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Like many, I saved up for the initial donor kit. After that, I paid for parts as I went. For cost reasons, I went the donor route. I was familiar with the mustang components, their interchangeability, and their shortcomings and failure points having put a quarter million miles on fox and SN95 mustangs over the previous 15 years.

I knew I wanted a coyote, so I didn't get an actual donor car (plus the problems of storage and transport of a dead car). Many of my donor parts were sourced from the local pick n pull junk yards and I refurbished them with new bearings, seals, a coat of paint, ect. For a while, it felt like I was making an extra monthly car payment to the tune of $500+ as I bought parts as required. Every part, I tried to get the best deal I could to shave dollars off the cost. I ended up getting the coyote crate engine 10% off using one of summits black friday sales. I waited for sales, negotiated, found coupons ect to cut the cost and still get what I wanted.

As always, set a realistic budget. I identified the major cost hurdles (initial kit, engine, paint, ect). Then, each year I added up the cost of the parts which I would need that year so I could budget it in. I spent 4 years building to get a registered car, and painted it 2 years later. Again, if you save up for the initial kit, then maintain that savings rate for the duration of the build, it'll be like paying on a loan, except you avoid the risk and cost of a loan.
 

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I did it!

We took a home equity revolving line of credit. Without it I would probably never have been able to get mine. Like mentioned before, we are not promised tomorrow and when I finally have to give up my keys, I want to say, "I did it!".
 
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I was too young to want to touch my retirement funds so I saved until I had enough for the Basic Kit (~$14,000). Then I cash-flowed the build as funds allowed. If you don't let everyone on this forum talk you into spending way to much, you can throw a few hundred a month at the build and be done in a year or two. I enjoyed shopping around for killer deals and I think I built mine for a very modest budget. I think the car is just so much more enjoyable to drive knowing I have no payments.
I guess this is just my viewpoint...

First you have to have $14,000 laying around that you have absolutely no use for. Most people aren't fortunate enough to be in that position. Most people balancing a family and their own dreams aren't. Let's say you have the $14,000. My question is, in your scenario, what's "a few hundred a month"? $300? More? At $300 you've saved $3,600 in that first year. That's certainly not enough to complete a build in "a year or two"...you're only at $17,600! Two years at the same money you're at $21,200...perhaps you can be finished but that's the absolute most basic of builds with you doing everything. The end of year 3 at the same money you're at $24,800...a build can be done at that price, nothing fancy. This puts your time frame not at a year or two, but at 2 or 3 years with 3 years being the most realistic number. Again, that's at "a few hundred dollars" being $300...your time frame would accelerate with more money obviously.

I bring this up because you could go the above route...or enjoy your life.

I guess the biggest exception I take with your post is the portion about..."I think the car is just so much more enjoyable to drive knowing I have no payments". Maybe I'm just a simple mid-west guy with a different mindset, but I can't wrap my head around that logic. I traded two cars that I owned in order to get my first Cobra 7 years ago when I was 33 and had to finance the rest. I loved the ever living hell out of that car!!! I drove that car any and every chance I got. I went to every car show with it. I took people for a ride at gas stations when they stop and asked questions. I took neighbors for rides that I hadn't met before. I had random kids in the neighborhood come over to help me work on the car. Most importantly, I drove my daughter to her HS graduation in the car. I drove my wife's best friend to her wedding in the car and you would have thought she was the Queen of England how she was being treated as we drove down the street and the pictures that were being taken at every light.

I traded that car when my son came along for a '65 Fastback. I built and awesome GT 350 replica that I traded for a Viper and some cash which I traded 2 months later for the Cobra I have now. I don't owe anything on my current Cobra.

The point...looking back now never, ever, never would the thought have crossed my mind that "I'm having the time of my life, but this would just be so much better if I didn't owe anything on the car". I can't even fathom that thought process, there was nothing better! I loved every last second with that car. I in no way had less enjoyment because I owed money on something, what I had/have, is memories I wouldn't have had because I didn't want a loan. I'll remember driving my daughter to her graduation until the day I die. I'll remember driving Shawne to her wedding until the day I die. Hell, I'll never forget the car being dropped off the trailer at my house and my buddy and I tearing around the neighborhood in the middle of a Central Illinois December freezing to death with the biggest smiles in the world on our faces!

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, you can slowly do something over a number of years until you have all the money you need hoping that life doesn't interfere in any way OR you can enjoy your life. I've done it one way and know I'll never regret that decision.

**full disclosure...I didn't take out a 20%+ loan, if that's your option, it's a bad one, don't do it!
 

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The problem with this line of reasoning is then nobody (read very few) would be able to enjoy their dreams. You're correct in the grand scheme of things, you're financing a toy. People do it all day every day...buying a Corvette, Harley, RV, Cobra etc. that's what credit is for.
Just about anyone middle class and above that is living within their means (not that many people actually are) can save enough for a Cobra build in a few years. No, you can't have it now, and you can't have it and everything else that comes along.

