Went down to meet with Greg leach at VMC yesterday and came home pretty excited ! While there I finally met Todd M for the first time. A very nice Gentleman to say the least and very into his Suby Coupe build.

I'm sorry to say that the Mendeola front suspension is just not possible for a VMC built Spyder frame. It was returned to Kevin at Mendeola. 

Greg called me and said to bring down my Suby transaxle when I come down. He has his mock-up Suby engine positioned and clamped in place and needed the transaxle to connect and start on the rear suspension (IRS). This will take a week or two then the whole frame assembly is off to one of his suspension builders to make a front "A- Arm" suspension that attaches to the existing front frame. I forgot to ask Greg who the builder is for this part but will next time I talk to him. So now there will be progress. Greg mentioned that the exhaust system may have to go over the top rather than underneath but that will be determined later.

Here's some photos I took. Sorry that they aren't more exciting but they will be good for my photo archive later. That is my transaxle in the background with Rusty checking it out.  Rusty (Grumpy) is a very knowledgeable and resourceful craftsman and a real asset  to VMC. He has been "around the horn a few times" and just knows things !...............Bruce



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Hi Bruce, I was following your Mendeola trail with curiosity interest.  It seemed like an odd (and expensive) way to go, and kind of a square-peg-round hole solution anyway.  So I was wondering how that was going to end up.

As DannyP mentioned in another thread, why not simply add a more typical A-arm coil-over suspension to the front of the frame;  something that has been already thought-out and done before. 

Here is a picture of a replica spyder frame, albeit a 718, but you get the idea.


Note:  The original 718 was also a twin torsion beam, trailing arm suspension same as the 550.  So the picture represents doing the same thing to the front suspension as you were trying to do with the Mendeola.

Thanks for that pic Mark. I'm very curious as to what will be done to the front. My guess is that they will whack off whats up there and like in your pic, build something new, or, add to what is there already so that everything else fits in up there like it should. I am anxious about the geometry that will be used. I may still have access to the skid pan out at Pomona Fairgrounds where we used to test and evaluate cars for potential use as patrol cars for LA County Sheriff. I still have an old mechanical 8 channel strip chart recorder, some accelerometers thermocouple wires and strain gauges. So hopefully I can get this car in there and test a few things. Lets see, water temp, oil temp, transaxle oil temp, G-force, speed, strategic frame flex, rpm, and braking force, all simultaneously. If I don't know anyone or know someone who does out there I guess I will find a big blacktop area or go to the Irwindale raceway and get into the drifting area to do the testing. This is way down the road yet but I look forward to that part as an enjoyable extension of this journey............Bruce

I think if Greg replaces the forward diagonal that is 3/4" or 1" tubing with something more substantial you could have a mounting for an upper A-arm. The lower can easily have tabs welded to it for bushings. Even keeping the VW steering arrangement would be an improvement to rid ourselves of the trailing arms. It shouldn't be too difficult to engineer camber change and Ackerman using existing ball-joint knuckles and tie-rods.

I went down to see Greg Leach at VMC today. I'm leaving the country for 4 months and won't be around to bug him or "Grumpy" for a while. He suggested that I take my engine over to John at Outfromt Motorsports for some mod's to my engine. The engine was originally set up for a VW transaxle and I'm using a Suby so the adaptor, flywheel, starter, and clutch assy. must be changed back. While there, they will weld in the Giant AN fittings needed to connect the coolant hoses from the radiator with AN hoses. When that's finished, Greg will pick it up and install it on the transaxle. Then it goes out for a custom stainless exhaust system once the IRS is fabricated and installed. After this comes the front suspension which the entire assembly will be sent out to a friend of Gregs who does this kind of work. Coil over shock and dbl wishbone style. The knuckles will be VW ball joint.

In the pic below, you can see that the rear frame has bee cut out and re-positioned using new 1&3/4" tubing that goes under the axle drive flanges. The rear frame cross member has been moved also to accommodate this change. The engine and transaxle supports are pretty cool too. There is a 1/4" steel plate on the rear of the transaxle now. This is most likely where the shifter cables will attach. This has "Grumpy" scratching his head a little but I think he's amped up about it because it's something different. He's a real Craftsman and has been doing this work for 19 years now so I am confident it will be done right.   That's all for now.............Bruce


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Danny......I think that after this project Greg will be more likely to refine and build more of the Spyders like this.  It just makes sense and without any weight gain. It should have way better road performance all the way around. More power, 5 speeds, better gear ratios. better suspension front and rear, and no major sacrifice's. 

I would like to have Vredestein Sportrax 5's on a set of 5-130 wheels, width and diameter to be determined. For brakes, Wilwood in front and the new Empi's in the rear with upgraded pads. Parking brakes of course. After asking around, everyone said this is a very good combination.............Bruce

Rick....I just took some things down to Greg today when I dropped my engine off at Outfront. While there I made sure that Greg and Anna at the front desk have my cell # and correct email address while I'm gone. We have a friend living in our home while were gone as well so he can always forward things to us. I will report progress periodically.

Stan....thanks for the + comment !  Do you remember the "Little GIANT Killer" ? It was a Fiat 600 drag car with Porsche  drivetrain that used to eat lots of muscle cars back in the late 60"s.  Your comment reminded me of that fun car.  I used to own a Fiat 600. I could pick up the front end of it by myself then..........Bruce

No, he hasn't Rick. Before I left for Mexico I had asked him to take his time since I would be down there until about now. Well, things didn't turn out the way I thought for me.  I had to come back early for a knee replacement. On the way home from Mexico, I stopped and talked to Greg, told hime whats up with me and he was relieved to hear me say there's no "heat" to get my project done any time soon. I have another knee replacement to do then a spinal fusion after that. This is probably better for Greg too since he won't be pressured to produce on a certain time and allow him more R&D to get the front and rear suspension correct.  Each time a Spyder is ordered Greg has to build the frame on his "Spyder Jig. When it's on the "Jig", all other orders wait in que.  Once mine goes on, it has to stay until its finished and because of the R&D involved.  This kind of Jambs up Gregs s "system" for other Spyder Orders. (at least this is my perception. )

There isn't a day goes by that I don't think about that car. Right now it helps to think about it as the pain takes it's time with my knee.  We will both get there. Just not right now.........Thanks for asking Rick..............Bruce

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