In our July 2000 issue, we completed the conversion from six-cylinder front suspension and brakes to the safer, correct V-8 counterparts for our '66 hardtop project. The installation went smoothly, so we thought we would tempt fate this month by finishing up our V-8 suspension and brakes conversion at the other end of our hardtop. While we are opting to replace the complete axle housing and all suspension in one fell swoop, you can use this article as a guide for any one of a number of smaller projects, such as shock replacements or shackle bushing replacement, or simply use the detailing part of it to bring your V-8 suspension up to snuff.
After our Currie Enterprises Super Eight-Inch rear axle assembly arrived, we promptly detailed it out with some fine concours detailing parts from National Parts Depot, including stainless brake lines, an axle vent hose kit, and more (see the sidebar To the Nines). We then gathered up the remaining Magna suspension items from Mustangs Plus that have been itching to join their sister parts on our hardtop, and we put everything together for a complete V-8 suspension and braking upgrade for our hardtop. With the rear suspension and brakes completed, our next stop will be paint prep and applying several coats of Anniversary Gold to our hardtop's new skin. Follow our lead as we rip out the old six-cylinder axle, the brakes, and the suspension in favor of their new V-8 capable counterparts.
Detailing something that is going to be hidden under a car is one thing few people outside of our hobby understand. Several of my fellow editors at our other magazine titles looked at the funny paint splotches and markings and just shook their collective heads or muttered "Why?" to me. True, some semigloss black could have covered the entire housing in five minutes, and we would have been finished with it. But I couldn't do that. Even though this car will be driven a few times a week, I wanted to detail the differential housing as if it was going to be scrutinized by MCA judges. When the housing is completely detailed, it almost looks like a work of art. It is actually a canvas when you really think about it. That goes for engines, transmissions, steering boxes, and other items that get the detailing touch. While black-and-white images don't do justice here, we wanted to touch base on the detailing process for those following along. National Parts Depot came through with all the correct items that we would need for our new rear axle. With some technical assistance from MCA Gold Card Judge Jeff Speegle, our detailing chores went quite smoothly.