Confession time: I’ve wanted one of these for a long time. Since Moti opened his shop and started shipping his rollbars, I’ve wanted one. Bad. Really really bad.
When my Harddog Harness Bar turned out to be a little underwhelming, I didn’t hesitate. I called Moti that same week and got a rollbar on order. It arrived about 3 weeks later.
Isn’t it beautiful?
I ordered the Blackbird Fabworx GT3 NB rollbar. I really liked the integrated harness bar and relocated seatbelt guides. And, of course, the X brace and gussets. Gotta love the gussets.
I decided not to do door bars. Just a personal preference. My daughter rides in the car a lot and I didn’t want it to be impossible for her to climb in and out of.
The bar is powdercoated in silver. Something like 70% metallic silver? Moti had a couple powdercoat formulations and this is his favorite for a blue car. He even put on a sticker that matches the paint quite well.
Onto the wrenching!
Removing a rollbar isn’t the hardest thing ever. You remove a lot of the interior and the seats. Then you remove a lot of bolts. Then you remove the rollbar. SIMPLE!
The trick is not trying to save time with the interior parts. If you think something might be in the way or you find yourself working around something, just take the 5 minutes to remove it. You WILL be working around that same object for the rest of the day. Much better to just make life easy.
This little tool is well worth the couple bucks. I got it from Harbor Freight. It’s designed to remove carpet pins without destroying them. You can see it in action above. They call it Panel Clip Pliers.
I’ve used various tools for this over the years – a bent fork, a screwdriver with a slot in it, a pair of screwdrivers twisted together, my fingers, swearing, and teeth. Nothing else is as easy or damage-free as this little carpet pliers.
It’s hardly worth writing a few sentences about. Rollbars are quite easy to remove once the interior is cleared away. It’s around 6 bolts per side… perhaps 7.
Blackbird Fabworx Install
This is the best tool in the world. If any of you out there are reading and don’t have a small compressor, air ratchet, and impact… acquire one. Beg, borrow, or steal. They make life so much easier. You don’t need a huge compressor, though a bigger one is always nice. Having the ratchet do all the work for you is the difference between being exhausted and filthy at the end of the day or just being filthy.
Air tools. Every car guy/gal needs them.
Setting the new bar inside Sharka was super exciting. I got it in place and ran inside to show my daughter. She, being 3, was deep into her playtime and didn’t want to be disturbed. But she came out and humored her old dad. Then she climbed into Bucky and drove him to the moon and back.
She likes driving to the moon. She’s 3.
After plopping the bar inside the car and getting it into position, I had to pull it right back out. None of the holes lined up. I didn’t expect them to at all. Just… I hoped they would. All of the holes were close, but all needed to be opened up a bit.
Just look at these. They’re not only powdercoated, but they also have rounded corners. No sharp edges. That’s huge. That means less things to cut my hands on, and THAT is awesome.
A little bit of work opening up the holes, and the Blackbird rollbar was able to be bolted into place. Everything fit perfect. Everything was square and no part of the rollbar hovered above the bodywork or anything.
The same couldn’t be said of my HD rollbar. That one had the rear driver’s side leg hovering about 5mm above the frame. I used some sheet metal to bridge the gap. I always thought Sharka’s 95 body wasn’t quite perfect, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Moti’s rollbar lined up perfectly.
As I mentioned above, the fit and finish is just perfect. Both sides of the main hoop ended up in the same place on each side. The relocated seat belt guide worked great and doesn’t keep the guide from rotating. And the belt retractor even works well!
I’m honestly blown away by this rollbar. It fits perfectly. That cannot always be said of, well, any automotive product.
Well done Moti!
I… I love it. I really like the design of the GT3 rollbar. The X brace and gussets. Lovely.
The silver finish? I’m warming up to it. I’ve had Miatas with black rollbars for 15 years. The silver looked a bit odd to me at first. But I’ve had it installed for almost two months now and really like it.
So silver. Such tubes. Wow.
The rollbar works with the seats quite well. No contact is made anywhere and both seats slide fully. It feels a lot more substantial back there.
It actually weights 11 lbs less than the HDHCDD that it replaced. I did the bathroom scale test. 11 lbs less on the nose. That’s pretty sweet.
Also, the whole car feels more solid. There’s a marked decrease in NVH. The rearview doesn’t shake anymore. I was amazed to notice that. Driving home from work, I was able to spot a cop waaaaaaaaaay back on the road behind me. I’ve always had to use my side mirrors to make out objects and other cars while driving. Now my rearview is usable again.
I asked Moti about this to see if I was just imagining things. He was not surprised that vibration would be less.
Here’s the mirror view. The edges are obscured a bit, but the view is actually better than with the Double-D rollbar braces.
And sharp eyes might have noticed that the main hoop lacks padding… Rest assured, it wasn’t that way for long. I went out for this one photo drive without the padding. I installed it when I got home.
I ordered Harddog’s pre-formed SFI rollbar padding and crossed my fingers it would fit. They said that it would fit most 1.75″ rollbars. And it did! The padding fit like it was made for this bar.
The next order of business is to make a nice main hoop cover. I want to do something out of leather. I’m not sure if I’ll try to do any quilting on it, but it seems like it’s about time to sew some leather again.
Build Quality: Perfect. It fits perfectly. I’m amazed at how well it fits. A+
Kit Completeness: I lacked nothing. Every bolt, every backing plate, and great instructions – I had all of these. A+
Installation: Pretty simple. There weren’t any tricky parts. It’s at least as easy as most rollbars to install, but it’s a lot more involved than a style bar. I’d give it an A for easiness when compared to other rollbars and a C+ for installation ease compared to an average afternoon project.
Function: This is the whole reason I got the bar. I wanted a rollbar with an integrated harness bar. I wanted to not die on the track. I wanted a functional seatbelt retractor. And, while I can’t crash-test this bar without harming my car somewhat, I’m very happy with the function of it so far. It gets an A.
Style: Completely subjective, as always. I chose this model because of the style. And, in person, I think the GT3 looks every bit as good as the photos online. It’s gorgeous, solid, and purposeful. A+
Overall: Well worth an A grade.
Thanks again Moti!!!
And once again – check out the Blackbird Fabworx facebook page to get one for your own Miata.