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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening, I just received my DVD from Factory 5. Viewed it and was amazed. At the end though Dave Smith makes a comment about the Factory 5 Cobra kit car is not for the "Joe Averge" He does explain that you need to be a mechanic or a car restorer. So to my ?- how much mechanical ability do you need? Seems the implication is if you are not a mechanic do not buy the kit. Am I wrong ?
Grey Ghost
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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3,355 Posts
I don't think you need to be a mechanic but you do need to be mechanically inclined.
I think it is a matter of are you willing and able to learn. Then there is the ability to stick with it.

If you are not looking forward to the build and just want to drive, I'd buy a used one and make it yours.

It will stress your wallet, wife, and you, but it's all worth it.

I say GO FOR IT, we are here for you.
 

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Junior Charter Member
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470 Posts
I would assume it is possible to get in way over your head, but from what I have gathered as long as you are at least moderately handy you should be fine. We built our kit as a 3 generation project, and I would say our experience level is a 2/10... but with the help of this forum and just having friends I could call on, it was a blast and we learned A LOT.

It seams that almost everyone is more than willing to help you - some of them overly so ;)

Overall, I think it was the single most rewarding thing I have ever done. I built a car :)
 

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3 Generations on a MkIII
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1,415 Posts
Dave is full of crap.

The most I had done before I built a car is change an alternator. I did not even change my own oil. I'm a middle school English teacher. I built a car.

Some people say that "building the car is more fun than driving it". Complete and utter bull crap. Driving this thing is a friggen' blast. Amazing. Just amazing. When was the last time you were happy to get a gallon of milk?

Look, I knew almost nothing about cars before I built this one, and I built one. If you still think you can not, check out the build school.

See if there is anyone building near you that you could lend a hand (or bring the pizza and beer) and check one out.
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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6,103 Posts
Did I read that right? You need to be a mechanic? I would think he says you do NOT need to be one. If you understand mechanical stuff at little, have a lot of desire, can operate basic tools, are willing to read, learn, ask questions. If you can find this forum - you will do just fine.

There are a bunch of guys who have build very nice cars who have never even changed their oil before. If you want, you can do it. Get to know the local guys, hang out, watch or help them on their build, see it first hand. Even if you can not do it or do not have the time - you can always buy one already build and then learn on it as you maintain, fix, and modify it to your tastes.

Good luck!
 

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When we started our build, I had done simple tune-ups, oil changes and just a couple of brake jobs. Tools, you buy as you need them, borrow/rent if you can't buy and learn to lean on friends (like the Forum) when you run into a problem. Have a build party (or 2 or 3) and learn.

You're in Utah? Head over to the regional forums, find a few builders and head over to talk. You'll see that these cars are not really that complex to build. Yes, you will find areas that you will need help (wiring did it that to me) but it's all worth it.

Ray
 

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What you need is a desire to own a awesome car you built yourself. If you can read, learn and are willing to work through a few problems thats what counts. Its about learning and growing as a person that you will gain from the project that is worth more than you may expect. FFR doesn't sell or charge for that, you give that to yourself.
 

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3 Generations on a MkIII
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1,415 Posts
Damn...that's cool. Very well said, 3K.

Its about learning and growing as a person that you will gain from the project that is worth more than you may expect. FFR doesn't sell or charge for that, you give that to yourself.
 

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Premium Member
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Build School

There is a build school offered at M-Tech Center in Howell, MI, where you can learn how to build a roadster in a group with professional instruction. I believe it costs around $700.00, but FFR rebates most of that if you buy a kit. Another option would be to hire Mark Dougherty, who will travel to your location and give you personal help and instruction. He was essential to me in solving build problems when I bought a partially built kit.
John
 

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Not a waxer
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Go to the build school. If you feel comfortable after that and really have the desire jump in! A good idea for someone who isn't a somewhat experienced wrench turner is to seek out a fellow FFR builder nearby to buddy up with and put another set of eyes on your work every now and then.

Good luck,
Jeff
 

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iBuild
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I'm with Rich, I can't imagine Dave says you need to be a mechanic.

As others noted mechanically inclined certainly helps, knowing what a socket wrench is and knowing how to use a drill for sure would help.

I think the biggest thing though is there is very little fabrication needed with a straight forward build. You may need to trim some aluminum panels, but you don't need to be able to weld or anything like that.

And yes, there are plenty of us here to help steer you in the direction of pure overkill, and spending your money will be there to help put it together.

-Scott
 

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Yes, you do need some skills but Dave is saying that to "cover his butt" legally. FFR dosen't need an idiot sueing them over a bad and dangerous build. It's your build, your car and your life - don't take it lightly but a lot of people have done it well.
jack
 

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Junior Charter Member
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465 Posts
I was a Master ASE Mechanic many years ago. I have not done much with cars over the past few years. I just received my kit this past April and have had some really dumb questions that I should had already known due to my past work experiences. This Forum helped me greatly every time. I believe with many issues and over confidence of past experiences hurts me worst, than if I was just learning how to do it!

You do not need any type of prior knowledge or experience. As long as you are not a rock and are not scared to ask for help when you need it, you will do great!

You are already doing your research and posting on this forum, you will do great!

Good Luck,
Kurt
 

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Do a search for old posts from Alex, cannot remember his screen name. That guy was hard pressed to operate a drill and he built a pretty good car. This forum can answer any question or doubt you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow! thanks

I appreciate all the help and info. I should have qualified this by sayingt I have done a brake job on my camaro, done the exhaust and always do my own oil change , greasing , and anything minor. I should have said this is going to be for lack of a better word - hobby. I Just retired from education w/ 35 yerars in the middle school. Like the idea of the build school, JKleiner, and will look into it. One of the post mentioned I was in Utah - sorry I am in Allendale, MI- west side of the state between Muskegon and Grand Rapids. Again thanks for all the input. Another ? John ,who is Mike Doughtery? It was mentioned to contact him , he comes to your build site and assists? Ask Kouros? Need help with this one.
 

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Senior Member
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If you've done a brake job yourself, you're probably OK.

I haven't seen the new video myself yet, but Dave is probably trying to both manage expectations and reduce his liable risk a tad.

You just have to understand there will be many things where "you don't know what you don't know," don't be afraid to admit you're over your head occasionally, and then know where you can find some help. Friends, ffcars.com, other online resources, and even professional help if required.

You'll soon find that there are a great many people in our community here that are very enthusiastic about offer help through endless advice all the way to showing up in person from 100s of miles away to help with your build.
 

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Grey Ghost,
If you can put up with school kids for 35 years you can do anything....:wacko:
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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6,103 Posts
Mike D used to work at FFR and now travels the country helping guys on their builds. Kouros is a member on here who has a beautiful car and I think had no prior mechanical experience. gbranham also had no automotive experience and build a very nice car.

There are lots of guys in Michigan, so post in the regional forum, I am sure you can get a ride and lots of advice and help. Also, check out the build school at Mott Community College - http://www.factoryfive.com/rdsterhome.html That would remove any doubts and is very helpful from what I have heard.
 
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