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Discussion Starter #1
hey guys,

i know the obvious would be to contact them directly. but since this project isnt "immediate" i wanted to post it hear and get your thoughts or some info maybe gathered by someone who was curious like myself. im sure wade will see this as well and probably respond.

i love the solbra, it's great but i really dont like the fogs on it. i would also love a lip spoiler on it as well.

this is the front bumper i basically am aiming for.

http://www.dannywhitfield.com/images/Solstic_Diamondback_DRAG_RACER_EDITION_no_spolier_2.jpg

so here's my question. i know wade has a kit already but would he take custom orders to make a front bumper like the one i linked?

i am going to eventually drop an ls7 in the car so maybe that would get interest in making a bumper 427 combo?

im just lookin for some general info and opinions. hopefully wade will see this and respond. i know the link i posted are sketches from danny but i absolutely love that front bumper with that flare on the foglights.

thanks
 

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Here is my experience working with wade so far.

It's your car and you are his customer. He will look at every option possible to accommodate your plans. It may work out that it's not industrially possible or it may cost more than you think it is worth, but he will do what he can short of that.

That's why I chose him as my builder and why I would go back without hesitation.
 

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Thanks for giving me the opportunity to respond to this question. As you know, the SOLBRA kit was penned by Danny Whitfield for me based on parameters that I provided to him. The most important design constraint was that the Cobra-style front end had to be achieved without modifying the hood. Danny was great to work with, and he came up with several variations before I settled on the 'final' front bumper design.

From the very beginning, I knew that the Cobra styling on a Pontiac would appeal to a very limited number of customers. Cobra guys would sneer in disgust at the sight of another 'impostor' Cobra. Solstice purists would be equally unimpressed. Ultimately, I did it for myself, and not as a business venture.

So it was important to construct it in a way that was no more expensive than it had to be. As such, I worked with a pattern shop in Ohio, where they literally cut the middle out of the front bumper on my Solstice and made a fragile 'plug' out of wood, fiberglass, and chicken wire right on the car.

I flew Danny out to Ohio, and along with the guys from the pattern shop, we eyeballed the mock-up and directed some proportions to be changed before calling it done.

Once the plug was complete, I trailored the car to another shop in Ohio where they specialize in hand-made fiberglass panels for racecars. At that shop, they finished the 'body work' to make the plug look like a real part before waxing it up and creating a mold from it. At that point, the plug was pulled off the car and thrown away.

From the mold they made the first hand-laid SOLBRA bumper and bolted it onto the car. It was rough. I brought the car back to West Virginia and gave it to my body man to do the final fitting, body work, painting, lights, etc. By the time it was all said and done, I had $10,000 in that bumper.

It was somewhere along the path of investing $10K into that thing that I decided it might be a good idea to sell a few and recoup some of the investment. But because the mold was a little rough, the parts were never really good enough to sell to others for installation. And because of the complex shapes involved in the bumper, the fiberglass shop charged me a lot to make copies. So when you combine my cost to get them made, with the hours required to make them 'right,' and the limited demand; you can see that the SOLBRA bumper was never destined for commercial success.

And that is the reason I have always been very selective about who gets them. They are only sold for V8 or LNF cars, and they are only installed here so that I can control the quality of the finished product.

Indeed, if Norm had done his stuff the way I did this, he would NOT be the legend that he has become!

For the record, I did take my car to a very prestigious design shop in the Atlanta area about a year ago and talked to them about the possibility of manufacturing the bumpers using modern technology. They would scan my bumper and combine the data with GM data for the attachment of the bumper. Then they would work with the model in CADD to get the dimensions perfect and symmetrical. From there they would import the data into CNC equipment that would turn out a perfect plug. That plug would be the basis for
a 'perfect' mold that would be used to produce carbon-fiber parts that would require minimal body work for installation. The design and prep work would cost just $30,000 and the resulting CF bumpers would cost a mere $1,500 each. Obviously that was a non-starter. I would have to sell ten of them at a minimum of $1,800 each to break even.

All that being said, the front bumper on the car in the link you posted can certainly be done. It sticks by the design specification that it would not require a hood change. But unless you can do the work yourself, the cost to create that bumper could be very expensive.

Perhaps this might be a good place for Norm to offer his insight.
 

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Thanks, Wade. That provides an interesting look into the economics of one-off fiberglass pieces. Unfortunately, Norm doesn't post very often on this forum, but perhaps someone could point this thread out to him.

.
 

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Wade,
Do the V8's installed by you require a different front? Can an OEM Solstice (or Sky if you do them - another question) front be used?
 

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Wade,
Do the V8's installed by you require a different front? Can an OEM Solstice (or Sky if you do them - another question) front be used?
The V8 conversion does not require any changes to the body. The only exception to this is the installation of the LSA, which requires a hole in the hood to clear the supercharger intercooler.
 

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LSA hood mod

I'm sure that there are other ways of doing it, but this is one.







The body is stock except for the hole for the SC and the cover over it.
 

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I'm thinking of making the trek, don't think the fascia looks too Cobrish, now if someone could figure out how to replicate the Pitbull wide body panels especially and modified with Ferrari single Bi-xenon headlights and doubt Cobra would even be mentioned. Read it's referred to the Diamondback too, has C2 inspired indented side coves.

