I recently got a chance to chat with one of the AST North America representatives and it was probably one of the most humbling conversations I ever had with a company. This article isn’t going to be an in-depth review of the coilovers itself. This article isn’t suppose to make you shop online right now and put a set of AST coilovers in your cart. But I do hope you get a glimpse of what this company is about. (Bonus: scroll down below to see a video of my first track day on the AST 5200)
The top tier coilover landscape
A few months back we published an article to rank coilover manufacturers and at the top of the list you can find some of the more popular brands, especially for the E46 platform, such as AST, MOTON, JRZ and MCS. Let’s be real. When you go to the track these are the top coilover manufacturers in discussion for the serious enthusiast and our research explains why. What’s interesting is that all of these manufacturers come from one country, the Netherlands. Below is a brief history of AST:
- 2000 – AST was founded by Piet Kreeft and Peter Smits
- 2010 – AST was chosen as the new shock supplier for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
- 2011 – acquired MOTON Suspension
- 2012 – Piet leaves AST and Marleen Theuws leads the company alongside chief engineer Julian van Dijken
- 2016 – AST is acquired by Roosen Industries
- 2017 – Coen de Korte, with over 10 years of experience in the suspension industry, joins AST
Why did I choose AST?
There are several companies, as mentioned above, that are in the top tier category. Why did I choose AST? The answer is rather simple: the customer service. But why customer service?
Well you see, once you start shopping for 2-way or external reservoir coilovers from the top companies, there’s not really a huge competitive advantage between the coilovers for 99% of us. Chances are, if you were put in a blind coilover test and swapped out nothing but the coils it would be really hard to tell them apart.
You start looking at shock design. Is it reverse mounted? Is it a true rear coilover? What are the spring rates? Does it come with external reservoirs? Can I get the shocks custom valved to my spring rates? There are a lot of factors to consider, but I realized regardless of which brand I choose, performance will be there. However will I get support? Which company is going to give me the best experience? Who has the best rebuild options? Who is supporting not only the grassroots motorsports, but the every day track HPDE participants? Those we’re the questions that would ultimately lead me to AST.
AST the future
I sat down with Johan from AST and had a long discussion with him regarding his vision of the company. He’s currently managing a lot of the North America operations for AST and Moton including setting up activation across the US. Recently I saw them at Big SoCal Euro. No one else is really putting their company out there and investing in that that type of stuff. Anyways, he is an enthusiast at heart and wants to support the community of HPDE racers. You know, the average track go-ers.
He wants to provide track-side tuning support for customers at local track events.
He’s centralizing operations and cleaning up the manufacturing process since things have been a bit messy over the past few years.
If you want to service your coilovers there are specialized shops with certified technicians that will do everything from rebuilding to upgrading from 2-way to 3-way.
But most importantly, they’re very open. I mean the entire reason why this article is happening is because all it took was a phone call asking about pricing that led me to Johan inviting me down to their office to take a tour since I was only 15 minutes away.
Enough talk. Let’s move on to the coilovers themselves. I ended up getting the AST 5200 2-way coilovers with a true-rear setup. See below for some coilover porn. Oh and also, if you’re going to SEMA this year be sure to check them out!
What’s in the Box?
Right after I opened the box my eyes locked in on a shiny wrapper. What is it? Stroopwafels lol. It’s a popular Netherlands snack that is usually placed on top of a steaming coffee cup. The heat softens it up and then you can eat the delicious caramel stuffed waffle goodness. I thought it was clever to introduce a piece of heritage in a very passive way. Scroll through the gallery below.
We want to hear from you. Why did you choose your coilovers? Comment below!