Quiet Ride Solutions founder and owner, Timothy Cox, needed to replace the tar paper firewall insulator in the 1931 Buick Convertible he had been restoring for the previous ten years. There were no such parts available on the market or “new” old stock.
Cox talked with boat builders and then experimented with fiberglass molding to produce the Firewall Insulator he needed for the Buick—the car he still owns. He made another firewall for a friend, and that began a chain of requests to make firewalls for other Buick cars.
Through word-of-mouth and minimal advertising, car enthusiasts from around the country began sending their deteriorated firewall pads for reproduction, and “Tim Cox Firewall Insulators” began making more and more firewall molds. Production took place in a double-car garage in the evenings and on weekends, and Cox met the needs of a small number of the hobbyists restoring antique and classic automobiles.
The company is the original creator of the Firewall Insulator Panels, which cover the interior firewall bulkhead, and separates the engine compartment from the passenger cabin. The first firewall products were made with hand-laid fiberglass, through a very labor-intensive process. Initial products focused on cars and trucks built by General Motors and MOPAR.
QuietRide has developed approximately 300 molds over the last 40 years in order to accurately reproduce the firewall insulators headliners, and various interior upholstery panels for just about every car and truck built in America since 1927. Company products have earned the reputation “Concours Quality” by its customers and dealers.
Plastic vacuum-forming revolutionized the production process, transforming hours down to minutes. The thermal forming process was contracted-out, but Cox still had to cut, punch holes and sew the products by hand, by himself.
With growing pressure from Ford enthusiasts, Cox commissioned the development of a “calendar” roller that reproduced the famous “chicken track” texture used exclusively by Ford Motor Company.
The new “Coxford” material allowed the company to produce every firewall insulator designed for Ford cars and trucks built between 1928 through 1948, as well as the associated interior upholstery panels, including truck headliners.
With growing interest in the street rod and custom car hobby, the company began to develop firewall insulators for this segment of car builders based on after-market steel replacement firewalls offered by Bitchin Products, Inc., Direct Sheetmetal, Inc., and others.
As the development of “new” fiberglass and steel body cars came on the scene, the company began producing products for these vehicles, as well.
Throughout the early years, the company offered several different types of automotive insulation products (rolled goods) in response to customer questions, in addition to the insulation needs for the rest of the vehicle. Selling these automotive insulation products was a good fit with the firewall insulators, but the “after sale” customer service follow up with installations became quite time consuming.
The first major equipment purchase was a digitally controlled vacuum forming machine, and the hiring of three employees, the company set-up shop in a 2,500 square foot local industrial complex, bringing all production under one roof. New products were developed, including molded headliners for popular Ford, Chevy and Dodge trucks, as well as door panels, molded headliners and heater and defroster ducts.
As the demand for different products increased, the company began the transition from “Firewall Insulators” to the “QuietRide Solutions” to incorporate the new products that were in development and about to be released.
The language of the consumer calls was “What do you have for a Year-Make-Model?” It would soon be time for a change in product philosophy. Cox began studying automotive Noise, Vibration and Heat abatement technology that was being installed in high-end luxury cars from Detroit and Europe. This would dictate the standards that would be wanted by custom car builders for the vehicles they were building.
Cox figured there might be a market for a few early Mustangs and Camaros, but only if the customer could buy a product that was made specifically for each vehicle. Than number has now grown to more than 1,300 popular cars and trucks.
This would mean finding a select few vehicles, taking them apart, extensive measuring and pattern making and them packaging separate kit to cover the Cowl, Floor, Trunk Floor, Roof, Doors, and Body Panels.
A two-stage strategy of combining sound dampening pads with thermal barrier insulation panels provided the formula for:
“Roof to Road Solutions to Control Automotive Noise, Vibration and Heat.”
AcoustiShield gave car enthusiast all the materials they needed to fully insulate the passenger cabin as pre-cut, ready to install kits with “Everything in one box to do the job right!”
The demand for the product grow for other vehicles. The company has averaged 75 new vehicle patterns each year, equivalent to 1,500 man-hours a year.
TThe company moved to its current 15,000 square foot location and continued “hand production” with as many as 14 employees. A product development continued to grow, the company was incorporated as an LLC. It also filed and received trademark applications for AcoustiShield and the company name, QuietRide Solutions.
QRS recognized the need to become an integral part of Specialty Equipment Marketing Association’s (SEMA) annual exhibition in order to gain more company recognition. To do that, it would have to create an eye-catching exhibit that would stop traffic in the aisles.
A 1953 GMC panel truck sitting in a field about a mile from the shop caught the owner’s attention, and arrangements were made to “borrow” it for a couple of weeks to make a new set of patterns for a customer. The truck owner did not particularly want the vehicle back, so it was purchased and an extensive “make-over” program was begun. Fourteen national and local businesses offered products and services in support of the “restomod” build and in November 2006 the AcoustiTruck made its debut in Central Hall at SEMA. The vehicle demonstrates the profound effects of acoustic technology and showcases all of the company’s product lines.
Demand for Firewall Insulators and AcoustiShield products was required a more efficient method of production on a larger and faster scale. The company invested in an Autometrix Digital Cutting Table and “digital” scanning technology in order to convert its automotive insulation patterns to data files. The quality of AcoustiShield Thermal Acoustic Insulation Kits increased four-fold and orders could be shipped in days instead of weeks. Production of the firewall insulators continued by hand, and demand was on the increase. It was evident that the company would have to take advantage of digital technology for the ABS-based products.
After a review of the digital manufacturing options available in the thermal plastics industry, QuietRide made the decision to purchase a Flow Mach 2 Water Jet Cutting System.
The water jet machine arrived and was operational by mid-year. While our current staff was able to run the equipment, a team of CAD specialists would be required to rapidly program over 600 firewall insulator patterns into 3D digital CAD files.
Four engineering students from the local college were hired as part-time workers to scan and digitize the firewall patterns into usable water jet files. While this process is ongoing, 93 percent of the firewalls and all of our associated ABS patterns such as cowl panels, seat dividers, package trays have been entered into in the QRS Digital Library.
This move has allowed firewall production to increase ten-fold. There will always be a very small number of products that just don’t lend themselves to digital technology and will remain unique to the hand-cutting process, such as the large molded headliners for early Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge trucks.
The company introduced its third new product line--AcoustiHood, a solution for insulating and covering the under-side of the hood on popular cars and trucks. AcoustiHood Kits provide an insulating barrier to protect the exterior hood paint and cover up the mishmash of structural ribs and pockets and dings and dents typically found on the under-side hood panels. Smooth Under Hood Covers are available for vehicle restorations.
The company obtained licensing rights from Ford Motor Company, General Motors, MOPAR/Chrysler, LLC and British History to use vehicle brand logos on the AcoustiHood products. The vehicle logo or brand name is 3-D molded into the ABS cover with our exclusive vacuum forming process and include custom cut thermal barrier insulation to protect hood paint. There are now approximately 300 hood patterns and logo variations available to the consumer to “customize” the under hood panel.
Drawing on the company’s extensive collection of AcoustiShield Trunk patterns, QuietRide immediately followed up with the introduction of AcoustiTrunk—Trunk Floor Mats for Antique, Classic, Street Rods and Custom Cars to dress up the trunk area of the vehicle. Smooth Trunk Mat Covers are available for vehicle restorations. 3-D molded Trunk Mat Covers feature vehicle brand names and logos molded into the Ultra High Definition rubber floor mat material with raised letters and graphics. Trunk mat cover and insulation cover kits are year-make-model specific—pre-cut and ready to install.