I find myself reading many automotive blogs during my free time. Normally I am strictly a vintage European auto enthusiast; although I feel reading and learning about the many different aspects of the auto industry can give inspiration to even the “little guy” like me that is just tinkering with old Euro “clunkers”.
Yesterday I was quite amazed at this new automotive feat I found being offered for “free”. Only catch is that you need to buy the $740,000 Shelby super car. This is the first time I’ve found a full carbon wheel being put into production (even if it is on a nearly untouchable super car). There has been many prototypes and even a few companies working to make split wheels with carbon outer “hoops”. The wheel is apparently being manufactured by a Australian company named Carbon Revolution for Shelby SuperCars. It features a 9 spoke design with about half the weight of a similar aluminum wheel. “Why does this matter?” Well, it means essentially that the engine is turning less unsprung weight first of all. Also because of how strong/stiff carbon fiber is, it removes some of the flex/give found in the common aluminum wheel (read: better handling/road feel).
After reading some feedback on this subject, it has raised a few questions. Carbon is known to shatter, not just bend/crack like a common aluminum wheel would do. Such as if you say “hit a pot hole going downtown for some drinks with the wife”. This is a bit scary to think of! Although I have a feeling 99% of these cars will spend more time on display in a “collection” versus actually being driven around. So this may make that a null and void point. Carbon Revolution has gone through 5 years of development on these wheels, so one would think they would have tested driving them over some pot holes or speed bumps at excessive/dangerous speeds. I envision a test driver just mashing the pedal and speeding over a sequence of speed bumps at 100mph. All while having a grin on his face knowing he is allowed to try and break a set of these priceless wheels.
So what does everyone think? Bad idea? Dangerous idea? Motorsport masterpiece? I’ll just sit back and see what happens before purchasing my set (ha!)
Thanks to http://www.carbonfibergear.com for the story and pics.