Why ACS Composite products are unlike anything else…

ACS’s history is derived from OEM experience and engineering, the company’s philosophy is to apply its knowledge and technology gained from the OEM programs and offer the same quality standard to all its product line including the aftermarket. In a nutshell the secret is RTM, Resin Transfer Molding, it is a manufacturing process where dry continuous fiberglass mat is placed in a closed female / male tool. Under pressure the mold cavity is filled with liquid catalyzed resin. Most entry level or prototype composite panels are made using chopped strand mat, a cost effective solution and favorable for hand made parts, chopped strand mats are random 1” strands of glass mats compared to the continuous mats which is indefinite and offering a very consistent and predicable mechanical property. By automating the process ACS engineers are able to control each manufacturing variable to produce a product built to match the required specifications.

How can you tell the difference?  Visually, ACS parts are smooth on both sides, and are prepped and primed. The rest is in the formulation and durability of the part. Time will tell you… It is all about the process and materials used…

ACS’s RTM process utilizes large presses and heavy tooling to ensure quality parts. ACS’s proprietary molds are computer temperature controlled for repeatability and part consistency. Average tool weight is 4-5000 lbs. Another secret, unlike typical hand laminated parts, which are made in low cost lightweight composite tools, which tend to distort and bend over time.

  • Parts are same thickness throughout, insure proper stack height and an excellent fit on the vehicle
  • Smooth finish on both sides of panel
  • Similar mechanical properties to SMC (Sheet Molding Compound)
  • Consistent glass/resin ratio content
  • Fully cured in mold
  • High filler rate for great heat distortion resistance
  • Tested for automotive glass A finish
  • No air pocket or dry spots
  • Tested for durability and show finish, will not distort under extreme heat
  • Environmentally friendly, low VOC emissions as part is cured in a closed mold

Many will say they can purchase fiberglass hoods for half the price. Just like cars, performance will vary with each model. ACS’s RTM manufacturing process has been tested and validated by both GM and Ford and can be found on some of America’s most recognizable muscle and supercars like Camaro’s and the centennial Ford GT. Unlike most aftermarket composite panels, ACS’s process has been tested to withstand High Heat and 7 yr. durability standards; a requirement for class A automotive panels.

No Gel coats are used. Gel coats are the industry’s “Band Aid”. Glossy and Shiny it is a perfect cover up for a part out of box. ACS’s parts are molded using no gel coats; this is the only way parts can be fully inspected prior to assembly and ensure our customer get a part they can enjoy for years to come.

Finally, ACS parts are the only aftermarket parts, which are prepped and primed. The final step in each ACS panel is to hand sand and prime the panels using automotive primers, a step your painter and body shop will greatly appreciate.

The next time you are shopping for Composite Panels, make sure to ask, how are the panels made. What type of standards and testing has been done to claim “quality fiberglass”, and most important what type of raw materials were used, we can proudly say our materials and labor is exclusively from America!



Nickey Chicago Stinger II Hood

Due to popular demand the second version of our Functional Ram Air Stinger hood, the Stinger II, will be released even earlier than we anticipated. This is Nickey’s second hood to be kicked into production. Hood is fully functional with a cold-air intake scoop, “Ram Air”, bringing fresh cold air to the stock air box location. Hood can be used with any top mount cold air induction system for added horsepower.

An internal water-control system prevents rain from getting into the air intake system of the engine. Like all of our ACS made hoods, it has reinforced internal mounting hardware to insure safety in a frontal collision, and adjustable rear hinge mounts for ease of installation.

Hood is made with our proprietary RTM process; Resin Transfer Molding. The same process used to manufacture over 50 000 OEM hoods for various builders. Unlike most aftermarket parts the panels are made by injecting resin in a hard tool installed in a press. The result is a high quality panel with a very high resistance to heat distortion to ensure a show car finish for years to come. Parts are then robotically trimmed and assembled to ensure the best possible fit. Finally each panel is prepped and primed saving the installation shop hours of work.

Orders can be placed by directly contacting Nickey  Chicago.

