What Went into Designing the Corvette IRS Adapter?
I've often heard it said that ignorance is bliss – and this undertaking sort of falls into that category, because if I had any idea of how difficult, time-consuming (and costly) it was going to be to bring these adapters from inception to fruition... who knows?
It all started with the idea of engineering a truly Universal Bolt-On Adapter Kit for the C5 or C6 Corvette Rear Suspensions – but if we were going to proceed, they would have to meet several very strict criteria:
Since the adapter kit would be the foundation for the vehicle's independent rear suspension, it would have to be “bullet-proof”. The casting would be poured from A356 aluminum, then heat-treated to T6 specifications to increase its hardness and tensile strength.
The main structure of the adapters, as well as the uprights and bases would be a minimum of 1/2-inch thickness, which nearly doubles the wall-thickness dimensions of the factory Corvette cradles.
We would design a straightforward kit that would factor in all of the C5 or C6 Corvette suspension mounting points into a pair of compact aluminum adapters.
Each adapter would be machined to include the mounting points for the upper control arms, the upper shock absorber mount, two mounts for the lower factory Corvette cradle and a full-length channel for mounting the entire assembly directly to a 2” x 4” frame rail.
AESTHETICALLY PLEASING –
Even sand castings can be beautiful! Although the sand leaves its mark on every casting a little differently, these pieces look great bare, painted or powder-coated.
The billet cover is the perfect topper for the assembly, as it not only gives it a final, finished appearance, but also adds to the strength by joining all of the uprights together.
With their bold bases and heavy-duty uprights, the adapters must emanate a no-nonsense, state-of-the-art 'look' to the rear section of any vehicle – whether it be a high-dollar street rod or a kit car, built on a budget.
Not only would the kits have to be simple to install, but also affordable – to aid in bringing the IRS upgrade into the realm of the true DIY guys on a tight budget.
(Or as close as possible.) The kits would be offered in nine different width applications – from stock width to 8-inches narrower. If required, custom made kits could virtually be any width – even wider than stock if necessary.
This would be accomplished by narrowing, (or widening) then reinforcing the factory Corvette cradles. All of the actual Corvette Interface Adapter Kits, no matter the width, are identical.
EASE OF ASSEMBLY –
The entire suspension system could be assembled outside of the car, including the wheels and tires, if desired.
Once assembled, the entire IRS could then be rolled under the frame, adjusted forward and backward, until the tires fit properly within the wheel wells – then marked, drilled and bolted on – DONE!
The kits would all be supplied with easy-to-follow instructions, including plenty of photos to make them easy to follow.
Another, even more complete set of instructions would be available online 24/7 should any questions arise.
QUALITY CONTROL –
Every kit will be inspected for imperfections. The hardware kits will be partially assembled to make sure that there aren't any missing pieces. Eight extra washers will also be included in the kits.
PACKAGING AND SHIPPING –
The Adapter Kits will all be wrapped in heavy-duty urethane foam sheets, then placed into a 275-pound rated box for shipping.
The remaining space will then be filled with even more urethane sheeting, so everything will arrive tightly packed, complete and intact.
No Fabrication – No Measuring – No Hassle
The photos below will give you an idea of what went into building these adapters the 'old-school' way. Instead of relying solely on computer designs, the adapters were produced as full-scale prototypes and actually assembled and fit on a purpose-built frame for testing their fit and finish.
Once the entire process was complete, we began the entire process again to produce a companion kit for the front suspensions.
Currently, the front prototypes are completed and ready to begin the manufacturing process, but will probably not be available for sale until the end of 2016, or later.