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I visited with Greg at VMC yesterday. He received disappointing news from the company that was building my front suspension. They just couldn't do it.  So this brought us back to square 1.  Use a VW front axle !  Greg said that it will get a rack and pinion steering box. They figured out how to do that with not too much trouble. Needless to say, I was disappointed but then I was happy to get things moving again.

The rear suspension will be set up for a Subaru engine and Subaru transaxle though. The shifting will be accomplished with a shift rod, not cables.

After doing research and locating an old friend who worked as an engineer for Kelsey-Hayes , we determined that the disc brakes supplied by EMPI (and others) are more than adequate to stop this 1375 lb car.  If I was to do serious competitive racing, front brake assemblies would have to be changed out to a larger/better one.  Something like a Wilwood or other.

So upward and onward ! Things should start happening faster now and I'm glad for that !..........................Bruce

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Good news, Bruce. I'd love to lose the front beam myself, but it packages so well in there...

I'd love to see chassis photos of the rack and especially the rear suspension.

IMHO, get a 2" narrowed beam like I did. That way you can put any brakes on there you want and have room. If you get standard width stuff, you can space the front wheels out for no harm/no foul.

Once the beam is welded in, it's baked in the cake.

That's a bummer, Bruce, but I wondered how this would be possible from the time you first mentioned it. As Danny notes: the 550 was pretty much designed around that beam, and it packages like it.

A speedster, on the other hand, has acres of wasted space around the beam which can (and should) be used for a proper A-arm.

I'll be very interested in how close you come to the "1375 lb" part with those brakes (with cast iron hubs) and a heavier water-cooled engine and attendant radiator/lines/fans, etc.

Keep us posted on the progress.

An aircooled Vintage Spyder weighs about 1450 dry. With some gas, oil, tools and whatnots about 1500. That's what mine weighs.

I'd guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 1650 with coolant, lines, radiator, and heavier Subaru motor and transmission.

I'm still betting that an A-arm front could be packaged up front. I'm sure it would require some new fiberglass inner panels to go along with the different frame tubes.

Bruce, I'm really not a fan of those "barbell" wide5 disc brakes from Empi that EVERYONE uses. Too heavy. What wheels and lug pattern are you going with?

Last edited by DannyP

Stan-Danny-Rick  I looked at an old Kirk ad where he said 1375 lbs. I had to give my Kelsey-Hayes friend a weight value so that's what I used. Based on his opinion my Spyder could weigh up to 2500 before troublesome heat problems would raise their heads. He said that those EMpi type brakes came from some small production car or were copied from one. The pads, I think he said, are common replacement items. I don't recall if he told me the manufacturer's name.

It certainly WILL be interesting to see what the car weighs in at on our local scale for vehicles.

A dyno check of what the car is putting on the ground will be another piece of info I would like. Out Front will be one dyno check and then on to another place to get another.  This way I can determine the average of the "SOCAL" factor for dyno results and use this to reduce maximum HP output by that percentage to something realistic.

Back to those brakes. The rear assemblies are adequate for this application and thats all to say about that. I insist that the rear have a Parking brake assembly. This narrowed the choice down. There are bigger/better rear brakes out there but with a parking brake incorporated, not so much. Anyway, I'm comfortable with what I intend to use. The learning curve is always fun too !

I'm not a fan of wide 5 wheels and drums and with disc brakes it's just too much unsprung weight. My Speedster had 4-130'S and I loved my old EMPI 8 spoke wheels ! I do like FUCH's !   So I'm thinking 5-130 (Porsche ?)  bolt pattern.  Wheel size...I'm thinking a little taller (like 16") so that I have more choices of more readily available Vredestein Sportrax-5 summer tires.

Last thing.  After learning of all the obstacles to overcome to get an A-Arm suspension it these little cars, I'm not too surprised to hear that they gave up. The mention that I'm getting a rack and pinion steering box was even a surprise after looking and looking at how it might be accomplished ! Another time we were thinking about how mount a new brake and clutch assembly from above (swing pedals) and the possibility of needing to use bell cranks to reverse their  actuator direction !   It's still possible to do this but I believe as Danny, the entire front framing and related FG body parts will need serious re-design.  Lastly....This is not the time for Greg to take that on. He's really busy and working hard to stay on top of his enterprise. He has cars in various stages of production all over the place................Bruce

1375lbs? I'm sorry, I'd have to see the weight slip. Drum brakes, little type1, no carpets, no wipers, lightweight seats, etc. Not in a Vintage, but a Beck maybe. They tend to be lighter.

