Coast Chassis As Seen In Super Chevy Magazine
This month's story about the fabrication of a custom rollcage for our Project Unfair Camaro (from Prodigy Customs and II Much Fabrication) comes from a new location. Coast Chassis Design (CCD) is a chassis shop located at 511 Pullman Road, Unit B-1, Edgewater, FL. 32132, about 40 miles from the author's shop. John Parsons and Frank Serafine of Prodigy Customs opted to have the folks at Coast Chassis do the rollcage from scratch rather than do it themselves or buy a rollcage kit. We'll let John explain why. Jim Campisano
Frank and I have been asked numerous times why we decided to have CCD build and install our rollcage. We've both installed cages before, both separately and working together. And that's the point. We know our limitations, which include our tools and the inevitable compromises of a kit. We also wanted to keep the cage as light as possible and that means using 4130 steel (often called chromoly). Indeed, 4130 is about 30 percent stronger than ordinary mild steel, which means you can use thinner wall tube, reducing weight. However, welding 4130 requires high-quality tube fits with zero gaps so the welds can be kept small to minimize the HAZ (heat-affected zone).
CCD likes to use "Illustration Board," available at your local fine arts store, for templates. It closely emulates 1/8-inch steel (way better than cardboard). So with all that in mind, we approached Coast Chassis Design to see if it would be interested in building a rollcage for Unfair that satisfied both NHRA and NASA (road racing) requirements. We met with Pete Bonafide and Tim Christ (co-owners of CCD) to see if they were interested.
All it took was to have a look around at their unbelievable shop and we were hooked. TIG welders, tube benders, lathes, mills, iron workers, bandsaws, tube notchers, sheetmetal brakes, and bead rollers were all on full display. The shop was spotless, and several chassis were in various stages of completion. In the middle of the shop was their latest 10.5 tire/6-second bad-boy Mercedes AMG featuring a full-tube chassis, Funny Car engine, and more tricks than Madonna. Pete and Tim were intrigued by our 8-second drag strip requirement, along with streetability and our road-racing goals. They've built many cages over the years, and ours was a simple one in their book.