People do finance toys every day. True. Most of those people are in debt and a lot are a couple paychecks away from financial ruin. But they have their toys, their having "fun", and look like big shots. I bought a house at the beach at an absolute steal from someone that lived it up, right until they got foreclosed on. They had pictures of their travels, NASCAR races, deep sea fishing, football games, concerts, etc next to the pool table and big screen TV all over their man cave walls.....well, my man cave walls.

"That's what credit is for." No, what credit is for, is for people with money to be able to make even more money from people that don't have money. Credit is a money making business, not a community service. You should read about what is classed as "good debt" vs what is "bad debt". Cars, even daily drivers, are bad debt.

Live your dream! I know several people that lived their dreams of Harleys, Corvettes, RVs, Vipers, and big vacations that they couldn't afford. Now, being able to retire is nothing but a dream, and they are having regrets. I'm retiring 10 years early, with my toy that I waited several years for. Don't confuse having fun with enjoying life. The older you get the more it shifts to the second one.
 

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Just about anyone middle class and above that is living within their means (not that many people actually are) can save enough for a Cobra build in a few years. No, you can't have it now, and you can't have it and everything else that comes along.

People do finance toys every day. True. Most of those people are in debt and a lot are a couple paychecks away from financial ruin. But they have their toys, their having "fun", and look like big shots. I bought a house at the beach at an absolute steal from someone that lived it up, right until they got foreclosed on. They had pictures of their travels, NASCAR races, deep sea fishing, football games, concerts, etc next to the pool table and big screen TV all over their man cave walls.....well, my man cave walls.

"That's what credit is for." No, what credit is for, is for people with money to be able to make even more money from people that don't have money. Credit is a money making business, not a community service. You should read about what is classed as "good debt" vs what is "bad debt". Cars, even daily drivers, are bad debt.

Live your dream! I know several people that lived their dreams of Harleys, Corvettes, RVs, Vipers, and big vacations that they couldn't afford. Now, being able to retire is nothing but a dream, and they are having regrets. I'm retiring 10 years early, with my toy that I waited several years for. Don't confuse having fun with enjoying life. The older you get the more it shifts to the second one.
I couldn't have said it better. I worked hard and saved my whole life, did without all the big vacations and fancy "ego" stuff. I have always used credit as a tool to make more money. I now have more saved than I ever thought possible when I was in my youth, and do as I like.
 

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... I now have more saved than I ever thought possible when I was in my youth, and do as I like.
And as we've discussed Rich, there is a term for that kind of money >:)

Jeff
 

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Delayed gratification

Lots of great replies here. Everyone has a different tolerance/pain point for debt. I've been saving for this build both directly and indirectly for years.

Directly by stashing money away specifically for the FFR. I still used a HELOC to actually pay FFR and I'm paying that down as the CDs I stashed the build money in mature. The small amount of interest I'll pay is worth it to me to maintain a given amount of liquidity. Job security is not what it used to be and things can change rapidly and unpredictably.

I indirectly financed my build by driving a series of ho-hum cars for most of my life. Currently, a 2013 Honda Accord that I picked up used. No European sports sedans, no American muscle cars, no lifestyle SUVs or pickups. I've coveted all of those, but I took the cheap option and reminded myself that I was saving for something better.

Each time I walk into the garage and see the frame sitting there in it's early stages I'm amused at the audacity of the project, both in terms of the build itself and the money being invested (though for me there is infinite ROI in spending time with my sons on this project and teaching them everything I know). When I start to question that investment I remind myself that I've already paid for it half a dozen times over by driving a base Passat for 13 years instead of an Audi S4, by opting for the sunroof and a Jetta Wagon instead of a droptop Mustang GT, and by constantly opting for half of the cylinders I really wanted.

There's a balance for everyone that lets them sleep at night and one person's concern is another's terror. We all work to find that balance of what we need and what we want. I'm lucky enough to have both.

Foster
 

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A few more thoughts.

1. These builds usually end up taking a lot more time and money than you planned on. If you have never built a car before, it is easy to think that the kit is only "$20k" and another $10k for drive train because I saw a post on the forum that it is possible. So $30k to build a kit. Then $60k later, and the car is still not on the road. Feature creep is a huge deal with these builds.

2. We really do not know how many kits sold vs driven there are. In the past twenty years of going to kit car shows and asking around, I have a gut feeling it is much less than 50%. Of the cars that do get on the road (notice how I will not say finished?) my gut feeling again, is that 50% get sold because the dream of a Cobra did not match the reality of a short wheel base, high horsepower car that takes a lot more to drive than a modern car. This is why we see so many Cobras for sale with less than 5,000 miles on them.