I agree that rear disc brakes with parking brake are a MUST. A line lock is just dumb.

I also agree that the rear brakes with parking brake are adequate for the job.

On the front however it will depend on how you drive. If you have any real track-type work you'll need something better than the usual Empi fare. I have experienced brake fade with the CSP solid rotor fronts, so I believe I'm correct in getting my Wilwood 4-piston with drilled rotors from Airkewld.

The wide5 pattern really limits your options, going 4 or 5 x 130 opens things up for brake and wheel choices. If you end up with 16" wheels, you'll have to watch the width and offset.

The wide5 cast iron hubs really add a LOT of weight, but there are aluminum options: CB, CSP, and Airkewld. They're all(progressively so) expensive, but how much is your life worth? Buy once, cry once. To me a Spyder MUST have wide5, but not everyone thinks like me.

FYI, Tire Rack now has Vred Sportrac5 tires in 185/65R15 and 195/60R15. This is due to Carey Hines dogged persistence and my begging for about a year. Please order some so they remain in the catalog. You're welcome, people! Sixteen inchers I don't know about, but you could ask.

Last edited by DannyP
@DannyP posted:


...The wide5 cast iron hubs really add a LOT of weight, but there are aluminum options: CB, CSP, and Airkewld. They're all(progressively so) expensive, but how much is your life worth? Buy once, cry once. To me a Spyder MUST have wide5, but not everyone thinks like me.

There is also Coolstop Brakes from Coolrydes Customs

They're light, vented, come in 11 or 12.5" (if you're running 17" wheels) and have a parking brake in the rear.  They are not cheap, but anything that is truly well done never is...

PS- I'm not endorsing these, as I've never used them- only pointing out another option.

Last edited by ALB
@DannyP posted:

FYI, Tire Rack now has Vred Sportrac5 tires in 185/65R15 and 195/60R15. This is due to Carey Hines dogged persistence and my begging for about a year. Please order some so they remain in the catalog. You're welcome, people! Sixteen inchers I don't know about, but you could ask.

Is this just at the warehouse in Bremen? I just checked the website and they only list 185s.
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I guess I should have checked the Tire Rack website. Sorry. I was under the impression they were now available.

I just looked around the web and can't find the 195/60R15 anywhere. Check the People's Republic of Stanistan @Stan Galat, he may have purchased the entire inventory for supreme leader-only usage! LOL!

The fronts are H rated, and the rear are V rated that I got. I personally don't see any problem with this but it is possible Tire Rack doesn't want to sell them to the general public due to liability in this litigious world. I'll be putting them on soon.

Same tread, same rubber compound, just a slightly stiffer sidewall in the rear. Again, not a problem IMHO.

@chines1

Last edited by DannyP

We bought the last of the 195s and the part number(s) are now dead.  The assumption is that they've officially discontinued the 195s but we're waiting for confirmation.  Vredelstein is also in the midst of setting up a new factory, and all SKUs that are made int he new factory have to go through the DOT approval process again, regardless of past approval, so there is a chance they'll come back, but it won't be quick.

Might be able to find another dealer that has inventory fo the 195s, but thats the only other avenue at the moment.

Thank you for your input, Carey.

I noticed Tire Rack has the Vred Sprint+ in 195/60R15. Not the same as a Sportrac5, similar tread, but not the same. Same treadwear number: 300. But NOT the same tire and not the same price, 160-something. I wonder if Vredestein is going to offer that tire in more sizes, it would be great if they did.

@chines1 posted:

We bought the last of the 195s and the part number(s) are now dead.  The assumption is that they've officially discontinued the 195s but we're waiting for confirmation.  Vredelstein is also in the midst of setting up a new factory, and all SKUs that are made int he new factory have to go through the DOT approval process again, regardless of past approval, so there is a chance they'll come back, but it won't be quick.