ACS to produce CDC RTM panels

ACS is proud to announce they are currently tooling the various RTM composite panels for the Group 2 CDC Challenger package. Package includes a functional RTM hood along with front fenders and rear quarter extensions. See below for CDC press release. Tooling and production images to follow.


Packages and parts exclusively available trough

Classic Design Concepts

Autoblog First Drive

Group 2 Challenger Package

Classic Design Concepts new GROUP 2 Wide Body package captures the powerful, aggressive and seductive attitude of the original 1970 SCCA Trans Am race Challengers but takes it one step beyond to create a modern street-legal extreme G-Machine.


Now you can transform your 2008-2009 Dodge Challenger into a serious one-off street machine with attitude, or an all-out race car with the ability to put serious rubber under all four corners. Our innovative Composite Flared Front Fenders, Three-Dimensional “Billboard” Quarter Panel Extensions, and Aerodynamic Front Canards add the perfect balance of styling and functionality. By adding six inches (that’s right, SIX inches!) to the width of the Challenger, the GROUP 2 Wide Body package can easily accommodate an 11.5” width rim in the rear and a 10” width rim up front. The GROUP 2 package can handle anything up to a 315-series tire. The re-arched wheel wells visibly lower the vehicle while retaining adequate ride height so you don’t have to sacrifice ride quality and handling. GROUP 2 Challenger Package Includes:

* Left and Right Composite Wide Front Fenders

* Left and Right Composite “Billboard” Wide Quarter Panel Extensions

* Left and Right Front Spoiler Canards * Left and Right Front and Rear Fenderwell Extensions * 20X10” Front and 20X11.5” Rear Forged Wheels

* Z-Rated Tires Don’t want to buy the entire package? All of the parts will be available separately so you can build your Challenger as you wish. Our Challenger GROUP 2 Wide Body Package is designed and engineered to meet or exceed O.E.M. standards and comes with a 3-year/36-month warranty. Coming soon for the 2008-2009 Dodge Challenger from Classic Design Concepts:

* Fully Functional Shaker Hood Systems * Stainless Wire Mesh Grille * Sequential Tail Lights.

Call 866-624-7997 today for more information on this and all our great restyling products for your modern Mopar!

Source [Classic Design Concepts]

New ACP RTM molded World Challenge Corvette Hood


Ready for production is ACP‘s new world challenge C6 hood. The hood design is extremely popular in the Corvette Community. Designed after ACP’s race winning, wind tunnel tested World Challenge bodywork, It has been hand manufactured by ACP. Using ACP’s master model ACS converted the model to create new molds and manufacture using its proprietary RTM process.  Note the smooth inner finish and excellent fit on the vehicle. Each hood will be RTM’ed, robotically bonded,trimmed, prepped and primed. Production will begin in the coming weeks.


Hoods are exclusively available trough ACP

Advanced Composite Products Inc.

Toll free  800-832-8624

New ACS Ford GT WD Hood (Wiper Arm Delete)

History and Production

ACS (Advanced Composite Specialties) is a hood manufacturer building hoods for some of the greatest American sports cars including Corvettes, Camaros, Mustangs and of course Ford’s Centennial Ford GT. The Camillo Pardo design was presented in 2002 as a prototype to celebrate Ford’s upcoming 100th anniversary… public reaction was phenomenal and to everyone’s surprise it was launched into production in 2004. Ford worked with SSV (Saleen Specialty Vehicles) and Roush in order to create the niche vehicle. The program showcased Ford’s ingenuity and engineering capability.

As production neared Ford was searching for suppliers to build components for the company’s new Pace car. The hood design being very intricate limited the manufacturing possibilities. As the launch date approached they selected to have the hood made in hand lamination. A series of molds were made and production was kicked off.

In 2005 ACS meets the Ford GT team at SSV.  Visiting the Ford GT plant was one of the most breathtaking experiences to date. Walking into a warehouse and seeing hundreds of completed Ford GT’s all waiting for its last component, the front hood, was overwhelming. With over a dozen molds and a huge staff prepping and sanding hood panels the mountain seemed too high to climb. A class A panel needs to be perfect; painting, baking, stripping, paint buffing are all labor intensive procedures. The slightest imperfection in a panel will breakthrough and cost the plant thousands of dollars and most importantly keep another Ford GT owner waiting for his life long dream.

