Just A Reminder About Adding Shoulder Harnesses To Street Cars, Even Vipers

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
just a reminder about adding shoulder harnesses to street cars even vipers

Somewhat oddly for the site that used to prioritize being FIRST POST above everything else, Jalopnik was last out of the gate with their review of the Viper ACR. I think it was worth the wait, because it was written by legitimate sports-car-racing hero Andy Lally. You can check it out here. As competent a racer and driver as I think I am, Andy’s obviously on the proverbial next level.

Which is why it made me sad to read one of the story’s last paragraphs.

Andy tells us:

Last but not least, if you are serious about buying this car please take these next words as serious as you will take any other advice. BUY THE SIX POINT SEATBELT UPGRADE. I did three flying laps in this car with a regular belt and had to pull into the pits because for as much grip as you can generate, a regular shoulder belt does not keep you in place well enough.

In Dodge’s defense, I was vocal about this right away and they explained that they are prohibited from selling a street car with these belts. They did have a car on-site with six-point belts installed and it was much more pleasant. The car is built so that you can easily install them. Check that box when ordering.

In Andy’s defense, I think he has about as much experience with “trackday specials” as I do with any kind of lambskin condoms. He is what they call a “real racer” who “really races” in “real race cars”. So when he gets in a car on-track it has six-point belts and a full rollcage and, more often than not, a monocoque designed to distribute crash impact.

The Viper ACR is capable of hitting a wall at a racetrack at nearly the same speed a World Challenge GT car could achieve. But it has absolutely no additional rollover protection besides what is built into the body. It is designed to roll over in a way that protects conventionally belted passengers. The interior is made of things that are softer than a steel tube. If the roof collapses because there aren’t enough steel tubes around the driver, the three-point belt will allow said driver to slide a bit to avoid said collapsing roof.

Unless, that is, you have shoulder harnesses, in which case your neck will be the fulcrum on which the car’s entire weight is focused. Do not expect to be able to resume your place in your high-school track team after that happens.

This is not the first time I’ve written about this. Nor will it be the last. Because it’s important for you to know. If, however, you happen to be able to drive a Viper ACR as quickly as Andy Lally undoubtedly can, you can make a change to your car that will bridge the gap between the loosey-goosey but rollover-safe feel of a three-point belt and the strapped-in immobilization of a proper racing harness. It’s called a CG-Lock, and it works well enough that Bob Lutz put one on his car when he and I did the CTS-V Challenge way back in the Stone Age.

And if you, like many TTACers, thought the Chevette photo was the coolest part of article, go check out Darren’s site, why don’t ya?

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4 of 24 comments
  • Misplacedape Misplacedape on Jul 22, 2015

    "the three-point belt will allow said driver to slide a bit to avoid said collapsing roof" is there a basis for this assumption? after your original article i searched and every technical journal publication i found stated higher risk of injury correlating to a higher degree of the occupant moving around in a rollover circumstance. effectively suggesting that the three point is a compromise but the objective is to keep the passenger as still as possible. i raise the question genuinely as opposed to trollishly as i think it is a very worthwhile discussion, but predicated on that single important assumption.

    • See 1 previous
    • Misplacedape Misplacedape on Jul 22, 2015

      @JuniperBug i was specifically looking for research relating to restraint design and crash simulation for cars without roll cages in rollover conditions so they were typical passenger vehicles

  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Jul 22, 2015

    No matter how many times this site links its good pals at Jalopnik, I'm still not reading anything there. I hope this site doesn't become a hub for "Link this article and I'll pay you some ad revenue", I have public TV for advertisements.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.