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Hey all, completely new here but I have loved Cobra's for years and really want to build one badly!! I was wondering though, what are the different kits you can buy? Which ones are the most accurate to the original? What are the prices like to finish a kit from start to end? Where do I start?
 

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Factory five is the answer to all your questions of course
.

You have started in the right place....to suggest factory five kits. The prices range from 15-50k for a factory five. They can be made to be very very original or far from it.
 

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Welcome Sir Charles, I've been where you are and am almost finished with my research. Here are some of my observations; Factory Five is the largest manufacturer of these kits and has a huge following. I went to the track so that I could talk to several owners and see their cars. It helped me determine how I wanted to use the car and that helped me decide how to design the build. You will hear all sorts of things such as how much horsepower is too much or too little, the advantages of the different rear suspensions, which blocks old vs new, etc. I think that's half the process. Enjoy! Len
 

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First determine what features you want, what you want to do with the car, and figure out your budget. Then, do lots of research!

There are at least 20 different companies that make Cobra replicas. All have their plusses and minuses. It really depends on what you want. Probably the 2 most decieding factors are 1)how close to an exact replica of the original do you want it and 2)what's you budget. As a general rule the more original it is, the more it costs.

Here's a cool site that has a map and links to most of the Cobra replica manufacturers - Cobra Map


Pete
 

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and 3) how much of the work you want to do yourself. With the FF you need to source a lot of parts, generally done through the donor concept, but not necessarily. Other kits are more complete, more assembled and more expensive. But not necessarily better.

There are three approaches that most FF builders follow. 1) Donor, using mostly donor parts with a 5.0 engine and some mods/new parts. 2) Vintage, FE or 351W Carbed engine with a eye to wards the vintage look and feel. 3) Modified, this category I put everyone else. We have BB 460's, we have 4.6 Mod engines, we have Chevy Engines. These guys generally go new everything. Your selection will drive the cost.

The beautiful thing about the FF cars is that they are versatile enough to handle whatever you want to do with them. Enjoy...
 

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SirCharles77 I see you are here in the Pacific NW. We have many FFR, ERA, Contemparary and Superformance owners in these parts as well as a Kirkham or two that you can see this summer. When it comes to buying a replica with the most originality - The question's are what can you afford? How do you plan to use the car? What features are you willing to sacrafice for originality?

Kirkham and Shelby probably make the most accurate replicas. Or are the shelby ones real?
Those can set you back 75K more or less.


Here is a picture of a Shelby Cobra on the left and a Factory Five on the right with one of the more notable differences of the rear width.
 

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Aaron is wrong when he says the FFR is the most accurate. Kirkham is, followed by ERA and Unique. You will spend upwards of $100K for an aluminum Kirkham, but you can't tell the difference between it and an original.

ERA is expensive as well - around $75K and up, depending on how much you want to invest. Unique is about $65K.

All the manufacturers have an excellent frame.

Kirkham has the best body of course - hand formed aluminum like the original.

ERA and Unique have fiberglass bodies that are as close to the originals as you can get. And their bodies come from the molds nearly perfect (seams cleaned up).

FFR has the "poochy butt", but it's still close. And it requires more work to clean up than ERA or Unique.

ERA has a two year wait to get their Cobra. Not sure what the leadtimes for Kirkham or Unique are.

The down side of ERA, Unique and Kirkham are (besides the cost) is they do not use a donor. All the parts, except the brakes, are custom made for the car.

Hope this unbiased information is helpful

2FAST
 

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Originally posted by 2FAST4U:
Aaron is wrong when he says the FFR is the most accurate.
Where did Aaron Say That? I can't find it. He Said:

Originally posted by Aaron Silidker:
They can be made to be very very original or far from it.
But in any case

1. What's your budget

2. How are you going to use the car (Show, Cruiser, Driver, AutoX, Open Track?)

3. How Important is originality vs Every Day Driveability?

Good Luck with the decision.

Brendan
 

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SirCharles77,

If you stack them up as good authentic “replicas” of the original CSX3XXX cars;

THE TOP 10;
1. KIRKHAM Motorsports
2. SHELBY American Incorporated (Las Vegas)
3. AC Ltd. (orig. supplier of the COBRA (UK)

Note: **** after this are fiberglass shell cars non aluminum body over upper tube support

4. COBRA351
5. a few specialty builders
6. Factory Five Racing
7. a few overseas builders

Note:. ******* after this they have different frames, methods of building, suspension design, non FORD parts, and so on.!!!

8. Superformance ( South Africa)
9. ERA
10. Unique

The list is based on pure exact detail/design percentages against the original, not someones "favorite cause I like it" position.

This is not banter or a low blow at any builder/manufacturer so all please take it that way. Private eMail if you want to argue.

grumpy
 

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Brendan,

Sircharles listed questions, one of them being which is most accurate, and Aaron said Factory
Five is the answer to all of them, meaning the answer to Sircharles's questions...so in a way he said FFR was most accurate, but who cares, we knew what he meant by the smiley anyway. Just playin.
 

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Brendan

I'm referring to his quote "Factory five is the answer to all your questions of course"

2FAST
 

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Grumpy,

What/Who is COBRA351? I've seen them mentioned before, but have never seen any info about them.