Most aftermarket hood panels are hand laminated, the traditional and simplest of composite process. Corvettes were originally built this way and still today almost all aftermarket panels are either hand laminated or infused. The process uses an open female mold and gel coat is sprayed on. Once cured a layer of fiberglass mat is layed or chopped on. Liquid catalyzed resin is applied to soak the fiberglass. The labor intensive process requires a technician to remove any air pockets and manage the part thickness by properly distributing the glass in the mold. A slightly more sophisticated approach is to vacuum infuse the resin. Once completed the part is cured at room temperature. Once produced both parts will cosmetically look great, the quality of the composition itself is dependent on the technician’s ability.

Assembly and preparation; a good fitting hood needs to match the fenders. Proper arc and adequate stack height are critical. In order to do this, hand laminated or infused parts need to be verified for part thickness. If parts are too thick they need to be sanded and matched up. The assembly will then be sanded, primed and prepared for paint. With a gel coated part it is near impossible to inspect underneath. Small air pockets may be present, during bake or exposure to extreme heat like on a hot summer day, the air pocket will expands and cause a blister. On a production line, the deficiency is very costly, part will need to be returned to the body shop for inspection and if possible rework and repaint.

After establishing some critical specifications for ACS’s new Ford GT Hood, a timeline was set to deliver a first article matching the engineer’s specification with a 6 week tooling and testing period. The Ford GT Hood is ACS’s most complex part, weighing only 18 lbs and requiring a glass content of 40%. ACS’s proprietary RTM process was a perfect match for the GT’s requirements.

At the end of the production run, ACS delivered and ramped up production to 64 hoods a week with only one set of molds, reducing the assembly’s plant fall out rate by 80%, drastically reducing the overall cost of the hood, and most importantly improved the quality of an American Legend. Today all of ACS’s hoods are built following the exact procedures proven on the Ford’s GT and of course the 4th gen Camaro SS.

New ACS Ford GT WD (Wiper Delete) Hood (2009)

The centennial Ford GT prototype was a design marvel. It proved Ford can build a world class supercar honoring the original… The original design was kept, but like any concept car some modifications are needed in order to comply with safety regulations. Most noticeably on the GT is the rear bumper and the addition of wipers.

Car collector and enthusiast take pride in their vehicles and enjoy the possibility of personalizing their vehicles. After many request ACS is addressing Ford GT owners with a true passenger side wiper delete hood. ACS’s GT WD hood is built the exact same way as the original using the same materials and specifications; of course the wiper arm notch has been eliminated for a smooth clean look. Owners will appreciate the added visibility on the track and collectors will pride in restoring the car the way Ford designers intended.



ACS Zr1 Hood; 1st Install


Today was the first fitting session of ACS’s new Zr1 C6 Hood. The hood was installed on a 2008 convertible C6 (Indy 500 Pace car edition). After weeks of tooling and development we were able to manipulate real parts and validate if all this work was within specification. We can proudly state the session went very well. We do plan on making some minor adjustment but our results are already within tolerance.

The purpose was to dimensionally validate our first assembly prior to building a production assembly fixture. Note the inner skin finish and outer panel edge; assembled exactly like any OEM hood. Along with our OE style mounting hardware including a crush stop receptacle located in front of the coated bump stop receiver. A simple detail, but an excellent example of how ACS carries its OEM experience troughout its product line. From custom designed internal hardware, material selection and to a validated OEM process, ACS strives to deliver the best possible hood to our customers.  Having built over 60 000 hoods for GM and Ford vehicles proves our determination to deliver the best quality part for the automotive niche markets.




ACS New C6 ZR1 Corvette Hood and Wide Body Conversion Panels


Currently under development ACS is tooling  a series of Corvette panels. Package will  upgrade any C6 Corvette to a wide body track exactly like the new Zr1.

Z06 and Zr1 size wheels and tires can now be properly installed to improve handling and get the widebody style found on the Zr1.

