well i dont have mine finished but im about to go out in the garage to do some more work. im still working on the aluminum.. well thanks for the encouragement.. it seems liek i never have time to work on it. and when i do the wife wants to spend time together . but its coming along..
The pictures are great, and will certainly help to keep us going. But what I’m really looking forward to is describing it to a friend.
How do I describe it?
You really don’t want to drive this car. The driving position is cramped and uncomfortable, the seat belt feels like it’s a 20 LB lead weight lashed across your chest, and you have to do 7 things all in the right sequence just to start the car.
Once it’s started, you can’t hear anything because of the bellow that’s created by the 400 or so horsepower that’s just a few inches away from your face.
Every sinew in your left leg explodes in pain when you push in the clutch, and once you have it in gear and let it out and head down the street, your neck starts to hurt from your head being whipped back & forth.
It shakes, it shudders, it rumbles and it smells like gasoline. And every five minutes or so you’re in fear of stuffing it into a tree because it feels like you’re trying to control an angry 300 LB panther with a leash made out of kite string.
The only time you really feel safe around it is when it’s locked in the garage and you’re walking away from it. And even then, you catch yourself looking over your shoulder every few steps just to make sure it hasn’t escaped.
And when all is said and done, you have to admit that there’s no other car you’d rather drive.
5.0: I admit not every wife would do this, but my wife used to fix our meal (sandwiches, soup, etc.) and bring it downstairs to the garage and we'd eat dinner together, chatting and getting her caught up on the car's progress. In the winter, I bought a small pellet-type heater and she would sit down there and read while I worked on the car. We'd also talk about things and chat then too, about most anything (retirement, kids at college, neighborhood gossip, etc). Looking back, all-in-all, the build actually provided a lot of quality time together. She also became very attached to the car and brags about it to her friends every chance she gets.
Being a little creative and paying attention to her needs can turn the build into a positive for your relationship.
With absolutly no skill to build and not owning a single tool when I started, this is exactly how I imagined it all along the 30 years of dreaming and while I was building. I hope it motivates someone out there.
More than any other word, that sums up Cobra's reputation. When you are about to take a drive in one of Factory Five Racing MKIII monsters, the "F" word pings around your brain, batted from neuron to neuron like a game of squash. You're excited and, admit it, ever so slightly scared.
Reach over the top of the door and flick the latch inside to pop it open. It's like reaching into the mouth of a snake. The door opening is surprisingly generous as you slide, legs first, around the steering wheel and relax into the seat. The seat is low, the bonnet line high - so the Cobra cocoons you within it. The towering roll hoop behind your head adds a reassuring touch.
rod the starter button an the V8 catches up with the heavy thumping of your heart. With side exit exhausts, you feel more of the sound waves than you hear. It almost sounds gentle. Almost.
The pedals are heavily offset to the left. Use tip toe to press the clutch if you've got big feet, or you'll trap them against the steering column. Force the stiff gearlever into the first of its close placed slots, and with a trickle of the accelerator pressure the Cobra bolts off the line. Press harder and the speedometer flicks anti-clockwise, and you feel the baloon-esque tires squirm, Reach back and grab another gear. The Cobra hurtles along with a rasping, angry bark from the exhausts, each gear giving more urge, more wind noise and more thrills.
The steering is light, darty and the wheel close enough to hustle with powerful, bent arms. It needs to be: keeping the Cobra in a general forward direction is a full-time job at high speeds.
Stand on the brake pedal and powerful calipers clamp discs, shedding chunks of miles per hour in a handful of meters. Stop, kill the engine, and the thudding continues. That'll be your heart then...
Great write up, Kouros. Now I feel like suddenly not feeling well and telling my boss I have to go home....get home, get out of the civilized car, get into the merciless beast, strap in, twist the launch key, awaken the cricketts and rattle unbolted wall hangings, and blast off!
"If you want to just gas and go, and never have to worry about replacing an alternator, or snuggling down the header bolts, or getting a wet leg driving in a rainstorm, or learning how to set your carb float level, or driving in traffic on a warm winter day
with "winter gas" in the tank, get a Corvette. "
With a Cobra Replica you have to remind yourself that you
are driving a hand made race car on the street. There is no compromise for anything other than pure speed. These cars are brutal and unforgiving, with all the refinement of a medieval battle ax. Like being in a relationship with an exotic dancer, you can never take anything for granted. These cars don't have millions of miles of testing refinement before you get yours. For any trip longer than an hour, you need earplugs, and goggles, and carry Advil and eye drops. You will need to learn to "read" the clouds for rain in your path, and have experience in unwrapping your frozen fingers from the MotoLita. You will experience lady passengers "wetting" the passenger seat when you merge into traffic from an on ramp, and then nearly burn their calf getting out of the car.
You will have all the invisibility of a burning Hindenburg, and flee from underground parking lots when uncountable car alarms are screaming your departure. When you shop, you will remind yourself that these cars get more attention than a dead body in a parking lot.
With a power to weight ratio better than almost every supercar, you will find your 1/4 mile times traction rather than power limited. On the other hand, when you stage, out of the corner of your helmet's visor you will see almost the entire audience lining up at the fence, most with cameras up. If you track on a road course with a Porsche club, owners of expensive German machines will come to the fence to watch you power out in smoking oversteer. You won't even try to start your engine in the garage, but push it out onto the driveway, else your loyal watch dog will croak from the exhaust fumes. If you idle next to other "sports" cars at a traffic light, by the green, their girlfriend will be coughing green phlegm into her hanky, yelling at her date to just go! When you refuel, you might as well prop the "bonnet" open, because you are going to have to show your motor to just about every other guy there. When you order your wings at Hooters, your waitress will whisper in your ear "take me for a ride." When you stop at the red light, the girl in the convertible next to you will invite you to "take my top off too."
When you slowly pass a troop of Harley riders, they will look over and give you thumbs up. When you want to ease out into traffic, other cars will immediately pause to let you go ahead of them. When your engine has its hot, crackling, intimidating exhaust sidepipe aimed right at the flank of the GTO, or the Z28, your exhaust pulsation's slowly unscrewing his lug nuts, the other car will remain motionless, as if the slightest quiver of his car will cause your car to stomp it dead. When you leave it open in a parking lot, and come back to find your sunglasses and cell phone still sitting on the tunnel, it is because your car has sullenly warned those who came over to admire it "touch me and I will rise up here and kill you dead."
When you put that tiny silver key into the ignition, and begin your start countdown, your car will whisper "take me for granted, and I will kill you."
When other drivers just hop in and snap up their belts while backing out of their parking space, you will still have two more minutes before you even get all the Simpson's properly on and snugged down. Pulling up in a Cobra Replica is like landing an F4U at an ultralite convention.
In summary, very, very few drivers want this kind of attention, or can tolerate all that a formidable Cobra Replica demands. These cars are intolerant mistresses.
But remember, there will come a day when you have to hang up your car keys for the last time. And perhaps you want to say then "I did it."
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