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Had to take some wind wings down to Greg today.   As always, I noticed a few interesting things.  I liked the band coupling on the exhaust better than the three bolt arrangement I had on my Speedster. Much easier getting the muffler off to adjust the valves. Don't know what this engine was going in but I really liked the color arrangement !  They had a near complete Spyder frame on the building Jig. The front hood hinge is a site to behold and works really well !   A pic of the classic rear suspension on a Spyder and finally,   Greg taking a finished car out for a little test run.

The latest news is that both Greg and I have given up on getting anyone to build a new front suspension on my build so we agreed to proceed with a std ball joint front beam with a rack and pinion steering box. Having decided this, he said he would start on my build during the Christmas/Holidaze season. I will be leaving for Mexico again next week and won't return until March. A friend of mine will be living here in our home while we are gone so he will be able to ship any of my products  while I'm away.

I know a few of you were following my build specifically because of the new front suspension I wished to have.  I'm disappointed  as well.  It has been a long wait and I have missed out on a lot of west coast activities during the wait but I think it was worth giving it a chance to come to reality.  Maybe next time ? Car ?....Bruce


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That's too bad, Bruce. But I guess it's good news to move forward. I'm interested to see how Greg tackles the rack, and I'm hoping he uses a center-pull equal-length tie-rod setup to minimize bump steer. A conventional rack with short tie-rods is NOT the answer with a VW beam.

I have yet to install my rack, but that will happen this fall/winter. The parts are all here, painted, and ready for installation. I will post pictures on my rack thread.

I went with a 2" narrowed beam to accommodate the Airkewld front brakes, which usually widen the track about 3/4" per side. I believe my car was the first Vintage Spyder so equipped. I'm extremely pleased with the beam/brakes/Vintage 190 wheels and Vredestein tires. NO RUBBING! I think the rounded tread shoulder helps with that.

My Spyder exhaust has two V-band clamps from the header/J-tubes to the mufflers. It is easy to take on/off and seals perfectly, plus they're stainless. Home run there.

Last edited by DannyP

I forgot to ask him about the rack and pinion set up so I will call him and ask about that.

Front brakes.  An engineer friend of mine that retired from Kelsey-Hayes worked the numbers for the front brakes and determined that the units that Empi and others sell are more than adequate for occasional hard use. I was planning on using Wilwood's but now that my frt suspension won't be what I wanted, I'm thinking maybe just using the regular disc set-up. The EMPI set-up is or was made by Honda or Nisson or Toyota or someone like that. I can't recall what my friend said about who made these but he did say that the design was really good. The materials my be a little questionable though.....Danny,  What say you ?

Another question.  Vredestein tires.  Since I don't have brakes or wheels or tires yet. Is there another Vredestein tire size that would work (the sportrak-5 summer line) in lieu of the hard-to-get 15" size's ?  Say a 16" with a Porsche 5 lug pattern ?..........Bruce

If you act quickly, Bruce, Tire Rack still had Vredestein Sportrac 5s in 185/60 15 and 185/65 15 as of yesterday. I have no idea if either size is useful to you, but my size (195/60 15) are NLA.

The world is undergoing huge supply-chain disruptions with very real inflation in a lot of areas of the economy. These tires never enjoyed wide distribution even before the recent troubles, which really vexes me. I realize that not everybody wants to push their car like I do, but everybody would (and could) have appreciated the better ride, and better traction these tires afford. I understand the indifference, as I never would have known what I was missing if I had never experienced these tires.

I try not to hype stuff, and generally point out shortcomings in things I try. There just aren't any with these tires. They are A/S cheap, but act like $300 (each!) CN36 Cinturatos, but are quieter and last longer. They have a 300 treadwear rating, look fantastic (not "rubber-band" goofy), and grip like glue. They're quiet, predictable, and break away predictably when you do overcook an entrance.

Tire Rack has a Vredestein Sprint + tire they seem to be offering instead of the Sportacs. It's a summer only "Grand Touring" tire (as opposed to a summer performance tire), but it costs $170 each instead of $75-80, so a set will cost 2x what the Sportracs did.

This is probably your last chance. Even if Vredestein issues a Sportrac 6, it'll take a huge change in attitude among the classic 911 faithful to get wide distribution of them.

Just spoke to Paul’s guy in Florida. I set a reminder to call him in Oct. to see if there was any word. Nope.

I’m still hoping Vredestein comes out with a Sportrac6 soon, hence the delay. According to Michael, Covid, plus Vredestein trying to move into a new factory, has led to unusual delays in making more Sportracs.

Sadly, I think if they ever do get back into production, they’re going to be more in the Sprint Classic price range.

Last edited by dlearl476

Greg puts a little more caster in(5-6 degrees I think) when they weld the beam in.

You can use a stock bar if you bend the ends up about 20 degrees. If you want a bigger bar than stock, you'll need to make one. I made a 16mm bar and welded plates on the beam for bushings.

If you go with a 2" narrowed beam you pretty much have to make your own like I did.

I personally think a 3/4" bar is too much in a light Spyder. 16mm or 5/8" is about right.

I have wide5 Vintage 190 4.5" and 5.5" staggered F-R, with 185/65R15 and 195/60R15.

The Vreds Sportrac5(300 treadwear) made a HUGE difference, compared to the Yokohama touring all-seasons. I just put Falken Azenis on my Cayman for track work. The difference is similar to the regular touring tires that were on both cars, now swapped to sticky tires.

