In 1993, Bill Reilly spent a bunch of time, effort, and money upgrading his 1969 Dodge Dart with bigger torsion bars, 1973-up disc brakes, and a healthy big-block. In his own words: "It was absolutely miserable to drive. It was all over the place. It was so hard to install the big-block—the headers and all that with the stock suspension—and then it drove like crap. It just really pissed me off. I still remember the exact piece of road I was on when I first thought that." A fabricator by trade, Reilly figured he would just fix it himself. It was second nature. "I'm going to rebuild this and make it better," Reilly told himself. Five years later, he was still reading through automotive engineering books trying to get it finished. By that point, he was simply obsessed with making a Mopar suspension work. "I was going to put a rack in the stock K-member, but to do that you end up with a bandage fix that doesn't quite work." One thing led to another, and it turned into a domino effect. There was only one way to do it: Make the whole thing from scratch.
Reilly's single-minded obsession to build a Mopar front suspension that worked well and packaged all the popular engine combinations culminated in what you see here: the AlterKtion K-member with coilover suspension. The fact is, all 40-plus-year-old suspensions have a lot to be desired, but far fewer of them have as many woes as the Mopar's. The concerns are divided into two major camps: powertrain/exhaust/oil pan packaging, and handling/steering.
If we face facts, most Mopar guys care more about power than handling—when they care about performance at all. Under that premise, it's difficult to make even basic upgrades like fitting a big-block engine with headers and a performance oil pan. There just isn't the space to fit pipes and pans around steering linkages, steering boxes, and the omnipresent torsion bars. It's so bad that Chrysler engineers had to move the engine centerline to the right side by as much as 3 inches on some cars. Loyalists who stand by the stock suspension end up either forgoing the horsepower, or resorting to fenderwell headers, cut sheetmetal, and origami-inspired oil pans. But hey, at least they've got the stock suspension, right?
In the other camp are guys who want a great handling Mopar. They are tired of the aimless wandering of a suspension with no caster, the seasickness of a high roll center, the sudden violent steering changes from a long scrub radius, and the dull response of a worn-out steering system with a slow-ratio box.
The thing about Reilly is that he fits into both camps: He wanted big power, he wanted great handling, and he wanted razor sharp steering. Oh, and he wanted it bad enough that he was willing to go to the ends of the earth for it. That's why he created the White Haven, Pennsylvania–based Reilly Motorsports (RMS). Since designing and marketing the AlterKtion, RMS has added the four-link Street Lynx rear suspension to its resume, and begun carrying other parts—such as brake kits and subframe connectors—that dovetail with their mission statement of Mopars without performance handicaps. Besides A-Body, RMS also offers front AlterKtion and rear four-link Street Lynx suspensions in versions for B-Body and E-Body, and for purposes as varied as drag racing and autocrossing. AlterKtion suspensions can also be ordered with a dizzying array of motor mounts, including 273/318, 340/360, 383/400/440 (all regular big-blocks), second-gen Hemi (426 style), third-gen Hemi (5.7/6.1/6.4), and even LS.
In the handling department, the AlterKtion has far better wheel behavior than stock. The roll center has been lowered from 8 inches above ground to a scant 1 inch, a change that manifests itself as a more glued-down feeling with all four tires sharing more of the grip. The caster angle of the AlterKtion improves the OEM spec of ¾-1 degree to 5 degrees or more, giving Mopars a more modern, confidence-inspiring track with improved self-centering instincts. By changing to a Mustang II/Pinto-style spindle, the AlterKtion introduces some much-needed steering inclination angle for better tracking and reduced scrub radius.