The Internet has been a boon for those of us looking for ways to improve our rides. It has amazing search capabilities and its ability to aid in shopping can save a lot of heartache and gasoline. But sometimes it is fun to be able to travel to one of those sources of parts and get to see the business up close and talk to the people who run it.
So I decided to take a two-hour drive west to Bethania and visit the Bethania Garage where Hard Dog roll bars are made and sold.
It was a relaxing drive with the aid of the Garmin GPS that I had purchased prior to my long trek to Newfoundland back in September. Soon I was getting close to my destination. I had been warned that there would not be a big sign or flashing lights. It turned out to be a comfortable looking set of buildings that brought back memories of village life.
A knock on the door of the larger building and I was greeted by Tom and later, Martha. Tom was good enough to give me a bit of a tour which took us to the smaller building where there is a white Miata that is used as a visual aide as well as for mocking up new product ideas. Tom used it to review the installation aspects of the Hard Dog bar that I would be installing on my Miata project car.
We returned to the main building and went over the different choices that I had in terms of the roll bar. I knew that I needed a track rated bar, but I had choices of single or dual diagonal braces and chose the dual. I also knew that I would require the Hard Core bar that would fit under a hardtop. Then there were the door bars. While they certainly would provide additional protection, they also would function to add a good deal of chassis rigidity.
Hard Dog also sells Willans Racing harness which is favored by NASCAR and Formula 1 teams. I chose a pair of 2″ camlock harness sets plus a pair of T-type double sub belts. The Hard Core roll bar comes with a harness bar welded in as part of the roll bar.
Even though it is a track car, padding on the bar is required and they supplied an SFI rated high density bar pad and vinyl cover.
Tom showed me the differences in the sub belt choices and then demonstrated the proper way to run the webbing through the metal buckles. We loaded up my trusty red Toyota pickup, I paid my bill, waved goodbye to some new friends and headed back to the highway and the project Miata.
Next we will install the Hard Dog bar.