Problem was by the time you added car + engine + body kit + paint & labor you were into ZL1 territory and still risked being tagged as a kit-car moniker.
 

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I was contacted by the Pitbull designer a couple of years ago when Chuck backed out. I also passed on the Pitbull for the same reason. It is simply not economically feasible to go through the process of creating the tooling to produce panels for which there is relatively low demand and at a relatively low price point.

I know that the guys at Tauro Sport Auto in Spain have invested big bucks and over two years developing new body panels for their Tauro Spider. Tauro Sport Auto

My guess is that the only feasible way of doing this would be to work with somebody in Asia where wages are crazy low. And that is not appealing to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to respond to this question. As you know, the SOLBRA kit was penned by Danny Whitfield for me based on parameters that I provided to him. The most important design constraint was that the Cobra-style front end had to be achieved without modifying the hood. Danny was great to work with, and he came up with several variations before I settled on the 'final' front bumper design.

From the very beginning, I knew that the Cobra styling on a Pontiac would appeal to a very limited number of customers. Cobra guys would sneer in disgust at the sight of another 'impostor' Cobra. Solstice purists would be equally unimpressed. Ultimately, I did it for myself, and not as a business venture.

So it was important to construct it in a way that was no more expensive than it had to be. As such, I worked with a pattern shop in Ohio, where they literally cut the middle out of the front bumper on my Solstice and made a fragile 'plug' out of wood, fiberglass, and chicken wire right on the car.

I flew Danny out to Ohio, and along with the guys from the pattern shop, we eyeballed the mock-up and directed some proportions to be changed before calling it done.

Once the plug was complete, I trailored the car to another shop in Ohio where they specialize in hand-made fiberglass panels for racecars. At that shop, they finished the 'body work' to make the plug look like a real part before waxing it up and creating a mold from it. At that point, the plug was pulled off the car and thrown away.

From the mold they made the first hand-laid SOLBRA bumper and bolted it onto the car. It was rough. I brought the car back to West Virginia and gave it to my body man to do the final fitting, body work, painting, lights, etc. By the time it was all said and done, I had $10,000 in that bumper.

It was somewhere along the path of investing $10K into that thing that I decided it might be a good idea to sell a few and recoup some of the investment. But because the mold was a little rough, the parts were never really good enough to sell to others for installation. And because of the complex shapes involved in the bumper, the fiberglass shop charged me a lot to make copies. So when you combine my cost to get them made, with the hours required to make them 'right,' and the limited demand; you can see that the SOLBRA bumper was never destined for commercial success.

And that is the reason I have always been very selective about who gets them. They are only sold for V8 or LNF cars, and they are only installed here so that I can control the quality of the finished product.

Indeed, if Norm had done his stuff the way I did this, he would NOT be the legend that he has become!

For the record, I did take my car to a very prestigious design shop in the Atlanta area about a year ago and talked to them about the possibility of manufacturing the bumpers using modern technology. They would scan my bumper and combine the data with GM data for the attachment of the bumper. Then they would work with the model in CADD to get the dimensions perfect and symmetrical. From there they would import the data into CNC equipment that would turn out a perfect plug. That plug would be the basis for
a 'perfect' mold that would be used to produce carbon-fiber parts that would require minimal body work for installation. The design and prep work would cost just $30,000 and the resulting CF bumpers would cost a mere $1,500 each. Obviously that was a non-starter. I would have to sell ten of them at a minimum of $1,800 each to break even.

All that being said, the front bumper on the car in the link you posted can certainly be done. It sticks by the design specification that it would not require a hood change. But unless you can do the work yourself, the cost to create that bumper could be very expensive.

Perhaps this might be a good place for Norm to offer his insight.
thanks for the quick reply, i will be contacting you via email soon. you seem to be a top notch guy with great vision and prducts.

thanks for the explanation
 

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That plug would be the basis for a 'perfect' mold that would be used to produce carbon-fiber parts that would require minimal body work for installation. The design and prep work would cost just $30,000 and the resulting CF bumpers would cost a mere $1,500 each. Obviously that was a non-starter. I would have to sell ten of them at a minimum of $1,800 each to break even.
I think the math works out to having to sell 100 of them. If it were just 10, you'd have your business case and then some.

I do appreciate the explanation tho.
 

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Indeed, if Norm had done his stuff the way I did this, he would NOT be the legend that he has become!


Perhaps this might be a good place for Norm to offer his insight.
Wow, not sure what to say, but thankyou very much.

Starting out myself a long time ago, I also did some crazy things but thats how you learn. It always amazes me when someone asks me to make something and believes its not a big deal to do. It is a big deal and a lot of money to create something that might sell and maybe make a little money of it. Heres a little something we did for an example, though it was and is a one off. As his body was changed often while it raced in the early 60's and wanted it returned to orginal, while all I had was magazine pics from then.







http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u143/normsf
[IMG]http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u143/normsf/Mittlercar009.jpg





The last one is me, with some of my customers other cars that I was lucky enough to work on as well. So you can see he had enough money for a "one off" LOL.
 

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Sweet, that looks like a Chevy 283 with tri-power and progressive linkage like a friend of mine had back in 1955.

 
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