please keep us posted.The structural shortcomings of these early Chevy II’s has been one of my major concerns with these early models. I love the style and size of them but they really are not very sturdy.. The bolt-on suspension stuff that is available today can easily flex the body and buckle the quarter panels and that’s not damage caused by an accident. That’s just installing some new suspension which changes the point load distribution.. I’ve been working on this with my cars as they are under construction and want the suspension to behave predictably and chassis flex eliminated. I primarily want to do the majority of the structural fortification from the underside so that mean a full frame. Also, I want to “NOT” have to cut out the whole floor and firewall to accommodate the frame. A cage is not out of the question but I’d prefer to not have one if I choose but I know the roof structure is not really strong so maybe a high and tight fitting cage system will be part of the final solution..
does anyone perform crash testing on this stuff? as in how do we know these cages are truly functional, especially some of the one-offs people are making..?I have a 6 point cage in this car to stiffen another unibody. For subframe connectors it uses 1" X 3" tubing laying flat,stitch welded to the rocker panel pinch weld then tied to the rear spring mount and front subframe. It also had straight bar swing outs but for convenience I swapped them for this friendlier style. I know the bend weakens the structure but the cage is 1 3/4",not 1 5/8",so it seems to do the trick. With no door bars installed car has a noticeable pull to the left when you punch it but with these it eliminates that and I didn't want a repeat of the all the Nova failures so this was the compromise. I don't think they would be legal at the track but I can swap in the straight bars for that. They sure are nice for daily use and they save the edge of the seat by supporting my butt cheeks as I slide in and out. One bolt at the footwell and and the pin at the hoop so they're easy to remove if you need to get right in there and lay on the floor for under dash work. I like them so much I'm going to do a set for the Nova.
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i forgot to ask: if the bar is properly covered with high-density foam, why would the "cabbage" get injured?Only problem with a cage is it puts steel pipes right by your unprotected cabbage. No bid deal at the track with a helmet on but street driving with no lid creates a problem. They really should have the roll bar padding installed but it's not very attractive and I'm guilty of not putting any on mine for vanity sake.
obviously much, much harder than without the foam, ya know? it's the reason they changed the concrete barriers in some of the racing leagues, in my understanding.Let me take a baseball bat, cover it with high-density foam, how hard do you think I would have to swing to replicate your cabbage being injured?
what was your estimated speed during these wrecks?I guess I could see that had I not spent many hours racing in circle track and road race formula cars. My last wreck wearing a five point harness allowed me to hit my head on the steering wheel even though at rest it was almost twenty inches away. That was leaning forward to check for closness. Not a single section of tubing was not compromised. Roll bars should always be protected with high energy foam but this design also includes the wearing of a helmet. I have no use for a street car with a roll cage. If you've ever had your bell rung you would get it......
you nailed it. and it's a good conversation. many of us are trying to have our cake and eat it, too. and what we might be describing in so many words is...a late-model car--just without the great looks we are all so interested in. snagging a late model is the free lunch, we'd just have to choose to accept the looks of more current offerings (which, admittedly is a tough sell). but the safety upgrades to modern vehicles in legal in N.A. over the past 20 years are impressive and tough to ignore.SNS veterans posting above know that there's inherent flex to these cars. They were cheap and built to early 1960's build standards, and those standards didn't address this well enough for today. Crash test standards weren't in place, manufacturers didn't have to answer to much litigation in this regard, but we all know how that changed before the decade was out.
What to do? There's no free lunch. Guys love these cars because a small block is a drop in, but these bodies end up cracking, flexing, breaking and handling poorly when there's a lot of power under the hood and traction upgrades are made to go faster in a straight line. Addressing the problems adds weight. Sub frame connectors are a start. A cage integrated with the front and rear subframes is another good step, but probably not enough. There's a huge call for body 'drop-on' subframes that will be able to hold all of the suspension and driveline, but now you're adding significant weight and there's no test data that that added frame or roll cage will make the cars significantly safer to occupants in a collision, though they should. Any of these upgrades should be accompanied by safer seating, seat to body attachment, restraints and other improvements as well if that's the goal of the modification.
Guys upgrading Novas are asking a lot out of early '60's practice of the art car building design, especially from a model designed to be light and cheap with no waste. GM wasn't trying to compete in today's market or even today's hobbyist market with this car.