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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, it has long been a dream of my little brother to build his own Cobra. However, as a mechanic with 3 kids, it will be years before he could afford to do so on his own. Because he is an awesome mechanic, I suggested building a few for profit as a way to create the cash he needs to own his own. I have heard of this being done, but haven't spoken to anyone directly about it. This is where you guys come in. My main question is "Is this possible?". Beyond that, what is the best way to do so? And, most importantly, which kit car company should we go with? We actually put a deposit down with street beast, but from what I'm gathering, that may have been a mistake. Right now, we are focusing in on Factory Five Racing, but with Shell Valley and Hurricane producing less expensive complete kits, we're just not sure. We need all the help we can get. We are clueless as to what adds value to the final price and what should or shouldn't go in the car. Also, where do we sell it to get the highest price? So far, I've been told to take it to auctions like Barrett Jackson or list it on cobracountry.com or even take it to as many car shows as possible. Any and all input here will be greatly appreciated. I posted this same thread over at Club Cobra and got more negative than positive response. I realize that we'll only be able to make a few grand per car and there is obviously a learning curve, but because this will be a side job, not losing money is more important than making it. Got any ideas?
 

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In my opinion only this is a risky proposition. Look at the economy.....its only going to get worse before it gets better. Fewer and fewer people are going to have cash to buy completed kit cars. To make it worse fewer people are going to be able to afford the cars they already built which means there will be a glut of cars on the market you'll be competing with. High supply, low demand equals low prices.

FFR had over 50% of the show field at Knotts this year. If you're going to go, go with FFR. Yes you can buy cheaper but people in the market for a completed kit will probably want the best.

Also as you said the learning curve could be high which also factors into lost $$'s. But the bottom line between making and losing ultimately lies with your brothers abilities and how creative and imaginative he is. Thats what people pay money for, not just a finished product.

Miles
 

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Somebody today started the same thread about making cobras for profit-go check it out.
 

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Originally posted by jburnes:
We actually put a deposit down with street beast, but from what I'm gathering, that may have been a mistake.
You placed a deposit on a kit before posting this question?

Hmmmm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, we did. I had done some research, but wasn't aware of the forums at the time. They also told us it was refundable, although now I'm finding out how difficult it is to get them to refund it.
I realize that was a mistake, as I said.

[ September 26, 2007, 04:56 AM: Message edited by: jburnes ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the link. I did check this out before posting. The problem is most of that info is about body and paint. Also, similar to my responses when I posted this on ClubCobra.com, many people simply discourage the idea and suggest that we do something entirely different to make money. Just so I'm clear, we are going to build one and sell it. I am HOPING to make a profit and at the very least not lose money. Any advice on how to do so would be appreciated.
 

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First- Get your money back from SB, and get out of the negative. May be a fight- BUT YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY BACK. When they first sent you a brochure, there was a part about the 100% money back guarantee!!!!

Next step, do your homework. Planning will be everything for you. Try to find a customer that wants a car built, research whats actually involved, and set a price. Learn from there.

Best of luck
 

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TWO (important) TIPS..

1. Avoid posting here between 8 and 11pm.
As you can see some of these guys get tired, haven't had their warm milk and are grouchy.

2. Paint it Blue with White stripes.

Everybody knows Cobras should be BLUE with WHITE stripes

There are plenty of people "out there" who want to buy a nice completed Cobra... most of the folks around here are builders
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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Since your plan is to build a cobra only to generate cash for your personal build. You may be better off buying,repairing,then reselling used cars. You would make more profit,spend less,have a better turn over.
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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I think the Mott build school is a great place to start and learn. Read this forum and many of the archives. I tend to be very conservative, I would find someone that wants one build and build it for them rather than build one for speculation. That way you are covered and if it takes longer, the only thing you lose is some of your time.
 

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If you find a good deal on a donor, don't get carried away on options, and do a super nice blue and white paint job, you can make about $.50/hr for your labor. If you REALLY like building kits, it might be worth it but you will have to build and sell about six kits to earn enough to buy one to keep.
 

