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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2017, 10:29 PM
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Default Cobra in hot weather

I am toying with the idea of getting a Cobra. I would use it for weekend pleasure drives. No racing. Not interested in shows. I want it to be reasonably reliable. I would purchase new, including the motor. I foresee a problem: I live in N California where the summer temperature often exceeds 100 degrees. Yesterday it was 110 on the roads. I understand that Cobras donít come with a/c. Effective a/c is essential where I live. Further, I hear that heat drifts back into the cabin from the engine bay. How do people deal with these issues? Presumably a/c can be fitted. But can it look good, both under-hood and in the cabin, and also be functional? Searching the forum has made me pessimistic. There seems to be no recognized solution.
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:16 AM
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I don't know where in Northern California you live but I live near Shasta Lake and we have had over 65 straight days of temperatures over 100 degrees and yesterday it was 113. Also the air is so full of smoke the last two weeks that it is hard to get out so I don't drive much. I have air conditioning in my Coupe but with these temperatures only my arm and leg where it hits are cool. I have drive less this summer than any summer I can remember. Cobras are not luxury cars and you aren't going to have the coolness in one that you would have in a regular car. As for how the air conditioning looks, all you can see in mine is the vents in the dash and under the hood you hardly notice it.

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Old 09-04-2017, 05:45 AM
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We live in the Northeast and rarely see temps in the 100's but when it does get hot and humid these cars will be very warm inside especially in stop and go traffic. We run with the top on most of the time now because of melanoma fear. Even with the heat these cars are a pure joy to drive. Good Luck
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:57 AM
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In the heat of the summer we go for early morning drives and get back before the heat of the day sets in. Not sure the neighbors are fond of this, but it's better than leaving the car in the garage.
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Old 09-04-2017, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigabloke View Post
I am toying with the idea of getting a Cobra. I would use it for weekend pleasure drives. No racing. Not interested in shows. I want it to be reasonably reliable. I would purchase new, including the motor. I foresee a problem: I live in N California where the summer temperature often exceeds 100 degrees. Yesterday it was 110 on the roads. I understand that Cobras donít come with a/c. Effective a/c is essential where I live. Further, I hear that heat drifts back into the cabin from the engine bay. How do people deal with these issues? Presumably a/c can be fitted. But can it look good, both under-hood and in the cabin, and also be functional? Searching the forum has made me pessimistic. There seems to be no recognized solution.
AC in a Cobra, yes it has been done with a few Factory Five Cobras, Jeff at Whitby offers a kit (CLICK HERE), however, in an open cockpit car such as the Cobra, no top, no side windows, the only area the air conditioning will really work for you is the foot-boxes. The way you post above, I'm really wondering if a Cobra is going to be right for you. It's not anywhere near a modern car, it's not even anywhere near a typical 60's car in regards to ride, creature comforts, etc. Instead, it is a raw automobile, more of a race car for the street than a 100% street car. Sure, back in the day, they were indeed purchased for daily driving, but back then, there were less creature comforts than there are today. Perhaps you want to look at a later model, 2dr convertible that comes with AC and a folding convertible top if you want power (more power than most cobras) and modern conveniences.

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Old 09-04-2017, 07:47 AM
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Not to be rude or harsh but many potential owners with your concerns buy a Corvette.
Anything close to effective A/C means TOP and side curtains, what fun is that? Generally, the top restricts speeds to about 60mph.
Before you commit to a top you should experience ingress / egress. It's not pretty.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:52 AM
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I live in south Florida and the summers tend to be brutal------hot and high humidity. I don't have a/c in my car but I've found the early morning and late afternoon are the enjoyable times to get the car out. Also, I try to stay out of traffic and avoid stoplights. No easy feat in south Florida. Investing in heat shield material may be helpful. I've found the heat isn't really unbearable until you're stuck in traffic or stoplights. The old adage----the faster you go, the cooler it gets-----certainly holds true. If you're the least bit concerned about driving in the heat, I would strongly encourage you to re-think a cobra. They tend to be rudimentary, hot, and noisy creatures that are not necessarily designed for comfort. I'd hate to see you buy a cobra and then not be comfortable driving it. However, if you're like the vast majority of us on this site, you don't give a hoot what the weather conditions are. The smile on your face is more than enough to overcome some sweat in your pants.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:32 PM
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I'll echo what Sailfish said. I'm mid- fl, in Sarasota, and driving a Cobra in the heat and humidity is like driving an oven !!! The traffic and stoplites exacerbate the problem. And in this area there are very few Cobra-worthy roads. My Kirkham, being aluminum, transfers the engine, exhaust, and ambient heat thruout the entire body ! Even short runs will soak your shirt!
I worked for a Backdraft dealer some years ago, and we installed a few a/c (vintage air) systems, but without top and side curtains, you wouldn't get much advantage, but it did help when stopped at a light. And I can tell you that a fiberglass body will provide more heat insulation than aluminum! But where you are you must have cooler seasons ? Most Cobra owners live in areas where their cars are garaged for at least one season (winter), due to weather. What's your weather like in fall, winter, spring ?
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:38 PM
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To the original poster, I would echo what others have said above. If you are even thinking you want or need a/c the Cobra is probably not the car for you. These cars are more like 4-wheel versions of a Harley Davidson motorcycle - but less civilized. After a couple hours of driving you will either be hot (or cold, depending on the weather), your ears will be ringing, your face will be sunburned, and you will smell like gasoline. And you will be laughing your butt off it is so much fun.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:04 PM
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X2 for Ron61's advice. I live in Chico and we have had the same temps, HOT, HOT,HOT this summer. I have not driven mine nearly as much this summer because of the heat. Early mornings and late late evenings. If you want a race car on the street buy a Cobra. If you want something that you can put the top down every once in a while and enjoy the wind blowing thru your hair there are lots of performance convertibles available with a/c.

