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This message is for Lane or anyone else with a new generation Beck car.  My old IM handled pretty well with its front Porsche 914 suspension and its rear IRS.  Steering was also better than the worm gear steering in my current Spyder.  There is a beautiful IM for sale in Charlottesville and I know the owner.  Just gets me thinking.  My belief and hope is that the new generation Becks will be better than my old IM.  I'm betting on it since I've recently ordered a Beck Conv D.  But I guess I really want to hear it from people who own these new cars.  Obviously Lane is the most obvious source.  He went from the old model Beck with front torsion bar suspension, rear swing arm suspension and worm gear steering to front wish bones, rear IRS and rack and pinion steering.  So lets have it.  What's the verdict.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks

Phil Luebbert

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The verdict is great, but based on limited information as there just aren't many curvy roads near me.  I expect to really get a feel in the mountains this fall.

What I do know from my mostly suburban driving (with a couple of curvy blasts) is below.  The caveat is that while the Coupe and the Speedster (and your D) share the new front suspensions and steering, the rear suspensions are different.  Check with Carey for specifics.

  1. The steering is very direct with little play but a bit heavier, probably due to a quicker ratio.
  2. The ride is not as smooth as the Speedster.  It's not at all punishing, but it's more focused.  Carey may have made mine a bit more focused than the norm since he knew I wanted to see what it would do on the track.  I know my motor mounts are harder than what he plans as normal.  That gorgeous exhaust treatment unfortunately had the pipes hitting against the body at times with the softer mounts.  Because of that the NVH levels in my car are a little higher than what most folks will experience.
  3. The balance of the car feels much better.  In the Speedster you could feel the inherently unbalanced nature of the car.  Mine was 39% front/61% rear in weight distribution.  You don't feel that with the mid-engine Coupe.  It feels very balanced at the 6/10s I've been able to drive it and I really want to get it on some scales to see what the weight distribution is.  Of course this will be moot to some point in the Speedster/D since they'll be rear-engine, but the improved suspension will mitigate some of that.
  4. Another thing you don't feel is body roll.  Even without stabilizer bars I haven't experienced any lean.  I'm sure there is some, but you just don't notice it.
  5. The suspension - at least in the configuration on my car - is a bit noisy in the rear.  I have some ideas on how to mitigate that a bit, but should be moot to those of you getting the new Speedster setup as it will be different.

While not the suspension, the brakes deserve mention.  I am not sure exactly what is used on the rear, which is the same on all cars, but I have the Wilwood upgrade in front.  Being non-power they require a firm press, but they inspire confidence.

For those of you getting the mid-engine Coupe, you can scroll past the shifter discussions from now on.  Carey and crew have nailed it.  It's surprisingly crisp and precise for a remote linkage, with a very mechanical feel.  Oh, and the 5-speed is great.  It'll pull strongly from 1800 rpm in 5th,  50 mph is just a bit over 2000 rpm.  I've got 427 miles on the car and filled it up once - unnecessarily, I found out.  The gauge read less than 1/2 tank so I thought I'd fill it up.  Remember, it's a whopping 22 gallons.  I only put in 9.5 gallons.  DOH!  I expect a tank to last at least a month in local driving - less, of course, when on the road or pushing it hard.  On average I should be able to go between 650 and 750 miles on a tank.

Ok, I'll keep going.  The A/C is able to keep it comfortable even in the ridiculous heat we've had lately.  It's not like a "real" car made by a company with billions in research budget, but it's pretty darned effective.  The car got caught out in a downpour about 10 days ago while parked, and the only water that came in was a drop or two in the trunk (the one in the back ) that leaked in around the screws holding the grills on.  I've since applied a bit of clear silicon to them, which should solve the problem.

The power to weight ratio is about 10.3 lb/hp, which is pretty darned good.  It feels very good .  The power just keeps coming in all gears.  I really cannot imagine why you'd want more in this, but I'm sure I could be convinced .

I'm still tweaking here and there on mostly OCD-related stuff.  I plan to get a PPF put on it soon, and then I won't be so paranoid about driving on the highway.

Woohoo!!

Yeah, but I really don't like the PPF except for the protection it provides.  It does get dull over time although the good stuff (like Xpel) ages less than the cheap stuff.  Also you will get scratches and scuffs in it as it does its job protecting the paint.  Unlike paint, however, you just have to live with them as you cannot polish it or touch it up.

Also, the compound curves that cover these cars are difficult to fit to without visible cut lines.  I'll stick to the high wear areas only, I think.

Really appreciate the info Lane. I’ve always been unhappy with the vagueness of the Spyder steering. Old VW worm gear technology just doesn’t cut it. IM was better but still not great. These cars will have rack and pinion and will be much more direct. Thanks for the confirmation. I will have Carey set my car up with less aggressive suspension. My wife really liked my IM and her refusal to get in the Spyder makes me really sorry I got rid of the IM. Great info Lane. Thank you.

