Here's a recent Masterpiece fromREDLINE RACE Craft
Like many race cars, the car you see above represents years of hard work; the last two at the hands of REDLINE RACE Craft. It originally started life as a 1969 911T, and had a 3.2 engine when the current owner purchased it, but was otherwise stock. As you can see, it is anything but now!
The owner (and my good friend, Dr. Daniel Galyon) quickly proceeded with his dream of building a race car, having plastic body panels and an uprated engine installed. He also had a street cage installed, and gradually added to it until it became a "full welded in cage." These additions were carried out by a local body shop, and in all fairness, the body conversion was reasonably well done. But structurally, the car - with its haphazardly converted bolt-in street cage - was a disaster. It eventually became apparent - as the owner and the car became a faster package - that a new level of design and craftsmanship was called for. Enter REDLINE RACE Craft.
Dan and project in the MOSPORT pits, 1995.
We decided that the first step in the project was shoring up the front structure. The car had some pretty serious suspension hardware (935), but obviously could not fully take advantage of that hardware, nor its proper set-up, because of the relatively high degree of characteristic 911 chassis flex. Also, safety was a concern. Dan is a smart guy, and while he did want to go racing in a serious way, he didn't want to unduly jeopardize his safety doing it. He felt he wanted more steel in front of him. No problem; I designed what I call his "55mph Bumper!"
There were also some other parameters that framed this project. Dan liked the idea of full caster/camber adjustable spherical upper strut mounts. I concurred, so part of the project was the fabrication of custom strut towers to receive them. Next, I wanted to mount the massive remote oil cooler in such a way as to protect it from the minor impacts that usually wipe out such coolers mounted behind only a flimsy fiberglas bumper. This was accomplished by mounting it within the sturdy tube frame extension in the front that would also support the new RSR-style fiberglas bumper assembly.
Tower fabricated form plate and square steel stock
1. Full length base bar welded into boxed frame rail
2. Tube replacing stamped crossbeam under fuel tank
3. Fabricated front control arm strut rod mount
So, here we have the "55mph Bumper" coming together. The full length side tubes (#1), which provide an anchor point for the strut tower tubes, are boxed into the side skirts replacing the relatively weak factory stamped sheetmetal side frame members. I also took the opportunity to create more cross rigidity and fuel cell protection by removing the relatively weak stamped crossmember under the front of the fuel cell and replacing it with a tube (#2). This whole arrangement offers far more structural rigidity in both the front framing and also the area where the front control arm strut rods mount to the underneath side of the pan (#3). A lot of the original tub's sheetmetal is hitting the dustbin as well. The aforementioned crossmember, plus the entire front body panel, spare tire well, and hood latching panel. But that's not all. As the ensuing pictures show, more is yet to fall victim to the air chisel and disc cutter!
Here we have the completed front inner structure primed and ready for paint. You can see the tubed/boxed lower side rails, the tubes running back from the strut towers under the windshield tying the front structure into the roll cage (#1), and the crossbraces that intersect the same points. Massive structural rigidity! As mentioned previously, there were many system design features interacting here. The front upper side rails were designed to end right behind the front bumper. Not only did this give a good mounting point for the bumper, but made a perfect spot for threaded tow hook receivers to be welded into the end of each frame tube (#2). Sure makes it a lot easier to tie the car down in the trailer too!
Also, you can see the custom fabricated rear fuel cell panel above (#3) that allowed the cell to be mounted a precious 2 inches further rearward, giving more room for the massive front oil cooler's ducting. One problem with front mounted coolers is airflow. Just having the cooler does not mean it will be efficient. If you have nowhere for the air to flow to after it goes through the cooler, it won't flow much air in the first place! I solved this problem in the time honored GT Prototype fashion by ducting the air through the front bumper, the cooler, and then up and out through a vent hole in the hood. Although it was tricky in terms of space relative to all the systems in the area (#4 -fuel cell bracket), this method has a number of advantages. First, it allows for huge air flow potential because the air not only flows into the cooler quickly, but is actually sucked out by the higher speed air rushing over the hood. Another benefit is to aerodynamics. Normally the area under the front of a car has a very high air pressure because that air has nowhere to flow to easily as it hits the front bumper.
If the pressure under the bumper is greater than over it, you get front end lift. Not good! However, if you give that air someplace to flow to easily, you decrease pressure under the bumper relative to over it, and thereby create downforce! By ducting the oil cooler in this manner, you get not only incredible cooling efficiency, but essentially free aerodynamic downforce with virtually no drag.
The $700 carbon fiber hood sliced to give the oil cooler exit duct, and fiberglassed in. Huge air flow through the cooler, and aerodynamic efficiency to aid handling. Plus it looks really trick!
Owner Dan didn't just write checks either, he also practiced the time tested art of sweat-equity! While I was busy topside with tube framing and other fabrication, he was busy underneath, scraping off undercoating, welding up holes, and of course the endless grinding! Notice the artisitc corner gussets around the front strut towers (black arrows). Typical REDLINE Craftsmanship!
So now we have the front inner area painted, and most of the components installed, like the fuel cell, oil cooler and lines, oil tank (left rear), brake resevoir, strut camber
plates, and the lightweight aluminum fabricated firewall panels that replaced the heavy and redundant factory steel firewall. Yes, the air chisel was busy here too! Now all that's left is painting and final assembly. Incidentally, were any of you curious as to how much the car weighed since we put all that heavy steel tubing in? Well, in the end, it weighed 50 lbs. LESS!
So, there's the front. But there's a whole 2/3rds of the car left to do! Click the pointing hand at right to continue the adventure. It REALLY gets interesting now!