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The original Lightweights had specially modified suspensions. The front end was lowered, and steering geometry was modified to provide more negative camber. The rear was widenened, and subtle changes made to control rear end steering effects. Tires were Dunlop 650L15's front and rear as delivered from the factory, the rear tires may have been even wider at Le Mans.

The suppliers for most of my suspension components are GT Jaguar and Waterloo Drivetrain. GTJ supplied a complete rebuilt front suspension, with modified steering geometry. Waterloo supplied a highly modified rear axle assembly.

The rear axle is built around a standard Salisbury posi differential: Jaguar attempted unsuccessfully to build a diff using aluminum castings, and installed ZF diffs in some Lightweights, but the standard Salisbury seems most correct. The axle ratio will be 3:31:1, which, in conjunction with the big Dunlop racing tires and overdrive transmission yield a theoretical top speed in excess of 200MPH. The rear axle track has been widened in conformance to the original Lightweight spec. This required modified lower control arms and spacers on the half shafts. The diff rear cover has been replaced with a finned aluminum cover, which also reduces weight a bit. The cage has been modified for strength and weight reduction: the bottom plate is aluminum, as are the radius arms (below). The hub carriers have been drilled for cooling and lightness in keeping with the original spec. Bronze bushings have been used throughout, and a special mechanism has been added to allow rapid adjustment of wheel camber. It will be solid mounted to the body. Bakes are vented XJ6 units, with cooling scoops. The suspension is based on HAL shocks and springs,which are fully adjustable units.

Aluminum Rear Suspension Components

Shock absorbers front and rear are HAL's. I considered most of the available dampers before deciding on the HAL's. These are made with extruded aluminum casings, for light weight. The rods are extremely strong, and the shocks can be adjusted without removing them from the car. HAL custom built the entire set of six, testing them on a shock dyno to assure uniformity.

The wheels were supplied by Simon Dunford. They are cast magnesium, unlike the more commonly available multi-part aluminum wheels. These are an exact copy of the originals, right down to the decals. The tires are vintage pattern Dunlop 6.50L15 racing tires, supplied through the kind efforts of  Britain West and Vintage Tires Limited, Dunlop's North American Racing Tire Distributor.

Copyright©2000 Michael Frank, all rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
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