@550 Phil posted:

Really appreciate the info Lane. I’ve always been unhappy with the vagueness of the Spyder steering. Old VW worm gear technology just doesn’t cut it. IM was better but still not great. These cars will have rack and pinion and will be much more direct. Thanks for the confirmation. I will have Carey set my car up with less aggressive suspension. My wife really liked my IM and her refusal to get in the Spyder makes me really sorry I got rid of the IM. Great info Lane. Thank you.

Phil, there is a solution to fix that. There is a rack kit available for the beam. I am awaiting arrival of this kit. It uses the European VW Polo rack. Michael McKelvey also purchased one. About 800 bucks with shipping as of now. There is a thread on this.

I'm happy that Lane is liking his coupe. It BETTER be better balanced. Welcome to the MEOC, Lane. Mid-Engine Owners Club, that is.

I am about 3k miles into my new generation Beck speedster and I absolutely love everything about it.  I haven't done much more than test drive older generation replicas, but I can say that the handling is drastically improved in my car.  The steering is very direct and there is very little bump steer.  I previously owned a 1960 MG MGA and the difference in the 2 cars is night and day.  The power, braking, handling and comfort are closer to a modern car than to one from the 60's.  If you are ever in the Dallas area, feel free to drop by for a test drive.

Now @Stuman here should be your source of info, @550 Phil.  He's got one of the first new-chassis Speedsters, so his configuration will be much closer to yours.

Having driven a real 356C in the last couple of years I have to say that with the exception of the view out the window, the driving experience between the real 356 and my car is very different.  The new car is better balanced and more hard-edged.  Pretty much what I was looking for.

Last edited by Lane Anderson

@Lane Anderson wrote: "Unlike paint, however, you just have to live with them as you cannot polish it or touch it up."

Well.........  Maybe not so.  I have a BASF 7-mil clear film on Pearl on the nose, and on the doors where the side window bottom weatherstrip sits on the top of the door (Remember, my windows have a rubber gasket around them, not a fabric border).  It was the same film spec'd by Mercedes and Porsche of Rhode Island when I got it (and I used their preferred guy to install it).

Those two door strips get scratched up from use and I polish them out for the summer show season using a Maguire's acrylic headlight cover polishing kit, either just the polishing compound on a paper towel or, if it's heavily scratched then I hit it with the compound on the spongie polishing pad in a drill.

Works like a charm.

While the film has dulled, very slightly, over time (almost un-noticeable on a white car), I have gotten a single, 1/8" paint ding under one headlight in almost 20 years of having the film on there and it disappears in most lighting conditions.  Car films are expensive, but far less so than getting a re-paint every 10-15 years.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

True, but I live in a seaport with massive amount of container truck traffic, lots of sand on the roads, and a building boom that means there are lots or dump trucks and cement trucks as well.  My daily driver is on its 5th windshield and my previous two cars had their frontend paint pretty much destroyed by road debris.  Even my Speedster, which wore a black vinyl bra on the highway, was seriously pockmarked.  I can't let that happen to this car.

Those two door strips get scratched up from use and I polish them out for the summer show season using a Maguire's acrylic headlight cover polishing kit, either just the polishing compound on a paper towel or, if it's heavily scratched then I hit it with the compound on the spongie polishing pad in a drill.



This, coming from the guy who busted my balls for polishing the aluminum hubs on my Airkewld brakes?

LOL!

Last edited by DannyP
@DannyP posted:

Phil, there is a solution to fix that. There is a rack kit available for the beam. I am awaiting arrival of this kit. It uses the European VW Polo rack. Michael McKelvey also purchased one. About 800 bucks with shipping as of now. There is a thread on this.

I'm happy that Lane is liking his coupe. It BETTER be better balanced. Welcome to the MEOC, Lane. Mid-Engine Owners Club, that is.

Please let us know how the conversion works out. If I keep my Spyder I’d really consider redoing my front end.

Lane's Coupe ought to be pretty much like a track car.  One thing he mentioned at Carlisle and did not say directly here is the effect of the heim joint suspension attachments, vs what might be normally done with rubber bushings or such. I'm thinking about high frequency mechanical transmission from road to frame to driver that might be just fine when you're looking for the limit on track day, vs just driving on real streets.  At the end of the day, I think what Lane has said is that he told Carey pretty much how he wanted it done, and that's what he got.  I for one am super impressed with the whole package.  This Blue Coupe for damn sure ain't no kit-car.

@IaM-Ray, I haven't had a chance to try it yet.  A few days ago I was going to try it but as I was backing the car out of the garage I discovered that my newly installed, very expensive, CSP valve covers were leaking a lot of oil.

