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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to find out if anyone out there regrets buying a built cobra rather than building it yourself?

I am in the market to buy one but I have been wanting to build one for the past few years and now that I can afford it, I am kinda wanting it to be done already.
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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5,560 Posts
I have built 4 now and I never regretted it one bit. The last one is almost done and will be ready for a spring sale. If youre close by, youre welcome to come take a peek or I can send you some pictures. The build can go as fast as a few months or as long as 10 years or more. Depends on how much time you have to devote to the project and how far you stray from the donor/complete kit concept. All the little extra stuff you do adds time and cost to the build. You can get a nice car for reasonable money right now but if you want it your way, you may just have to build it yourself! Good Luck with whatever you decide.

Mike
 

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FFCobra Captain
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Do you want to be done because you cant wait to drive it or because you dont know if you would really stick with it and finish? I would say you need to be honest with yourself and decide if you would have the time to do the project.

Nothing wrong with buying a car tha is done right and making it your own with tweaks over time.
 

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If you have the skills and want to modify, then during the build is the best time. If you have trouble changing your oil or fixing a toilet leak, then finding a quality turn-key is your best bet.

BTW, I bought mine assembled in gel coat. Wasn't right. Disassembled, tossed parts, rebuilt, had fun, lots of mods (much welding required).
 

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I built a Mk3. It was always something I wanted to try, but had never done before. Two challenging years, but I learned a lot and it was really great fun and I love how it turned out. Once it was done though, while driving it is a blast, I missed the building. Had a chance to pick up a nearly new just started Mk4. I'm building again, and once again having a great time.

Having said that, I agree with the other posters. The build is not for everyone. If you are mechanical, and can stick with it, you could probably do it. But if you'd rather be driving than building, maybe consider something that's already built.

Two suggestions: (1) Buy the on-line build manual from Factory Five. It's only $10 and may be the best $10 you could spend. Go through it in detail, and ask yourself if this is something you can do. (2) The build school is another place guys go not only to learn but to decide if it's something they want to do. MCC :: Factory Five Build School
 

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Always changing something
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Build or Buy?

Two + years ago I bought a built Mk3.
For many years I wanted to build one but never had the time (or place). I drooled over Cobras at The LCS and the Woodward Ave. Dream Cruise.
Then I saw an almost perfect (for me) Mk3 on this forum and bought it.
I still have mixed feelings about that. I rationalized that decision on the basis that I would learn a lot about FFR builds by living with, and modifying one. So far modifying has been sufficient, but building is creeping up on me as I approach retirement age.
So far I am happy with my strategy. But there is something missing from my life experience. I stuffed a 421 Buick into a 56 Chevy. I pit crewed at the local dirt tracks. When I was still in grade school I used to take "Motors repair manuals" out of the library and read them cover to cover. I majored in M.E. because I loved cars (really speed and motors).
Bottom line - I need to build a Cobra from scratch.
So choose wisely grasshopper - build now or build later
 

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Senior Charter Member
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I thought about building one prior to my purchase of a completed car. My daily life involves working on cars daily. I was concerned about being tired of it after I was done with the build. I happened to stumble on my car which was just completed before my purchase. That was back in 2006. I was able to drive it almost immediately and every year I have taken on some project to tweak it, make it better to my liking.
When looking for a completed car I wrote down the things I wanted in order of importance. I ended up with a car that was built with all new parts. Total non-donor with a 3-link and was finished cosmetically to my liking.
While this was my best choice for myself there are pros and cons to either way.

Good Luck
 

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section 8
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5,135 Posts
I built most of mine , great fun , met some really cool people , spent a lot of money . Would I do it again , yes , would I change some things , yes. Would I buy a finished car, probably , butt.... you have to look closely at the quality of the parts/construction. I have seen some beautiful craftsmanship here on the forum, look at some pics .Call a builder , go visit look at the cars . You CAN buy a good one at a fair price. How much? depends on what you want ,donor cars are generally cheaper than a non donor ,fun factor is the same. You dont have a location posted so its hard to say who to call .. good luck Bob
 

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I was heading to a kids soccer game and drove past a local car club show. I saw a cobra in the lot. I had some time and pulled in to take a look. I went straight to the car, realized i knew the guy and had seen the car a few years earlier, before I built mine. His car was a very nice Superperformance. Of course having built mine I was very interested in how "they" built this car. As I looked closely, and asked some questions, I realized he really didnt know a lot about how the car was put together.

