Things in the automotive world usually move pretty slowly, and it’s rare that any one manufacturer will completely catch everyone else out on a particular technology. But when Skunkworks-silent engineering combines with excellent patent protection, the result can be either an industry-wide revolution, a comedy of errors as others attempt to catch up, or both.
Youngsters might take electronically adjustable dampers for granted today — but it wasn’t long ago when a set of Edelbrock IAS shocks represented the pinnacle of suspension control technology. Yes, back in that ancient era known as “the 1990s,” the idea of electron-quick suspension response seemed the stuff of sci-fi pipe dreams. But somewhere between Sliders and X-Files, a little American company (previously known primarily for floaty, retiree-spec luxo barges) brought to the mass-market a revolution in handling equipment.
That left the public speechless; partly in shock, but mostly because nobody could figure out how to pronounce “magnetorheological dampers.”