Looking to shed a few pounds on your chassis, but not wanting to sacrifice performance strength while pummeling down the track? It might be time to introduce your Ford’s stock suspension, braking, rearend, and drivetrain to some Strange Engineering.
When Bob Stange (pronounced Stang-ee) first founded what would later become Strange Engineering in the early 1960s, he had no idea that he was about to change the face of machining and race engineering homologation forever. There was no grand plan to make millions. The guy was just trying to make high-performance components that wouldn’t break under pressure.
Since repurposed and/or modified junkyard parts were indeed “junk,” Bob Stange (pronounced Stang-ee) found himself manufacturing his own line of parts purely out of necessity. This was not an uncommon practice back in the 1950s, for aftermarket parts manufacturers were few, and ordering and allocation was a hassle.
What was not so common, was Bob’s attention to detail, creative problem-solving capabilities, and unwavering dedication to quality craftsmanship. Over time, more and more of Bob’s friends and acquaintances began to offer him their hard-earned cash for his race parts, subsequently turning Bob Stange’s little side hustle into a bona fide business.
Bob Stange, the founder of Strange Engineering, always said that Strange Engineering makes jewelry for cars. The parts not only need to be functional but also need to look like they belong on a racecar. – J.C. Cascio, director of business development at Strange Engineering
Complete chassis builds to highly specialized race-compliant NHRA components, top-tier tooling techniques, and quality craftsmanship quickly transformed Bob’s business into a cornerstone of the racing community.
But a lot of what has made Strange Engineering’s parts so appealing for over half a century has little to do with strength, performance, materials, or driven practicality. When it comes to constructing a race car, weight savings are a cornerstone upon which everyone must build.
Today, Strange Engineering manufactures a slew of parts for the Ford community, with the following key items being the most purpose-built for those looking to haul ass down the track. Looking to learn a bit more about this portion of the portfolio, and get some advice for our own in-house builds, we recently caught up with Strange Engineering’s Director of Business Development, J.C. Cascio.
What we came up with was an impressive array of ultra-lightweight, race-oriented Ford products, with the following list being our top choices.
Drag Race 40 Spline Gun-Drilled Axle Package
Designed specifically for drag racing, Strange’s Drag Race 40 Spline Gun-Drilled Axle Package utilizes five lightening holes to shave off 0.4 pound per axle. With its “thru-hardening” processing for maximized torsional strength, these Hy-Tuf axles reduce flexibility and are intended to be used in a drag application only.
Furthermore, the usage of gun-drilling provides an additional pound per foot of weight reduction per side, making this blend of nickel, molybdenum, and chromium steel a top pick for Ford fans.
“We are in a constant state of research and development,” says Cascio. “Race car products need to push the envelope because you want them to be as light as possible while maintaining strength, performance, and reliability.”
Ultra Lite Axle Flange Option
For those in search of maximum weight savings, it’s hard to beat the perks packed into Strange’s Ultra Lite Axle Flange Option. Intended to be used in tandem with the company’s Hy-Tuf Pro Race Axles, these add-ons remove rotational weight from the axle flange thanks to a milling process being performed before the axles are heat treated.
Overall weight savings are approximately 0.85 pound per axle on average. On Strange’s 40 Spline Gun-Drilled Axles, this flange lightening procedure shaves off even more material underneath the logo, resulting in a weight savings of 1.5 pounds per axle.
Solid axles can receive some additional lightening as well, with the aforementioned 1.5-pounds per axle being the norm on axles with dimensions of B= 2.063-inch, 2.250-inch or 2.5625-inch / H= 1.5635-inch or 1.7735-inch.
Ring Gear Lightening Option
It may seem minuscule, but sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. This is especially true when they are combined with other weight-saving high-performance products.
Take Strange’s Ring Gear Lightening Option for instance. Not only does it reduce rotational weight by 0.75 to 1.5 pounds (depending on the ring gear in question), but the loss of strength associated with this little guy remains minimal. A must for any race application in our book.
“We do a lot of work with seasoned racers. This real feedback and suggestions come from racers at the track, the ones really pushing our parts to the limit,” Cascio says. “A lot of the knowledge and technology that we implement in the components for the Top Fuel and Pro Mod applications trickle down to all classes.”
