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When I built my Spyder Greg Leach asked me it I wanted to go on long highway drives in my Spyder or did I want the car to be quick and fun with close ratios. I had no desire to take my Spyder on long highway drives. I’ve got a nice trailer and a diesel SUV so if I want to take the car to the Smokies I’ll put it on the trailer. I keep it in Charlottesville Va so I’m already 20 minutes to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’ve got a powerful Suby engine with a LSD and a 3.88 R&P. I’m at 4000 rpms at 70mph. But I don’t care. The car is never on the highway and all other times it’s VERY quick.
One of these days I’ll be building a speedster with a 2.65L type 4. I told Greg that I want to be around 3000 rpms at 70mph. I need to be at a reasonably high rpm at 70 to cool that big engine. I’ll be using a 3.44 R&P. The car will be powerful and fast but won’t be near as quick as my Spyder. Yup. There’s always a compromise.

They are. So are all vintage spyders. However vintage is currently building an IRS after years working on it. I’m perfectly fine with the SA in my Spyder. Since IRS is readily available in pan based speedsters I’ll be doing IRS in my speedster. But Stan is correct. Carey will not be offering IRS in a Spyder. I actually thought Beck spyder production was on hold. Obviously I’m incorrect. Orders for new Vintage spyders are currently on hold. Too much money in building speedies right now.

DeDion versus swing axle:

The DeDion has some clear advantages, and some disadvantages over SA.  It is basically like a live axle except the differential is fixed to the frame with IRS-type half-shafts transmitting power to the wheels.  This means that you have lower unspring weight than a live axle (yay!) and constant camber (yay!) ,but you still have both wheels linked, meaning that a bump upsetting one wheel will also affect the other (boo!).  SA allows an upset on one wheel to be isolated to that side, but we all know that it can have some weird camber issues (boo!).  IRS theoretically has the "yays" of both and the "boos" of neither.  Unfortunately it's generally more complex and expensive.

I imagine that  Beck's chassis would have to be modified to support IRS, so it's likely that a new Beck - even if you provide the drivetrain - will be configured for SA.  Most folks with SA Spyders will tell you that it's not a hindrance to fun.

Last edited by Lane Anderson
@Richard S posted:

> Well, that really confuses me. It was my impression that Beck Spyders are all SA.

I bought a rolling package which states that the customer supplies the drivetrain and suspension, so I had assumed IRS would be an option...?

It's an option inasmuch as anything is an option in a car you build yourself.

Talk to Carey about it though. He has decades building and driving these cars, and if I'm remembering right he has said that efforts to build various double wishbone/IRS/de dion improvements have not brought real-world improvements over the original swing axle.

This may no longer be true with the advent of the new Beck chassis. So it's worth checking.

Very interesting, Bruce. That is almost the exact same arrangement I came up with on my own. Of course, the main frame is left alone and my version is adding additional tubes(heavier!) to support the lateral arms. The way that is set up will give more negative camber on compression and extension, which is good. Setting it up at almost zero camber(but with a touch negative) should give GREAT handling. Add a 1/2" anti-sway bar(along with 5/8" or 3/4" front) and that thing should STICK.

In order for Beck to offer a non-swing axle rear suspension would require a complete frame re-design. They would have to forgo the torsion tube and ladder-type design completely. I doubt this will happen, unless suddenly front beam/rear torsion assembly supply dries up.

The market simply does not require it. Nor is the juice worth the squeeze for Carey and his company. The front beam/rear torsion/swing axle works well enough for them and their customers. I'm pretty sure he'll concur with me on this.

As to the history of the old IRS Vintage rear: The design came from ACI, which became Vintage when Greg acquired it. I'm not sure how many were made in either ACI or Vintage ownership, but I don't think many. The old design had equal length lateral links, which would not allow extra camber under compression and extension. I'll submit that this is why not many were built. I'll bet it had some handling quirks.

Part of the delay in my speedster build is the new rack and pinion steering which I believe is a VW polo unit. Greg is installing it in a speedster that he will test drive for a while.  I really think the worm gear steering box installed in the vintage speedsters and spyders is one of the biggest performance short falls. I’m willing to wait a bit longer if I can get a real ring and pinion steering.

@SJackson posted:

I won't have mine till spring, but I opted for heated seats. I figured it might help to extend the driving season in northern Indiana.

Those heated seat will help, but try a heated vest if you want to stay warm. Wear it under nice windbreaker and you will be toasty warm. I have been in really cold weather with an open car and it's very comfortable. Good gloves, Hat and scarf are also a must.

I have electrically heated seats and a modern Webasto gas heater. I love it and it works for me, especially when riding solo with the half-tonneau up. It's good down to about 40F ambient unless it's windy.

The heated vest sounds like an easier and maybe better overall solution. And it's WAY cheaper and less complicated. I know some guys have 12v electric blankets for their better halves, so there's that too.

Last week I spoke to Greg.

I couldn't ascertain exactly which rack he was going to use on the Speedster.

On the Spyder, though, it's the VW Polo(Europe only) unit. You know, the one that has been called a "bodge" or a "hob-job" or whatever diss was used.

He did tell me that he successfully fitted a rack to a Speedster, and that the Polo/Spyder unit is a definite go.

He also told me that the Speedster will be for his personal use, so that he can drive it often and really sort out if the rack is the way forward.

Something needs to change, the quality of the new steering boxes available today is abysmal. The old German ones(if you can find a good one) are the only choice for good steering for us with cars already.

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