Rendering by Filip Trojanek
Project Max Effort's rearend assembly is all wrapped up, thanks to the solid-axle experts at Speedway Engineering and Currie Enterprises, so now it's time to get it underneath our Cougar with our first foray into the real meat of the build: the chassis and suspension.
The basis for our rear suspension is Griggs Racing's GR350 package, but the caveat is that ours is a bit different, since we're working on a unique platform. Although it is essentially a Mustang under the sheetmetal, there are a few small but important differences on a Cougar-mostly due to the wheelbase increase from 108 inches to 111 inches. That 3-inch stretch required some tweaks and adjustments to maintain the correct geometry. Griggs was able accommodate some of the alterations, but for the rest we put our trust in the engineering prowess of CorteX Racing's Filip Trojanek, and the vast experience of head fabricator for Project Max Effort, Ryan Kertz of Kertz Fabrication. From track cars and traditional hot rods, to vintage F1 and even architectural work, Kertz is a master fabricator with an eye for perfection.
Lucky for us, Kertz also spent several years at Griggs Racing as lead fabricator, so he's intimately familiar with their products and how they're designed to function. That's important, but it's what Kertz knows about making modern and vintage street cars and full race cars function at their peak on the track that makes the difference between good handling and perfect handling. Kertz and Trojanek often work together to test and take new ideas from CAD to reality. Whether he built 'em from scratch or just corrected others' errors, from his shop located just below Turn 11, Kertz has turned out many of the fastest cars lapping Infineon Raceway on any given day, including a few current record holders. He knows what works in practice, and he's a key player in making Max Effort a maximum performer. We're lucky to have him on board.
In case you haven't guessed, this isn't a bolt-on project by a long shot. Sometimes making a suspension function ideally takes some slicing, though we just barely warmed up the plasma cutters and grinders this time. Kertz didn't really get to flex his formidable fabrication abilities on this stage of the build, but stay tuned because as the suspension and chassis prep continues you'll get a taste of what he's capable of, and why he's one of the best-kept secrets in performance street car and race car fabrication.