I have been interested in cars for as long as I can remember. Before I was old enough to drive, I bought an old Rambler station wagon in hopes of fixing it up and making it drivable by the time I got my license. While I never got the car to actually move, I did get the engine running! About the time I turned 16, I was able to talk my Dad into loaning me $300 to buy a ragged-out 1956 'oval window' VW Beetle. By the time I graduated from high school, I had replaced everything on the car except the main body and the pan. I put a late model engine and transmission in it, painted it, and replaced the entire interior. Of course, the car also got a set of big wheels and tires too.
When I graduated from high school and joined the Air Force, the old Bug was no longer very useful. Uncle Sam stationed me in North Dakota; and the the lack of heat in the old Bug was not possible to ignore up there in the frozen tundra. However, the pan and drive train made great 'donor' parts for building a 1927 Bugatti replica in 1977. This was my first experience at actually building a car, but luckily it was not my last.
Throughout the 80's and 90's, I continued to pursue my car hobby. Most of my efforts were directed toward rebuilding and general 'fix-up' projects involving Volkswagens. In 1992, I bought a 1989 Mustang with a 5.0 HO engine and 5-speed transmission. I was instantly hooked by the power and torque of the 5.0 Mustang. Later, as I accumulated over 150,000 miles with almost no mechanical problems whatsoever, I became very impressed by the ruggedness of the Mustang drive train.
In the late 90's I began to notice advertisements in the Mustang magazines for Cobra replica kit cars made by a company called Factory Five Racing near Boston Massachusetts. Factory Five was offering a complete kit to build a Cobra, requiring only their kit and a 5.0 Mustang 'donor' car. At around $11,000 for the kit, I considered it a project that I might someday be able to tackle. I ordered a build manual and promotional video from Factory Five.
The FFR concept is to utilize an authentic 4" round tube frame with aluminum sub panels and mate it to modern running gear. The kit is set up to use a late model ('87-'93) Ford Mustang donor car. From the donor car, the kit uses the engine, transmission, rear end, A-arms, control arms, steering rack, driveshaft (shortened), wiring harness, pedal box, gas tank, radiator, and brakes. This all bolts into the FFR chassis with little or no fabrication!! What you get in the end is an authentic looking Cobra replica that has incredible performance, with the reliability of a more modern fuel injected car.
In December 1999 I told my wife Jill that I wanted to take the plunge and build a Cobra replica. Even though it meant doing some creative financing and making some sacrifices, Jill offered her full support to the project. By February 2000, I had worked out all of the details and placed an order for a Factory Five Racing kit.
I spent the vast majority of my spare time from February 2000 through November 2000 building the Cobra replica. The details of the build were chronicled on this web site on the build page, and on the Cobraforum. It was a very enjoyable experience, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do it.
In the spring of 2001, I began driving the car whenever and wherever possible. During the warm months of 2001, I took the Cobra to several car shows, and drove it on a few trips including Columbus, Ohio, Washington, DC (twice), and Lexington, Kentucky. So far, I have experienced no mechanical problems, and the Cobra is always a crowd pleaser.
I invite anyone having any questions or comments about the Cobra to contact me via email.
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