US-built performance cars employs carbon fiber, SMC

Honda's new Acura NSX supercar will be manufactured exclusively at the Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, OH, with first deliveries slated for the end of this year. And composites will play a key role in its construction.

New NSX feature carbon composite floor and SMC body panels.
Shelby GT350R Mustang is shod with carbon fiber wheels.
Ford GT incorporates passenger seats integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell.

The NSX body utilizes a space frame design - an internal frame constructed of aluminum, ultra-high strength steel and other advanced materials. Anchored by a carbon fiber floor, torsional and bending forces are taken up entirely by this ultra-rigid structure which also utilizes advanced joining technologies. Further, the body panels are composed of a combination of aluminum and sheet molding composite (SMC).

The PMC and its processes have been developed to "perfectly blend associate craftsmanship and technology in a new approach to manufacturing." By in-housing the body construction, Acura says it will maintain complete control over total body quality, including critical strength, suspension accuracy, and fit and finish - from initial construction all the way to final assembly. "Associates will utilize innovative techniques to deliver next-generation craftsmanship and world-class quality in the realm of specialized, supercar vehicle production."

The NSX is powered by a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system.

Carbon fiber also features prominently in new high performance offerings from Ford. The Ford GT supercar, for example features a two-seat cockpit is accessed by upward-swinging doors with driver and passenger seats integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell. For its part, the Shelby GT350R Mustang is shod with lightweight carbon fiber wheels as standard, making Ford the first major automaker to introduce this innovative wheel technology as standard equipment. Carbon fiber wheels-so far offered on only a handful of exotic supercars-will shave critical unsprung weight and reduce rolling inertia. The 19x11-inch front and 19x11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels.






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