March '19

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MARCH 2019 THE SHOP 61 and a vintage Honda. Tomorrow, we're starting another project on an Ariel Atom. It's really any kind of car." Such a variety of projects keeps things fresh and innovative, he believes. "The principles of fabrication are the same; the physics, the aerodynamics are the same regardless of what car you're working on," he notes. "It's just a question of how good are you at adapting your techniques, knowledge and methods to another car?" Or to another energy source—like the NSU Prinz that's being converted to essen- tially a mechanically brand-new electric car, using Tesla batteries. It features a custom suspension and chassis that Blackbird built, on top of which is dropped the NSU shell. "It looks like an old '60s car but would probably do zero-to-60 in 3 seconds and pop wheelies every time it comes off the light," says Almagor. "I love somebody coming and saying we need to build this one thing that nobody's ever done before. Great, I'm all for that. Let's do it." Almagor believes the principals of physics and fabrication transfer over to every kind of car, and even though not a lot of people are doing electric conversions, things like weight distribution, suspension setup and so forth are always important. "This is something we supplied from the get-go, so let's build it like we would want a race car to be built," he explains. "For example, we built a double-floor chassis that packs the batteries under the floor of the car, so if you look at how the weight is packed in the car, the only things sitting higher than the center of gravity are the occupants in the car." NEW OPPORTUNITIES Whether for racers or people that have an eye on starting some form of racing in the future, Almagor says his shop's projects and products are geared around race track usage. "Even our street products are based on stuff that we learn at the race track," he notes. Future plans are to continue on that course, extend those markets and to also reach into other markets with off-the-shelf products. "At the same time, we are growing in terms of being able to offer additional ser- vices," he says. "For example, this past year we've been doing a lot more composite work, not just metal work. I've been doing a lot of side work with composites myself, but haven't offered it to customers in the past. In 2017, we started doing a lot more of that." New opportunities allow him to continue chasing his dream. EDDIE WIEBER is Editor Emeritus of THE SHOP magazine. Suspension and safety systems include roll cages and roll bars, custom seat mounts for racing seats, fire suppression systems and anything related to safety for people who want to turn street cars into dedicated track or race cars.

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