If you can't get them I'd get the repop Pirelli CN36 in 175/70(I don't believe available in CN36) and 185/70R15(and I looked but couldn't find a treadwear). Or go for the Avon CRZZ(100-150 treadwear=STICKY and high wear). There are also Vred Sprint Classics.

Sprint Classics are available in 165HR15, 175/70, and 185/70 and have a 220(F) or 160(R) treadwear. These are $140-150 each. These would be my choice if I couldn't get Sportracs, which will be the case soon since they're discontinued.

Those are about the only choices, all of them being pretty expensive except the Sportracs and Sprint Classics.

With ALL these tires, do not drive or even put weight on them if it's under 40F outside. They will crack. Right now, I'm getting ready to do an autocross day in the Cayman, and it's 38F. Car is in the 60 degree F garage, sitting on the lift waiting for 40F outside!

Nope,  not yet.. I haven't left for Mexico yet but plan to go by and see him on the way down.  I did call him a couple times to ask about the position of the Rack assy. but he didn't return my calls.. Probably too busy and knows my questions are trivial compared to some of the things he faces daily.  I haven't forgotten to check out/up on, your coupe when I'm there either.  last time I was there and talked to him he said that he and "Grumpy" and one other will be working alone on special projects thru the holidaze when all his other employees are off.   Just to be able for those particular guysto have time to think about special stuff rather than production issues will go a long way towards good health and mental attitudes.  He said thats when they will be working my car..................Bruce

Thanks Danny....I've waited quite a while in "Patient" mode and now it's been replaced by anxiousness.   This week I have decided on all black with red trim in slight doses for my color choice.  The frame would be red powder coated. The doors inside would be red carpet and the seats black with some red trim. My Hartman latches that replace the leather straps on the clamshell are countersunk flush with the body will be red along with the two "Spyder" badges on the sides and rear.

That's this week for colors !  Who knows ? Next week it'll probably be some other color.

I'm sure many of us have been thru this color/trim dream many times !  Ha Ha .....Bruce

"I haven't forgotten to check out/up on, your coupe when I'm there either.  last time I was there and talked to him he said that he and "Grumpy" and one other will be working alone on special projects thru the holidaze when all his other employees are off. "

Thanks for that!

"I'm sure many of us have been thru this color/trim dream many times !"

Oh, lordy, I'm still doing it and it's too late to change it!

Have fun in Mexico, and thanks for keeping us posted on Greg's crazy times fun house of custom cars!

Yesterday I stopped off at Greg's shop (Vintage Motorcars) to drop off a couple of items. MAJOR remodel, new floorplans for office space and work space enhancements, pouring new LARGE concrete pads and outdoor coverings  underway (did I already say a MAJOR remodel is going on). Even while the intrusiveness of a remodel is underway, the shop is still a beehive of activity working on beaucoup cars in various stages of production. Seeing all that going on, I can fully understand how Greg is hard pressed to keep EVERYTHING moving forward (well, as forward as the current supply issues allow).

I'm just saying...

Last edited by MusbJim

Rick............Yes,  when I was there I asked Greg about the R & P steering box arrangement. I asked if it will be centered and he said "No"...  I commented that this means that I will get some "Bump-steer" and he said "No", the box with the rack and pinion gear is not centered but the output shafts are."  So I guess this means that the tie rods are the same length and height/level. It seems as though I've seen this gearbox around. ..........Bruce

I got all of my rack parts from Alex77 on And he sent me tie-rods that are 1" shorter each to work with my 2" shorter beam. The rack is from a VW Polo(only available in Europe)

Right at the top of the page is a photo.

The rack is offset to the left in line with the steering shaft. The tie-rods are almost equal length so bump steer will actually be reduced or worst case the same as with the steering box. You can see the pickup points right near  each other.

Whatever steering method is chosen, the steering box or rack must be at the correct height in relation to the steering arms on the spindles to minimize bump steer.

I drove an IM(2002 model) in 2008-2009 with the Golf rack. It worked OK but I didn't hit any major bumps, nor did I drive it in anger. The Golf rack is conventional with short tierods  and there is no way that this doesn't induce more bump steer than the standard VW steering box or Alex77's rack setup.

I'll start my project in the new year, I have all the parts prepped and painted. I think that I'll possibly have to trim and re-glass the area immediately above the driver's feet.

Stay tuned...

Last edited by DannyP

I've always liked my Golf R/P, but I'm comparing it to the stock steering box, not to a more modern set-up. I know it's not the same thing as a rack that's centered. Once I get the "shop across the street" project finished and I get some traction again, I'd like to embark on (another) fool's errand to see just how good a beam can be made to be. I know it'll never be an A-arm, but I really do think there's a lot of gray between the black of a stock VW beam and the white of a good A-arm set-up.

I'm super-interested in @DannyP's impressions of the Alex77 setup, as I know they'll be straightforward and unvarnished.

Last edited by Stan Galat

I only drive barefoot when it's warm enough.

The trimming shouldn't get in the way of the feet, but must be done to allow the tie-rod to clear the fiberglass above the feet.

I noticed that Kitman's Spyder body has an equal length and angle firewall for the tie-rods. The Vintage does not, the center "peak" of the fiberglass is in line with the column.

I'll take pictures when I get into it.

Thanks @Stan Galat I hope I can be objective.

Last edited by DannyP

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