Nestled in the sandy dunes and cactus lined hills of beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona is a small, enthusiast-owned company that develops products that deliver big performance. Paul Ebeyer, long-time Roadfly member and supporter is the owner and president of Strong-Strut, a leading manufacturer of chassis enhancements for many popular BMW vehicles.
Paul’s Strong Strut body braces (there are several models available) have been a popular performance enhancer for many Z3 owners, and are now becoming popular with the 3-series crowd. And, for good reason- Paul builds one heckuva product. While showing us his company’s original Strong Strut, the all-new Alloy Strut, the Butt Strut and the Body Brace, we were instantly impressed with at the level of craftsmanship and the high-level of detailed finishing that Paul demands for his products.
With their beautiful welds, the perfectly CNC machined solid, cold-rolled steel and the incredibly precise hardware, all of the Strong Strut pieces exude quality. “I wouldn’t put them on my own car if I didn’t believe in them,” says Ebeyer as we admire a highly polished strut brace. “We don’t rush into anything, and we take our time making it. I’ve got a really good team of guys helping me, and we put a lot of pride in our products.”
“I drove a Z3 for a few years and quickly grew tired of the chassis flex that is inherent in almost every convertible, so I set-out to build something that would solve the problem,” says Ebeyer as he describes how Strong Strut was started. “It was a problem turned hobby turned business,” he says with a smile.
Paul Ebeyer is a friendly, good natured person who has an aura of BMW glow around him – when talking with him, you get the feeling that he may even bleed blue, black and white. His 2000 BMW M Roadster, however, is blindingly red. We took a stroll through his garage and admired his current pride and joy. He pops the hood and we’re greeted by a beautiful, chrome strut tower brace (The Strong Strut).
The Strong Strut is truly a work of art – CNC machined from cold rolled steel, masterfully welded and then fastened in place with some of the nicest hardware we’ve ever seen, the brace is as beautiful as it is functional. “It helps with just about every aspect of the car,” says Paul, “Flex, alignment, ride quality- it’s all improved with the Strong Strut.” And we don’t doubt him – the thing is that incredible.
“Take a look at the Body Brace,” he says, directing us to peer under the car. We immediately notice two body-length braces, carefully hugging the BMW’s body rails. They look like factory components. “They really stiffen up the car,” he adds.
Paul’s M Roadster sits low – very low, so we ask him about ground clearance. “I’ve been driving with these for about 2,000 miles now – how do they look?” We take a look at them again, and they’re completely unscathed. While we’re admiring the Body Brace system, we notice the “Butt Strut” that Paul has on the back of his M Roadster.
The Butt Strut is a solid, 2-1/2 inch piece of cold rolled, CNC machined steel and it’s mounted to the brackets that support the rear sub-frame assembly, which appears to offer a ton of reinforcement to the rear assembly. Again, the brackets, the components and the brace itself are absolutely impressive; the quality is more than top-notch.
Paul explains that the placement of the Butt Strut results in a direct reinforcement of the chassis as the Butt Strut is effectively bolted to the body and chassis. “Ground clearance on this can be a problem for people with very low cars, but as you can see, my car is pretty low and I’ve been OK with it.”
People seem to really be reacting well to the Butt Strut. “I’ve noticed a marked improvement with turn-in, but my favorite story comes from a gentleman who swears that his car feels like it has four-wheel steering [after the Butt Strut was installed],” says Paul. “It seems to cure the infamous ‘hula dance’ that so many Z drivers complain about, and for what it’s worth, when you traverse railroad tracks or other ‘chops’ in the road, the car moves over it as a unit rather than flexing and shaking.”
We were convinced of Strong Strut’s benefits just from looking at the products, but a quick ride confirmed our beliefs. The car felt much more solid – like it was machined from a single piece of billet; cowl shake, chassis flex and imprecise feedback were completely eliminated. The Strong Strut products undoubtedly improved the character of the Roadster.
Paul also shared with us a new product, his “Competition Light” strut tower brace. “The Strong Strut is probably stronger than it needs to be, but that’s what I wanted,” says Paul as he shows us his latest product, the CL Strong Strut. “The CL isn’t intended to replace the Strong Strut, but rather to offer an alternative for guys who are racing their car and are willing to sacrifice a little strength in the name of weight savings.”
The CL Strong Strut is CNC machined from solid aircraft grade alloy, heat treated to T-6 specifications and features the same pivotless design of the original Strong Strut. The pivotless design is critical to offering robust, flex-free performance, and is what has set the Strong Strut products apart from the competition.
The CL weighs just four pounds, despite measuring 2-inches wide by 1/2-inch thick, and features eleven cross-drilled holes. Paul tells us it’s available for all Z3 models, and all E46 and E36 3-series BMWs. Color choices are limited to “galaxy,” powder coated flat black or titanium.
Our time with Paul drew to a close, and we asked him for specifics – quick facts about his products. What do they fit, who can benefit from them, and how can people get their hands on them?
“I have products for all of the Z3 models, the E36 3-series, the E46 3-series and I’m working on some Z4 products right now. Anyone who drives one of these vehicles would benefit tremendously from the Strong Strut products – we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there’s virtually no risk. I’ve been a Roadfly member and supporter for many years, and I listen to my customer’s input. If anyone would like to order a product, they can visit the website at: http://www.strong-strut.com”
We take one last look at the incredible Strong Strut products and wish Paul well. Our ride back to the hotel in our 2003 Taurus really points out the benefits of the Strong Strut- the Taurus flexes and shakes as it wallows over bumps and road irregularities, something that the M Roadster was immune to when we drove the roads just minutes earlier. Perhaps Paul might consider building Strong Struts for Hertz rental cars….
Strong Strut is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and can be found online at http://www.strong-strut.com. If you own a Z3, E36, E46 or Z4, do yourself (and your car) a huge favor and check out the Strong Strut products – they really impressed us, and that’s not easy to do.