> I wanted to know your thoughts on purchasing a cobra replica. I already
> own original fords but I thought 2000 lbs and 500-700hp would be a lot
> of fun.
> Any experience with these cars or what to look for (good or bad) or
> just general thoughts would be appreciated.
There are a large number of kits out there and the quality varies
considerably. There are a lot of variables to consider. Some are
more faithful to the original Cobra shape than others. There are
a bunch of variations on the suspension (Mustang II, Fox Mustang,
Jaguar, Corvette, and various custom approaches) and structure
(round tube ladder frame, square tube ladder frame, monocoque, etc.),
quality of the fiberglass (some have optional aluminum bodies), etc.
> I've seen several for around 30,000 to 35,000. My work no longer allows
> me to spend the time to build a car. I thought I would take advantage
> of someone elses hard work.
Another option is a factory-built roller. A number of manufacturers
build essentially complete cars except you install the engine and
transmission of your choice. Superformance builds a very nice roller
that is around $35K but you still need to come up with an engine (SBF,
460, or FE big-blocks) and transmission. All Superformance Cobras are
built as rollers in South Africa and imported to the States where
they are finished by the owners or an authorized dealer.
I've driven a friend's Superformance Cobra replica and have the sidepipe
burn on my leg to prove it :-) Externally, they look authentic, right
down to the Smiths Industries instrumentation, Halibrand style knock-off
wheels, and reverse shift lever. There's even an optional aluminum body,
though Eric's is fiberglass. The fit and finish is top notch. Underneath
they use a 2"x4" rectangular steel tube ladder frame with independent
suspension front and rear (unequal length upper and lower A-arms, ride
height adjustable coil-overs, Bilstein shocks, sway bars), tuned by Roush
Industries. The steering rack is from a VW Jetta, the brakes are Wilwoods,
and the IRS center section is from the Ford Motorsport catalog (aluminum
housing from a later IRS Cobra or Lincoln with 3.73:1 gearing).
Surprisingly, the suspension bushings on the sway bars were all rubber.
I couldn't tell what the A-arms were bushed with.
To make room for the set-back engine and transmission, the pedals in a
Cobra are offset. The brake pedal is where the clutch should be and the
clutch pedal is way over to the left. A shorter driver can get a straight
shot to the pedal but I'm 6" 4" and there's no way could I could. My leg
was rubbing on both the wood-rimmed steering wheel and the interior door
hinge. Taller drivers usually remove the seat tracks and bolt the seat
directly to the floor. That might lower the seat enough to provide a
decent shot at the clutch pedal but I'll need to try one on for size to
be sure. As it was, it was very awkward and I hit the brake pedal once,
trying to get the clutch. Surprisingly, the reverse shift lever wasn't
a problem at all. Eric added a Pro 5.0 shifter to the Tremec TKO and says
it made a huge difference over the stock shifter. It felt quite positive
Eric's engine was dyno'd at 556 HP so it has brutal acceleration, provided
you can get traction (a problem with the wide but not terribly sticky
305/50/15 BFG Euro TA's). I have immense respect for the driver that can
run these things on the edge. Short wheelbase, light weight, and a bunch
of power means you must treat the throttle with respect. It's a completely
different sort of driving experience compared to my Pantera, particularly at
high speed where the Pantera feels much more stable. Both are fun but in
completely different ways.
> the ones I heard the best things about are ERA and Factory Five
The Factory Five and the ERA cater to different crowds. The Factory Five
was created to be inexpensive to build and uses a 5.0L Mustang as a donor.
They provided good bang-for-the-buck but aren't as nice as some of the
high end replicas. Most FF Cobras are powered by small blocks. ERA
competes at the top end and most are FE-powered. I don't care for the
fact that ERA uses a Jaguar rear end which uses the half-shaft as the
upper link. Snap a halfshaft like a buddy did and you lose control.
Not good. The class of the field is the aluminum Kirkham but they are
pricey. Superformance is my leading choice at the moment. I've got the
bucks saved up and have a couple of 427 side-oiler strokers in hand but
I gotta sell the house and go someplace where I can get more garage space
before I take the plunge.
> I like the Cobra Daytona Coupe the best
Superformance and FFR both make those too.