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I would think that your best market for profit would be to someone that could not build one themselves but has the money to spend. The car show route or any other way to expose the car to the general public and not just car guys might find a buyer willing to pay more. You don't need to go crazy with performance as the car would be very fast with a stock engine to anyone not used to high performance cars. Alot of bling would go a long way though. Just a thought.
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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1) only build a car AFTER you have a deposit from the person who you are going to sell it to.

2) Talk with Chris Richards (Massflo). He was pretty successful building kits for people before concentrating full time on the massflo business. Cobra sites are NOT the place to sell. I don't know how Chris got customers but one time when I was there, he was doing a coupe for some Sheik.
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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Ping Jeff Hamilton here on the forum. He's in northern Ohio and I believe he has built over 16 FFR's that he's turned. He does it on the side as well. Great wealth of knowledge.

P.J.
 

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ASE Tech & Shop Teacher
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This is exactly what I'm doing now. Stay home dad, retired ASE brake and front end tech, qualified voc ed teacher, no teaching jobs locally, and we don't want to move.

This is my second kit (dad's Gazelle, Pinto donor), first FFR. The FFR is by far a better, stronger, safer, better handling frame and chassis, no MustangII stuff at all.

For the dollar, a very complete quality kit. FFR's quality keeps getting better as time goes by.

Very hard to keep the budget down, I repeat, VERY hard to keep the budget down, and margin up. Lots and lots of stuff can be added to these cars.

Also hard for my wife to handle (but she's doing better lately), if you don't have a deposit, is the fact that your not bringing in a couple hundred a week, your spending at least that much. There WILL be a pay-day, it's just months away.

A man better have a real solid relationship with his wife BEFORE venturing into this territory, as it is stressful. I'm blessed with a wife who is letting me chase my dream.

As far as the state of the economy, in my mind there will always be the haves and have-nots, and what is happening now is the gap is growing, but I think there will always be enough haves to sell these cars to.

Farenheit351 has a point, there are many used kits out there for sale, but the quality of the builds vary greatly. BUT, with FFR selling over 6,000 units, there ARE lots of completed cars for sale year 'round.
It would be nice to find a buyer willing to give you/me a deposit, but I felt the need to prove my talents with at least one customer car before I go selling my services.

Up here in God's country, I think the market is ripe for a hot rod builder. Time will tell, and if it doesn't sell locally, I'm willing to take it places it will garner the profit I'm looking for.

Good luck to you and your brother.
 

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We started in 1998, we built one car on speculation and made money (very little and it took a year). Now we do not build a car without a customer's name on it. There are lots of people like Jeff Hamilton (who I've met, good guy) who do it on the side. As in he does it for fun and profit, NOT TO EAT, he has a full time job.

The simple fact is people will 'Wal Mart' the cars, as in get the most for the money. There are too many people who build a car just to build it and then sell it for what they THINK they have in it or less. There is no way to compete with that group, not that they are bad people but they do it for fun and then move on to the next project. We have done nothing but build customer pre sold cars since 2000 and have always had at least one car to work on since then, sometimes more. We have always had one car we keep as our own (demo) and we keep it for a while (2 to 4 years).

In short, it is tough to make money at the car building process even when you are doing it with someone elses money, let alone with your own. Just my opinion. Cheers Richard.
 

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Shade Tree Mechanic
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14,317 Posts
You may want to look at building a Hurricae to sell. IMO the build process for a Hurricane looks easier, probably less hours required to do a Hurricane and it's a decent kit. Not sure how many of them you'd have to build in order to make enough to get an FFR kit? As discussed on this forum (at length) the FFR has a stronger frame, people don't like the Hurricane's fiberglass tub, but they say the build is easier and the body is better and more like the original with the Hurricane. The down side here is you wouldn't get any experience building an FFR. Also as stated above bling is what helps to sell these cars, in particular, to non-gearheads.
 
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