All agreed, but I'm seeing the attack on pure race-cars as the camel's nose in the tent, possibly stemming from a belief that production-car-based racers are a small enough group to target initially because they don't have the clout of an industry as big as the one SEMA represents. Of course, "production-car-based" also includes vehicles competing in NASCAR...sorta. Ban production cars being modified into pure racing vehicles, then surely banning any modifications whatsoever isn't far behind. I honestly don't think this silliness has a hope in hell of being adopted...but you never know. According to SEMA, the aftermarket accessory market is worth about $34 billion annually. The overall automotive accessory market is said to top $200 billion annually (at this moment, I don't know exactly what the difference is...). By comparison, the US gun and ammo manufacturing industry only accounts for $13.5 billion, with a total economic impact of around $43 billion.
Over the past roughly 50 years I've found 180 grit wet-or-dry paper to be my favorite for giving a very realistic used look to tire treads. If you have tires that have a mold-seam down the middle, my preference is to start with 80 grit dry to rid the tire of the seam, and the step that sometimes occurs, and to follow that with the 180. I don't do it like the Crankster (though his method works fine). I'll just assemble a wheel and a back in the tire (to support the edges) and simply slide it along a piece of the appropriate-grit paper that's been stuck to the bench, as if the tire was doing a burnout, turning it frequently. The results:
Good job on the research, Rob. It's just a quick-change with its input shaft coupled to the trans output shaft, with a solid mount in between. Obviously, in a setup like this, a UJ isn't necessary because there's no relative motion between the components. This was a fairly common rig (not this exactly, but the identical concept) in the way-back, where space was at a premium...like in old belly-tank lakesters.
Just for the record, I DO NOT have a problem with the recent crop of big-wheel cars like Frank posted examples of above. I've seen some of these cars perform, and they're no more treacherous than many of them were when they were new...new being heavy, on skinny bias-ply tires, with soft springs and barely adequate drum brakes. Some of them probably handle and brake better than when they were new, and many are certainly the handling equals of factory high-ride-height SUVs. I DO NOT think they should be banned (the reasonable ones, like Frank posted). No, they're not built to my taste, but if their owners prefer to make a style statement rather than going for ultimate handling...well, there's room for everybody in the car hobby. They don't HAVE to be MY taste, and what I like doesn't have to rule anyone else. Just PLEASE build things with a little common sense as part of the equation.
Well sirs, if anyone cares to read the title of this thread, they'll see it says The slippery slope of banning donk wheels. So, the logical implication, seein' as how the OP's initial allegation is that "you guys started it" (meaning of course that people who don't like donks and have been vocal about it are the ones ultimately responsible for the EPA's latest foray into idiocy) is that the banning of wheels over 20" in some locations was the first step on the referenced "slippery slope" and the proposed new EPA regs. There's no attack on "big wheel customs" here to my knowledge, just a brief look at vehicle dynamics and some explanations as to why donks, particularly sky-high contraptions like I posted, kinda miss the whole point of vehicles handling well, and safely. There's NO cause and effect relationship established here between donks and the EPA's attempt to regulate race car construction. What is addressed is the OP's allegation that the one led directly to the other, and IF so, why it might have happened. It is a FACT that the big-wheel cars HAVE brought some increased government attention to modified vehicles. One important point to remember is that most government agencies have no motivation to actually understand the things they want to regulate. There is probably no differentiation in the minds of many bureaucrats between a sky-high donk and a slalom car that handles like it's on rails. They're modified, and modified is bad in their white-bread stick-your-nose-up-the-tail-of-the-sheep-in-front-of-you world. Therefore, pass a law that doesn't allow any modifications. Modification bad. More law good. The End.
