Wednesday Rewind: Deciding Between Coil-Overs Or Staying With Leaf Springs

Corvettes are performance cars. Even the first-gen Corvettes were touted as sports cars, even if they had six-cylinders. Over the years, technology has infiltrated every aspect of our Corvettes for even more performance. Sometimes it comes from the factory, and sometimes it comes in the form of aftermarket parts that take that performance further than GM intended.

There are many reasons why Chevrolet left some performance on the table when designing the car, and many reasons why someone might want to go even further with it. GM knows that to keep the Corvette line competitive in sales, it needs as broad of a market as it can get. That means not chasing away those who might not care for all the noise, vibration and harshness that a full-blown racing suspension might bring.

Corvettes have used transverse springs front and rear since the C4. They save weight, provide ample room for the wheel and ride pretty good. They are designed to work in conjunction with the shocks and sway bars, even though they are separate components.

On the other hand, once that Corvette is in the hands of a power-crazed enthusiast, the aftermarket it ripe with components that are designed to infuse more power, improve handling or narrow-down and optimize the car’s characteristics for a certain style of driving. One such swap, is updating the transverse leaf springs in late-model Corvettes. Sometimes, that means replacing it with a higher-performing leaf spring, like the T1 units available through Chevrolet Performance, or to aftermarket options, including coil-over shocks at each corner of the car, like those provided by Corvette Central, Pfadt Race Engineering, Callaway Cars or Mid America Motorworks. Having an honest view of what characteristics you’re looking for will help you get the best upgrades for your buck, whether that be coils, leafs or factory stock.

Coil overs free up each corner of the car, and are available in many configurations and spring rates. Many aftermarket companies offer units specifically for Corvettes, like this kit from Callaway Cars.

There are reasons to make the change to coil-overs, and just about as many reasons not to. That has left many enthusiasts wondering if they really should make the change or enjoy the suspension of their Corvette as Chevrolet designed it. For this Wednesday Rewind, we focus on the C5 Corvette. In THIS STORY, we look at some reasons why someone might want to upgrade to a full-on coil-over suspension and also give some solid reasons why someone might choose not to use them on their Corvette. Of course, Chevrolet used transverse springs on the front and rear of all Corvettes since the C4 era, and even though there’s some hints that may be changing soon, it still applies to any Corvette built after 1983.

If you’ve got a set of coil-overs on your Corvette, feel free to let us know why you like them. Also, what would YOU suggest someone keep in mind if they are contemplating making the switch. Feel free to give your responses below.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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