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Chassis
Copyright Angus Dudley

Convair originally sold only the Roadster shell. However, customer demand soon meant that they would have to supply chassis as well. Most people preferred to purchase cars as complete kits, or as one donor vehicle and a complete set of parts to complete the build. Convair managed to find a supply of new Ford Popular chassis and uprated them in the usual fashion before advertising them with their shells.

 
 To help the discerning builder they began to offer add-ons to the basic chassis. An independent front suspension kit of the swing axle type became available. A radiator built to their own design which fitted the line of the car and provided superior cooling for modified engines was offered together with a remote header tank. To enable the lightweight shell to "sit correctly" they also offered lowered and softened rear road springs. Transmission parts were also offered, with the usual "Close Ratio Gears" and "High Ratio Crown Wheel and Pinion". Eventually they tied up with Aquaplane (a Ford tuning specialist company) and offered the full range of engine and chassis tuning modifications.
 

 
Convair would alter / amend / strengthen any chassis to the customers requirements. It wasn't long before they were being asked to produce complete new chassis to order. They made a number of bespoke chassis, including some not directly involved with the cars themselves. They produced a batch of go-kart chassis, for instance. One particular chassis style was requested by a customer which involved "jigging-up" to produce. Clive decided to produce a number of these. This not only reduced the cost to the original customer but also saved time and meant the company would not have to rely on other manufacturers.
 
Clive decided that he could improve on this first chassis (which he referred to as the "Cradle") and built a "Sports/Racing" space-frame specifically for competition use. It could be used with a number of engines (Coventry Climax 1100, MGA, Morris Minor 1000, Ford 100E) and different transmissions (BMC being the most popular). It could also be fitted with hydraulic brakes supplied by Dunlop, a Panhard rod, a De Dion rear axle and independent front suspension. This was sold as the "Convair Series 2" and sold for 100. 0s. 0d.
 

 
When Convair built the "Excell" shell, it was always intended that it should be available as a complete kit, so the "S-Type" chassis was built. It was an underslung, twin tube ladder chassis with 3" diameter main tubes. This produced a very lightweight chassis with a low centre of gravity which meant the occupants sat "in" the car rather than "on" it. The frame itself only weighed 65lbs! It was designed to use Nash Metropolitan front suspension and could accept a range of engines and transmissions like the "Sports/Racing Chassis". It could be fitted with De Dion rear axle and Panhard rod. The petrol tank sat above the rear axle and with the driver also to the rear the weight distribution could be set at 50/50 (depending on the engine selected). This sold for 65. 0s. 0d

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This site was last updated 02/24/06