"A big part of what separates our cars is chassis innovation, and understanding what everyone in our business calls 'geometry'...Even the geometry of where your wheel bearings are placed acts as a lever against your tires and their traction, positively or negatively."
- Bill Emerson
"Frame rigidity is absolutely critical to keeping traction, which is the heart of real-world performance," says Emerson. "Years ago we learned how this works and how to engineer for it, from people who discovered it in Formula One and NASCAR. Any time you go around a curve, the weight of a vehicle fights against where you want to go. The surface angles shift and the power application shifts within the power train, while vehicle weight, outside air, and braking also torques the vehicle. Even the geometry of where your wheel bearings are placed acts as a lever against your tires and their traction, positively or negatively. These dozens of changes in energy direction going into a curve all conspire to do one thing, which is cause one or more contact-patches of tire to lessen grip with the driving surface. That's killed a lot of people, and caused hundreds of thousands of losses for race teams. Frame rigidity is the starting point of eliminating it."
"You know, it's easy to buy extreme horsepower these days," says Emerson. "It's not like before, where it took some wizardry and talent to craft it into an engine. You can get as much power as you want, but there just aren't that many people who know how all that energy translates throughout the car, and how it impacts performance. A big part of what separates our cars is chassis innovation, and understanding what everyone in our business calls 'geometry'."
The geometry of a car involves engineering hundreds of factors into its structure to account for the interaction of all the energy being produced, under multiple directions of travel, surface angles, and friction at any given moment, and how all of this is translated throughout the car's structure and into the interplay between tire and driving surface. Emerson Cobras are currently built on Emerson Generation 3 Frames, which are legendary in certain circles for their incredible rigidity - while losing little in comfort.
A question we commonly receive regarding the torsional stiffness of Emerson frames, is how this relates to the quality of the ride. In short, it improves the ride dramatically. First, the rigidity of our frames allows us to virtually eliminate the torsional variables most people don't commonly realize are affecting their ride, except for the sway they may notice going into a turn. However, flexion in most vehicles is still occurring - from bumps and other surface variances, weight shifting with power, and braking. Anything that changes the direction of an energy flow in relation to car travel. All these impact the ride of the car, its controllability, and the fatigue of the driver.
By eliminating these variables within our chassis, the unique rigidity we've engineered allows us to isolate this myriad of energy shifts and inputs almost entirely within the suspension, which we tune specifically to the needs of each client. The result is an incredibly responsive, crisp car that rides beautifully - more akin to experiencing it become an extension of yourself, rather than something you're sitting in. Critically, all this focus on geometry also provides for a vastly safer vehicle.
Frame geometry is about getting all these parts, and all the energy they harness, to focus on keeping your car gripping the ground.
Frame rigidity is where real-world performance begins.