I just removed the o-rings on the valve covers and installed silicone gaskets.  Now I need to reinstall the A-1 muffler.

I am a little nervous about not having any splines working for me at the connection between the double u-joint and the rack.  You can learn about the connection in the second link above.  The connection depends on the strength of a set screw in shear.

Curtiss used a single u-joint that is 5/8" 16 spline.  The splines don't match but it seems to work for him.  His u-joint is the type that is split on one side and clamps on and he probably had to open it up a bit to fit on the 16 mm shaft.

My 5/8" double u-joint is not split and wouldn't fit over the 16 mm shaft until I drilled the splines out.

I used the same thing on the end of the steering column shaft as he did.

@Michael McKelvey wrote: "The connection depends on the strength of a set screw in shear."    

So......   What happens when you're maneuvering into a parking spot at low speed and have to crank the steering wheel really hard when stopped to aim the wheels?  Is the steering wheel going to move out of straight-ahead alignment?

To make that the strongest connection possible without splines, I would get it aligned so you know the steering wheel is straight, then you have a couple of options:

1.  Get a steering column clamp similar (or the same, if it fits) as this:

https://www2.cip1.com/vwc-113-415-539/

You may have to dig a bit to find a couple the proper size or maybe modify that one.  Maybe use one of them on either side of the set screw and crank 'em up as tight as you dare.  Keep the set screw on it, too.  Not as good as splines, but better than just the set screw.

2.  As an alternative, you could drill right through both the outer shaft/tube AND through the R&P shaft where the set screw is and put a bolt right through it.  This is riskier since it fixes the steering wheel and if you don't get it dead nuts to where the wheel was before you started, you may need to get it re-aligned to get the steering wheel straight, again.  (But it would be a very strong connection.)

Makes #1 look pretty good, huh?

Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@El Frazoo posted:

Lane's Coupe ought to be pretty much like a track car.  One thing he mentioned at Carlisle and did not say directly here is the effect of the heim joint suspension attachments, vs what might be normally done with rubber bushings or such. I'm thinking about high frequency mechanical transmission from road to frame to driver that might be just fine when you're looking for the limit on track day, vs just driving on real streets.  At the end of the day, I think what Lane has said is that he told Carey pretty much how he wanted it done, and that's what he got.  I for one am super impressed with the whole package.  This Blue Coupe for damn sure ain't no kit-car.

Just to be clear, the suspension does have some rubber bushings, although they are pretty firm.  The heim joints are on the trailing links in the rear, and replacing them with rubber bushings would require a lot of re-engineering.  My set up is pretty much the standard one, and Carey is making sure that prospective owners know that the car is pretty raw and mechanical, despite the creature comforts.  I have a couple of things to try that, if they work, I'll forward to Carey.  The ride is perfectly acceptable for what the car is intended to be.  It's just a bit noisier than we've become accustomed to.  Frankly its becoming less and less of an issue as I become more used to the car.

One way to look at the Super Coupe is that it is a more civilized - and easy to get in and out of - version of their GTS.  The suspension is pretty much the same and you can get as much power as you want (and can afford).

double u-joint

@Gordon Nichols,  I have one of the clamps you suggest but I can't see how it would help here.  At the rack end, you can see the set screw with a nylock lock nut.

I thought about drilling straight through as you suggest but thought maybe the rack shaft would be hard to drill.  Also, I would be making the rack shaft weaker.  The cross-section is already reduced by the flat side.

At the steering column shaft end, the set screw goes into a groove in the splined bit.  So, it just keeps the shaft from going in and out of the tube.

I have a super beetle steering shaft with a u-joint on each end.  I might be able to shorten it.

Or, maybe I could just trust that the set screw won't shear.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • double u-joint

I'm no engineer, and I may be misunderstanding this discussion ad the pictures, but I do not think a set screw tightened on a flat milled into a shaft like that can accurately be said to be "in shear."

If those parts are made correctly, and the D-shaped shaft is mated to a D-shaped socket, then that that screw is doing what it is doing more or less "in compression." I think this would be accurate to say even with a round socket. You'd be in shear if you cross-drilled it.

And I think that matters. The screw in shear could be weak and dangerous. In compression, probably not.

If you look at the second thread linked above you will see that I epoxied a semi-circular aluminum piece onto the flat spot.  So, I made the flat spot round with a hole for the set screw.  I was concerned about the set screw moving sideways on the flat surface and the added piece prevents that.

My u-joint does not have a d-shaped socket.  It has a splined socket that I drilled out.  So, it is smooth inside where it fits over the rack shaft.

The set screw is in compression against the flat surface and in shear against the added aluminum piece.  I suppose the aluminum piece would fail before the set screw did.

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