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"Light Bars" for Convertibles


Madlock

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I've seen several of the many "light bars" made to give a bit of Euro dress-up to S197 convertibles.

 

While I'm definitely from the "less is more" school of aftermarket design, and I'm aware that the only "safety" feature these bars are intended to provide is whatever bit of arguable additional visibility it creates. It's certainly no roll bar and no manufacturer presents it to be one.

 

However, in reading some of the documentation and product descriptions, makers do make claims that the bar can provide a measure of additional rigidity to the convertible chassis. Realizing that having my little brother lay across the back seat and press his hands and feet against the sides will technically also provide some additional rigidity, the key question becomes "how much"?

 

My ONLY qualms about a GT500 convertible is the inevitable handling compromise that comes with it - which has also now been reduced to a matter of degree for 2011. With SVT having made such tremendous strides, I'm wondering if adding a light bar (in addition to a tower strut brace) might help to further close the gap that remains between convertible and coupe in the endless quest to having the best of both worlds.

 

Has anybody added a light bar to their 2011 GT500 convertible and noticed ANY appreciable reduction in flex or handling improvement?

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I added a light bar to my 2011 GT500 SVTPP convertible as soon as I could get my hands on one.

I had one on my 88 GT Conv, 89 GT Conv, 94 Pace Car Cobra Conv & 96 Cobra Conv.

As you can see, I'm not only a fan of convertibles, but also of the light bars themselves.

While they are truly a 'bolt-in' piece, they do triangulate the car from side to side and I don't care what anyone says, my belief is that in the event of a rollover, the bar would serve a useful purpose. I won't argue the points that a true 4 point bar would be better because it would, but I also don't want to sacrifice the interior and integrity of the car.

 

Now, to your question about 'does it add stiffness'. YES. The place you will tell it more than anywhere is if you are on a road that has some undulations on it from side to side. You will notice the car to be a bit more stiff or firm through those whoop-t's. I haven't had my car back to the track since installation, but I will be participating in an autocross and a unlimited high speed run next weekend with the Terlingua Preservation Society and I'll be glad that the bar is in there.

 

Also, while on the subject..................the wind screen that Classic Designs also sells is a great addition once you have the light bar in place. It cuts down a significant amount of the wind that comes whipping back onto your head when the top is down.

 

I've documented this before and taken a zillion pictures of my car, but you can see the mods here: http://marblesmotors.com/GT5002011.htm

 

The bar on the 2010/2011 is a lot easier to install than on the earlier models as well due to the two piece rear interior panels.

 

Randy

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I have a different opinion on the light bar adding ridgidity. NO WAY!! If these cars are so flimsey (and I don't believe they are) that a piece of foam covered 1" conduit held in place by a pipe clamp and set screw adds any structural ridigity, then design engineers, safety engineers, and testing agencies have faild miserably. Roll over protection would be nothing and probably add dangerous flying debris as the event progressed. They LOOK GREAT and are extremely easy to install and that the extent of it.

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I have a different opinion on the light bar adding ridgidity. NO WAY!! If these cars are so flimsey (and I don't believe they are) that a piece of foam covered 1" conduit held in place by a pipe clamp and set screw adds any structural ridigity, then design engineers, safety engineers, and testing agencies have faild miserably. Roll over protection would be nothing and probably add dangerous flying debris as the event progressed. They LOOK GREAT and are extremely easy to install and that the extent of it.

 

I can say the S197 light bars are pretty sturdy, I think they would actually hold up in a rollover due to the design of the bracket and how it is bolted to the frame as long as it wasn't one of those flying end over end affairs in which case it would not hold up.

 

As far as rigidity the design of the bar must allow some sort of "flex" and ultimately both sides are held in place by a single screw so there is just too much room to allow flexing to provide much in the sense of rigidity. As far as being "noticable" there is no way.

 

I think if you have a convertible mustang and don't have a ton of traffic in your rear seats, you should get a light bar as they are cake to install, are affordable, and look amazing, but don't try to think it is anything other than it says it is.

 

RandyMarbles has some personal connections with the owner of classicdesigns so keep that in mind when reading his posts on CDC products.

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As an engineer i can assure you theres no way the light bar helps in a roll over--itll snap like a twig, with all the weight and speed that'll occur during a roll over at speed.Now if someone were to try and roll the car over as its sitting in a parking lot, it might hold,but i doubt it, As for helping with any flex, again its just not in the right spot,or designed in any way to help, if flex is a problem.The 2010 was designed to cut down alot on cowl shake, and adding a bar in the engine bay eliminates any shake one might feel.So its definitely just cosmetic at best.

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As an engineer i can assure you theres no way the light bar helps in a roll over--itll snap like a twig, with all the weight and speed that'll occur during a roll over at speed.Now if someone were to try and roll the car over as its sitting in a parking lot, it might hold,but i doubt it, As for helping with any flex, again its just not in the right spot,or designed in any way to help, if flex is a problem.The 2010 was designed to cut down alot on cowl shake, and adding a bar in the engine bay eliminates any shake one might feel.So its definitely just cosmetic at best.

