Friday, March 28, 2008

Underneath the rear end

Originally uploaded by gtveloce
Alfettas aren't just pretty faces with lovely engines, they are technically interesting underneath as well. In this shot you can just see the rear wheel (by famous bike component maker Campagnolo), the coils, the de Dion tube, the Watts linkage and the inboard Brembo (or is it ATE?) disc brake. An expensive solution that lightens the unsprung load on the rear wheels, so the wheels track the road much better. And keeps the rear wheels perpendicular to the road at all times for maximum grip.

Most cars compromise with rear wheel movement, mounting brakes on the hubs and allowing wheels to easily lift off the deck or go to extreme angles to the road surface, compromising contact with the road surface. This Alfa solution (used in Alfa's earlier 159 GP cars and several other road and race cars from the 50s and earlier) does result in a bit of understeer as the rear end can be hard to break free.

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