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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-14-2012, 09:56 AM
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Default ERA vs Unique FIA

I have to admit normally Im a pretty compulsive person when it comes to cars. I have been researching these two manufacturers for several years, and still having a hard time deciding which one to go with. I had my mind made up on ERA, but I find myself going back to the Unique full pallet kit.
Budget being the most deciding factor.

If I were building a full race replica hands down it would be the ERA.
But the options Im wanting to incorporate into my build are standard on the Unique full pallet kit, full interior,street dash, wilwood brakes ect. Comparing apples to apples if I wereto option an ERA to the deluxe pallet Unique,I would be looking at about a 7000 dollar differance. If I did my math correctly.

Now on the Unique there are 3 or 4 details that stick out to me, but the biggest is tank location and trunk space. The others are radiator angle, the lack of removable trans tunnel, and it seems the steering wheel sits higher also. I belive this could be fairly easily remidied with a little fab work.

So I guess my question to the owners on the forum is,have I missed any other major details of these cars? The bodies themselves look pretty comparative but the devil is in the details.

Thanks Troy
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:11 AM
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Troy:

In my early days of doing cobra research, I was in the same spot as you....I knew I wanted a 289 car, but liked aspects of both ERA and Unique. In the end, it was ERA for me hands down. Their FIA body is taken from that of an original, and the engineering / attention to detail where it counts is superb. I believe that after viewing these cars for a while, you will be able to easly point out an ERA relative to a Unique. Unique puts together a very nice car, but ERA checked more boxes for me. If you would like to talk more, feel free to shoot me a PM and we can swap phone numbers.

- Allen.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:24 AM
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I looked closely at both Unique and ERA for my 427 S/C. I visited both shops to help with the decision. I finally went with ERA because their car seemed much better in the details. I was impressed with them as well for the level of engineering support they can give. Bob does a great job! Finally, the guy who painted my car was one who paints a lot of Unique cars. He was impressed by the quality of the bodywork and the minimal amount of finish work he had to do.

You won't go wrong with either. Both shops will give you great support throughout the build and afterwards. Again, I strongly recommend a visit to both shops if it's at all possible.

Hal
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:49 PM
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Thanks for the replies Allen and Hal. I havent been able to visit the shops as of yet, but is the plan.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:29 PM
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I think ERA's interior details are much closer to original. If that is important to you then it should be a major point. If it's not that important to you then the Unique is a pretty attractive choice from a bang for the buck point of view. I know Unique has an excellent reputation but there were some subtle engineering and chassis development details with the ERA that helped me decide to go with ERA. A fully bonded chassis/ERA body is a wonderfully rigid and high quality structure.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:45 PM
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If you were ever able to see them side-by side, it would be a very simple decision. The ERA would win hands down.
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Old 07-14-2012, 08:31 PM
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Dan yes interior detail is very important to me, which is why I was leaning toward ERA. Thanks.
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:51 AM
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I was on a budget when I started in on my decision. Looking back, I made the right choice. Unique makes a very solid car, but the ERA just "looks right". I also considered some fab work on a Unique to make things a little more authentic, but then you open a whole new can of worms. The resale market on Cobras isn't as strong as it was 10yrs ago. You should also take that into consideration. If, for some reason, you need to offload the car you need to make sure you know what is selling. I think both sell pretty well, so long as they are built desirably.
I didn't make a trip to either shop before my purchase, I don't think it's necessary. I've since been to ERA & it was a fun trip. Neat to see where it all happens & talk to the guys. But, there is enough info here on the site & people willing to give their testimonials that I just don't see the need, unless you just need to go see for yourself.
The last point I'll make is that you can save a few bucks between the time you put down your deposit & the car actually ships out the door. I made a number of upgrades in that time.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:13 AM
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I don't know where Ashland, MO is, but I have a Unique FIA here in Northwest Arkansas if you want to look at one. Limited pics in my gallery.

Bill
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:05 AM
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Good looking Unique you have there.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:20 AM
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Default If I Were You...

Troy, if I were you, and was approaching a build while watching the pennies, I would go with the ERA over the Unique, but I would cut back on the "easily upgradable" big ticket items. For instance, the seats are just four bolts each and they pull right out. Get them in vinyl and then upgrade them later on down the line to leather (if you're like me, you would just pull them out at the end of the driving season and ship them back to ERA for an upgrade and then reinstall them when the new driving season starts). There are all sorts of pieces that you're not thinking about that can be done "on the cheap" now and then tweaked up later. Here's the ERA options list and prices for both the 289 and 427 cars: http://www.erareplicas.com/427/427options.pdf One area that I would really cut back on would be the engine. I would just put any half-decent, cheap, used SBF and a rebuilt transmission in there for now and then replace them both down the line. That's a one day upgrade some time in the future. Sooooo, if you were looking to save $1300, and the choice was to put in a used Tremec or to powder coat the chassis, I would choose to go ahead and do the powder coating every time (because doing that later is next to impossible). I would splurge on a nice paint job up front though, because that's easier to do at the beginning (although you can do it later with good results). Wheels/Pin Drives, rears, brakes, gauges, body trim, tops, visors, wings, wipers... all of that stuff you can pick and choose to add at a later date. ERAChas started his car off that way, and systematically upgraded it for two decades until it was one of the finest examples around. You can do it incrementally.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:11 PM
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Well said, Patrick.

