Getting Your First-Gen Corvette Properly Framed

A First-Gen Corvette Chassis And IFS From Jim Meyer Racing

From the February, 2007 issue of Corvette Fever
By Jerry Slattery
Photography by Jerry Slattery

Link to Origional Article

Racing Chassis

A major trend for the last five years or so of transforming '53-'62 Corvettes into something fun and safe to drive with modern disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and current suspension components is becoming an ever-increasing option for many Corvette owners. A lot of owners have now seen the light and are choosing to buy a 21st century chassis with more and more performance components for their favorite C1. One of the major problems today in modifying any original '53-'62 Corvette is the '49 Chevy front suspension bolted to the frame by GM. The '40s suspension just can't compete with today's highway performance level. It was adapted from regular passenger cars to what looked like a sports car. However, history shows, by 1954 they almost discontinued the Corvette due to lack of interest. At the time, the Corvette was just a competitive body-style look that was created to compete against the T-Bird to get a portion of the market, with a regular old passenger car suspension. Continuing to drive a Corvette that way today leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the steering and braking departments.

To find out just what kind of new suspension components are available and how they are constructed into this new platform, we recently checked out the oldest Corvette chassis manufacturer: Jim Meyer Racing Products in Lincoln City, Oregon. They've been building first-generation Corvette chassis for 10-plus years. The 12,500 square-foot facility on four acres is home for the "leaders of Bolt-In IFS Technology," as well as mandrel-bent chassis, rearend kits, and lots of other options.

Today you can bring any first-gen Corvette into the 21st century with a brand-new 2x4 box-tube chassis with just about any options available in the marketplace. It is compatible with any GM or aftermarket bodies requiring an original direct replacement chassis. If you ever wanted to build an early high-performance Corvette, the industry is ripe with all the aftermarket components with bodies from Corvette Central, I-did-it steering columns, Flaming River and Borgeson steering linkage parts, narrowed rearends, fuel-injected or carbureted crate engines, and loads of other accessories to build a custom or original replica the way you want it.

Racing Chassis

The standard Jim Meyer chassis offers the same adjustable features he has built into all his other IFS and chassis. The IFS has a multi-hole, upper coilover shock mount that offers about 3 inches of stance adjustment. At the rear, you'll also notice a three-position lower coilover mount to give you the stance you like best. These front and rear features are totally compatible with the Air Ride Technologies optional ShockWave air-bag system for an even lower stance.