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Corvette 1966: I.R.S., Unsprung Weight And You

I.R.S...Unsprung Weight And You


Some cars handle hard-traveling like your grandmother dispatching a garden snake with a rake.  Lots of flailing and not much efficiency.

That’s because their suspensions were made for ordinary driving.  But Corvette is no ordinary car.  You expect it to have super handling, which is the reason for Corvette’s surefooted independent rear suspension (I.R.S)

            There’s nothing mystical about it.  It all depends on those laws about mass and motion and such like.  For instance, most cars have a conventional rear axle.  It’s sturdy, similes and serves admirably for regular passenger cars.  But when there’s a bump, both wheels and the differential react together because they are a single mass.  The high inertia involved makes it unsatisfactory for a maximum performance machine.

            Corvette’s differential is bolted to the frame independent of the wheels do it doesn’t have to go up and down when the wheels do.  This lowers the inertia and lets the wheels react quickly, which keeps the tires planted more solidly.  That’s called lowering the unsprung weight ratio.  The Corvette suspension also allows each wheel to react to the road without affecting the other and with minimum camber change of its own so each tire maintains a firm grip.

            Mount all this on variable-rate springs front and rear, add ten degrees anti-dive geometry and a very low roll center at the front, give it Corvette’s carefully calculated rearward weight bias and you’ve got a machine that’s really tidy in a hard corner.  Which is one reasn Corvette is still America’s only true production sports car.


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