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Street Cars- Roll Bar/Cage Thoughts

99
156
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
So, I'm at a crossroads of sorts that regular folks just can't understand. Figured you guys and gals could be of some support and help me think this through. These are just some thoughts I'm having-

This car is sort of my daily driver. I have a truck, also, but love to drive the stang as often as possible in the warm months.

Roll bar. For obvious reasons [harness bar, roll protection, crash protection, chassis stiffening], I want one. They become a real danger on the road and definitely can't put the kids in the back seat with the down bars back there...even if I could squeeze them in between the bars, that's super dangerous and a big fat negative as far as I'm concerned. So, at the very least the car becomes a two seater.

So, then the question becomes- 'why not just do a full cage since the back seats are gonna have to go anyway?'

But am I really ready to convert to full race car mode with my beloved GT?! I told the guy I bought if from that I was considering road racing it and he was astonished that I'd take such a clean car and go bang doors in it. But then again, it's a 22 year old Mustang GT...not exactly a collector's item, haha.

I want to run NASA TT, and oddly enough, for a coupe there is no requirement for roll bars, cages, or harnesses. So, I don't HAVE to. But, I've also seen a handful of wrecks where if the person were in the standard HPDE T-shirt and jeans they'd be history or badly injured. So seeing as how I want to make going fast (and faster and faster) a regular thing, I'd better not chance it.

Oh me...

Any encouragement or perspectives are welcomed. Thanks.
 
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A common dilemma, the issue with the full cage becomes one of maintenance, as an example if you have to replace the heater core or evaporator in these cars, you basically start by removing the console and working your way forward, seats, radio, dash, steering column..etc then you get to wiggle the air box out behind the firewall, you most likely wouldn't be able to do stuff like that with a cage in the car. So when you cage it, you've basically removed any chance of it being a viable street car ever again, roll bars, however, still allow some wiggle room.
 
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What BS1 said is totally true. But the safety of a cage cannot be understated.

I think roll bars are great for people who will likely return the car to stock one day and sell it.

I have these same considerations as you. I chose a roll bar in the hopes that it would give me more flexibility on the street while bringing more safety on track. I also had a fully caged car I would still drive on the street before. Wanted to avoid that. But in reality it’s a pain to drive a car with a race seat and 6pt harness on the street anyways. And as my car has further devolved into a track only car it might as well have a full cage. So I kind of regret the roll bar now. It’s nowhere near as safe as a cage not even close.

So I’d recommend to ask yourself what your real likely end state for the car is and how likely it is you will sell it one day. If not then my vote is full cage. It’s what I should have done.

But one last yo-yo back the other way: a roll bar you can still safely run on the street, or mostly safely. A cage no way. Hit your un-helmeted head on the a pillar bars in even a mild accident and you could be a goner.

Compromise always sucks.
 
99
156
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
A common dilemma, the issue with the full cage becomes one of maintenance, as an example if you have to replace the heater core or evaporator in these cars, you basically start by removing the console and working oyu way forward, seats, radio, dash, steering column..etc then you get to wiggle the air box out behind the firewall, you most likely wouldn't be able to do stuff like that with a cage in the car. So when you cage it, you've basically removed any chance of it being a viable street car ever again, roll bars, however, still allow some wiggle room.

I figured it was, haha. Thanks for the perspective. Definitely something to consider. I'd assume if I'm going to put a full cage in it then HVAC and radio would be removed....maybe factory dash? I'll have to look at the TT rules to see if I have to run the factory dash, I don't recall. But, that is kind of exactly the dilemma- Roll bar= no more back seats. Full cage= no more street driving(essentially).
blacksheep-1 brings up a good point and smart one. A full cage should apply to a dedicated race car.A roll bar will keep many of your options still open.
Agreed. Some street-ability would be nice to maintain.
What BS1 said is totally true. But the safety of a cage cannot be understated.

I think roll bars are great for people who will likely return the car to stock one day and sell it.

I have these same considerations as you. I chose a roll bar in the hopes that it would give me more flexibility on the street while bringing more safety on track. I also had a fully caged car I would still drive on the street before. Wanted to avoid that. But in reality it’s a pain to drive a car with a race seat and 6pt harness on the street anyways. And as my car has further devolved into a track only car it might as well have a full cage. So I kind of regret the roll bar now. It’s nowhere near as safe as a cage not even close.

So I’d recommend to ask yourself what your real likely end state for the car is and how likely it is you will sell it one day. If not then my vote is full cage. It’s what I should have done.

But one last yo-yo back the other way: a roll bar you can still safely run on the street, or mostly safely. A cage no way. Hit your un-helmeted head on the a pillar bars in even a mild accident and you could be a goner.

Compromise always sucks.
Thank you. Your perspective is one I was hoping would chime in, because that is my hesitation in welding in a roll bar and not being able to add the roof/pillar/door bars to it later. I don't see me selling the car. At this point I only see the track thing becoming more serious.
 
