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FFR Craftsman
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5,834 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. My real name is Herman Hong (44) and I have a number of years on which to work on a FFR project. 6 to be exact. I have never done anything like this before (where have you all heard that before) but I do know I have mechanical skills to put things together.

My biggest obstacle unfortunately, is my better half and she's the budget minded type. My current unemployment situation doesn't help much either but I feel that's temporary. After receiving the video flyer from FFR, me and my wife both watched it. She does like the car and understands why I'm like such a little kid every time I see one (that's rather rare where I am; I've only seen one FFR - I almost went to tears when I saw the guy tear down the block in just a few seconds!)

It's likely you will be seeing a lot of me but w/o a FFR for a number of years unless I somehow win the CA Lotto. My primary objective for at least the next couple of years, is to gather up info and expereinces to determine how my final ride will materialize. Out of all of the manufacturer's I've been able to see, I like the concept that the Smith Brothers have come up with. Their frame design is what I was looking for in a kit and only a few other companies come even close. Seeing how large this forum is also adds to some relative confidence level that the vehicle is a sound design.

Price is a concern. I won't beat around the bush, despite what I read in KCI or other publications. However, I'm realistic too. For example, I'm poor when it comes to body work/prep. Refinishing my front door has already taught me that if something really counts, leave it to the pro's. But for everything else that requires a wrench/driver/rivet, I know I can handle. With this, I have a plan with basically two budgets (remember, I have to win the wife over): budget one is to achieve the goal of getting the FFR and Mustang 5.0 parts IN the garage. I feel the budget can be ahieved for $20K. Am I nuts or is that very realistic? Budget two: upgrades. Basically to get the car up to the way I want it, assuming I like what I've built after budget 1. This might be things such as better suspension components, chroming the roll bar, and just a few things that I might have upgraded originally but couldn't due to the budget scheme.

WEll, that's enough for now. I've skimmed through this forum and it feels alot like the forum I moderate (www.clubb5.com) which is devoted to my daily driver: a 1998 VW Passat. (We do have some young bucks on that forum but by and large, we're a pretty mature forum.) To see what I've done to my car, click onto : http://home.attbi.com/~hhong4

Thanks for listening.
 

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Charter Member
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100 Posts
Herman,

Welcome aboard. I am in much the same position as you are, building on a tight budget. I have a two car garage, but one side has my woodshop, and the other is home to my wife's Miata. The net result is no donor car.

Instead, I bought an engine stand - Harbor Freight - $50 - and a 1988 5.0L HO motor from a junk yard for $500. I have a hoist on long term loan from a neighbor. I am currently rebuilding the engine.

Depending on how things go financially - self-employed and business is slow - I will either...

A. put the stock engine back together stock after cleaning it up, cost < $200 for gaskets and bearings, for about 225 HP or ...

B. put an Edelbrock Performer 5.0 package on it, cost about $2k, for about 300 HP.

After I finish that I will probably save up to buy the rear end from a T-bird for the IRS and start collecting other parts. Anything I can carry I can store in a little 4x8 shed in the back yard.

Eventually I will have the money to buy the FFR kit - then space negotiations begin in earnest with the wife. ;)

Peter
 

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FFR 4331
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1,114 Posts
Welcome! (Anyone that posted that long of a first message deserves more than 1 reply!)

Let's see:

1. 5 year plan - good; but the wait will kill you; if you are serious about building an FFR, start saving every penny now and build sooner.

2. Budget 1 - basic FFR can be built for $20K but will you be happy with it after waiting 5 years to build it?

3. Budget 2 - how much longer will it take you to save up $$$ for the "upgrades"? Does it make sense to put the project off until you have all the cash and then build it the way you want?

Another option is to buy a used sled from someone for around $20K and then modify it the way you want over time. Plus, this way you may not have to wait 5 years.

Anyway, welcome! Have fun; it is a hobby after all. Isn't it?

CJ
 

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THRAMP-master
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3,473 Posts
Welcome, Herman.

Just out of curiousity, why "6 years"? Cobra as a 50th b-day present?

Can you build a FFR for $20K? Yes, I think so. Can you build it and have a pro do the bodywork/paint for 20K? Hmm, probably not, unless you get a great deal on a donor whose parts don't need much work. Must have discipline, though - when I first started planning, my budget was <20K. Then there were the roll bars that HAD to be chromed, the engine that HAD to be rebuilt to get more power... :rolleyes: well, you get the idea. Well over 20K now.
 

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Gruntled Member
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264 Posts
Herman, welcome. I'm also a newbie, and probably have less experience than you with car building. However, I've been researching Cobras for over a year now, and I am very confident I can build an FFR. With all this research, I can guarantee you will have no regrets with FFR. FFR is absolutely the best for someone on a budget. Their single-donor kit is perfect for you. If you go with one well-used donor and don't buy a lot of options, $20k is well within budget. A professional paint job would probably push you over. You might have to go with primer for a while.

