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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2020, 10:09 AM
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Tubular chassis are best made from thin wall high strength tubing, either 4130 or 4340. The construction requires TIG welding and a good geometric design. It is typically a preferred chassis design for race cars but not so much for street cars. One of the exceptions to that was the Mercedes 300 SL Gull Wing Coupe.

You begin to better understand the reason a tube chassis is a poor non-race car choice if you do a 300 SL restoration. The tubing is always subject to the normal rust incursions from external scratches that penetrate the painted (or other) protective covering applied to the chassis after fabrication.

What is not so apparent is the rusting / oxidation that occurs on the inside of the tube, in particular at the welds because very few fabricators (including Mercedes) will flood the chassis tubing with argon while welding to protect the weld on the inside of the tube. Although protected on the exterior, the interior of all the tubes is raw unprotected steel, inparticular at the weld joints.

You prevent weld blow out during fabrication by drilling small 0.060" holes in the tubing to allow the heated air to outgas during welding to avoid blowing out the weld filler before it can solidify. Those same construction artifacts are the entry point for moisture that will later invisibly but most certainly rust the chassis from the inside out making the car dangerous to drive.

300 SL restorations will frequently require significant portions of their space frame chassis to be refabricated with new tube because there is no repair other than replacement for rust damage. Looking at the condition of the chassis tubing in the underside shots I would be highly suspect of the chassis integrity today.

At the time of manufacture, depending on the skills set of the fabricator, it may have been a good race car chassis. Looking at the pics posted it lacks the symmetry and form of a well designed space frame not withstanding the potential rust damage on both the inside and outside of the tubing.

This was an excellent car to not buy. When these types of cars appear it is normally to a buyer's advantage to put as much distance between themselves and the car as possible. It is simply somebody else's headache that they have finally grown tired of and are looking for another person to assume ó it is better not to be that person.


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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2020, 11:10 PM
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I truly hope you guys are correct.

I just couldn't enough in the pictures to be certain of anything.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:50 AM
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From the way it looks, that car surely wasn't built yesterday. From the grease and grime, it has quite a few miles on it already and probably hard ones at that. Obviously, somebody had to do something right for it to make it this far along.

Compared to some of the rotted out POS that I see on the roads around Ohio, I would drive that car any day.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:03 AM
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Very interesting write up by eschaider, I remember watching a episode of Wheeler Dealers where Ed China had to replace a chassis in a TVR due to corrosion, apparently a common issue for those particular cars.
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:26 AM
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Not sure where the original poster went but I think it would help to have a lot more pictures to evaluate the car from.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:45 AM
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We all have gotten so used to looking at the original Cobras that we forget they were very rudimentary cars built in England as an inexpensive common man's racer. The Maserati Birdcage, early Porsche 908- 917's & Mercedes 300SL used this sort of chassis design.

The question is how well the frame was engineered. I am in the middle of a Locost 7 build right now as well and it uses a similar design. But Colin Chapman had designed a very robust frame and it had been race proven and improved over time.

Only close inspection will validate if it is a well built design or a death trap. Wait- in the hands of an inexperienced driver (sic-me), any car is a death trap!

I would tend to believe that even if it is well done and brought back to life, potential buyers in the future will be limited because it is quite different from what we have become accustomed to seeing as replicas. Whether they are close copies or less expensive square perimeter frame replicas, we have grown to expect a certain design.

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Old 09-16-2020, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagowil View Post

Only close inspection will validate if it is a well built design or a death trap. Wait- in the hands of an inexperienced driver (sic-me), any car is a death trap!

I would tend to believe that even if it is well done and brought back to life, potential buyers in the future will be limited because it is quite different from what we have become accustomed to seeing as replicas. Whether they are close copies or less expensive square perimeter frame replicas, we have grown to expect a certain design.

Thom
To reiterate: Without proof of origin and thus the robustness of the design (ie, from someone that has a history, or a one-off garage built home welding job) even restored it will be a difficult sell. Carefully consider putting a whole lot of money into it.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 09-20-2020, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyridin' View Post
From the way it looks, that car surely wasn't built yesterday. From the grease and grime, it has quite a few miles on it already and probably hard ones at that. Obviously, somebody had to do something right for it to make it this far along.

Compared to some of the rotted out POS that I see on the roads around Ohio, I would drive that car any day.
Ditto. We don't even know how much he paid for it or if it might have been given to him.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 09-20-2020, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobjshelbys View Post
To reiterate: Without proof of origin and thus the robustness of the design (ie, from someone that has a history, or a one-off garage built home welding job) even restored it will be a difficult sell. Carefully consider putting a whole lot of money into it.
LOL..most of the old race cars out there had frames made in a garage. Probably most of the Cobra manufacturers out there today started in their garage with no history.

