Dampers at the Autosport Show
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All the big damper OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers)
had displays on the main floor. This is the Bilstein display.
Below is a photo of the Koni booth.
The photos above and below show Sachs racing shocks
The damper pair on the left above connect to a common reservoir.
I assume that's an hydraulic third spring as first developed
by Jeff Braun. Jeff Ryan of Penske Shocks developed a similar
system still used today in both pro and club racing. Take a look
at the bottom of the Contents Page for the article on Engineering
in Club Racing. Ted James used Penske hydraulic third springs
front and rear on wife Nancy's DSR.
The damper on the far right of the photo above has four adjustments
using by-pass flow outside the main tube.
Bilstein, Koni, and Sachs are all European-based, high-volume,
manufacturers of OEM and aftermarket shocks. Koni is a Dutch
company with a main plant south of Rotterdam. More than half
of their business is rail vehicle dampers-big, government-specified
units. They are wedded to making product using stamped, spring-steel
internals. They make both double-tube and single-tube, gas pressure
dampers. About 50 years ago they were the only company making
shocks that could be used on racecars. Kees de Kock, their designer
retired several years ago. Koni has layers of management committed
to dynamic disregard of customer needs.
Bilstein is a German industrial company which bought the patent
for gas-pressure dampers from the originator, the French vibration
researcher, Professor Christian de Carbon. In 1957 Mercedes-Benz
used gas-pressure shocks on production cars for the first time.
Light weight, more consistent ride, and more flexible mounting
configurations were the benefits over the conventional double-tube
shock. Bilstein has great engineering and manufacturing expertise.
Their image in the U.S. is good. For a while they were the shock
of choice in NASCAR. Their "Corvette valve" is still
used by a lot of NASCAR shock guys even on shocks made by other
companies. But Penske and Ohlins have pretty much taken over
the U.S. stock car market.
I talked to a Sachs guy at the Autosport show and he said
they were going to enter the NASCAR market. I asked him what
he thought about the new spec-shock rules. He didn't know about
Not many Europeans understand the U.S. racing market. They
don't appreciate the size of our country. If you leave out Spain,
all of Europe isn't much bigger than Texas.
The Eibach Spring display. That's Ralf Eibach with the cel
phone. Ralf and his sister Swantje are the third generation of
Eibachs involved in the business. Their father, Wilfred, succeeded
his father as the company's leader.
These two photos reveal the new damper line Eibach
These shocks were designed by Richard Anderson and are manufactured
in the Eibach facility near Birmingham, England. There are OEM,
aftermarket, and racing dampers here. Eibach markets springs
all over the world and adding a damper line makes sense.
SPA is the U.K. distributor for Penske Racing Shocks. They
designed and build a portable damper dyno. Owner Richard Barns
got started in racing fabricating parts and components like aero-shaped
tubing for suspension pieces. They fab the complicated hubs and
bearing carriers for F1 teams and CART chassis manufacturers.