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improve crash security on G cars


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i decided to start a new topic for improving the security in case of a crash. i begun to strip down the fibergalss body of my '84 turbo esprit, and i got really surpriced as i removed the inner covers from the roof section, as i expected some metal things behind them, it turned out, that there is none there, and looks like there was never metal there before, becouse it simply wont fit in there. i thought i wont have much chance if i will end up with this car upside down in a ditch... does anybody made some thought about this? also i wont rate my chances in case of a side impact. i know its a sportscar and it is about a 30years old construction and the standards where not the same back then, but i would like to use it now on the road, an be as safe as possible.

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Not sure about the G cars, But the Stevens are reinforced with Kevlar.

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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It wouldn't take much to put some side impact bars in, near the back of the seat area, then run along inside the sills, but what you'd then attach them to near the front of the seat I don't know, unless you'd be happy with a lump in the floor just in front of the seats.

Roll-over protection could be provided by a bar inside the passenger compartment against the firewall, or a bar in the engine compartment.

I suppose the best approach is ask somebody such as Mike Taylor who is into rallying and knows the cars inside out as he could determine suitable points to brace to and directions of load bearing.

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I recall speaking to Mike T when I bought my excel, asking if the 'rollover bar' the Excel has was adequate protection and would it be sensible to get it replaced with something stronger. the rest of the conversation went something close to this 'have you ever seen an Excel on its roof?' ...'I've never seen an Excel before now, yet alone on its roof'..

As with the Excel you'd have to be either exceptionally unlucky or driving like a complete pratt to put an Esprit on its roof because of the low centre of gravity.

I too have wondered, and been wary of the potentional safety of the car, but fibreglass is strong and the excel acually has a door beam which acts as a side impact bar. But i've come to the conclusion that having a car that is in the best serviceable condition possible, and driving to the conditions is mitigating a lot of circumstances. I fear that anything that could possibly bring it on par with a modern car would be prohibatively expensive. (as the frame is strong you're looking at either electric prevention like ABS / TC etc, or Airbags)

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i know that fibreglass is strong and flexible to some point, when it simply brakes apart. also, fibreglass is good at taking statical stress, but less good at taking impacts. i am thinking of making a pillar (such as cabrios use to have) behind the firewall in the engine compartment, an then let a pipe run along the top of the doorwindows down to the "A" pillar, where the door are bolted to on each side, and then connect the 2 pipes beyond the windscreen. so what You think?

i noticed that the esprit has extremly heavy doors. there is a masive steel plate inside them which act as a slide for the electric windows and as a side protection too - i think.

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They were and you will find numerous topics on here from people who have been involved in accidents who have used comments like "If I had been in a metal car I would be dead", "The fibreglass collapsed doing its job and protecting me" Etc etc.

If you add metal you will add weight and instability, not to mention a different weight distribution that the car isn't really designed for. By adding it you may actually end up doing exactly the opposite and decreasing its crash resistance (like Andy says, what are you going to attach it to?) or increasing the likelyhood of you getting injured. Be careful!

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I found this on another site:

"I remember reading about the crash testing Lotus did with the G-Esprits and the cars were incredibly safe. In frontal collisions the large bumpers combined with the spare tire, the fiberglass nose structure, and the front end of the backbone frame of the car absorbed an incredible amount impact force without damage or penetration into the cabin. In a rear collision, the rear acted similarly and absorbed a lot of impact force with the plywood firewall stopping any intrusion into the cabin by the drive train."

Personally I think if you start putting in lumps ot metal, you could cause more problems, you would only need one to shear off in an impact and it would act like a spear. Unless you are a proper automotive engineer, who really has an understanding of crash testing I'd leave alone.

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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i thought i wont have much chance if i will end up with this car upside down in a ditch... does anybody made some thought about this? also i wont rate my chances in case of a side impact. i know its a sportscar and it is about a 30years old construction and the standards where not the same back then, but i would like to use it now on the road, an be as safe as possible.

I remember being on a factory tour in the early 90s and the engineer taking us around the Esprit lines explained how every car manufacturer had to subject their cars to the drop test where the car is raised 3 metres (I think) off the ground, turned upside down & dropped. The car passed the test if the cabin space didn't collapse by more than 10 inches or so. Lotus were very proud that the Esprit cabin collapsed by no more than an inch. These were Stevens Esprits with Kevlar in the windshield pillars as opposed to Guigiaro ones but I doubt if there's much difference. :thumbsup:

The side impact protection comes from the aluminum beams the doors are mounted on, try taking a look in a steel bodied car's doors. :thumbdown:

Cheers,

John W

http://jonwatkins.co.uk

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You are assuming by adding steel it'll be safer - based on what?

What if the steel you insert breaks free and intrudes in the cabin during an impact?

I think you would be better off investigating the original testing of the shell and seeing how that deviates from what you want to achieve.