Made from its validated RTM process each quality panel will be injected, robotically trimmed, prepped and primed to deliver a new level of quality never seen in the Corvette community. Panels can be installed on any C6 Corvette 2005 and up including coupes, convertibles and Z06. Components will be available individually, these  include;

– ZR1 style hood with out the polycarbonate window (February 09)

– ZR1 fenders with no badge openings (March 09)

– Zr1 Rockers (April 09)

– Zr1 Rear Spoiler (April 09)

Stay tuned for product updates,  parts will be available trough select Corvette performance distributors this coming spring.


Outer Panel Tooling Update (Jan 30th 2009)

ACS’s ZR1 RTM Outer panel mold has been completed and installed in it’s production press for its inaugural pre-production run. A series of parts will be produced in the following days in order to validate it’s performance.




Tool set consist of a female and a male section. Once closed the pre-determined gap between them will define the shape and dimension of the part. Over 200 ton of pressure is applied on the 3500 lb tool in order sustain the required pressure during injection. On the male side note a 1/2” hole, this is the injection port, once installed in the press the injection is performed from the top of the tool by an injection machine while the mold temperature is controlled by computerized chiller. The o-ring seals on the perimeter and holds the pressure while the resin cures. All chemical reactions are performed in the closed position, hence an environmentally friendly process and a fully cured part once de-molded.

Outer Panel Production Update (February 2nd 2009)

The first outer panel has been produced; generally several cycles are allocated in order to determine the specific variables to properly produce each panel. We can proudly state the first part has successfully passed QC.  Several coupons will now be cut and analyzed to verify the glass content and various mechanical properties of the composite material.

Note the inner surface is as smooth as the outer side of the panel, the controlled thickness enables to obtain a specific stack height (stack height is the addition of the inner and outer panel along with the required adhesive between them) in order to get a perfect fit on the vehicle.

Unlike conventional hand laminated or infused fiberglass hoods no gelcoats are used in an ACS panel. The absence of gelcoat permits to detect if there are any dry spots or imperfections in the laminate. Generally microscopic air pockets occur in hand laminates, these pockets or also known as pinholes are concealed by the gelcoat, once the panel is exposed to the elements and more specifically summer heat, the microscopic air pocket will expand and cause a blister. A black hood on a vehicle will be exposed to surface temperatures exceeding 180 deg F. Another reason why RTM is favorable to the automotive requirements is the fact the resin is injected under pressure, hence drastically reducing the likelihood of air pockets, nonetheless it is preferred to apply primer as a post operation in order to inspect and fully warrant each panel is as perfect as possible.


Outer Panel Production Update (February 3rd 2009)

ACS’s ZR1 RTM Outer panel has been released for production. Today was it’s first production day, series of parts have been molded.


Inner Panel Tooling Update (February 6th 2009)

The ACS Zr1 RTM inner hood panel tool is completed and awaiting press time for its troubleshooting and pre-production session. A full day of testing is scheduled in order to determine the various injection parameters of the part. Given the complexity of the part we expect several trials in order to perfect the various variables in the manufacturing process. Hopefully testing will go well and next week we’ll be able to enter the next stage of the hood development; our first assembly. Our robotic water jet will need to be programmed along with our adhesive dispensing robot.  Still quite some work, as a fixture for each robot needs to be validated along with the most critical of all, the bonding and assembly fixture. Thankfully for the RTM process each part will be the same thickness, hence our assembly fixture will be able to hold each panel, outer and inner panel, in the same location each cycle in order to insure a perfect fit on each vehicle.


Inner Panel Production Update (February 9th 2009)

The ACS Zr1 RTM inner hood panel testing has been completed. Session went much better than anticipated. Part thickness is fairly thin considering we are targeting an extremely high glass content. We managed to produce our part on its second trial. We are very happy with the quality of the part and can now proceed to our next stage; post operations. Panel trimming, assembly and finishing. As with all ACS panels, the hoods will be prepped and primed. This actually entails a quad step, as parts are really, sanded, primed, re-sanded and final primed. This ensures each customer receive a high quality part. Most aftermarket composite parts are sold in the gel coat stage. Basically a part right out of the tool and assembled. The extra labor involved is a great opportunity for us to verify the quality of our panel and ensure the customer will have a low cost final prep prior to paint.