Having said that, I still would not trade the fun of driving a Cobra in the heat or a 25 degree winter morning.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:37 PM
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It will be hot. The engine is inches from an uninsulated firewall and your feet will bake (even if you have the foot box air vents). I wore sandals all the time. Your feet will get really hot. The rest of you will be hot if you are not moving, but the open cockpit makes it pretty comfortable if you are moving. Think of it as a motorcycle

There is no practical cost effective way to add A/C after the car has been assembled.

Consider a Corvette.
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Old 09-04-2017, 02:47 PM
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South Texas here... with high heat and humidity being the norm. I seldom take the car out in summer... and when I do... it's just as others described... early morning & back by Noon... or in the evening. What I give up in the dead of summer... I gain throughout the other seasons when the weather is more temperate. Our winters are generally pretty mild... MAYBE two freezes... and I look forward to "winter" cruising the most... with fall & spring being a close 2nd. A four wheel Harley is the best way to describe... very good analogy.

I've seen Cobras with AC but... I'm with others... if having AC is a priority... I think you might be happier with something like a convertible Corvette. I don't have a top on my car... and as someone pointed out... I cannot imagine trying to get into my car with a top on it. Basically, I step into the car... and slide/squat down into the seat while I work my feet forward into the pedal box... impossible to do with a hard or soft top on.
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Old 09-04-2017, 03:22 PM
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What Ron61 and Jim Vander Wal said. Personally, I don't drive when it is this hot, but when its not, early mornings and evenings are perfect, and anytime when its not raining. Heat shields around the foot boxes help with heat. If you want a/c and power steering buy a GT or a 'vette.
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:39 PM
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If you want a/c and power steering buy a GT or a 'vette.
There's a thought. My GT is for sale.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:16 PM
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Many thanks to everyone for the wise and friendly responses. What an outstanding forum! I should get a Cobra just to be a real member.

It’s funny; as soon as I had written and posted my question, I knew what the answer was: get a Corvette, or use a Cobra only in the winter months.

I am hardly ever able to drive in the early part of the day. And I want to take friends for rides. The women especially will not appreciate being baked from toe to head.

What a way to enjoy the winter months! -- and always, btw without a top. Always.

I fully get it now, the Cobra is a crude, beautiful brute of a car that is fantastic to drive, but not much more than that. And though I no longer ride, I have motorcycle and roadster DNA. I gotta get something! Not too keen on a Corvette… Maybe a V8 Miata for the summer, and the real thing Cobra for the winter.

Thanks again, guys -- despite the difficulties, I will find a Cobra solution.
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Old 09-04-2017, 09:25 PM
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If comfort is of any concern to you, you don't want a Cobra....

Corvettes are world class GT cars that you can comfortably drive for 600 miles a day in any weather but snow .....

They have every modern safety device and there is a Chevy dealer every 50 miles in America that can fix your car in the unlikely event that anything goes wrong with it...

They cruise at 1800 rpms and while going 80 mph can get 25 miles per gallon and hold the road like a Porsche..

A Cobra is more like a Harley.... that is a little bit more comfortable and a little bit safer..... but not much...

For most of us, it is a third car that is only driven a few thousand miles a year and only for a few hours at a time....in the very best weather...
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:22 PM
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This sounds an awful lot like the guy cense or something like that? New troll?
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:17 AM
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I live in Phoenix Az. I drive my Cobra to work daily. It's easily over 110* everyday. I drive it cause its a Cobra. My Harley doesn't have A/C either.

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Old 09-06-2017, 12:33 PM
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I'm pretty much with the rest of ya'll, here in Austin, early morning and evenings. Besides having excellent insulation everywhere (DEI) to keep the heat out I've added a Cool Shirt System. If the driving is too much fun to call it quits I'll just stop for some ice & water. and drive into the afternoon.
https://coolshirt.com/
Am I the only one using this system in a Cobra?
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AZ Cobra Mike View Post
I live in Phoenix Az. I drive my Cobra to work daily. It's easily over 110* everyday. I drive it cause its a Cobra. My Harley doesn't have A/C either.

Mike.
Yea but Mike you and I are here in Phx where 105F seems cool. We had the sense baked out of us long ago!
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