When we set out to explore the coilover needs of Slingshot, we had the benefit of being able to observe a variety of types having already been implemented in the Slingshot marketplace. Further, we had high-quality information from some select members of our Turbo Posse. These advantages are not insubstantial, and led to us choosing the QA1 line of high-performance coilover replacements. We’ve used QA1 in a variety of other applications over the years, from drag racing to street rods to circle track, so we had a good foundation to work from. The company is a proven leader in the market, and undoubtedly could provide quality product at an achievable price. As an American manufacturer ourselves, we also greatly enjoyed that the QA1 product we chose is also American-made. That scores a lot of points with us! But that was just one of many strong reasons we chose QA1.
The first challenge was to determine the best-suited combination of parts from the vast offerings of QA1. As QA1 does not do Slingshot-specific coilovers, one must understand how to address all of the variables that define the differences among the hundreds of different universal part numbers they offer. Enter: Turbo Posse. With a strong assist from our aggressive customers who’d researched the QA1 product and adapted, tested and refined until the best combination was found, we had a great blueprint. Now we just had to make it something practically anyone could install themselves, with zero research or mods to the Slingshot needed, just order up and you get the perfect recipe, in bolt-on form.
Therein lay the second and final challenge: make this well-researched, well-proven coilover alternative that was gaining popularity among uber-enthusiasts into an absolute bolt-in, making it no longer a “universal” part that requires its own adaptation to fit Slingshot. That’s where Hahn RaceCraft came in strong, as I developed the parts to do just that. Whereas previous installations of QA1 Sphericals on Slingshot had required chassis drilling, shimming and other parts required, now we’ve made it a direct bolt-in. Swapping out the fronts is as easy as: jack up the vehicle, remove the two easy-to access coilver bolts, remove stock coilover, put Hahn/QA1 Coilover in its place, and reinstall bolts. Done. Might take all of five minutes for both if a beer were also involved. The rear unit is just as easy, with some plastic panels that have to be removed and replaced to gain decent access.
These Hahn/QA1 Spherical Coilovers come to you fully assembled and rough-preset to a starting ride height. They are of the Spherical mounting bearing variety, which we’ll learn more about in a moment. We offer these sets in both single adjustable (combined compression and rebound damping adjustment) and double-adjustable (discrete separate compression and rebound damping) adjustment types. Every set is also completely adjustable for ride height as well, with spring rates carefully chosen to be an ideal compromise of stiffness versus comfort for street and track use. We include the needed spanner wrenches to perform your ride-height adjustments. We’d like to think that, with the help of the Turbo Posse, we’ve all managed to really nail it in this now completely bolt-in solution.
Now, as if thousands of miles of testimonial love from the Turbo Posse isn’t enough to seal the deal on just how well QA1 works on Slingshot, allow me to also add my own impressed self. The Hahn SST Turbo SL upon which we engineered the prototype bolt-on Hahn/QA1 Spherical installation also benefited from a new set of tires, which were installed on the stock wheels.
The transformation was simply stunning. We lowered the SL about ¾” to 1”, did some local street testing that dropped all jaws, and then sent it to the best place to gather even more data: the race track.
On a track day at the Florida International Rally and Motorsports (FIRM) complex, the SL just smoked around the 1.6 mile road course. Riding shotgun was the track instructor, who is like a force of nature at the FIRM, adding great skills and insights to all who are fortunate to come in contact with him at this fun, effective facility. A veteran road racer of no small caliber himself, he has been continually impressed by the Slingshots we have all brought to the facility. This time though, it was personal, with him in the machine for hours of direct exposure as he trained and refined the driving skills of our eager customer. The verdict was one of complete agreement that properly set up, a Slingshot can hold its own with any production performance car on their track, as well as also hang tough with many pure racing machines! He was nothing short of blown away by how competently the machine handled this challenging course.
On the street, the capability is no less apparent. I was astounded at the difference. This Slingshot just dares you to throw it into a corner, then laughs at you for being so timid, prodding you to push harder next time. Slingshot’s chassis has a lot to offer if you are of a mind to seek it. I am 100% sold on the fact that the stock “coilovers” (really little more than just shock absorbers with spring seats welded on) have no business on this machine if one wishes to explore its handling capabilities in any detail. That is all. It’s just that cut and dried. You can’t have the kind of fun this machine can provide in handling prowess unless those stock concessions-to-the-bean-counters are permanently deleted from your beloved SS. Toss them in a box somewhere in the deepest recesses of your shop-world, for you will never seek them again.
Continued in next post...