Pro Series Rear Brake Kit for 3.150-inch Symmetrical Housing Ends
Designed specifically for drag racing, Strange’s Pro Series Rear Brake Kit turns symmetrical 3.150-inch housing ends into ultra-lightweight stopping units. Slotted and machined for maximum weight savings, without running the risk of impeding stopping power is the trick to a good drag-race brake package. While Strange has this steel brake kit dialed in to where few can compete with its performance potential, it isn’t intended for every Ford out there.
That being said, this rear brake kit is meant to be used with either H1131 housing ends (brake offset 2.832-inch) or symmetrical B1711WC 3.350-inch ends. So, if either of those configurations are on your car, or are in the cards for future installation, then your Ford will benefit from the following enhancements.
Pro Carbon Rear Brake Kit
If forged steel isn’t your deal, and your pocketbook is feeling a tad fat, then Strange suggests upping your Ford’s stopping prowess with a Pro Carbon Rear Brake Kit.
Built to fit symmetrical 3.150-inch housing ends with H1131 (or equivalent) axles sporting a 2.832-inch brake offset, these top-tier disc units offer maximum rotational weight reduction. Additionally, the aluminum rotor hats have undergone Strange’s unique “Ultra Lite” milling process to remove excess calories from your Ford’s diet. Other specs and go-fast facts for these premier braking components are as follows…
Strange Pro Series HD Front Brake Kit
As for the front end of your Ford, you will likely find the Pro Series HD Front Brake Kit offers the best weight savings. Designed exclusively for drag racing, these kits are intended to match up with 1987-1993 Ford Mustang models with V8 spindles, as well Thunderbird vehicles from 1987-1988 with four-cylinder spindles and 4 ½-inch bolt pattern wheels.
This portion of your Ford’s weight loss plan is made possible by the body and hub materials being formed from solid aluminum, with lightening holes, directional rotor slots, and a hat that’s been both drilled and milled for good measure.
Strange 9-inch Ford Aluminum Center Section Case
Engineered with lightweight vehicle applications in mind, Strange’s 9-inch Ford Center Section is an all-aluminum case that accepts both OEM Ford and aftermarket pinion supports. While it may not be meant for heavier street/strip applications, this high-tensile aluminum alloy case provides the ultimate solution when maximum weight reduction is required.
You can also use Strange’s P3203 HD Pro aluminum cases, and note that some differentials may require grinding in the tail bearing area to achieve enough clearance. Also, if you plan on utilizing a Wavetrac differential or a Mark Williams spool, know that they will NOT be compatible with this case.
Strange HD Pro Aluminum Case and Support Kit
Strange is the first to confront the fact that its HD Pro Case & Support “may not fit your housing.” Fortunately, the handy-dandy clearance diagrams provided on the company’s website will let you know if your application will accept this lightweight performance upgrade. So be sure to study up prior to purchasing.
Disclaimer out of the way, it is worth noting that this is one of the lightest aluminum case upgrade kits on the market today. Furthermore, this winning combo does still support a ton of different vehicle configurations. Just note that some machining/clearance mods may need to first be made for fitment purposes, so contact Strange Engineering’s customer support team before making that purchase.
Double Adjustable Shock Package
Now as for the suspension side of Strange Engineering’s Ford portfolio, drag race vehicles with rear four-link or ladder bar systems benefit from the most weight savings. Take Strange’s Double-Adjustable Shock Package for example.
These kits feature all-aluminum bodies and a coilover design with independent adjuster knobs for ten levels of extension and compression. They also sport high misalignment spherical bearings for keeping those tires pointed in the proper direction.
Strange Engineering’s growth comes from these relationships and listening to what they have to say, and that provides the path that Strange needs to follow. – J.C. Cascio
Stud Mount Aluminum Strut Package (Single Adjustable w/ HD Brake Kit)
Finally, there is the single-adjustable Stud Mount Aluminum Strut Package, which is valved specifically for drag racing. Naturally, custom valving is available upon request, so keep those straight-line needs in mind when you put in that order.
For those with hub-mount wheels, a choice of either 4.5-inch or 4.75-inch bolt circle patterns is up for grabs, with externally adjustable extension rates allowing further fine-tuning of the front suspension geometry. The compact lightweight design of the forged coilovers themselves makes them ideal for front-end weight reduction, and thus, pair perfectly with Strange’s specialized line of drag race-oriented disc brake kits.
Lightening Up For Bests Results
It goes without saying the lighter a vehicle is the easier it is to run quicker times. Instead of removing products and creating unsafe conditions in your race car, call Strange Engineering and talk with its tech operators to ensure your car is getting the weight savings you desire combined with the safety and strength you desire.