You might also be surprised to know that FFR is a great choice if you have an unlimited budget. There are some folks around here building awesome cars. FFR's quality and design are excellent for whatever type of Cobra you want to build. I came to this forum wanting an FFR, but expecting to give up quality for the lower price. I've learned that is not the case. The rapidly growing FFR community is a testament to the great job the Smith brothers are doing. Just search the web for Cobra sites and you will see 9 out of 10 are for FFRs. It's one big happy family.

I'm planning to order next spring, and that seems like forever. You'll have to be much more patient than me! I assume you're in the semiconductor industry. It may be a while before the salad days return, but hopefully your 5 to 6 year plan is ultra-conservative.

Good luck.
Steve
 

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Super Moderator
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29,434 Posts
Welcome to the fold!! Building a FFR Roadster for $20 and having someone else do the body prep/paint may be unrealistic. Even an average paint job (no stripes, light color) will cost you $2500.

Buy the basic kit and order a few options worth getting - IRS, tubular front lower control arms, and body cutouts.

Buy a donor pallet for ~$2000.

A realistic estimate is closer to $25K.

Keith
 

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FFR Craftsman
Joined
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5,834 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your replies. I did consider buying a "basic" outright that's built and modifying it. I hate it to be honest. I'm the type that goes overboard (unfortunately) when I set my mind to a "hobby". It's because I want to know all I can. But a component car is a bit different than my other purchases. Here, I have the chance to really build the vehicle. If there's a sqeak or groan, it's likely I'll know exactly where it's coming from (and probably wish I didn't rush putting the body on.) And like most of you out there, this is a PERSONAL statement.

My orginial 'limit' was $25k so I'll chew on that figure from here on out. And in a sense, I've started the savings process but only because of the Tech. Layoffs in CA. When I'm back on my feet (next year), I'll probably save in earnest.

Yes, 50 is the target. It's also the year my daughter goes to college. This is why it's been a real challenge. If I can get one of the two daughters through college and not get caught in a situation where that $25K could have come in handy, then I'll be ok. Then again, I can always take out a 2nd on the house for this if I get real anxious about the whole deal.

I know given the choice, my wife prefer I get it all done and over with, and if means getting all the mods at once, so beit, just so long as she doesn't see me pouting.
We'll see.
 

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Registered
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690 Posts
I put a stock build on the road in gel-coat for $15k. Only options ordered were hood hinge and tonneau cover. I was interested in putting something on the road that I could play with and tweak over the next ten years.

That was based on the original 1997 kit price of $9,999, a $3,000 donor Mustang, Jet-Hot coating ($400), and 15" turbine wheels w/ Cooper tires ($500).

I have since added Autometer gauges ($350), home made three link rear suspension($200), home made rear coil-overs ($300), home made bump steer kit ($65), used 3.55 rear end gears ($55), and paint ($3500).

Future plans are to upgrade wheels/tires and add 100 HP. I expect these to cost about $3500 over the next two years.

If your goal is a moderately high powered sports car to drive and get dirty on real roads, it can be easily done for less than $20K.

If you can't resist powder coat frames, anodized aluminum panels, chrome bits, mega HP, 747 size brakes, and you can't jig-saw a few holes in fiber glass, you will spend more.
 

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Super Moderator
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29,434 Posts
Hey Robert-

I represent that remark :D

700 HP, 532 BBF
13" brakes w/6-piston calipers in front
12" brakes with 4-piston caliprs in the rear
Custom 9" rear end
Braided SSTL and anodized fittings everywhere

Keith
 

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Rip Snortin Post Maniac
Joined
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1,044 Posts
Welcome to the disease.


A good way to win the wife over is to bring her to some Cobra events. Cobra people in generel seem to be the nicest folks. I'm on my 2nd build and the wife has set no limits for time or money on this one. She's a great girl. :D

I spent @ $26k for the first one. The difference between an awsome car and a pos is the time you spend not the $$$.

Good luck waiting 6 years. I'd go nuts by then.
 

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Charter Member
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387 Posts
Herman

Welcome !!

I also had a two year plan. Lurk & study for two years then build. Lasted six months, ordered last week, planned for $25K, hoping to get out for $27.5.

Pray for me
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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3,751 Posts
Herman,

There are a number of FFR's in the bay. You can always come up to Sac to see a few more. I can honestly say my dream took ten years. I also saved like a mad dog and when the time was right for the family, fufilled the dream.
If you took the cost of the 1998 VW ($21K) and the $ you have put into it ($10K), you could have built a real nice FFR and be driving an older VW, with a bumper skicker that reads "my other car is a COBRA"


[ September 11, 2002, 12:34 AM: Message edited by: TNCobra ]
 

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FFR Craftsman
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5,834 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Ken: I see you read my site. Then you also know I had to have 4 doors to carry my precious rug rats! But you also saw how obsessed I can get, and believe me, I'm passive compared to some of the other VW Passats I've seen (over $20K in "stuff" added.)

The Readers Digest summary is, the VW is NOT a racing car (but I did race it once and took 2nd in G-Stock) and it's time to quit pretending it's anything more than a family car,albeit a pretty sporty one!


I'll try and keep up with events where these snakes can be found and try and get the wife to attend.
 

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Administrator
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9,772 Posts
Welcome! It took me 5 years to buy my first FFR. All those FFR newsletters and post cards will wear you down!
 
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