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96DXCivic Dork
6/2/10 4:28 p.m.

My girlfriend loves Shelby Cobras and I said (like an idiot) if we are still together once I get out of college, I will build you one. I have heard good things about the Factory Five replica but they are a bit pricey. I was thinking about building my own chassis but I would prefer not to build the body. Any places where you can by Cobra bodies or are there cheaper kits available which are any good?

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/2/10 4:50 p.m.

Really if you look at kit versus kit the Factory Five Roadster is very affordable and will actually handle.

Some of the other cars are kinda scary once the throttle is applied.

carguy123 SuperDork
6/2/10 4:54 p.m.

Having had 3 replicas FF is the way to go. You'd be amazed at how badly most Cobra kits handle, but the FF using stock bits and pieces works very well. Well, well for a Cobra kit.

Also another big issue with Cobra kits is footwell size and pedal spacing. Most of them have the pedals offset to one side and in an emergency you'll hit the wrong pedal.

Look for a dropped pan so that you can actually sit in one without your left knee bent and sticking up above the side of the car.

Just keep in mind this is not a civilized car. It squeaks, rattles and is less comfortable than many race cars but it doesn't really handle race car good. It was good for the sixties but every present day car handles and feels better than the Cobra

turboswede GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/2/10 5:23 p.m.

How about a Solstice with a Cobra body kit?


Or a Miata?


Add LSx for power and proper noise and you'll have more reliability, better handling and less cost!

I think the Aston Martin kit on a Miata with a LSx would be better looking, IMHO

Anyway, the FF kits are the easiest way to get to a Cobra these days. The other kits are well, difficult and many of the companies are downright thieves at worst.

You can however buy most the body parts yourself and build your own frame. they are stupidly simple, just two large tubes with a bunch of small tubes in place to hold the body up. They really are like V8 powered skate boards.

Gimp GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/2/10 6:23 p.m.

Go FF and build someone else's failed project. Best bang for the buck.

Apexcarver SuperDork
6/2/10 6:45 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: but it doesn't really handle race car good.

I have some friends who would take exception to that

One friend just became NE SCCA divisional champion in XP with his FFR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NS0O4fYEOI

They are not a factory car, but they can and have been developed into VERY fast machines. I think they do lie somewhere between production and "full race" (ala a GT1 machine or such), but they can be developed into quite the racecar.

At our local autocrosses FTD trades between 3 camps, BM formula cars, E&D mod 7esq machines, and lately the lions share goes to the XP cobras. There isnt much in the way of production based machines that could touch them. It would be easy to dismiss as one freak car, but we have 3 different cobras with 3 different drivers who have claimed FTD.

carguy123 SuperDork
6/2/10 6:52 p.m.

Let me put it this way, ones who try to emulate the set up and suspension of yesteryear or do the builds like the book are not great handlers.

There have been a couple of Cobra manufacturers who have tried to improve the breed, and been shunned by the Cobra afficienados.

It's a light car that feels very heavy and uses heavy bits in all the wrong places if you build it like the book. You can improve anything, but Cobra guys think it's a sacrilige to do so.

pres589 Reader
6/2/10 7:09 p.m.

We're supposed to care what "Cobra guys" think? You're already building a visual knock-off of their extremely expensive car so at that point...

nderwater Reader
6/2/10 7:16 p.m.
Apexcarver wrote: One friend just became NE SCCA divisional champion in XP with his FFR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NS0O4fYEOI

Everything about that car makes me happy inside.

NYG95GA SuperDork
6/2/10 7:20 p.m.

Another vote for Factory Five.

Klayfish New Reader
6/2/10 7:55 p.m.

I owned a Factory Five for almost 5 years, sold it a few years back. Proud to say that my wife and I even helped found the local Cobra replica club and there's now an annual show that draws 40+ Cobras.

