The last time I had my car aligned, there was a 440 ‘Cuda waiting next to it when I picked it up. Today I dropped it off and he was working on this sweet Olds 442 convertible. I said to the guy, “every time I’m here you’re working on something cool,” and he just shrugged.

There are two reasons I’m back for an alignment so soon:

Oh by the way, I had my motor replaced (and got a bunch of performance parts in the deal, thanks insurance!) and dropping the front subframe out of the car usually means you need to re-align things.

I also had my front struts out to replace my E36 M3 front bump stops for some Speedthane ones. Most folks with lowered E9x BMWs, to get back some suspension travel go for E36 M3 front and Z4 M rear bump stops because they’re OE BMW and shorter than the E9x pieces. But I have Koni FSD shocks, which have blowoff valves keep the shock firm when you lean in a turn, but soft in response to sharp bumps.


With the E36 M3 bump stops, I had enough suspension travel, but I was bottoming out too often on sharp impacts like all the expansion joints and frost heaves we have here in Wisconsin. I got this crazy idea that the E36 M3 bump stops were too soft and letting the shocks slam into the end of their travel. I then remembered from my Miata days that a lot of the Miata guys liked these progressive polyurethane bump stops. So I went out and found some that would hopefully work to help my FSDs from bottoming out so hard.

I haven’t really gone out of my way to find a terrible bump to run over at high speed, but my initial impression is that the Speedthane stops are working better than the E36 M3 ones. So much so that I’m thinking about getting some Speedthane stops for the back of the car as well.

But yes, this:


Is a better match for my shocks than this:

UPDATE: When I picked up my car today he was working on this ‘49 Ford!


I asked him what’s up with all the cool old cars and he said that a lot of these guys find him after they take their cars to alignment shops that only use computerized alignment racks, and when they don’t have specs in the computer for the old car they tell them they won’t align the car. He does everything by hand with manual gauges. So, cool stuff!