Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Front Beam Axle With Leaf Springs

Beam axle with leaf springs
Back when I had my ’66 GMC van, I was amazed on how basic and uncomplicated the front suspension was: A simple, solid axle bolted to two longitudinal leaf springs. It’s about the simplest front suspension one can imagine, and isn’t much different than the suspension on a horse-drawn frontier buckboard of 150 years ago (and why people complained that my van “rode like a buckboard”). No control arms or other linkages, just an axle, springs, and a couple of shocks. It doesn’t provide the best ride, and it’s not a terribly space efficient layout, but it is elegant in its simplicity, very robust, and can be maintained with basic mechanical skills and a few simple tools. (“Yeah! Impact wrench! VRRR VRRR!“)
In homage to my old van, today’s entry in the virtual tome that is Encyclopedia Hoonatica is vehicles with a solid beam axle and leaf springs up front. Lately, E-H queries have not been very technical, so I decided to lob out a question today that’s a little more deferential to those greasemonkeys who spend more time under cars than perusing sales brochures.
The caveats:

  • Passenger cars and light trucks only. We could name medium- and heavy-duty trucks until the cows come home. And then the cows could name a few more.
  • Rear wheel drive only. No 4x4s. A beam axle is not the same thing as a drive axle.
  • Front suspension only. We don’t care about what’s in the rear of your Dodge Caravan.
  • Since this was a fairly common configuration on many early vehicles, both common and obscure, let’s restrict the list to postwar vehicles.

Difficulty: Easy for some, a blank stare for others. Big bonus points for passenger cars.
How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Bonus points for adding photos. Remember, you can simply pasting in the image URL now, thanks to Disqus.
Image Source: Digz_MI’s Photobucket via The Vintage-Vans.com Forum

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  1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    Pictured here the 1933 Aston Martin LeMans, but what could be pictured is every Aston Martin prior to 1940. When this:
    The Aston Martin Atom displayed a first for Aston, independent front suspension.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Yes, which is why I specified postwar, which is ’46 – on.

      1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

        Hey, don’t bother me with small font. I just wanted an excuse to throw the Aston Martin Atom up there.
        I didn’t need this list being all gassers and pick-up trucks. Haha.

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    Pre-1965 Ford F-Series (F-1 and F-100). Twin-I-Beam came along for ’65.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    Also, pre-1972 Dodge D-100s.

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    And I wouldn’t say that front beam axles are not space efficient – sure, the whole front axle has to move up and down, but there’s no spring towers intruding into the engine compartment.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I meant that they are not very space efficient front to rear.

  5. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    Sorry brah, can’t hear you over my twin I-Beam setup…

    View post on imgur.com

    1. irishzombieman Avatar

      LOVED my twin I-beam ’74.

    2. Monkey10is Avatar

      Whatever you do; don’t cross the beams!

  6. irishzombieman Avatar

    Not my pic, and mine didn’t look nearly this nice, but my 1970 IH truck could pull u-turns that I can’t make now in my minivan.

    View post on imgur.com

  7. Juliet C. Avatar
    Juliet C.

    2 wheel drive Jeep DJ3A Surrey.

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      Surrey with a fringe on top.

  8. Batshitbox Avatar

    All three of my 2WD IH Scout 80s. Probably the same parts as irishzombieman‘s 1210

    1. irishzombieman Avatar

      So. Stinkin’. Simple. Man, I love that.

  9. Manic_King Avatar

    All the UAZ vans/trucks/SUVs.

  10. FastPatrick Avatar

    MG TC. The TD went to an independent front, much to the horror of purists.

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      I knew I had driven a beam-axle MG T-series with leaf springs! I was trying to remember which it was. Thank you for posting.

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      False. They used coil springs on the front axle.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Sunofabitch. You’re right. I should know better.

  11. hubba Avatar

    1946-48 Ford car and other carryover Ford products, unless you sissies got something against a single transverse spring. We already gave you your damn hydraulic brakes.

    1. CSM Avatar

      Actually, that started with Model T in about 1908, carried through all Model As (1928-31) as well the 32-on early V8s.

    2. engineerd Avatar

      Transverse spring suspensions usually don’t include a beam axle.

    3. Tanshanomi Avatar

      But a single transverse spring has to have some sort of trailing links or locating arms, and then look at all the complexity you’re into!

  12. Batshitbox Avatar

    Do the leaf springs have to be longitudinal? The Dellow trials buggy made in post war England had a beam with elliptical leaf sprigs mounted transverse. Also, looks like fun! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dellow

  13. sunbeammadd Avatar

    The 1948-1950 Sunbeam-Talbots had a beam front axle. In 1950 they introduced independent front suspension for rally homologation purposes.

  14. Batshitbox Avatar

    Crosley Farm-O-Road, and probably the Hot Shot, too, but I can’t find any proof of that.

  15. The swede Avatar
    The swede

    1950 AC 2 litre

  16. nanoop Avatar

    Did we agree already post which war?