#Normalcarnonsense PT2 - Chassis Stiffening

Ahhhh yes I’m back with part two of the Mirage saga. The first steps brought a custom intake and a brake upgrade. Today, I’m presenting you with the first step of chassis stiffening.

We decided to start with a strut brace as these cars are light and the overall construction obviously utilizes thinner metal. There’s definitely some flex in this platform and this was a great place to begin. There’s currently only one bar offered in the market and it’s not up to my standards at all.

So my best buddy and owner of Renegade Performance collaborated with myself and my other very close friend and we decided very spontaneously that yesterday we would create our own. This was at roughly noon. We decided to make the 100 mile trip each way to Summit Racing in Tallmadge Ohio for supplies.

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The parameters were clear cut for us. The bar had to be lightweight to follow the theme of the build, and it had to be incredibly strong. If I set out to do something, I tend to obsess. Nathan mentioned that chromoly welds up very nicely and is basically the pinnacle of material for this. He had a point considering that most high end roll cages are constructed of it. It is stronger than DOM even at a smaller diameter and far lighter.

So after buying our chromoly, paint, tools and metal stock we went home and did our drawing. Measurements were made and we had an idea of what we wanted. My buddy Casey mentioned we should do a “double barrel” design with the chromoly tubing and we ran with it.

Getting the fitment right was a test of fortitude, but we eventually knew we had what we needed. Nathan TIG welded everything beautifully after eliminating mill scale and making sure the areas were clean. Here was the piece before paint.

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This is what we had before doing any paint prep work or rounding some of the edges on the footer plates. I was crazy in love with the welds and super satisfied at this point.

For the color I had decided to do something bold. I have a gold wrapped intake and manifold, so something bright and vibrant seemed to make sense to me. Nothing really goes with pearl orange so I just quit overthinking it and decided on candy purple. Here was the result and final product.

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As far as looks I couldn’t be happier. I just did a 130 mile drive and hit some twisty back roads and can say that the car definitely feels more rigid. When doing transitional cornering at or close to the “limit” the steering seems much more confident and the suspension just seems to stay more under wraps.

All in all this is a lovely first step. Next weekend we will be doing a torsion bar on the back, and start to fab up a four point brace to solidify the chassis heavily. For now though this is a great step and just shows that you can be the aftermarket when the aftermarket is nonexistent. It’s all part of our hobby and enjoying a car that otherwise wouldn’t have that potential.

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