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March 5, 2017

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1981 RCR SuperLite Coupe

March 5, 2017


OWNER: William Phillips

Builder/Shop: Rumbles Rides & Charlotte Performance Shop

HOMETOWN: Cornelius, North Carolina



This car was featured in the 2017 premiere episode of "Gearz" TV on the Velocity channel. 


The SuperLite-Coupe (SLC) styling was inspired by the IMSA GTP race cars of the 1980s. The foundation is a race proven custom aluminum semi-monocoque aluminum chassis with custom aluminum pushrod suspension, Brembo brakes and QA1 coil-overs. A GM LS3 motor and Getrag G50-20 6-speed transaxle supply a lightweight, powerful, and reliable drivetrain. With 460 HP and only 2600 LBs curb weight, the power to weight ratio is an exhilarating 5.6 LB/HP.


The SuperLite Company refined the aluminum chassis in the 2011 NASA Unlimited Race Series, where it set several track records, won every race it finished, and won the NASA National Championship.


The project took 3 years and over 2600 hours were expended. A key challenge was converting this legendary racecar foundation into a more civilized street machine that is comfortable enough for a weekend jaunt. 


The car is street legal and the details were refined during its 3000 mile shake-down period.



•    I added a spacious trunk under the front bonnet. This meant discarding the radiator from the front and reengineering the entire cooling system. Fluidyne designed a custom radiator to maximize the available space on the right side of the engine compartment. Then I conducted extensive airflow testing was reduce air turbulence into the radiator and direct clean ram airflow from the side vent and from underneath. In addition, Fluidyne designed a massive custom oil cooler to compete the cooling system.
•    The irregular floor design was modified to provide a flat interior surface.
•    A hydraulic lift was added to the front suspension to quickly increase ride height when needed to clear speedbumps, curbs, etc. 
•    A custom electrical harness was designed that nearly disappears under existing covers and routings that are out of view. The larger electrical components (i.e. battery, ECU, ISIS system, etc) are hidden in the driver’s side pod.
•    The HVAC lines and components are hidden in the passenger’s side pod.
•    A custom expansion tank is mounted over the front of the engine. The tank hides the accessory drive, cooling system hoses and the tank is shaped to compliment the intake manifold. 
•    The Holley big block valve covers are embellished with a unique medallion plate. The emblem on the medallion was design exclusively for this car and is used in the interior as well to project a cohesive design.
•    The intake manifold on the LS3 was reversed so the throttle body points rearward.
•    The rear tail case of the Getrag G50-20 6-speed transaxle was shortened 2.5” to fit within the tail bodywork. Since the shift linkage protrudes from the transaxle tail as well, machining was required to relocate the bearings and seals. 
•    I worked with CableShift on developing the shifter mechanism and cables to fit the transaxle. It took 5 prototypes to achieve a good solution.
•    The duel exhaust is only 30” long, so there was an emphasis on reducing decibel levels. The 3” tubing hides 2 sets of Dynatech vortex cones, and is followed by the quietest Flowmaster DBX muffler that would fit within the available space. 
•    The aluminum chassis and aluminum firewall have a brushed finish, while the aluminum suspension has been polished to jewel like shine. 
•    The interior theme is that of a “comfortable racecar”. 
•    The unique “archipelago” seat design bridges the gap between a bare bones racing shell and an exclusive supercar.
•    The interior is black leather with contrasting silver stitching that emphasizes the flowing design from the dash on to the doors and on to the custom console.
•    The dash was reshaped to accept a Dakota Digital VHX gauge cluster.
•    Driver and passenger storage compartments were designed to provide as much space as most daily drivers. 
•    The center dash features custom machined HVAC billet aluminum knobs.
•    The threshold kick panels were reshaped for a more cohesive look.
•    The HVAC system was highly modified to fit in the tight confines of the forward chassis.
•    The trunk is upholstered to compliment the cabin interior.
•    The body modifications focused on removing any straight edges and improving the overall balance:
•    A tilt mechanism was fabricated for the front bonnet so the trunk could be accessed.
•    The rear diffuser was chopped and recessed 3” into the body to tighten the rear end appearance.
•    The square side vents were shaped to compliment the arc of the rear wheel flare.
•    Extensive bracing was engineered to stiffen the tilting front and tilting rear clams.
•    A front diffuser was sculpted to visually lengthen the canopy and balance the overall design
•    The headlight covers were discarded and the area was smoothed for a Pagani look.


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