There are many Cobra loyalists who say it's sacrilige to build anything but an exact replica of the original...even though it's not an original. But others, like me, say build it to what makes you happy. I liked the FFR for many reasons. They were designed around Mustang parts, so easy and relatively cheap supply. They were one of the lightest kits, my car with a 351W weighed 2200lbs empty. Could be made to handle well with the right steering rack and a panhard bar in the rear. And they were tough as nails.

Lots of other kits out there. Backdraft comes from South Africa and uses BMW 3 series parts. They obviously handle well...as short wheelbase/high horsepower cars go. But are more pricey.

To the OP, I strongly suggest getting a pre-made kit, from FFR or anyone else, rather than trying to fabricate your own chassis. It'll make your life much easier.

TJ Dork
6/2/10 9:45 p.m.

The original Cobra is one of those cars of legend. The replicas are so plentiful that I assume all cobra-like cars are replicas and never really pay much attention to them other than giving the driver a thumbs up if I see him on the road - I figure that's why most people buy/build/drive one is for the attention.

That said, if I were to build one I would start looking at the factory five kit. There must be hundreds of others out there selling their own kits, but how many have a spec racing series?

96DXCivic Dork
6/2/10 9:52 p.m.

Well anyone know where I can I get just a body?

patgizz GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/2/10 10:02 p.m.
96DXCivic wrote: Well anyone know where I can I get just a body?

usbody.com has them and tons of others.

integraguy HalfDork
6/2/10 10:09 p.m.

A Cobra "body" on a Miata is just plain sacriligious(sp?).

I have no experience with any kit cars, but have seen a kit, I think, for turning a 240Z into a Daytona Cobra Coupe...too bad your g.f. doesn't like the closed car variant.

a401cj New Reader
6/3/10 8:24 a.m.

just build her a T-bucket instead

If she insists on Cobra then I'd say FF all the way. There is no way I'd attempt to build anything else

grimmelshanks Reader
6/3/10 8:31 a.m.


Cotton HalfDork
6/3/10 8:32 a.m.

I plan to do a factory five eventually. After 3 restorations on rusty cars it will be a blessing to work on something with new parts.

carguy123 SuperDork
6/3/10 8:50 a.m.

You know there used to be a hundred Cobra replica companies around and now there's mostly just FF. They ran most of them out of business because the other's kits were too time consuming and hard to build. The classifieds abounded with unfinished kits, now you hardly see an unfinished kit out there.

1988RedT2 New Reader
6/3/10 9:22 a.m.

Perhaps it bears mentioning that the Factory Five roadster made it into the "25 Best Cars EVER" article in a recent issue of an automotive periodical that some of us read on occasion.

Appleseed SuperDork
6/3/10 9:27 a.m.


kreb GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/3/10 9:34 a.m.

With the economy, Cobra prices have dropped a lot:


18 grand for a FF that looks 95 percent. Two years ago, that'd fetch 10 grand more.

Spinout007 GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/3/10 10:07 a.m.

FF cobra all the way, I recently got to watch a few of em tear up a track.. I wanted one badly that day.

amg_rx7 HalfDork
6/3/10 10:11 a.m.

I wouldn't invest that much time and energy unless I was happily married to said girl.

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/3/10 10:13 a.m.

FF is obviously doing something very right. They walked into a saturated marketplace and completely dominated it. I've read that FF sells more kit cars than the rest of the industry combined, and based on the numbers I've seen I'd believe that. You can tell they operate on a different level than almost any other kit manufacturer on the planet. I'm hoping they come out with a Lotus Seven kit someday

That said, Cobras do nothing for me. In most cases they're the automotive equivalent of a dentist riding a Harley. Yes, there are a bunch that get raced and I love to see and hear it. But for every one that does, there are ten that simply drive around with lawn chairs in the back.

In our town, there are possibly more Cobra replicas than there are turbo Miatas - seriously. Yet, when we have a track day, we have a bunch of turbo Miatas and one Cobra that's shown up twice.

That said, I could see myself building a FFR Coupe. Gorgeous.

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