Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

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Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby EricTheRed » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:21 pm

Wanted to ask the group what are the differences in the bodies of the Beck 550 and the Vintage 550.

I understand the frames are different and the suspension, but are the bodies all the same outside of the vents on the rear humps.
Is the car the same size and width, my Vintage looks a little smaller to me or am I crazy?

Thanks,
Eric
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby albaran » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:22 am

I would be interested in the replies to this question also. I had my car ( a Thunder Ranch) next to another Thunder Ranch car (I think it was Simon's) at the Sikorsky car show and we noticed that the distance from the back of the passenger compartment to the beginning of the clamshell was different. This means that there can be differences between bodies even if they come from the same vendor.
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby EricTheRed » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:03 pm

I would like to get some others perspective also, surprised. Hopefully we will, my next stop is to call Greg and Vintage and get his point of view.

So the reason I asked the question is that I just bought a 2004 Vintage Motorsports on Saturday and know the difference in the chassis and suspension along with some other technical updates. But when I got the car home I did what every new owner does, detail the car and spend half the night in the garage looking at it. Not to long ago I had a friends Beck in the garage for a few month and got pretty close to that car, so being a designer by trade I started thinking something looks different but I can't fully put my finger on it.

My eye tells me the area that feels different is the from fenders, how they round on the top. I think the Beck is wider. I also feel like the cabin of Vintage Spyder is smaller. Ver little but I feel like the interior is a bit tighter, maybe more like the original car may have been. Maybe I'm crazy? Would love others to jump in and flex their Spyder skill and knowledge.

Thanks!
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby danstern » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:36 am

They both make at least two rear clams. They are noticeably different as the newer clam is more swept down at the rear. Enough better looking to me that I had the newer version fitted to my 2000 Vintage. I'm not aware of any difference between the body shapes on the older cars. Frame, suspension, floor panel, method of attachment, all different.

Just noticed, in a few days it will mark 10 years that I've been on this board. :D
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby RS-60 mark » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:48 am

Crazy how time flies when having fun, huh. =D> :D
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby DannyP » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:51 am

I know the Beck cars have gone through some iterations, with sets of molds and some changes over the years. Carey could give you the rundown. I know they've changed the cockpit rear and the clamshell over the years, and changed latches and hinges and such. They have come a long way from the original Upland cars. The first run didn't have a hood hinge as I recall. Today, they are way more finished and refined.

TR had a wider car option with flares front and rear as well as the normal one. I don't know that much about them though.

Vintage has changed a lot over the years. My 2016 car is way different than my 2002. Door sills and hinges are improved and better fitting. Doors close much better with revised latches and actual door handles(instead of a steel pin/lever). Rear of cockpit has a cutout for the seat to recess flush to the firewall, giving you a little more room. Front and rear fenders have a nice lip molded in, closer to the original. On the old car the wheel openings had no lip at all. My car came with the oil cooler grille as a separate bolt-on piece instead of the molded-in grille of my first one.

The rear clam is lower and smoother in it's shape, much closer to the original. The "torsion bar covers" are molded in as well(no torsion bar on Vintage:coilovers).

Thunder Ranch and Beck both use a similar frame, 3" round tube ladder, just like the original 550. Very close, except in the rear trans mount area. It would be more costly to replicate that curved piece that went OVER the trans on originals.

The Vintage frame is almost all 2" round steel, and has more frame members, some triangulated. More of a space-frame design, but clearly not replicating anything. It is their own design(originally ACI before Greg acquired the business). IMHO I feel just a tad safer in it as there are hoops over your legs and behind your head and those are triangulated to the lower frame members affording some crash protection. There are also frame members running under the door sill that may protect you from the side if whatever hits you is low enough.

The takeaway from me is I walked(limped, stiffly LOL) away from a 60 mph impact with a guardrail. Upon cutting the car apart, the frame was fine and 100% intact. It was sprung a little but all the tubes were solid and did their job: protected me. Just about every panel on the car was cracked/crushed save the passenger door. On my new car I got a 4-point bolt-in rollbar for track/autocross use. I also recommend 5-point belts. A lap belt lets you swing around like a rag doll and smash yourself on anything and everything.

I was out of work for three or four months healing from the whiplash. I now have a neck that clicks every time I turn to the right, as a constant reminder of what can happen in a moment. But I still drive it every chance I get, and sometimes as hard as I can push it(on the track).

As to suspension, they all use a VW beam up front. I got the option of a 2" narrowed beam as my Airkewld brakes are a bit wider so it all fits nicely. The rear is the difference. The coilovers give easier ride-height adjustment but other than that I don't think it's much if any of a difference/advantage to handling. Just less salvage parts, they aren't making any new torsion housings AFAIK. The fabricated tube trailing arms on the Vintage are light and good-looking to me.
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby EricTheRed » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:51 am

thanks for the info. Well written on the key changes you have noticed.

My car is a early Vintage and most of the points you have raised are what and how my car is built. I can see the fit of the door is not as good as later cars and I also have the metal pin leaver (on my list to upgrade).
Interesting the doors, and the weight of the fiberglass. My friend has a early Beck and you can feel that the body and the doors feel more sound and heavy on the Beck. Maybe it has another layer of glass? Not sure but the fit and finish feel a bit more solid.

I also can see the lip difference now that I look at it, don't think it bothers me to not have it but the highlight in the sun would be nice.

For the interior thats where I notice the most difference without having the recess. The Back I was use to had different seats that were not so much like the speedster seats providing more room, add the recess to the fire wall and thats why in the Vintage I feel a bit more stuffed in there.

Do you have any knowledge of the wiring system differences?

thanks!!
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby DannyP » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:51 pm

No knowledge of how any cars are wired except the Vintage. My early car was not as neat as the newer car. They have a much better quality ATO fuse block now with six positions, same number as the old car. I have added a few more, and a direct 8 gauge wire to the battery via the starter. That goes to a distribution block and powers a gas heater, the hazards/turn signals, and a couple spare circuits for future use. I'm probably installing a cruise control for when I take long trips....
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby egrant5329 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:16 am

Danny are you going to install a real cruise control or a throttle lock like you had before? That is on my wish list. Definitely document the install for us.
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Re: Body differences on Beck and Vintage Motorsports

Postby DannyP » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:36 pm

I'm doing a real cruise control. It's an electric motor servo because you can't depend on vacuum with these single-runner Weber carbs. For speed input I'm using the VW speedo cable and a GM/Ford sensor(It fits those cables/transmissions). Of course, it needs to be modified by removing the metric coupling nut and making an American one to replace it. Clutch and brake switches to be determined. I'll be using a dash mount control that will be 100% removable and hidden. It's a Dakota Digital universal unit I got from Summit. I'll be mounting it behind the driver in the well in front of the left rear tire.
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