Might be able to find another dealer that has inventory fo the 195s, but thats the only other avenue at the moment.

Rats. If they kept, I'd have ordered 4 sets of them.

Best.

Tires.

Ever.

@DannyP posted:

Thank you for your input, Carey.

I noticed Tire Rack has the Vred Sprint+ in 195/60R15. Not the same as a Sportrac5, similar tread, but not the same. Same treadwear number: 300. But NOT the same tire and not the same price, 160-something. I wonder if Vredestein is going to offer that tire in more sizes, it would be great if they did.

Vulcan lists more sizes of the Sprint Classic than anyone else I’ve seen, but they’re all $150<.

If I hadn’t fallen in love with the fatter, staggered tires, I might consider going “Back to the Future” with some 155R-15s. They’re only $95.

As I’ve posted before, I used Sprints on my VWs and Volvos back before they were “Classics” and I loved them.

Last edited by dlearl476

Anyone know anything about Blackhawk Street tires? Looks like that’s what is on my soon to arrive Speedster. 195/65R15.

I went to the Blackhawk website. Like everything not called a Vredestein Sportrac 5, it's an A/S touring tire.

The world is aching for a legitimate summer tire in 15" sizes. Vredestein made one, but it was impossible to get. Carey got Tire Rack to start caring and list something besides oddball 14" sizes, but now Vredestein themselves is dorking with the product line.

I'm lost as to why it's so very hard for anybody to build and sell a decent 15' tire. Why in the name of all that's good would Vredestein not just keep building them, and why didn't so many people buy them that they had no choice but to keep making them? Every classic 911 in the world is crying for decent tires, just like we are.

The Sportracs were the best tires I've ever run on anything. I could run with Spyders in a Speedster - and that's all anybody needs to know about their gooey goodness. 

.

Lots of good questions, Stan.

I don't know the answers to any of them.

But here are some thoughts from someone wondering the same things.

We can guess as much as we want about perceived demand, but tire companies are humorless businesses that exist to make money. Decisions they make that baffle enthusiasts are almost always based on passionless reports from passionless, spreadsheet-wielding accountants. I'm guessing if the numbers were really, truly there, we could buy all the Sportracs we want - at Tire Rack, at Walmart, and probably even have them delivered to our door from the gray truck with the swoopy blue arrows.

I do know you can still buy brand new and period correct Michelin tires for your old 911 - the XZX and, more appropriately, the first ever assymetric radial, the XAS (guess what the 'AS' stands for).

I've never tried the Sportrac (for reasons you allude to), but I've got A LOT of miles on the original XAS, and it was a helluva tire in the day (they were also OEM on the BMW 1600 and 2002). Those beasties kept my butt out of innumerable offroad excursions in my formative years and for that I shall be forever grateful. Better than the Vreds or even as good? Dunno.

But if I'm restoring my old 911 back to period correctitude and I still want to have some fun driving it, I'd go with the Michelins, hands down. Straw-hat-and-blue-blazer-wearing Pebble Beach judges go all weak in the knees at the very sight of them.

Yeah, the XAS is now about eight times as much as the Sportrac, but if you've already taken out a loan for the 911 restoration, what's a few pennies more each month?

.

Michelins were always a bit hard for my liking. If mileage is your thing, Michelin is your tire.

Stan is probably on the right track about penny-pinchers, stats, and bottom-line accounting.

Vred also makes the Sprint+, which I mentioned before. Same 300 treadwear rating as the Sportrac5. This is a Grand Touring Summer tire rather than a High Performance Summer tire. They both have the same temperature restrictions, but the sizing availability stinks in the good old USA. The Sprint+ is more than twice as expensive for less tire than a Sportrac5?

How hard would it be to just churn some out, Vred? You already have the molds made, the tires have been available for YEARS in Europe, I mean seriously WTF!

If the tires cost 150-200 each, I'd still buy them, even though I got a whole set for less than $250...

I guess we're gonna have to buy a new set of Avons every year. Or suffer with touring tires.

The problem as I see it: Stan and I and a few others are firmly in the minority.

Last edited by DannyP

@Sacto Mitch - yeah, the market is tiny.

