Lowering the Front End of a Mustang

One of the Shelby American tricks on the early GT 350s was to lower the body. The factory did this modification to all 65's and the 66's up to and including #252. This was Ford engineer Klaus Arning's idea. Klaus also developed the suspensions for the 427 Cobras and the GT 40. He happened on to the idea of lowering the control arms while experimenting with an independent suspension rear end for the 1964 Mustang. Ford vetoed the extra cost of an independent rear suspension in the Mustang but passed the idea of lowering the car on to Shelby American.

By dropping the height of the body, the center of gravity is lowered. This helped the handling of the car by reducing the body roll by 8% during cornering.

To do this modifications you need:

This will take you at least 4 hours to do this job. Renting a spring compressor will make the job a lot easier.

Steps:

  1. Use the jack stands to support the front end. Remove the wheels and shock absorbers
  2. Compress the front springs. You don't have to remove them although if you do it will give you more room to work
  3. Use the cement block to support the brake rotor or lower control arm.
  4. Unbolt the upper control arm from inside the engine compartment. Save the original shims (65 & 66 only).
  5. Swing the upper control arm assembly, rotor and spindle assembly to the side. Don't strain the brake line.
  6. Using the template from this article and trim out the holes.
  7. Secure the template in place on the car using the original bolts in the original holes using 1/2 inch bolts. Note that this template is drawn for the driver's side. Flip it around to use on the passenger side.
  8. Mark the center of the new holes using the template.
  9. Drill the new holes. It probably will work best to drill a smaller hole in the center then work up in two or three steps to the 17/32" hole.
  10. Install the upper control arms in the new mounting holes. Be sure to replace the alignment shims in the 65-66 models in the reverse order that you removed them. (Remove an even thickness of about 1/8"-1/4" of shims from each position to compensate for the increased positive camber affected by the lowering.)
  11. Reassemble the front suspension by reversing the way you took it apart.

You'll have to have the front end of the car re-aligned. Get it to a frame shop as soon as you can to save on excessive tire wear. If you have wide tires on the front they may rub the fender now do to excessive positive camber. You can help alleviate that by taking out more shims in the 65-66 or adjusting the lower control arm inner pivot on the 67-70 camber adjusting cam. You can also use spring boosters to raise the front end off the tires or install smaller tires. Using spring boosters kinda defeats the purpose of lowering the car though.  If you use smaller tires make sure you have the tires and rims on the car you are going to use when you have the front end aligned. (and take out the spring boosters.)

Alignment specs for lowered Mustangs (only):

Chuck Cantwell, Shelby American GT 350 project engineer recommended 2 degrees positive caster, 1 degree negative camber and 1/8 " toe in for all years of Shelby Mustangs.  You can play with settings for different applications. 

Here are the specifications for dropping the front end. This is a template to use to drill the new holes. This is a compressed version. Use the view image in your browser to expand this picture to full size before you print it off.