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I think the real danger comes if you are "T boned" by something heavy at high speed but it would need to be quite narrow so as to not put the impact on either the front wheel and subsequently chassis or engine bay and engine.

The Roll bar would be most likely to be used if the car is hit and flipped over rather than the driver managing to make it flip.

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Having been in a frontal impact in an Esprit, I can testify that good crash protection is offered.

If somewhat distressing.

"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

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I'm sure I read somewhere that fibreglass is actually stronger than steel but deforms differently. Steel crumples whereas fibreglass splits as I'm sure you already realised.

Paul.

Lotus Esprit [meaning] a 1:1 scale Airfix kit with a propensity to catch fire

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thanks for the answers. i was only thinking of adding a rollbar like rallye cars use to have to protect against a flip over to protect the cabin. also i saw some pictures where the Esprit being so low slides under the other car, in that case such a rollbar would became handy. involved in front or rear crashes the Esprit should give a very good protection, becouse of the flexibility of the fibreglass that absorbs the impact. also, the spare wheel in the front is very useful in such a situation. if someone builds a tank of his/her car, he/she might end up dead in a car that looks only lightly damaged, becouse massive steel removes the impact-absorbation zone. i dont want to do this.

i read, that fibreglass has 2./3rd the strength of steel, i measured about 4mm in thickness of the "A" pillar (the windscreen frame) but metal cars do have multiple layers of steel (about 1-1.2mm thick) folded into each other inside that pillar. i only can speak for Audi which i used to own until now.

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I would think that without knowing the modelling data of the chassis and body, I believe you would end up adding weight higher up in the body. Granted, it would be minimal, but you raise the CoG and you'll be aiding the very thing you're trying to protect against. Flipping over. I would say there has been a lot of people on here that have been very sideways in an esprit and have come nowhere near flipping.

Unless you went sideways into a kerb at a great rate of knots or into a ditch, I would say you are in one of the safest cars to not flip over.

Trust the car designers.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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Trust the car designers for one of them has been sideways in an Esprit with me at the wheel......not intentionally and after stopping screaming he did ask me if he could go home to change his pants before he came round for dinner! :whistle:

Apparantly it wasn't fun doing it on a busy dual carriageway and me, in my defence, must state that the back end snapped round on a damp patch of road, possibly diesel...at......hrumph mph, so the legal speed limit!

It didn't flip and we were safe and sound....apart from me needing to clean the passenger seat :harhar:

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normally the Esprit wont flip over, it just slides sideways, possibly it turns around while sliding, becouse it has more weight at the rear. it does the same only backwards as my Audi80 (it is nose-heavy) but it would not flip over (nor the Audi, although it is built much higher, and also the weight point is much higher too). the only danger is the ditch, which is very common in Hungary, You have about 95% chance that You have ditches on both sides of a normal road, that are about 0.5-1m in depth, and we have extra few highways so You have to drive very much on normal roads.

i will have to pull the bodywork off the chassis anyway, becouse of the full overhaul/respray/engine swap/RHD->LHD project, i will see, what i can figure out. for me it is hard to believe that the fibreglass roof can hold the relatively heavy Turbo Esprit upside down without braking/collapsing.

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The car will be supported by the A pillars if if flips, don't panic.

The spare wheel provides absolutely no crash protection whatsoever at all! If anything, it's the opposite as it becomes a large, heavy item usually loose during a crash and smashes it's way around or out of the front bonnet.

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Richard,

This will answer all your questions.

Roads = Good :)

Ditches = Bad :(

Stay on the road! :thumbsup:

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

For forum issues, please contact one of us Moderators.

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Regarding the spare tyre positioning and impact safety I have some info from the man himself:

The position was really important and was part of the front Impact “crumple-deceleration curve”-it helped to absorb impact energy ON THE TWIN-CAM EUROPA. On the Esprit, I think it was designed to assist in the impact energy absorption, but not as an integral part of the “ Deceleration curve.”

The Rack and pinion was originally, like the Elite, and twin cam Europa, designed and engineered to “ Roll-under and pull the steering column and Wheel FORWARDS, these features plus the foam beam VARI Body structure are why the Elite/Excel won the Don Safety Tropy and made all the cars of the time years ahead in terms of safety in an accident.

Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
http://everyman-campaign.org/

 

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Richard,

This will answer all your questions.

Roads = Good :)

Ditches = Bad :(

Stay on the road! :thumbsup:

that was good! :D

unfortunately i haven't driven RWD cars, nor 4WD (my coupe quattro isn't finished yet) only FWD ones with massive understeer, like the Audi80, but i don't mind the heavy understeer i am used to it :)

i just want to prepare for the worst... :) sooner or later i will hit something, it is only matter of time... :D

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Have you considered making yourself a better driver in that case? Lotus Driving Academy have a facility at the Hungaroring, will save you ruining your car and potentially killing yourself- just an idea!!

http://www.lotusdrivingacademy.com/

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

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