Any successful person can buy one and enjoy it, but I think the true passion comes from turning the wrenches yourself. I really enjoy saying I built it.

ernest
 

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As stated by many others on this thread, only you can decide what is best. I had every intention of waiting for the Mk4 and building my own. Just prior to it being available, I happened across a finished Mk 3.1. I was able to go over the car with the builder and still talk to him today. I too am getting the itch to build the Mk4, but my son almost had a heart attack when I told him my plan. Looking back, finding one complete was best for me at the time. Looking ahead, I can already see "my" car sitting in the garage with the satisfaction of knowing it was built by me.

Scott
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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I have worked on cars for 50 years, w/ the last 20 as a line tech at a high end Japanese line. But I have bought two on the road FFRs. I don't have the patience to spend a year building, but I absolutely love doing upgrades. I got my current MkII in 07 w/ a Eng Factory 351/400 hp engine and a TKO5oo trans but everything else was bare bones donor stuff. The frame is now up to mkIII specs and it has tons of suspension upgrades,heat, a top, new seats, drop butt mod,new carpet inside and in the trunk etc. Best part is I drove it home from the owner and the longest time i haven't driven it was 7 weeks in Oct/Nov when it was painted.
 

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I have just struggled with the same question, my wife convinced me after many conversations about my plan, that I should buy one that is not built the way I would build it, tear it apart and do the things that I would do to it, and then decide if I have the skill set ands patience to build one from the ground up. So far having purchased one already running has convinced me that I want to build one on my own. It also brought to light how many tools I didn't have so it is giving me the opportunity to get what I need so I am better prepared. I love being able to work on it and still enjoy driving it at the same time. I am convinced that while I build one, I will still need one sitting next to it to drive!:eclipsee_steering:
 

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In my dream world, i would buy one. Drive it. Have fun. Learn exactly what to do differently on my own build, and take all the time in the world to build my own.

Not living in that world, however, I've spent a few years living vicariously through others on this forum, and developed the pictures in my minds eyes. Started building my dream this month.


Sent from my iPhone using AutoGuide.com App
 

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Build or Buy

My neighbor and a friend both bought already built FFR Cobras and for the most part have been very happy with them and they believe they saved some money. My Dad and I recently purchased a Mk4 kit because after looking at several that were for sale we couldn't find one built the way we would do it. We are early in the build but having a lot of fun deciding what to use etc. Sean K
 

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If cost is the determining factor, then buying an already built car (to your liking) is certainly the best way to go.

For the feeling of pride you get and the knowledge you gain, building one from the ground up has it's intangible but large rewards. Of course, you have to have the patience to wait and fortitude to complete the build before you can reap those rewards.

Harbor Freight is a great source to supplement your existing tool set. Not "professional grade", but sufficient for the job at hand.
 

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I had a MKI on order over 10yrs. ago, but things(life) changed. I decided to cancell my order from FF5(they were very understanding). Than about a yr. later a doner FF5 build came up for sale @ a very good price. Build was almost exactly(even right color) what I was going to build, so I bought it! I have made many, many changes(upgrades?) since than. Do I have regrets not building my own roadster? NO!! Well over 80,000+miles & smiles:001_smile:! So, as the old saying goes, "What ever MAKES YOU HAPPY!!", build a roadster, or buy a built one, the choice is yours--
HTH
Butch
 

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Unconventional Builder
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Depending on your skills and free time the build will test your fortitude. When I bought my kit 07/08 $$ were a concern so I purchased and untouched non donor kit and I already had my donor. It was a tough road to hoe, it took over 4 years for me to get to tagged in gel coat. Going into the 4th year I would look in my garage at essentially a $20k car sculpture and was second guessing my choice to build. I am a driver not a builder, I work full time and have a family, children, grand kids etc so life regularly got in the way. I mistakenly thought it was going to take me 2 years:confused:.

Now that I am driving I love it. I beat on mine pretty hard so I like the comfort of knowing if it breaks I can fix it. I even had the opportunity to rebuild my motor the winter after go kart. I AutoX'd the go kart.

So as said what do you want out of this journey? To drive an FFR soon then buy a nearly completed or finished one. If you want to immerse yourself in the build get a kit. If I did it again given todays market for finished ones I would probably buy an unpainted one with the suspension setup I wanted and a stockish 302.
 

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Actual builder now!
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This may sound funnyand it is all psychology but I looked at what finished ones cost and decided I couldn't afford it. I know it will likely cost me more to build but a purchase here and a purchase there over time somehow seems less painful.
Having said that I have always lived my life with the attitude that if I can't afford to buy cool stuff that I want then I will learn to build it myself. So I now have a great finished basement with 123 inch drop down screen theatre room complete with bar and 4 peice bathroom, home gym, second story 27 foot wide deck and someday I'll have a cool car that I can proudly say I built. At the moment I am early in the build but still spend lots of time sitting in the garage looking at it thinking "this is so cool".

But hey... that's just me.
 
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