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I once read that...(air bag suspension)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rockabilly53, May 29, 2013.

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  1. rockabilly53
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 104

    rockabilly53
    Member

    I was reading last year on the good ol HAMB that air bag suspension has been around since the 50s on customs..I was wondering if anyone can back that up
     
  2. The 41Dude
    Joined: May 10, 2007
    Posts: 188

    The 41Dude
    Member

    I'm pretty sure mid-fifties Packards had them on some models, so they would have been available!
     
  3. NortonG
    Joined: Dec 26, 2003
    Posts: 2,117

    NortonG
    Member Emeritus

    The AlaKart used helper bags in the springs didn't it?
     
  4. henry29
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 2,835

    henry29
    Member

    Factory option on 58 chevys.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. hoop98
    Joined: Jan 23, 2013
    Posts: 1,363

    hoop98
    Member
    from Texas

    "With a "leg up" on other companies, General Motors used its experience with commercial bus air suspension to introduce systems for its automobile lines, introducing it as standard equipment on the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham in the 1957 model year.The following year it was offered as optional equipment on all Cadillacs, and in 1959 it was made standard equipment on all Eldorados. Air bellows at each wheel replaced standard coil springs, and had sensors to keep the car level under load and in turns. It was too slow to react in sudden maneuvers. Period reviews rated the air suspension somewhat superior in ride quality, but not dramatically so. Some reliability issues plagued these systems as well."
     
  6. Cadillac offered air suspension in the late fifty's,,so it was available maybe not in it's current form as we know it today. HRP
     
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,925

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Factory option on several 58 model GM vehicles but they did have a lot of trouble with them at the time an many were pulled off and swapped to springs over the next few years. My dad had a few friends that had bought cars with the air ride setup and he said that every one of them had had the cars swapped over to coil springs as they had too much trouble with them.

    The AlaKart was the first custom vehicle that I know of that had air bags.
     
  8. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,410

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Firestone made air suspension components for truck & trailer use in the 1930s ... Chamberlain's shop added airbags to the R&C Dream Truck in 1956.
     
  9. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    In addition to Cadillac, El Camino's had air shocks installed in the rear to compensate for heavy loads.
     
  10. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,369

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Air bags were featured by GM as optional extra cost equipment, especially by Chev and Cadillac in 1958. Ford, Mercury, Edsel too.

    Chrysler Corp had their new "Torsionaire" suspension which used torsion bars on the front, leaf springs on the back, but no air bags.

    Packard had 4 wheel torsion bar suspension with self leveling in 55 and 56 but no air bags.

    Studebaker, Rambler, and Lincoln I don't recall them having air bags but could be wrong.

    The air bag systems were troublesome and not popular. They were quietly dropped after 1959.

    By an odd coincidence the first electronic fuel injection was also offered in 1958 but taken off the market even more quickly than air bags. Today of course, EFI and air bags are back, in much improved form.

    PS the previous 5 posts were entered while I was typing this and cover much of the same ground.
     
  11. rockabillybus
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 227

    rockabillybus
    Member

    The R&C Dream truck had them.

    Chamberlain's shop added airbags to the R&C Dream Truck in 1956

    Oops! Beat me to it.
     
  12. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 858

    waldo53
    Member
    from ID

    While airbags were "around" in the '50's, they were not in use on a very large percentage of new cars and hardly any customs back in the day, with maybe one or two exceptions. So, does that make them "traditional" ? I was around in the '50's and saw lots of rods and customs of all makes and honestly I never saw one that was "bagged" and there were some nicely lowered rides back then.

    I don't want to start an anti-bag rant here, just asking.
     
  13. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793

    tfeverfred
    Member

    It was around and car companies used it on some models. The problem is, just because it found it's way into a few customs, some people use those few examples to validate air bags as a traditional modification. This opens the flood gate which leads to drawn out threads on what's traditional and what's a rewrite of history.

    IMO, just because a couple guys did it, doesn't make it so. A few people used plumbers pipe for suspension pieces. That doesn't make it right or traditional.

    And now, I'll await the bunny.
     
  14. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,630

    Nads
    Member
    from Hypocrisy

    Not true, airbags were installed as stock equipment on 1959 and 1960 Eldorado Broughams.
     
  15. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,645

    Squablow
    Member

    I have a pair of bags made by Airlift in 1955 hanging from my shop ceiling. They're way too dry rotted to use in anything but they're neat wall hangers.
     
  16. My guess is that air suspension was cutting edge on customs in the very late 50s, so there were very few around. Most builders didn't use them because they were still trying to decide if they would be considered traditional in 2013. ;)
    I don't pretend that my build is traditional, because there weren't a whole lot of rodders building Autocars for the dry lakes back then.
     
