Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |   |  Cage Fight - 2003 Subaru WRX Roll Cage
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Cage Fight - 2003 Subaru WRX Roll Cage

The why and how of building cages

Staff Report
Jul 21, 2006

There are many reasons to install a roll cage in a vehicle. The most obvious is for safety, the less obvious is the chassis strengthening that goes hand in hand with the installation of a proper race-legal cage. One point that needs to be addressed immediately: a roll cage in a street driven vehicle can do more harm than good. Although some might think the look of having a cage adds eye candy to his/her ride, most compact cars leave very little space for the cage tubes to coexist with the vehicle's occupants -- making the occupants quite vulnerable without a helmet. The bottom line: if you choose to do a full race cage, do it in a full race car. I've smacked my head pretty hard against the roll cage at track events, and that's with a helmet on -- I can't imagine the world of pain, and spilled brains, without one.

In this article we wanted to illustrate the fabrication and installation of a properly built roll cage. Since the employees at Turbo were fresh out of race cars in need of roll cages, we had to look elsewhere for a donor. In our search we found Steve Sawitz of Laguna Beach, California. Sawitz decided it was time to retire his '03 Subaru WRX from being his daily driver, and instead convert it into his weekend play toy/rally car. All good rally cars need a roll cage, of course, to prevent chassis flex during hard turns. A strengthened chassis allows the driver to get more feedback from the road -- key when every millisecond counts on a timed course.

Up for the task of installing a proper roll cage was L-Con Race Car Fabrication and Engineering in Placentia, California. Weighing the pros and cons of different roll cages we settled upon the Gravel Crew cage kit that was designed with rally racing in mind. The kit includes a 1.5-inch-OD (outer diameter) with a .120-wall thickness DOM seamless tubing B-Pillar, 2 A-pillars, and a windshield bar. From the available options, we chose the following: a complete water-jetted floor plate kit with attachment points of no less than 14 places for the '02 to current unibody shell. The kit was designed to work for many race applications and features only four main points -- leaving the decision to install additional tubes up to the customer and their racing organization's rules. This particular car was built to run in California Rally Series events. One of the main things that the owner stressed to L-Con was the importance of strengthening the vehicle -- as he wants to jump, and jump big.

The project gets underway with the complete disassembly of the interior of the car, trunk, and a good portion of the engine compartment. After the car's interior has been gutted, the car is prepared and further stripped of paint, primer, and body sealant in all the places where tubes will eventually make contact. Now we're ready to begin the installation. We felt the next set of steps is best shown visually, so photos accompany each part of the process.

For the final step in the process, L-Con fabricated custom sheet metal plates; drilled and dimple died them for weight and strength; and then installed them everywhere the cage comes into contact with the shell. The plates are imperative to tie all major points of the cage to major points of the car's chassis. Without plates attaching the upper half of the cage to the chassis, the cage would flex as much as a scary 3/8 of an inch under hard driving.

The end result of installing a high quality roll cage is a whole new car -- a car that will perform and last with some proper and effective suspension tuning. Look for this WRX flying down a dirt road or launching off in random industrial parks.

Sources

By Staff Report
88 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE HOW TO

I’m sure you’ve noticed that we talk quite a bit about modernizing older chassis here at Super Street Network, and for good reason. By far the most popular group of cars to own and modify, at least within our demographic, come from the late ‘80s to ‘00 era, and with 20 to 30 years on
RodrezFeb 26, 2021
Chase Bays – Coolant Overflow Last year, as I began piecing this hatchback project together after it came back from DTM Autobody for its color change, Chase Bays provided their Tucked Aluminum Radiator kit that caught my attention for a few reasons, the first being that rather than just a small radiator that would sit
RodrezFeb 24, 2021
In the last update on Honda Tuning’s Project K24 Civic VX, I worked on getting the engine and transmission bolted in place along with its axles and a new wheel and tire package. It’s definitely starting to look like a car again after I’d completely torn it down for paint and bodywork a little over
RodrezFeb 5, 2021
In terms of project car building, some might assume that working for the Super Street Network and dealing with cars like this long-term 1992 Honda Civic VX hatchback means spending multiple days of the week wrenching away and making progress. The reality is, as much as I’d love to be able to do that, my
RodrezNov 16, 2020
Project K24's suspension gets an update courtesy of Fortune Auto, PCI and Circuit Hero
RodrezOct 22, 2020
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP