Car: Aston Martin Vantage
Objective: Dual personality suspension system w automated lift
We’re not detailing the whole project here…just the piece that was to add to the suspension system. The car has all the nice body parts (Carbon Fiber front hood, CF front lip, CF rear diffuser, different wheels and tires, smoked side lenses and taillights, custom RSC exhaust and custom tune. The car now has the aggressive personality, and sweet tone from the exhaust….but it needed one thing more.
This part of the project had a little different set of requirements…..many of the pieces would seem to be the same, but there was one unique requirement that created a major hurdle. This feature is one that we had heard before, and one that is becoming standard for sports cars to live in the cold cruel street world that they must drive on a daily basis.
Everyone likes the look of the true sports car…hunkered down, mean looking, lowered, tuned for great handing, but that same lowered, hunkered down look creates problems if one is to drive in places like San Francisco or New York or Chicago….the bumps will eat a car alive, and good luck trying to getting into one of the parking garages downtown.
Is there a solution that allows both worlds to coexist? There is now for Ferrari’s, Masserati’s, and selected Porsches. But, not for an Aston Martin. And if you’ve looked at an Aston Martin, it needs this solution. Not because it sits too low, but because it sits too high, and looks like it was a cross-over vehicle made for the ski slopes rather than the race track….yet, this is the sports car of the Aston Martin line-up. And, that was exactly the requirement to us….they wanted to improve on the complete handling package so that the car could stretch its legs on the track, but, at the same time, be made so that the owner could take the car to a dinner in San Francisco after a day at Infineon.
Can this be done? We’ve done the installation of the same components needed on a Ferrari….and there are kits for the Ferrari, but there are no kits made specifically for the Aston Martin. So, when no kit exists….we just make our own. We wanted the best street / track suspension available, and one that would allow for the full range of suspension height and shock valving adjustment to support the two extremes of track and daily driving. If you know our leaning, you know where we went w this …..to AST. We picked the AST 5200 system – double adjustable, remote reservoirs front and rear, full coil-overs, race designed components. With the ability to alter the pressure in the remote canisters, we could make the range of valving suit whatever driving set up the customer desired. But the AST doesn’t make a hydraulic lift system, not for the Aston Martin, not for any car.
We know the ASTs will work for the suspension requirements….but they don’t make the remote control height adjustment we need. But, KW does. So, we have the major components identified…..that’s the good news, but as with many suspension systems, everyone seems to want to create uniqueness by making elements that won’t work together. Some shocks pistons are 11mm, some 12mm, some 15mm and some 17mm. And, sure enough, the AST and KW are different. We reached out to AST to see if they would work w us to create a unique adaptor, that we could replicate for other applications if desired, and would allow us to mate the AST with the KW. They did, and we then had a complete solution on the front, marrying the KW hydraulic lift system with the AST 5200 coil over suspension.
And, just to make the challenge a little more interesting, this wasn’t any standard, stock Aston Martin Vantage. The customer wanted this car to perform and look the full part…so, it had the full CF front hood, CF front splitter, CF rear diffuser, headers and exhaust, software tune, blacked out lights front and rear, new wheels and tires. Most of these don’t have any impact on the implementation of the new suspension and front ride height system, but the addition of the front splitter made the requirement of adequate lift w the remote a necessity.
The parts for the suspension upgrade and hydraulic lift system –
AST 5200 double adjustable shocks/struts w remote reservoirs
Swift main and helper springs
KW hydraulic lift system, 40mm lift height, remote control
To make the hydraulic lift system work, you have to provide a new source of hydraulic fluid pressure….so, part of the kit is the new hydraulic pump (part of the KW system that we integrated w the AST system). We were able to locate the pump in the front engine area, tying into the existing wiring harness, and again making the install look completely OEM.
We took great care to do the install in a manner that would look completely stock or OEM. One of the nice features of the AST remote resv were that we had ordered them w the quick disconnect hoses. This allows us to install and locate the resv where we want them….like inside the rear trunk area so that when a change is desired in the shock valving or ride quality, you just pop the rear trunk and turn the knobs.
Here you can see how we routed the rear resv hose thru the rear inner fender wall and into the trunk area.
The result….all that the customer wanted. A new lowered look for daily driving and track use, but a hydraulic lift kit to ease the entry into driveways and over major speed bumps. You too can have this kit on your car….its not limited to the high end cars only.
When the lift kit is installed on the car, w the springs, and the full weight of the car, the lift system provides about 1″ of additional height clearance under the car……just with the push of a button. The ride when the car is up is the same.
Here is the height w the lift system not activated –
Here is the car when the lift system has been activated…..getting about 1″ of lift at the wheel well.
BRracing – creating performance solutions for the real world