Lightweight Vehicle Frames




Introducing the first of its kind: a lightweight alternative for replacing frames on nearly any classic car. Lighter weight. Increased strength. Improved stiffness. It’s forward-looking engineering, applied to some of the greatest vehicles in history.

Through a unique collaboration, and by applying a holistic design approach, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, in partnership with Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and the University of Tennessee-Center for Industrial Services Institute for Public Service, has engineered a family of frames that allows you to have all of the classic styling using a new, lighter, safer foundation.



  1. How does the lightweight design compare to the production C2 Corvette frame?
    The lightweight frame is 150% stiffer in torsion and 450% stiffer in bending and is 33% (89 pounds) lighter.
  2. How can this frame be cost competitive with a steel frame when it uses materials that are more  expensive than steel?
    This frame uses a holistic design approach that reduces material weight by >30%, uses the most cost effective lightweight materials for each part, eliminates primer/paint, replaces destructive spot welds with high performance, continuous bonds, uses inexpensive tooling & minimizes the number of tools required, is self-fixturing, minimizes the parts count and is engineered to minimize assembly labor.
  3. How does the torsional stiffness of the lightweight frame compare to other sports cars?
    The torsional stiffness of this frame with a contemporary body is 27,700 NM/degree. For comparison, the torsional stiffness of a Lotus Evora is 26,600 NM/degree1 and a Ferrari F430 is 27,600 NM/degree.1
  4. Who engineered this frame?
    The engineering team consisted of a Lead Engineer from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) and Detroit Engineered Products (DEP) with support from numerous federal institutes and government backed manufacturing extension partnerships. The LE has a background in engineering lightweight structures including directing the Lotus Lightweight Vehicle Architectures Group prior to joining The Center. 
  5. Where can I buy this frame?
    This frame is not in production yet. The Center has licensed Dynamic Corvettes (Saginaw, Michigan), an innovator in creating OEM quality carbon fiber based Corvette bodies, to be the sole outlet for the C2/C3 Corvette frame. 
  6. What is the quality of this frame? Many aftermarkets components don’t fit like OEM parts & assemblies.
    High quality was a design requirement. The lightweight frame is engineered to be easily assembled and to maintain a consistent net build for all key dimensions with OEM level tolerances.
  7. Is this frame safe in crashes?
    This frame uses energy absorbing front and rear modules similar to those used on the Lotus Evora and the C7 Corvette to help protect the occupants. 
  8. How durable is a glued joint?
    Structural adhesives, combined with mechanical fasteners, have been used successfully on Lotus sports cars for over 20 years. To date, Lotus reports that there has not been a single failure related to the bonded joints. Many new cars, including the C7 Corvette, Jaguar, Ford and Range Rover use structural adhesives to bond body/chassis parts together.
  9. What bolt-on components does the lightweight frame use?
    It uses GM CARB compliant engines including the LT1, LSA and the LS3, Camaro rear differential, and C5/6/7 front and rear suspension, wheels, tires (275mm front, 315mm rear) and brakes. 
  10. Can this frame design be adapted for other replica car bodies?
    This frame is easily configurable and can be “morphed” to fit virtually any body width and length with no expensive tooling changes.