T  i  n  y.

I get that. But I have this conversation on a daily basis with a local supply house that refuses to stock any parts. If the metric for stocking a thing is how many you sold last year, but you didn't stock the thing ever - how can you have a reasonable expectation of selling enough parts to begin stocking them? In the case of the supply house, when I need parts I need them today (not in a week, not in 4 days, not tomorrow). If the parts aren't on the shelf, they are not going to sell them - not now, not ever. The metric has to be the potential market, not the historical one.

It's the same thing with these tires. Availability was always terrible. Guys who wanted them couldn't get them, and moved on to something else. Vredestein has an importer into the US who did a terrible job with these tires. If Max Hoffman had treated  Porsche like this, they'd still be a boutique European brand building tractors to pay the bills.

They should have cost $150/tire instead of $60, but they should have been in stock and ready to go in all of the popular 15 and 16 inch sizes. If they had been, the importer would have made more money on every tire, and had a reason to stock them.

It vexes me, because I don't want a period-correct 15" tire (XZX) - I want a modern summer tire in sizes that are useful to me: AND WE HAD IT, kinda'/sotra', a little bit, if you could find the needle in the haystack.

Well maybe they diverted production to rarer or even smaller rubber production who knows, but we can hardly count on a supplier giving us anything the same day these days, is it any wonder we are funding  bezodollars when the local guy can’t supply anything and when you do order from him due to the special order status he gouges you more because he is buying in ones and twos ...

That strategy builds the bigger guy forward and stuns your growth.

I don't need tires to be available the same day, but I do need them to be available.

There was never any way to buy these tires without a secret handshake and decoder ring or buying from a guy two time-zones away. Either way, the wait was 3+ months for the brown truck to show up with tires wearing 4 year old date-codes. They weren't so much tires as they were the elusive hope of tires.

When Tire Rack got involved, I thought we had the answer.

We didn't.

Last edited by Stan Galat

.

Ah, the "elusive hope of tires."

My main concern with the Sportracs is, OK, you've managed to score a set. But then, three months later, you take a nail through a sidewall and you need yet another new tire. But, just one. Then what?

Do you put the word out on the street and agree to meet a guy in some motel parking lot at two in the morning to do the deal?

Danny's right, tires shouldn't be hard.

.

Michelins are hard as a rule...hard = more mileage....Had them on my 2500 Ram,,ruff riding sob..replaced them with another brand..less mileage(im 72 who cares) and a much smoother ride..I did work for Mich in the 70s as a territory rep in LA,tuff company but makes excellent tires..i recently put BFGs on my CRV,excellent tire also owned by Mich..

@Sacto Mitch posted:

.

Ah, the "elusive hope of tires."

My main concern with the Sportracs is, OK, you've managed to score a set. But then, three months later, you take a nail through a sidewall and you need yet another new tire. But, just one. Then what?

Do you put the word out on the street and agree to meet a guy in some motel parking lot at two in the morning to do the deal?

Danny's right, tires shouldn't be hard.

.

That's exactly why I bought a 5th Sportrac5.  Immediately after mounting the first four,  I thought about Murphy's Law.  I put #5 in a garbage bag, stuck in the corner, and figure I'll just wait to see if Murphy ever comes "knockin'" on my door. I'm ready for   him.

@Napa Paul posted:

That's exactly why I bought a 5th Sportrac5.  Immediately after mounting the first four,  I thought about Murphy's Law.  I put #5 in a garbage bag, stuck in the corner, and figure I'll just wait to see if Murphy ever comes "knockin'" on my door. I'm ready for   him.

Might turn out to be a good investment. If you wear out the others and change tire brands you might be able to sell you’re “5th” tire at double the price you paid for it.

@Robert M posted:

Might turn out to be a good investment. If you wear out the others and change tire brands you might be able to sell you’re “5th” tire at double the price you paid for it.

Places out here won’t mount/balance/repair a tire with a production date 5< years anymore.

I gave away a brand new pair of really expensive Michelin Xs that I bought for my 912 because of it.

ps: I started a Vredestein thread so we don’t clutter up Bruce’s build thread. (Any more than we already have.)

Last edited by dlearl476

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