3. Go for it. There is nothing financially responsible about owning a Cobra in the first place. That is what Corollas are for. Just know that if you do go in debt for a kit car, the project really has no value till the car is done.
 

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Just about anyone middle class and above that is living within their means (not that many people actually are) can save enough for a Cobra build in a few years.
I feel you're way out of touch with what middle-class is. before you state that you're middle class...I don't know any middle class families that have a beach house in Florida or that are retiring 10 years early.
 

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I agree with donkeykong on that statement. I think avalanche made a decent amount of income and lived well within the household means to save, have toys and retire a decade early. I would call that upper middle class to wealthy. Remember the average US income is 60k. Come on. What about 2008, no effect? I'm in my late 40s and savings were hammered during that time. Yes, it has all come back and then some, but geez, another decade has gone by and I'm back to where I was 7-8 years ago.

Anyway, I use cash sometimes for toys and other times I finance a toy. I bought a 2015 Polaris RZR 1000 for 21k cash years ago. Recently traded it for a turbo model and financed the balance for a 3 year 3.9% loan. I felt instead of laying out more cash, I would pay the minimal amount of interest over the three years and keep the cash in the bank.

My problem is fancy cars/suvs, I buy and sell too many of them. Wastes lots of money. In the last 6 years I've had 2013 CTS V coupe, 2015 C7 Z51, 2012 AMG C63, 2018 C7 Z06, 2018 AMG GLS63. That is what I have to get under control!
 

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I feel you're way out of touch with what middle-class is. before you state that you're middle class...I don't know any middle class families that have a beach house in Florida or that are retiring 10 years early.
I never stated that I am middle class. I stated that a middle class person could save up for an FFR, if they lived within their means and didn't also buy everything else that caught their eye.

I certainly used to be middle class and I know what it is like. (Deleted my walked to school in the snow uphill both ways story - but I have one)

Trevor,

I didn't get hit in 2008 for one simple reason. I never jumped into the lead-up mania and over-extended in the first place. I had co-workers that lost everything. But they were out buying new homes and cars like they were candy. I stayed put and dove a 7 year old car. I lived in Los Angeles at the time which was over-extension ground zero.

Everyone is going to do what they want anyway. I was just hoping that someone might realize what a bad financial move financing a toy is and show that being smart early pays multiple times over later. Every dollar that goes to interest never comes back for the rest of your life. Add all that interest up for 40 years of over-extending, depreciation on cars and toys, and what you would have made investing that money instead and see what the number is. I'll bet it is enough to retire on ;-)

Geeze, I sound like the next Suze Orman. She just retired to a private island in the Bahamas by the way.
 

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First you have to have $14,000 laying around that you have absolutely no use for. Most people aren't fortunate enough to be in that position. Most people balancing a family and their own dreams aren't.
I purchased my Cobra when I was 34. I made under $100k on a single income, my wife stayed at home with my two children 2 and 5 years old. We drove vehicles we could afford, lived in a modest home and stayed out of credit card debt. Once my student loans were paid off, I simply saved aggressively for my dream for the next 3 years. I consider myself very average and I was able to do that because I stayed out of debt.

That said, I agree there are many options (Loans, HELOC, 401K, Cash, Trade etc.) and some are more comfortable financing than others. I'm not, it makes me uncomfortable and that's why I enjoy it more paid off. I didn't mean to come across as preachy, but maybe I did. My route is not the only way, it is just the way I did it.
 

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I never stated that I am middle class. I stated that a middle class person could save up for an FFR, if they lived within their means and didn't also buy everything else that caught their eye.
I mean, anybody can save for anything given enough time I suppose. I just don't see the typical middle class man with a wife and 2 kids saving up $25,000 cash minimum to buy a FFR in any time frame that would be construed as "a couple years". Yes, the wife never wants clothes, a night out a nice dinner etc. The kids never need school clothes, supplies, toys, games, bikes, money to hang out with friends etc. Nobody wants to go to Disney or any other type of vacation. This is what would need to happen in this scenario.

I'm not arguing finances and what is or isn't a good idea, nor attacking, I'm just stating that a typical guy with a family isn't saving up $25,000 cash in a year or two or even 3 or 4 to complete one of these builds. Let's be really honest here, the typical family after paying bills and taking care of everybody's wants and needs plus putting money into savings each month...simply doesn't have an additional $400, $500, $600 to go towards their "Cobra fund".

On the other hand, if you're talking about a middle class guy in his 50's at home with his wife with the kids out of the house...YES, that guy can afford to save in a relatively quick manner and buy his Cobra cash. Perhaps that's the reason when I see another Cobra on the street or at a show...that's the age bracket of the owner, 50's or 60's.

Again, this isn't anything directed towards you personally...I'd much rather count you as a friend than not.
 

