Rollbar Installation

January 2003

Up until late last year, we had made a commitment to run DOT street tires. Competition pressure and the desire to remain competitive prompted the use of slicks at the Las Vegas event in October 2002. It became obvious that that change alone would propel the car well into the 11 second zone. So, we've backtracked on two things I said I wouldn't do. I've put slicks on the car and now, a roll bar so we can legally compete and not run afoul of NHRA regulations.

The roll bar is a custom made piece designed and built by me. I had the bends done at a local fab shop here in Fresno. I had initially contacted Lummus for a bolt in "RKC" type bar but none exists for a Ghia. They offered to do one, but that meant I had to bring the car down to their shop. I had too much to do and too little time to do it in to allow this, so, I decided to build it myself.

Because the stock Ghia seats have only an inch between the edge of the seat and the door, the door bar needed to go over the top corner of the seat back and the left front corner of the seat bottom.  This put the door bar too high to casually swing my 48 year old body over and into the seat, so a swing-out door bar became a necessity.  

Idea numbers one and two were a no-go. Idea number three, a clevis and tab, would not have cleared the quarter window post when it was swung out, not to mention being butt-ugly. Idea number four involved a wrap sleeve and pull pin arrangement that looked good and worked much easier.

This is a photo of the roll bar after fitting the pieces and welding. Unfortunately, I didn't do any photos of the actual cutting and fitting.

The photo above is the clevis version that would not have cleared the quarter window frame when swung out. Also seen is the removable horizontal bar for rear seat access. This IS a street car after all

This shows the swing out arrangement we finally went with. Simple, easy, and it clears the quarter window frame.

 

Above, overall view right after the final fit, but we weren't happy with the swing out door bar, so at this point, it still needed to be redone.

The roll bar is a total bolt in as well as bolt together. It can be removed in a couple hours leaving only the mounting holes that can be welded up to bring the car back to stock.

All things considered, it's not too painful to have it in there. I can still return the car to a stock state as all of the hipo stuff can still be unbolted from the car and stock stuff put back in.

 

Below is a few shots of the finished installation along with the rear seat modifications for the rear support bars.

 

 

This is the final configuration after getting the seatback done by Tom Lopez of Nacho's Upholstery in N Hollywood. The also did the modification of the carpet panels to fit around the rollbar tubes as shown at right.