Time to build our roll cage | Project Vintage Race Mustang

Tim
Update by Tim Suddard to the Ford Mustang Fastback project car
Jun 1, 2021

The goal for our 1965 Mustang: built a racer that’s legal for competition across sanctioning bodies so we’re not just limited to vintage events.

So now to take a closer look at the roll cage.

The folks at Cobra Automotive got us off to a good start with our cage as they improved the fit of the R-model roll bar that came with the car. Then they added a halo bar around the edge of the roof plus a diagonal bar across the roof itself.

[Questions about roll cages? More tips regarding roll cage design, fabrication and building.]

The Cobra Automotive crew also added a diagonal bar across each door opening and tacked in an under-dash bar. They didn’t weld this bar in place, however, as we’d first like to test fit everything around our drivers. Then we could finalize the cage.

Once we got the Mustang back to our shop, we first determined that the under-dash bar did not, in fact, get in our way. Then we welded it in place.

Next, we put diagonal bars through the main hoop as this is required by most sanctioning bodies. We then built and fabricated more diagonal door bars to create a true “X” through both door bars.



[How we built a roll cage for our Nissan 350Z time trial racer.]

Why add an X-brace on the passenger side? Two answers: First, you can’t be too safe and, second, we were intentionally trying to stiffen the unibody on our old Mustang. We didn’t push the door bars into the door openings, however, as we felt that our current setup yielded enough space.

One more thing to stress about roll cages: Read the rules, as not every sanctioning body requires the same specs.

Building a roll cage definitely requires extra hands, so special thanks to longtime racer Wayne Presley of Very Cool Parts who helped us with the cage.

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Comments
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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/26/21 2:00 p.m.

Dive in and "read the rest of the story" to find some links to more roll cage content from your friends at GRM. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
5/26/21 3:00 p.m.

My Datsun uses a rally spec cage; along with tying the plates into the sills there is an actual sill bar (third door bar running along the upper edge of the sill along the door seam).  I'm a fan of the extra bar as I've seen cars speared in the lower part of the door.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
5/26/21 4:39 p.m.

Those front spreader plates are beefy!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/27/21 9:49 a.m.
buzzboy said:

Those front spreader plates are beefy!

We like beefy. :)

Also, I was looking at an old Cooper race car at Amelia this weekend. I was with Peter Brock, and he ran one like it back in the day--back when it was viewed as an old race car. Where's the roll bar? I asked. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
5/27/21 10:05 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:
buzzboy said:

Those front spreader plates are beefy!

We like beefy. :)

Also, I was looking at an old Cooper race car at Amelia this weekend. I was with Peter Brock, and he ran one like it back in the day--back when it was viewed as an old race car. Where's the roll bar? I asked. 

In one of my many books there's a pic from the old Daytona Beach races where the photographer caught the driver popping out the door mid roll...................at that moment the door was the top of the car.    

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