 

 

 

These are cosmetic only, they tell you that when you buy 'em... I don't think they do anything other then look good and tell others behind you when your breaking...

 

 

I agree with these two posts. Great appearance MOD, but would never expect it to hold up in the event of an accident/rollover.

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I agree with these two posts. Great appearance MOD, but would never expect it to hold up in the event of an accident/rollover.

 

 

Since,

 

We are on the light bar question. How do the guys that use their cars at the track, pass safety inspections without a roll bar? Has anyone manufactured a roll bar that has the light bar design?

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Since,

 

We are on the light bar question. How do the guys that use their cars at the track, pass safety inspections without a roll bar? Has anyone manufactured a roll bar that has the light bar design?

 

 

Our local track doesn't require a roll bar untill a certain speed is reached and I'm sure it's a NHRA rule. I don't track my car I just watch so don't know the details. The same with an OEM seat belt or a harness, again at a certain speed level..

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I'm not trying to say what the Light Bar is a true roll bar. I will in fact state from experience that it does in fact stiffen the car from side to side even if it is only held in place with the pipe holder arrangement.

I wouldn't put my chances on surviving a roll over in any convertible with just a lap/sholder belt regardless of Light Bar, True Roll bar etc without a 5 point harness in place that was tied to the roll bar.

 

As far as my 'association' with Classic Designs......................I do not receive anything from mentioning their name or suggesting that they are the place to buy. Fact is that Classic Designs has been building the bars from the onset and anyone else that sells you one is just a 'dealer'. I mention their name because that is where I got quite a few of the parts for my mods and have always received great service. I do in fact know the owner and have shared a beer or two with him in the past at several events where he spends his marketing money to help sponsor events that promote the use & care of these vehicles.

 

I do recommend Classic Designs, but I have no vested interest in doing so.

 

Thanks

Randy

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I'd never have relied upon it for even the pretense of safety, nor would I buy it solely with the expectation of it being a structural member or proviing anything more than a nominal, coincidental benefit in rigidity - if any. But I also wouldn't dismiss it out of hand for the same reason I no longer doubt some airflow and properly-oriented surface area can lift an 800,000 lb 747, a strand of high-tensile wire can suspend a bridge, or a few lbs of wieght at the right frequency can damn-near vibrate one apart. I also wouldn't dare debate reasonable subjective experience - or even the benefit potential occasionally found in placebos.

 

With that said, it's a terrible shame that Ford and Ford Racing haven't conspired to integrate a removable roll bar design with concealable and aesthetically-agreeable interior mounts into the base vehicle design. YES, I realize that every "pound on paper" matters, and a great many people make buying decisions based solely upon statistics with no context - let alone actually comparison driving various models... and perhaps I'm asking too much from the general population (something that often seems woefully impossible to avoid), but some of the decisions that must have been made in deference as a result often leave me shaking my head - like this one.

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I'd never have relied upon it for even the pretense of safety, nor would I buy it solely with the expectation of it being a structural member or proviing anything more than a nominal, coincidental benefit in rigidity - if any. But I also wouldn't dismiss it out of hand for the same reason I no longer doubt some airflow and properly-oriented surface area can lift an 800,000 lb 747, a strand of high-tensile wire can suspend a bridge, or a few lbs of wieght at the right frequency can damn-near vibrate one apart. I also wouldn't dare debate reasonable subjective experience - or even the benefit potential occasionally found in placebos.

 

With that said, it's a terrible shame that Ford and Ford Racing haven't conspired to integrate a removable roll bar design with concealable and aesthetically-agreeable interior mounts into the base vehicle design. YES, I realize that every "pound on paper" matters, and a great many people make buying decisions based solely upon statistics with no context - let alone actually comparison driving various models... and perhaps I'm asking too much from the general population (something that often seems woefully impossible to avoid), but some of the decisions that must have been made in deference as a result often leave me shaking my head - like this one.

 

 

Ford won't put a 'roll bar' or any other 'bar' of any kind in the convertible because of "implied safety". They put one in...............someone rolls their car and gets hurt or killed and they get sued because it was supposed to protect them.

 

Long live the aftermarket !!!!!!!!

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Since,

 

We are on the light bar question. How do the guys that use their cars at the track, pass safety inspections without a roll bar? Has anyone manufactured a roll bar that has the light bar design?

 

 

Per the NHRA rule book, any ragtop quicker than 13.49 is supposed to have a 6 point roll bar. That being said, some tracks are more flexible and may not require one. There are several guys on here with custom built, bolt-in, and fully removable roll bars that were designed to work with the light bar. Here's a link to one of them Bolt-in roll bar

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