View Single Post
Old November 7th 2009, 09:23
evilC's Avatar
evilC evilC is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: UK Where Leics is more
Posts: 644
Originally Posted by owdlvr View Post
If you're that concerned about protection, you honestly shouldn't be driving a beetle. A roll cage in a standard road-going vehicle is going to protect you in some instances, but provide far more of a risk in others. Will you be investing in proper SFI roll bar padding, or doing what most non-racers do and use pipe insulation?

In an accident you would be shocked to see how much your body flexes and moves, a standard road-going car with cage and without helmet is far more dangerous then a simple car without cage. Your head off the roll bar is a seriously tough object to avoid. The cage will be of benefit in some accidents where you might otherwise be killed, but a liability in any lower-speed accident where you are unlikely to be killed.

I ran my Audi rally car as a street car, with cage and proper padding, for years...and I can tell you that driving a caged car daily is a complete pain-in-the-ass. **assuming we're talking "cage" here and not just a rear-seat roll bar.

I concur with everthing you say but there are some plus points:
1) A cage can give psychological comfort so the driver is more relaxed and therefore more responsive.
2) A cage will stiffen the bodyshell/chassis so that its response is more accurate and reliable resulting in better active protection. (less likely to get into an accident in the first place)
3) On a beetle there are no crumple zones or a stiff passenger cell to protect the passengers so a cage within the cabin at least provides a stiffer passenger cell.
4) Extending the cage forward to the front suspension area will improve chassis stiffness as well as giving the opportunity to add progressive collapse thus bringing the vehicle up towards modern standards.

The effectiveness of a cage was brought home to me some years ago during our clubs national level road rally. One of the front running Escorts was pulled off a narrow tarmac single track road by the muddy goo at the edge of the verge and then ploughed through a 18" thick brick buttress to a barn. It was almost a grotesque cartoon as the Escort shape was bitten out of the solid raking buttress. The front 1/4 of the car ended up at the dashboard, where it was stopped by the cage. The driver sustained a broken ankle only (the navigator was only shaken and stirred). This all happened at between 100 - 110mph as it was a flat out section with few bends in the preceeding 2 miles. The cage demonstrated its strength on that occasion.

Our MSA (Motor Sports Association - the governing body) recommend cages for road rallying even though helmets are not allowed. They don't insist on cages as the events are only supposed to be 'navigational' and standard road cars are encouraged; the sight of drivers and navigators wearing helmets on public roads would also incense the public.

Reply With Quote