Pete
 

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Grumpy

ERA's Cobra is a near perfect copy of an original. They use the jag rear end, Toploader 4-spd, and 427 SO - just like the originals. The trunk of an ERA is identical to an original - aluminum!! Their cars are a lot more authentic than FFR. You need to check out their website closer.

2FAST
 

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2FAST said:
ERA's Cobra is a near perfect copy of an original. They use the jag rear end, Toploader 4-spd, and 427 SO - just like the originals. The trunk of an ERA is identical to an original - aluminum!! Their cars are a lot more authentic than FFR. You need to check out their website closer.
2FAST, granted from a visible point of view the ERA is a good replica, but what about the frame and method of construction? In those two categories, I rate FFR at or near the top. Authentic frame (but stronger) and method of construction (riveted panels). Also racing ability and light weight...edge to FFR. Do ERA cars have these features. (frame. construction, and racing ability)

BTW, in ACE's pic above, I prefer the looks of the FFR body shape over the original. My tastes have changed over the last 18 months. It can happen.
 

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As a couple of people have already asked, what do you want to do with the car? A FF is a better racer or autocross car because it caries the engine much further back in the chassis and has a stiffer frame. This makes it slightly less authentic if you want a perfect copy and aren't interested in performance. The FFR body is pretty good with the exception of the "Perky Butt" which is a little different from the originals.

Kevin
 

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Originally posted by protias:
i like the original shelby pic vs FFR. i never knew the back end was that different. does it have to do with being different years, or did they change the body from the 65 to the 69?
I believe that's a Shelby series 4000 with a Kirkham body, not an original. That would make it "real" but not "original".

On the original cars, they changed the body on every single car - they were hand-built by AC, so no two were identical. Kirkham computer mapped one side of an original, and mirrored the image (most original bodies was not symmetric).

Pete
 

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Lots of owners have modified the cars after they bought them, too. For instance, this owner's latest modification is shooting the rear fender with a gun :rolleyes:

I have a franklin mint model at home of a CSX car, and its rear is different than the one pictured.
 

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The FFR is a great car, don't get me wrong, but if you're a diehard authenticism lover, then this isn't the car for you. Just to list some differences:

* The obvious fiberglass vs. aluminum
* Body Rear is way different.
* FFR body mounts are external
* Quickjacks geometry is different
* Rollbar is thicker and taller and at slightly different angle
* FFR has external trunk hinges
* FFR has square tube X member, originals were round
* FFR has aluminum footboxes, originals were fiberglass
* FFR brackets for motor mounts, controls arms, etc. aren't 3 sided or boxed like originals. (pretty picky on that one)
* Due to donor concept, FFR pedal box is way different
* FFR doesn't have dash support bars
* FFR two front rollbar legs do not extend through body and into cockpit
* FFR trunk internally way way way off...due to donor parts
* Original gas tank I think was 42 gallons...FFR is Mustang = 18 I believe
* FFR body doesn't have rolled edges
* FFR exhaust exits a bit closer to the front fender lips (again real picky)
* FFR seats are not original in size or shape, but are ok in general looks
* FFR carpet is cheap in quality compared to original
* FFR frame has some structural additions original did not (this is a good thing for rigidity)
* FFR supplied switches and dash lights are nowhere near authentic
* FFR hood handles are way outboard on hood compared to originals
* FFR stock battery location is under trunk
* FFR exhaust is flange fit, original is slip fit
* FFR sidepipe is shorter than original by a slight bit, and the turnout on the end of the pipe is more of a slash cut on the FFR and not really turned out at all.
* FFR steering shaft positions are somewhat different.
* Front suspension geometry is fairly different.


Point being, you can change a lot of these by the way you build it, and there are some differences that aren't mentioned that FFR supplied options or ugrades can change. The FFR car isn't 100% authentic because it is affordable. If you were to fix everything on the list about, you more than double the price of the kit for sure.

FFR is a great car the 95% of the people seeing you drive around in it aren't going to spot the differences...unless you were parked next to an original, and then sometimes people still don't know which one is the original one...but they know the two aren't the same.

Happy hunting...do your homework before you slap down the money.

Not one replica manufacturer makes a 100% authentic car. Kirkham is by far the closest, but not perfect. For example, little details like hole cuts outs on the steel frame on certain parts of originals were done with a nibbler, thus leaving distinct edges behind. The new Shelbys have this same nibbler effect, Kirkhams do not have that detail. If you're wanting that much authenticity, then there you go, but 99.99% of the people could care less about the nibbler marks being added in. (which I believe Shelby has them added using the laser cutter, not nibbler now).

Kris is this right?

[ April 13, 2004, 02:47 PM: Message edited by: blue corona ]
 

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Thanks BC.

The ERA Cobra uses alloy panels to form the cockpit much the same way as FFR. They do use fiberglass panels in the engine bay, and they do use rectangular tubing. Both cars are great, but ERA is more authentic than an FFR and maintains a higher resale value than FFR.





Quote from ERA "E.R.A. uses aluminum floor and rear bulkhead panels that attach directly to the chassis like the original Cobra. To service the standard Jaguar inboard brakes, the lower bulkhead panel is removable: We attach the carpetting permanantly only at the top. The lower section is retained by snaps. "

Quote from ERA: "The body panels are fastened to the chassis by bonding and riveting. This special technique results in a solid, rattle free semi-unitized structure. Removal of the engine and transmission is still very easy. This car is designed to be serviced without removal of the body."
 
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