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 Reproduction ascMcLaren Wing

'Da Plug

The wing I am reviewing came from:

Rob Flaugher
Email = madmax1@fuse.net
FourEyedPride.com UserID = ROBSTANG
Approximate Cost = $310 plus shipping.  Includes bolts....AND trim clips.

SAVE THE BUBBLE!

asc (American Sunroof Company) had the brilliant idea back in 1983 to introduce a rear wing for the Capri when it was redesigned with a bubble hatch.  This rear wing was first offered as an add on for 83 Capris (in their Sports Package) and gained notoriety with the 84-86 ascMcLaren Coupes and their popsicle orange stripes.

The asc oem wing is advertised at www.ascMcLaren.com and is listed as $330.  To buy one, supposedly you need to have an ascMcLaren Coupe (or GPIV) registered with the ascMcLaren registry...there are just not enough wings to fill demand for all Capri owners...hence the need for a reproduction.

I am FULLY aware that this reproduction may not sit very well with my fellow ascMcLaren Coupe owners...we share a membership to a VERY exclusive club of no more than 342 cars.  Out of all the changes asc made to our cars, the wing has always been something that has set them apart from the normal production Capris.

HOWEVER!  I don't think the wing alone makes an ascMcLaren Coupe what it is and I also have a love for the general production Capri.  Just like the wing sets the ascMcLaren Coupe apart from a regular Capri, the BUBBLE HATCH sets the 83-86 production Capri apart from the Mustang.  Unfortunately for the bubble, Ford never made a wing for the car and a lot of people toss the bubble because they feel they MUST have a wing.  So off goes the bubble and on goes a Mustang hatch.  Reproducing the wing may actually save some bubbles!  Maybe some bubbles will start showing up on Mustangs!  :-)

I really thought about this a lot and if my reasoning doesn't sit well with you...or even if you approve, just tell me what you think.

Rob's Fiberglass Experiment

Rob and I talked a bit before he sent me the wing.  He let me know that they took great care in preparing their molds so that the wing would fit right.  This item is by no means trivial to make.  From what he tells me, it is a 3 part mold and sections have to be bonded together to complete the process.  That is why there is a small seam running horizontally along the back side. 

Rob got a couple of wings and discovered some striking differences in their construction.  It seems that asc changed the underside design once or twice.  He picked the straightest oem wing to produce his mold from.

To make sure the molds were correct, he bolted an asc wing onto a hatch and just let it sit for a few weeks to let it relax to the contour of the hatch before making the mold.  Another issue he had to deal with is that the OEM wings are often sun baked and wavy wavy wavy.  He took some pains to remove as much "wave" from the mold as possible.

For the 1986 cars, the third brake light poses a bit of a problem.  The OEM wing is flexible enough to give enough space around the light on the hatch.  The fiberglass reproduction wing does not.  Rob told me that he plans to notch the wing slightly for owners of 1986 Capris or possibly allow them to notch it themselves if they wish.

This was his first fiberglass experiment and his comment was that if he knew how hard it was going to be he would never have tried it and it is obvious why no one else has bothered.  He also told me he was trying to keep his price point as low as possible but the wing takes much more material and work to assemble than he originally thought.

He expects to be able to make about 1 a week...maybe 2 after things get "moving".  Not a quick process....nor a huge money making one obviously.

The Review

I received the wing from Rob in a very sturdy box.  The first thing I noticed was that the wing is very very strong.  You will not bend it.  You will not break it.  You will be hard pressed to damage it.  It will outlive most peoples' cars. 

The weight seems about the same as the original wing.  I never bothered to weigh them as they both overload my hatch struts anyways.

The wing is smooth and looks about like you could just bolt it on and go.  The only prep work that I could see that needed to be done is to buzz off the molding seam (or you don't have to...it doesn't look that bad) and fix any small imperfections....and then paint.  There was exactly one imperfection that appears to have been made by UPS which was about the size of this here letter "O".  IMHO, its no big deal.  If you've ever purchased fiberglass parts from JCW or the like, you have to do some prep work...they never come through perfect anyways.


The Seam

I unbolted the ear wing from my car and compared it.  EXTREMELY close.  The original wings are a rubber/urethane and pliable.  This fiberglass one is not...very very rigid.  However, it appears to reproduce the shape and curve perfectly.

       

The back is very similar to the asc wing.

So far so good.  So I tried mounting it to my hatch.  To get the wing mounted, there are four holes that need to be made on the outside.  Luckily, they appear to all be under the original Ford moulding.  So if somebody wanted to return the car back to stock form, they should be able to put the old moulding back on and nobody would know the difference.  On the inside of the hatch, the trim needs to be removed and four holes made in the hatch to gain access to the bolts.  Two of the top side holes and inner access holes can be seen in the following pictures.

   

Repeat after me: 
            "I will NOT drop a bolt into the bowels of the hatch." 
Again:
            "I will NOT drop a bolt into the bowels of the hatch." 
And with FEELING now:
            "I will NOT drop a bolt into the bowels of the hatch." 

Yes, It is VERY easy to drop a bolt into the hatch if you are not careful.  The corner bolts are not a problem as there are rubber plugs that give you adequate room to retrieve them.  Its the two middle ones that SUCK if you drop a bolt.  If you do, remove the LATCH mechanism and get a wire with a hook and try and pull it through towards the latch opening.  By the third time I think I was getting pretty adept at it.

I was not able to bolt the reproduction wing to my car but I "secured" it with one corner bolt (bolts and washers are included) and the clips (not included) that connect the wing to the hatch trim. The wing fit fine and pretty much stayed right in the groove where its supposed to.  Looking under the hatch all the holes were off by about 1/8" or less from the oem wing's holes.  It won't be a problem for anyone with a "virgin" hatch as they will be drilling new holes.

Here are some comparisons of the OEM (shiny grey, left) and the Reproduction (light grey, right):

 

For the most part the reproduction fit just about as well as the oem.  Compared to my old and battered wing....its much less wavy.

In the pictures below you can see there is a gap between the glass and the wing whereas the oem one pretty much sits flush up against the glass.  The gap is an 1/8" or so.  It is barely noticeable unless you know how an oem wing is supposed to fit.

 

The lower edge has the most noticeable difference but in the least conspicuous spot.  In reality the space is not really that bad of an idea.  When I pulled the oem wing off my car, it had a TON of dirt underneath it from sitting out in a few rainstorms.  The reproduction may be much much better in that the dirt will flow right on through.  I thought that since it was not bolted completely down, that may have contributed to the gaps.  Pushing down on the top of the wing had no effect and checking the bolt holes from underneath, they were all lined up and the wing really "liked" the spot it was in and didn't want to move left, right, forward, backward.

 

One final shot a little farther away....I think it looks pretty darn good!

Last Words

I give the reproduction wing a big thumbs up.  It looks like A LOT of work went into it.  The exterior is nearly perfect and smooth.  Literally you can hit it with some trim paint, bolt it to your hatch and be done.  If you really want to do it up, you can remove that seam and putty up any dings the delivery guy put into it.  If you are an ascMcLaren owner however, I would still try and source an OEM wing....The fit is definitely better overall....but the fiberglass wing does have one benefit, it will never incur any waves like the OEM ones.

The $310 cost seems about right for a high quality custom hand-made wing that is rugged enough to outlive your car.  Other wings go for $150-$250 for stuff that is mass produced.  This is a very specialized custom piece with an EXTREMELY limited market.  If you are a Capri owner, I need not tell you that besides Mustang parts there is little to customize your car.  Hopefully this wing will get people a little more excited about their bubbles!

2003-2005 Michael Negus All Rights Reserved.
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