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Thread: Suppose we build....

  1. #1
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    Suppose we build....

    We have some terrific sources that have supplied us with specialty body parts. As the factory built some front long hoods with aluminum skins over steel underframes, the thought comes to mind if there is anyone that would be interested if we built it ?
    Of course price comes up first, and just fishing to see what you think something like this would be worth to you

    fwiw- we will be distributing the reproduction ST flares , aluminum burzel frames, and aluminum rear lids from the German manufacturer , for the USA shortly.
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  2. #2
    Early S Reg #1395 LongRanger's Avatar
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    Lightweight Panels

    Interesting post.

    I've been doing some looking-around for vintage 'lightweight' panels. I haven't heard of aluminum-skinned/steel-framed hoods --- although i have found the balsa-reenforced-fiber glass ones. There also seem to be several sources for new flairs and 1/4 panels, both in FG and metal.

    The one item I have not seen -- and the one I would be interested in getting --- are aluminum skinned/steel (or aluminum) framed doors. I've seen photos of Porsche's alu door skins posted on this board, so those would at least be a period 'correct' part, although mixed steel/aluminum construction has its challenges. FG is cheap and durable but I've seen enough competent fabricators to believe that aluminum skins or complete doors would be fairly straight-forward to do properly, as well as relatively affordable. (This is now being done for the 356 --- a trickier shape to do, than a 911.)

    My goal is to take as much weight out of my car as I can without disturbing the stock appearance, so lightweight bumpers, 1/4 panels, and hoods are all on my shopping list. It appears that several outfits have already tackled these items. The items that I have not seen are the lightweight metal doors, or door skins, or some of the drilled-out hinges ---- also easy to do . . . and very trick.

    I'm a bit surprised that no one has done a lightweight door. I would think doors would have a much wider appeal --- the doors are heavy as hell, every car comes with two, and many have been damaged/repaired over the years, and so could use replacement. Lightweight doors also wouldn't change the car's appearance the way flairs, big fenders or ducktails would.

    As for pricing, I could see paying ~$1500-$2000 for each completed door --- fitted, then mounted to the car, primed for paint, all glass, trim and hardware installed.

    Rick Kreiskott

  3. #3
    How would the weight compare to a typical fiberglass part or carbon fiber version?

    I understand that the answer is all in the fabricator. A good craftsman can make a part from any of those materials that is lighter than a poor-quality version using the others. I was thinking of typical fiberglass quality like the non-custom race layup fiberglass from GT Racing.

    Max_911S_fahrer, on Flickr
    1971 911S, 2.7RS spec MFI engine, suspension mods, lightened
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  4. #4
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    the devil is always in the details. If you go with a thin guage aluminum skin, then its prone to dings. If you go with a slightly heavier weight, its still lighter than its steel counterparts, but you had not added as much "lightness"

    doing an entire door in aluminum is possible, but would be very expensive as a hand fabricated piece duplicating the way the factory might have made it.

    Skins are the easiest as the steel oe structure maintains the rigidity for the expected nice fit.
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  5. #5
    how about fabbing some Al safety beams into doors - modern cars have that, but the '73 911's used steel beams

    it would be nice to have some impact protection and not pay a huge wt. penalty for it

    and, somebody has to be mass producing those beams - I doubt that car manfs. are making them themselves...

  6. #6
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    There are suppliers of aluminum channel of varying thicknesses. Anything that is strong enough is not much lighter than the 17 lb oem convoluted side braces
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  7. #7
    use Al foam with a skin all around it...

  8. #8
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    'Safety' Doors?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRE Cup View Post
    There are suppliers of aluminum channel of varying thicknesses. Anything that is strong enough is not much lighter than the 17 lb oem convoluted side braces
    I'm not sure what kind of structure is inside the doors of my '70, but the things weigh a ton as they are --- I'm guessing +80lbs. I'm looking to reduce that weight by half, using whatever techniques were appropriate at the time my car was new. I specifically sought out my particular car for it's total lack of 'modern' safety equipment --- I mean, it doesn't even have a 'fasten seat belt' light, fercryinoutloud.

    What I do want is to get the car lighter, not 'safer.' I mean, FG bumpers and fenders, balsa/FG hoods, aluminum engine covers, with Magnesium engines and transmissions hanging out the back. Safety, schmafety. So if there wasn't an 'intrusion beam' in the car then . . . then I certainly wouldn't want one now. Heck --- I'd probably ask you to leave it out if it was there!

    As if 20 lbs of additional AL channel would offer any sort of meaningful protection, anyway.

    I'm not sure how many people would step-up for a genuine lightweight panel or door. But I would.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up

    The aluminum hood sounds really cool Dave.

    I also like the idea the aluminum foam to add wicked light stiffness. How is the stuff generated? Rattle cans? 2-part mix? Spray on?

    I've used 2-part high density polyurethane foam to reinforce body panels to pretty good effect. Almost 40 years ago I stripped the interior of my 21 Window VW Bus, sprayed everywhere I could with it, and re-installed all the interior panels. The thing was monoblock stiff, quiet, and warm. The stereo never sounded better.

    Sprayed into Ltwt bumper cavities, foam might add to the crush zone with little weight penalty. ??
    [LEFT]Endeavor to Persevere...

  10. #10
    aluminum foam is/was an aerospace item

    it has entered the main stream and prices have come down (maybe not far enough?)

    I'd definitely be interested in a light wt. hood and some other parts.

    I'd especially be interested in light wt. parts for the rear - that's where wt. needs to be reduced. But I'm not sure what new can be done for a reasonable price -- maybe that cast iron boat anchor that holds the engine mount crossbar to the case?

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