Roll Bar Installed!

Got my car back from AMT Machine Shop and the roll bar is installed!

Installed with hardtop on

Some questioned my reasoning for installing this bar in as it is required in only a minority of track-days, but I felt some added safety wouldn’t go amiss in a car like this. If my car were to ever flip, the only thing that would protect me is… literally nothing. The hardtop is made of plastic and holds onto the car via a bolt with a notch and a few clasps. I think it would be optimistic if I were to think that would ever protect me in an event of a flip over. Not only that, but I would assume there would be a gain in chassis stiffness as well (performance gain!).

Initially, Adam from AMT Machine and Fab Shop had told me over the phone that the process would take “a few days” and in my mind this would mean it would be at least a week before the car was ready so I dropped it off in the shop last wednesday and used that as an excuse to take a longer test drive of a Hyundai Veloster.

Adam was friendly and courteous at the shop and extremely professional. He had a number of his “projects” on display in his shop – all of which were quite impressive. Adam was very knowledgeable about racing requirements and listened carefully to my requests.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure he could pull it off as I wanted the roll bar to fit both my hard top and soft top (which has a zippered back window, making spacing difficult) and make suitable for harness use as well.

View from the inside. Handy carpet work, but its tight in there! See how the zippered window is pretty flat…

I was surprised when Adam called me on Friday of the same week telling me the roll bar was completed. Essentially in 1.5 days, he designed, cut and filed tubes, welded, painted, trimmed the carpet, and weld-installed the roll bar. It looks great! And more importantly, the rear zippered window comes down almost flat (something I wasn’t sure Adam would be able to accomodate.

Making sure I know who made this…

Adam even added little side winglets so that I could more easily add a harness in the future. Probably the only niggle is that the spacing on the soft top isn’t great – in order for me to close the soft top now I have to get out of the car and pull the soft top towards the back before lifting. This is required in order to get the linkages to clear the side bolsters. That’s a tough thing to measure out mind you, and overall I’m happy with the work he’s done.

Hardtop removed. Note the tightness between the “winglets” and the linkages on the side

Winglets added in to help with harness installation in the future

Getting back into my car after driving another, it feels strange. This car is very different to the one I drove for a few days – I sit much lower, the car is louder, and the engine revs freely like a chainsaw; things I took for granted when driving on a daily basis. I can hear the humming of the upgraded fuel pump, and relish the hardening of engine note beyond 4000 RPM. Even the gearbox reminds me of what this car is all about – each shift feeling like I am literally pushing steel cogs together. This car is incredibly mechanical and I love it. The roll bar does add a bit more stiffness; something I noticed by the way the car crashes into potholes just a smidge more than it used to (what used to be softened by the flex in the car). Also – I’ve lost about an inch of rear view visibility as the bar intrudes into the view.

Happy that this roll bar is in now – somehow it feels like I’ve gained a point on the car enthusiast legitimacy scale.

Cost = $850

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