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I purchased my Cobra when I was 34. I made under $100k on a single income, my wife stayed at home with my two children 2 and 5 years old. We drove vehicles we could afford, lived in a modest home and stayed out of credit card debt. Once my student loans were paid off, I simply saved aggressively for my dream for the next 3 years. I consider myself very average and I was able to do that because I stayed out of debt.

That said, I agree there are many options (Loans, HELOC, 401K, Cash, Trade etc.) and some are more comfortable financing than others. I'm not, it makes me uncomfortable and that's why I enjoy it more paid off. I didn't mean to come across as preachy, but maybe I did. My route is not the only way, it is just the way I did it.
Please don't misunderstand, you didn't come off preachy at all! I certainly didn't take it that way. I was just pointing out that most people aren't in a position to save $700 a month on top of everything else they're saving for their family in order to have $25,000 cash in 3 years.

I'll be quite honest, having a wife and 2 kids and me being the only person working...I have absolutely no idea whatsoever where you came up with $700 a month every month for 3 years that you're family had no use for with you making under $100,000. We don't drive new cars either and have a modest home. Fortunately this car hobby in my case paid for itself and I was able to make money along the way to pay for the Cobra.
 

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I think the household income has too many variables. Some people may be able to budget themselves much better than others. I bought my cobra 15 years ago, I was 32 years old, had a combined income of over 200k with two kids. I didn't really have to save the money for the kit per se, just had to allocate it for the kit. Thinking back 15 years and having one income under 100k, I would say it is impossible. But some guys are better at a household budget than others.
 

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Holy cr*p, man "APR will be between 5.98% - 28.99% " is too high! And there is only an option for 36 or 60 months, how about the option of 84 months? When my brother and I needed a loan to repair our cars after a couple of races with a not very successful end we took a loan for 84 months with 3% and it was very profitable for us. We paid off the loan much earlier and we have absolutely no debts left that is we remained clean. Here, if someone needs the link https://credit-10.com/se/cashbuddy-logga-in/
 

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I just did this in June so I feel it's relevant:

You are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Is this really that important a thing you need to do? If it is then do it. I wish I started years ago and I would have been making memories with my dad back then. When the time came that it was now or never I did borrow the money to start. I had the cash to buy outright but in today's times keeping my cash liquid was worth the interest cost to me. I own my home which is less than spectacular, drive old cars I fix, and these are all choices I've been making for my whole adult life. It however never left me piles of cash. I always found something to use it for. Be that responsible things like real estate or stocks, or lesser things like eating out and traveling. Even those trips to dinner and travel were not lost; some of the best memories of my life are there. I have no fond memories of buying etfs. ( I'm not saying investing is pointless )

I actually find the insinuation that not having 14k cash for a toy is irresponsible to be comical. Anyone that has ever paid a payment on a boat, new car, or even a second home ( that isn't a rental ) is taking unnecessary risk. There are a lot more people paying a mortgage than those who dont. Ironically I don't have a mortgage and I try to live debt free. What I am advocating is If this is really a dream and not a toy you will be tired of in a week then take the leap and get going. Your dreams get no closer without action, and the lofts up high are never met if you always look up.

Of course only you can decide if you can afford to do this, but you also can mitigate your cost on your own resourcefulness. The other thing about this is you can stop if you have to. It would suck to make payments on a car you don't drI've but hey plenty of guys make payments to women they are not married to anymore. Saying they should have stayed home instead of meeting her is a padantic argument.

So, I'm advocating that the cost of borrowing can be far less the the cost of not following your dreams. A life without purpose is no life at all. If this is going to be a super cool toy you will work on for 4 hours and give up. Try to buy one complete.
 

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Thanks for the excellent thoughts Phil. I agree. An FFR is just slightly different than buying a Caddy, a Benz, etc. A basic Chevy is all anyone needs to get around in life so upgrading to more expensive cars can be argued to be a huge waste of $. Initially just as big a waste as an FFR, but guess what, the FFR will hold it's value better.
 

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Normal cars are just an expense the depreciation is obscene and the return laughable. Maybe you can make a buck on very specialized cars or damaged ones. The cobra might actually net you some profit in a sale but even at worst it's potential to recover most of it's cost is far better than a 2018 pickup. Which will be worth half in short order.

That isn't what the vast majority of America spends on. I just don't think most have the affluence to simply buy thier way to this kit car or any. Just remember the FFR idea was to be Scrappy and build a kit from donor parts. If you have the time learn to do the stuff yourself. Build a transmission or engine yourself. It's far from rocket surgery.

A gt40p head explorer motor and a sn95 t5 is about $275 at my local yard. The sn95 bell housing might cost you almost as much at $150-200 and you have something workable. I do not understand the "buy a blueprint 302 for $3k" mentality. Speed-o-motive used to sell a 5.0 rebuild kit ( bearings and gaskets ) for $77. Yes seventy-seven dollars.
 
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