  17. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,630

    Nads
    Member
    from Hypocrisy

    Larry Watson's 1958 Eldorado Brougham had to have air suspension on it, it was too new to have been converted, I don't know if you could manually control them to drop way down, but customizers would have figured it out, my Eldorado Brougham has an air lever on it but it doesn't work.
    FWIW most Caddys that had air suspension were converted to regular springs because they were troublesome.
     
  18. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,898

    Gotgas
    Member
    from DFW USA

    Watson adjusted the ride height on his Brougham by adjusting the sensors for the air suspension.

    ALL full size American car suspensions were a mess in the '50s, but watch from 3:30 - 4:00 in this vid to see how great the '58 GM airbag system was.

    :D

     
  19. rockabilly53
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 104

    rockabilly53
    Member

    Very cool video! Thanks for the information fellas
     
  20. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    So IF you build an air bag system using only late fifties GM airbag parts (Or old Citroen parts), then I guess it would be HAMB friendly. Do a tech thread, I wanna SEE THIS.:eek::rolleyes:
    If you are planning to just throw a modern air-ride system under your car, then justify it as HAMB friendly based on the fact that a few late fifties GM cars used airbags, well then, I'd call bullshit. I guess next guys will be claiming that Mustang II clips are HAMB friendly because '49 fords had IFS.:rolleyes: But then, you really dont care about that, you just wanna bag your car, and you want a bunch of HAMBers to give you justification for calling it "trad", right? Screw the justification bullshit, just stfu and do what you want, most of us really dont want to hear the excuses and bullshit anyway. These "justification" threads are REALLY getting old.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  21. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    The Cad footage is AWESOME!:p WOOHOO!
     
  22. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,950

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    I vote who gives a fuck. bag your car, slap some whitewalls on it and call it a day. bags and MII's on customs are accepted here, so long as the rest of the car is done in a traditional style. the fact that they rarely if ever did it in the good old days does not matter.
     
  23. So, how do you really feel?<label for="rb_iconid_10"></label> :D
    I'm with you! I'm 60 years old, my first dawnings of automotive awareness come from about 1960. (new cars first) There is no way in hell I remember what was being built anytime before that, so the knowledge of "traditional" has to come from original pictures and the "little books". If it wasn't in them, it isn't traditional. Build what you want, but tell it like it is!
     
  24. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    Dead on the money. Well said Steve. Anyone who wants to step up and build a period-correct, late '50s air-ride under their period custom, consider me awe-struck. Throwing a modern air-ride kit under your '53 chevy, and using the Dream Truck as "justification" for passing it off as "Hamb friendly"... Uhhh, not so much...
     
  25. Daddy-O
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 248

    Daddy-O
    Member

    That's a great video. Thx for sharing


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  26. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Hell, that post deserves a "sticky" on the home page. The "justification threads" have been coming for a while and it does need to stop. I'd rather read the truth, than a rewrite of history. Bravo, George.
     
  27. stevechaos13
    Joined: Sep 11, 2008
    Posts: 419

    stevechaos13
    Member

    The justification threads are simply a response to all those who seem to have no more to chime in than "that ain't traditional". It makes people feel the need to justify their build ethos because a lot of people seem to only come here to police the place.

    It seems to me that there is a split in theory over what "traditional" is.

    There are those that believe in traditional in terms of period correct, down to the nuts and bolts recreations of cars that might have been built back during a certain time period.

    There are also those that believe in traditional as an influence and draw from the creative mindset of those that built back in the day. These would be the one's posting the justification threads. They reason that as long as a part was available back in the day, then there's a good chance someone tried to use it. The real old schooler's were constantly throwing crap on their cars as it became available, that's what hot rodding and kustomizing were all about. Those guys in the 50's didn't want a tired old mill out of a decade old car, they wanted the biggest, most powerful mill they could get their hands on, no matter what it came out of.

    Air suspension has been toyed with almost as long as mass-produced autos have been out there. I don't really see the difference in people TRYING to adapt it to their kustoms back in the day and people trying to do it now.
     
  28. BlownMerc
    Joined: Mar 23, 2010
    Posts: 146

    BlownMerc
    Member
    from Jerome

    Air Lift Company has been in business since 1949.
     
  29. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    And thats EXACTLY what I said. TWICE.

    "So IF you build an air bag system using only late fifties GM airbag parts (Or old Citroen parts), then I guess it would be HAMB friendly. Do a tech thread, I wanna SEE THIS."

    "Anyone who wants to step up and build a period-correct, late '50s air-ride under their period custom, consider me awe-struck."

    But, I guess thats not what you really meant. Is what you had in mind something more like "Fuck this elitist period-correct crap, I wouldn't know period correct if it fell on me, and I dont give a SHIT about what they did "back in the day". This forum should be a build it your way free-for-all, because all the cars back in the day were primered shitboxs built from whatever tractor parts the owner could find lying around".
    Is that pretty close?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  30. Old-Soul
    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,590

    Old-Soul
    Member

    I like this guy ^^
     
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