and ceramic coated.

Seeing this cruiser under the lights at SEMA, visitors will notice the great attention to detail in both form and beauty. BlackDog updated the dash counsel with a digital dash and added Bonneville G 18" wheels to add to the cruiser image. No cruiser would be complete, however, without a high mirror finish.

"The power and beauty of this Tri-Five convertible is second to none that I've seen, and the depth of the finish really pops on this project," said Gaples.

The big reveal of the '55 BlackDog Bel-Air will begin at SEMA's Hot Rod Alley, in the Central Hall on November 1.

Stop by and visit the Heidts booth# 23778 at SEMA in the Hot Rod Alley - Central Hall to see the       Bel-Air and meet the BlackDog and Heidts teams, or contact us at 847-634-7534

Blackdog Speed Shop Moves Operations to Larger Facility

 Nick Licata Jul 27, 2018

Blackdog Speed Shop announced that the company has moved all of its operations into a larger 60,000-square-foot building. The larger facility was a necessary move for the growing company. The building will be home to the company’s Pirelli World Challenge championship winning race program, as well as expanding the room needed for their custom-car building operation and the company’s performance car dealership. Along with the new space come added capabilities, including an engine building room, a transmission shop, machine shop, and a sound deadening room for the company’s all-wheel Dynojet chassis dyno. The building also features a much larger parts department to stock parts for performance-minded customers.

Blackdog Speed Shop’s new address is 600 Barclay Blvd., in Lincolnshire, Illinois. An open house has been scheduled for September 8th. For more information visit or call (847) 634-7534.


Blackdog Speed Shop is a high-performance, custom-car builder in the northern suburbs of Chicago specializing in ground-up car builds, high-performance upgrades for engines, transmissions, suspensions, and exhausts, including computer and dyno tuning.

Whether you have a modern muscle car, vintage muscle, 1930’s hot rod, or a foreign exotic, you will enjoy the Blackdog experience.


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