-Allen.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:48 PM
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I looked at an ERA and a Unique side-by-side, took pictures of the body panels, interior, and engine compartments. Unique was less expensive, but I liked the ERA body better. If I recall correctly, Unique had a "droopy butt" effect when I compared the profile to ERA.

I built my ERA from the basic kit. You can't go wrong with them. Have fun choosing, and love what you drive!

Cheers,
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:22 PM
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Troy, I was in the same situation as you three years ago. I talked to both manufacturers and neither would say a bad thing about each other. However, the deeper you look at the ERA body compared to the Unique, it is just simply more accurate than the Unique. I can spot a Unique FIA a mile away. Side bottom edges do not curl under, droopy rear end, fender flares just aren't right. It is funny you notice these things once you own one. Yes the ERA cost more, I believe your math is correct. I am in one hour west of St. Louis. You are free to take a look at my ERA FIA. Wolfgang
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:36 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Patrick you made avery good point thanks for the reminder that it all doesnt have to be done at once.
The car will be used as primarily a road car, so the basic jag rear, and brakes will do just fine.
I already have the powertrain, 289 w/toploader.
Body and paint will be done by me.
Im considering forgoin the powdercoat and painting the chassis, but thats still up in the air.
That might be one area were the cost outlay outways the extra time of bonding and mounting the body myself. Doug any input on this?

Wolf you are correct, another ERA owner pointed that out to me also, looking at pics of both cars it was just one of those details I overlooked. I think Ill just call ERA this week and nail down what I want and what its gonna cost. Thanks everyone again for your input.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:58 PM
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Thumbs up Unique

Both are great cars and will fill the bill quite nicely. There are some panels on the Unique flares that get left off of some of the competition bodied cars, for some reason, that make the flares wrong (I have them for mine!). Not sure why they do that...

I believe that you are correct, the Unique is going to get you into a quality car for less green. Also, I think you have more options for entry with Unique. Like others have said, they don't bad-mouth each other that I am aware of.

You should realize that everyone is going to vote for whatever brand that they own... that's why they own it. So for that reason I'll advise Unique! That said, If I didn't have the Unique, I'd have the ERA and vice versa: if I had the ERA I'd say, "If I didn't have the ERA, I'd have the Unique." Hope that makes sense.

I'll make the same basic offer as Allen, contact me if you would like to talk more, and we can swap phone numbers.

Good luck with your quest!
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:59 PM
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Troy,

Good advice here. For the time and effort it will save you, having the frame powder coated and the body bonded to the frame is well worth it. There will be plenty of work left for you to do, having ERA do that part of the job is money well spent (IMHO)

Another option would be to find a completed 289 and start from there. Allen's 2124 is a great example of how a car can be personalized when not starting from scratch.

Best of luck with your project!

- Tim
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:09 PM
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Troy,

I went through the same thing you are going through now, 12 years ago. I flew back to New Britain Connecticut and met the guys at ERA. They are a first rate group. I ended up buying ERA 289 FIA # 2047. It proved to be the right decision. The car was perfect. So my vote goes to ERA.

FIA Mike
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:58 PM
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I've owned and built both - a Unique 427 and ERA 427.

After studying both and going down this path back in the mid 90s, the entire time I owned my Unique, the goal was to make it as close to as an ERA as I could on the outside and underneath the body. The day sort of came true when ERA accidentally posted a pic of my Black Unique 427 from a group photo shoot, and had it on their website. It was pictured there for over a year and I finally called them up to break the news to let them know the car was not an ERA, reassuring them it was a Unique . It took a lot of "extra" work and subtle changes all over the car to fool ERA. Hehehe. After having it all done and enjoying it for four great years, I reluctantly sold the Unique, decided later to try the ERA next. The cars are designed and built in different ways, look different, drive different, feel different, handle different. If you are not a detail oriented person, none of this really matters for comparison purposes. It all comes down to details and what you like best for the cost.

You can put as much $ into a Unique to make it look like an ERA. Functionally, they are different driving and feeling cars being super critical. If it were me, I would figure out how to ride in and drive both, and determine what your true budget and real desire is for either car. Good luck on the journey.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:36 AM
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[quote=PDUB;1200378] Like others have said, they don't bad-mouth each other that I am aware of.
QUOTE]

I can vouch for the Weavers anyway. I contacted Unique about a car when I was shopping and use to participate in their forum. They contacted me after I ordered my ERA and had kind of faded away so I told them the reason (buying an ERA). They replied - Well, if your not buying a car from us, I'm glad you're buying one from them (ERA). They seem to be a pretty good bunch of people.

Dan
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