get lowering springs with spring rates close to stock, and don't drop more than 3/4" or so, and your stock shocks will be ok, then it'll be an ok setup. handling might be slightly better, but it doesn't really get helped until you drop a little more, get stiffer springs, better shocks, and camberkits to get things lined back up.
I have never seen that metal plate you are referring to, but i guess it would work ok, only problem would be making it look decent. If you are only lowering 1 inch I wouldn't worry about scraping it too much.
As for shocks, it really depends on your wants and needs. If you are looking for superior performance I'd say go with Koni Yellows or Bilstiens. If you are looking for something a little less aggressive, I'd say Koni Reds or the non-adjustable Tokico's maybe. Kind of inbetween, price wise (and performance wise for that matter) is the Tokico Illumina and the KYB AGX's, which are both adjustable.