Many people are calling Mulimatic Inc.‘s new ’32 Ford demo car “The world’s most advanced Hot Rod” or “The world’s best handling ’32 Ford.” These are bold claims which I’m sure plenty of people would like to contend, but today we’re going to talk about the unique suspension system that Multimatic has come up with. They call it their In-Wheel Suspension and as the name suggests, all of the components that guide the wheel travel are housed inside of the wheels. If you think about how much wheel travel a street car or race car needs, maybe 3 to 5 inches compression and 1 or 2 inches of droop, that range of motion can easily fit inside the diameter of modern 17 to 20 inch wheels.
What Multimatic has done is mounted the wheel to a hydraulic cylinder that controls its stroke. There are no control arms, pivots or even ball joints of any kind. As the wheel moves through it’s travel, hydraulic fluid is displaced which travels through lines to what is pretty much a remote coilover that’s mounted to the firewall. A spring mounted valve gives the suspension its spring rate and damping is adjusted very much like a traditional shock. The entire system allows for compact and flexible packaging for oddly shaped chassis. Having a single point of force transfer probably also means the chassis can be lighter since it doesn’t have to have hard mounting points for all the control arms and links.
As for whether or not the Multimatic has built the best handling ’32 Ford in the world remains to be seen. Though interesting from a packaging standpoint, the in-wheel suspension may have some major drawbacks. I would say the first one is maintaining the temperature of the hydraulic fluid. There’s a lot of energy being transferred and that will heat up the fluid which will change its viscosity and damping characteristics. I’m also curious about how good the handling of the car can be with a linear “axle path.” With this system, you can’t do things like camber or toe gain with loading. Without having driven the car, my guesses could be totally unfounded. Either way, Multimatic has built a cool hot rod and the In-Wheel Suspension system is a pretty fascinating concept to wrap your brain around.
Source: AutoFocus Canada on YouTube