In getting ready to buy a new replacement rack for Zonkey I decided to do a little research on the Ferrari 308 compatible racks I'd been reading about. When I did his restoration I rebuilt the rack. Water had gotten in the pinion area and rusted out the lower bearing and pitted the rack. A new one for $120 or so sounds pretty good and has to be better than what I have.
From some of the posts on this and the PI forum it appeared that there may be at least two different after market mfgrs (but maybe not, just cut to the final paragraphs for my speculation). Some months ago, their prices were both in the low to mid $200s. Now one is $120 and the other in the low $400s. Hmmmm. So I started doing some googling. One thing to know is that the Ferrari OEM PN is 104498. This can be of some help in searching.
80-70007 AN is the mfg part # of the BUYAUTOPARTS rack. This is the one that Asa Jay reported on last week.
The ebay price is $119.95 with free shipping. At their website it's $123.75. At that price, is almost has to be manufactured in China (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
Here are the links:
It is also sold by http://www.buy-steering.com and http://www.discountsteering.com and some others for a few $ more. Just search on the part number.
There is another aftermarket rack with a mfg part # of 4308N. On ebay it is sold by APX and Car Steering Experts for about $400. I seem to recall seeing is was around $250 in the spring.
Here's the APX link:
They also have a website http://apxautoparts.com and sell it there.
RockAuto.com also sells it for $398 + $20 shipping
So, who makes this rack? Searching using 4308N you find the "OEM" is AAE Atlantic Automotive Enterprises. APX might be the retail arm of AAE
Looking at their website, AAE is a manufacturer of some things I'm sure, but maybe not this rack. A little more searching turns up a Chinese company that does really make stuff and they seem to be a quality mfgr.:
Their picture is identical to AAE's except for the background logos.
So who makes the 80-70007 AN version? I don't know. I could only find one Chinese mfgr and they seem to be making the "American" AAE part. It's quite possible the 80-70007 AN is also made by Natelix, the pictures online look pretty much identical. So same mfgr. with different importers giving it their own part numbers (and prices)?
The only thing that throws in some doubt is that Asa Jay Laughton has the 80-70007 AN and posted pictures on the POCA forum.
They show the center tube being black (as it did Mike Drew's Feb. '14 review), not the bright metal in the online pictures of the 4308N and seemingly the 80-70007 AN.
But, realistically, how big is the market for this rack that it would support two after market mfgrs? The Natelix listing only shows Ferrari as a compatible OEM so the market is pretty small. A brief look at wikipedia indicates a total of around 10K. And since nobody actually drives their Ferrari, how many are wearing out, and of those, how many would put a non-Ferrari part on their car!? Another question is, could Ferrari also sourcing from Natelix. It wouldn't surprise me. I've heard much of a Rolex's guts are made in China!
Anyway, I just bought the "cheap" version for $119.95. You can probably think up all kinds of reasons why the $400 rack should be meaningfully better, but I can't!