Man, everybody seems to think they just invented the wheel. I ran a VW Bug with a Porsche engine in competition in the way way back. I drove the car on the street and used air-shocks to raise, lower, and essentially 'tune" the lowered torsion-bar suspension for street use or racing. With the shocks totally deflated, the ol' bug sat as low as the Chevelle. Bags don't necessarily replace the stock suspension, and can be used just exactly like I used mine eons ago, with no failures. Where do you get the interesting idea that "suspension that isnt actually connected to the car" has anything to do with anything? Not connected to the car? Please explain. "Performance suspension and brakes" do not compensate adequately for insanely high unsprung weight and rotational mass. If 26" tall wheels worked for any kind of real performance application, you'd be seeing them on F1 cars and at LeMans. Hmmmmm.....
Matt, you're misunderstanding the proposed rules. It's ALREADY illegal to modify late-model street-driven vehicles' emission-control-related systems. There's no opt-out for occasional racing. If it's street-driven and registered as such, tampering with its emissions systems is verboten (unless the aftermarket parts or systems are certified to leave the vehicle in emissions compliance). Once a production vehicle reaches a certain age (in my state, it's 25 years old) anything goes. Yes, there ARE 900HP newer cars on the street. Are they legal? What do you think? The proposed rules would prohibit anyone from turning a production vehicle into a DEDICATED RACING VEHICLE. This isn't about hot street-cars. It's about pure race cars, never to be driven on the street. The EPA kept their big noses out of sanctioned competition before. This is a new deal. The donk thing is simply a large part of what got Big Brother looking harder at modified cars in the first place. And in case you missed it above, here it is again... “This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion.”
No, not because some of us don't like the look, but because 1) jacking a car way up raises its center of gravity and makes it lean horribly in turns 2) bolting on huge amounts of unsprung weight pretty well defeats the purpose of suspension, makes a car ride like a buckboard, and makes it unstable over any kind of irregular pavement and 3) the huge rotational mass of these oh-so-tall wheels makes acceleration sluggish, and makes the brakes have to work a lot harder to stop the thing. These are big-boy concepts that come under the general heading of physics, and are very important aspects of vehicle dynamics. In short, going for the donk "look" takes vehicles that were hardly brilliant from a handling and braking standpoint to start with, and makes them cartoonish evil-handling junk. Modifications as shown below take a car that handled well originally, and make it better...not worse, WAY worse. Kinda the whole idea of the pro-touring thing, you know?
Maybe some lox, I'm in. After all, we really DO need to focus on leveraging our human assets to minimize throughput-times and maximize our value-added core concepts, while retaining market viability and strengthening our bottom line.
No, it's less-than-genius carp like this that started it.
Not really the same thing, now is it? One handles well in a turn, one falls over. Guess which one.
SEMA represents the $36 BILLION automobile aftermarket industry, and had this to say... “This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion.”
Jeez..I once worked for a frigging bodyshop...a BODYSHOP...where we had to attend morning meetings. I mean, come on. Cars come in wrecked, we write estimates. We coddle owners and fight with insurance companies while the techs fix the cars. We fight the techs to try to make them do decent work, on time. We deliver the cars and hope the owners don't notice all the flaws. Rinse, repeat. Bang head against wall. The meetings just waste an otherwise possibly productive morning.
X2. I have a lot of in-progress models, some of them drawing out over years. I take the time to do work that satisfies ME. I'm not in a rust to finish anything. It's gratifying to look at the parts of the builds I HAVE completed and to never have to think "gee, I wish I'd taken a little more time so that so-and-so didn't look like carp". And to quote Bill Allen, above: "When I see a finished model, my eyes are always drawn to visible mold lines..." etc. I'm not trying to be a picky SOB, and I'm my OWN harshest critic. Flaws jump out at me, on real cars just as much as they do on models. Nobody else has to work to the standards I set for myself, and YOU don't have to work down to a standard that's less than what's natural for you just because other people build that way.
Ed reminded me...price POINT, rain EVENT, change UP. All those concepts worked just fine in their single-word iterations. And what the hell is a value-added-reseller, anyway? Just a middle-man who marks-up the price. I fail to see the added-value.