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383
450
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
If you see yourself driving the car on the street at all in the future, roll bar is your answer. I personally think a roll bar is the perfect balance of track-car safety and street-ability. Technically roll bars are removeable so you could still have your kids in the back but taking the roll bar in and out would be a major hassle.
 

ChrisM

Mostly harmless.
1,165
1,383
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal
I rather enjoy having the roll bar and still being able to cruise on the streets. Of course a cage is safer on track, but that doesn't mean the roll bar is unsafe. I've seen people argue that it is unsafe to drive without the HANS and helmet even with just a rollbar, and that may be true, but I think it's splitting hairs at this point. I drove 8 hours to a track day with the roll bar, seats, and harnesses and it really wasn't bad, just inconvenient. The noise from everything else is what made it uncomfortable.

I have this internal debate too, but I have no plans to compete with the car anymore and just enjoy having it as a toy. A properly installed roll bar and all the accompanying parts adds a good measure of safety on track, maintains streetability, and just looks cool haha. I've seen more people than I can think of who had this same internal argument going on, decided to cage it, only to find out that was a terrible mistake when the car was no longer fun because actual competition is very expensive if you don't have a purpose-built racecar (and still expensive even then).

If racecar, then cage. If street car, then roll bar.
 
143
246
Utah
+1

I run a roll bar. My car is as track oriented as possible, while still street legal. Not that I daily the thing, (I have to wear ear plugs on the freeway... no radio anyway) but if my wife needs the truck and it is a nice day, then I will drive the GT to work, race seats and all. I don't have a trailer yet, so the option of caged track only car isn't reality right now. I would not drive a caged car on the street.

Today some guy in the parking lot was walking up to his POS Camry or whatever, and I was getting ready to start the Mustang. Just to be funny I said, "Sorry, it's kind of loud." He said, "Do you race it?" "YES!" Then he says "I don't know how you drive it with those uncomfortable seats." I laughed, fired it up and gave him a pedal full, thinking to my self... "I find them to be VERY comfortable!"
 
99
156
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
Great build, Rob. I have no plans as of now to go IRS...I've heard it actually isn't that great an upgrade for the cost and added weight. My buddy has a 98 they swapped a 3v into and did the IRS with all tubular control arms and what not... said it wasn't worth much in lap times. Do you agree?
I like how you did the harness bar separate of the roll bar. Clever.
I rather enjoy having the roll bar and still being able to cruise on the streets. Of course a cage is safer on track, but that doesn't mean the roll bar is unsafe. I've seen people argue that it is unsafe to drive without the HANS and helmet even with just a rollbar, and that may be true, but I think it's splitting hairs at this point. I drove 8 hours to a track day with the roll bar, seats, and harnesses and it really wasn't bad, just inconvenient. The noise from everything else is what made it uncomfortable.

I have this internal debate too, but I have no plans to compete with the car anymore and just enjoy having it as a toy. A properly installed roll bar and all the accompanying parts adds a good measure of safety on track, maintains streetability, and just looks cool haha. I've seen more people than I can think of who had this same internal argument going on, decided to cage it, only to find out that was a terrible mistake when the car was no longer fun because actual competition is very expensive if you don't have a purpose-built racecar (and still expensive even then).

If racecar, then cage. If street car, then roll bar.
Absolutely see your point. Roll bar it is.
+1

I run a roll bar. My car is as track oriented as possible, while still street legal. Not that I daily the thing, (I have to wear ear plugs on the freeway... no radio anyway) but if my wife needs the truck and it is a nice day, then I will drive the GT to work, race seats and all. I don't have a trailer yet, so the option of caged track only car isn't reality right now. I would not drive a caged car on the street.

Today some guy in the parking lot was walking up to his POS Camry or whatever, and I was getting ready to start the Mustang. Just to be funny I said, "Sorry, it's kind of loud." He said, "Do you race it?" "YES!" Then he says "I don't know how you drive it with those uncomfortable seats." I laughed, fired it up and gave him a pedal full, thinking to my self... "I find them to be VERY comfortable!"
Haha, that's awesome.

Thank you guys for helping me think this through. I'm going to go with the roll bar. The backseat will be unusable anyway, so just a solid 4 point, diagonal and harness bar will do the trick.
 
99
156
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
Nice. I'm still not sure what to do about the rear. A big part of me wants to fabricate a 3 link setup. A smaller part of me says just to throw the TA in it and and save myself a lot of trouble so I can focus on driving it and get back to my Falcon project. But I'm mostly leaning toward just doing the Panhard bar and driving it for a season.
 
43
23
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Fresno, ca
+1 on the rollbar. The cage can really only be done on the street if you plan to wear a helmet while running to the grocery store :D
...assuming you like your skull in one piece, that is haha.
 

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