If he cleans it up and puts it for sale for the right price, it will be gone fast.
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:03 PM
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Another hit and run, highly disappointed end user. Having been seduced by the Ford vs Ferrari movie and thought he was getting a fantastic, once in a lifetime deal on a Cobra (real or replica, who knows). So excited are they to find out how well they made out on an unsuspecting seller, they last logged in on 09-11-2020 10:22 PM

Call me cynical, but I'm betting they did not like what they read about their new toy.


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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 09-20-2020, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyridin' View Post
LOL..most of the old race cars out there had frames made in a garage. Probably most of the Cobra manufacturers out there today started in their garage with no history.

If he cleans it up and puts it for sale for the right price, it will be gone fast.
LOL twice. When a racer builds a car, he puts himself and only himself at risk. When someone builds something like this and leaves no history of the engineering, everyone down the chain is at risk. Maybe it's great. Probably it's not.

I wouldn't buy it for scrap.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 09-20-2020, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mrmustang View Post
Another hit and run, highly disappointed end user. Having been seduced by the Ford vs Ferrari movie and thought he was getting a fantastic, once in a lifetime deal on a Cobra (real or replica, who knows). So excited are they to find out how well they made out on an unsuspecting seller, they last logged in on 09-11-2020 10:22 PM

Call me cynical, but I'm betting they did not like what they read about their new toy.


Bill S.

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2020, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by twobjshelbys View Post
LOL twice. When a racer builds a car, he puts himself and only himself at risk. When someone builds something like this and leaves no history of the engineering, everyone down the chain is at risk. Maybe it's great. Probably it's not.

I wouldn't buy it for scrap.
Puts himself only at risk? Are you kidding? Depending on the car, he could be putting hundreds of people supposedly at risk.

If you are so scared, maybe you need to get off the road. Lots of dangerous cars out there on a daily basis. Like I said...I live in Ohio. This car is probably safer than 25% of the factory built rot buggies on the road right now.
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by joyridin' View Post
Puts himself only at risk? Are you kidding? Depending on the car, he could be putting hundreds of people supposedly at risk.

If you are so scared, maybe you need to get off the road. Lots of dangerous cars out there on a daily basis. Like I said...I live in Ohio. This car is probably safer than 25% of the factory built rot buggies on the road right now.
Then you should buy it! No?
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Old 09-21-2020, 03:03 PM
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Then you should buy it! No?
I have one. Have you quit driving yet? Never know what is out there. The road is a scary place! Just think...if everybody had the same thought process as you, there would be no Cobras on the road except the originals. For that matter, there would be nothing on the road considering every car out there started out in somebody's basement or garage.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 09-21-2020, 04:31 PM
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Tony is right. From the appearance of the chassis and it's fabrication, the original fabricator did not have a firm grasp of space frame design geometry or construction. There is no indication what type of tubing was used for the chassis but I would bet dollars to donuts it was not 4130 or 4340. It is a virtual certainty it was mild steel tube. There are already chassis tubes that have experienced either some type of impact that bent them or the original fabricator did not use a chassis jig and something as simple as a measuring tape.

This car for all the reasons Mr. Mustang (Bill) has already mentioned, plus it's suspect and questionable chassis design not to mention the highly suspect fabrication lineage is not just a good thing to pass on it is a potentially dangerous vehicle to put on the road.

There is a difference between appropriately encouraging someone who is engaged in a tough but worthy project and blowing smoke up someone's arse about a mechanical aberration that minimally for safety considerations likely should not be driven.

The main chassis tubes on this frame do not look parallel up front under the engine. Is that because of an accident that would not allow the chassis to be properly repaired or was the tubing layed out that carelessly during fabrication? This is a stand back don't touch it car that may well experience a mechanical chassis failure at some time in the future — probably sooner rather than later.

While there are no close up views of the welds on the chassis tubing, if they are like the oil pan, the car is an even more unattractive and very likely a dangerous choice.

The OP should have done his research before purchasing .


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Last edited by eschaider; 09-23-2020 at 06:50 PM.. Reason: Spelling & Grammar
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2020, 05:03 AM
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Considering I can't see anything clearly above the bottom plane, I wouldn't draw any conclusions on the quality of the design. Seeing the dirt coating on what we can see, it has apparently survived for some miles.
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:13 AM
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Considering I can't see anything clearly above the bottom plane, I wouldn't draw any conclusions on the quality of the design. Seeing the dirt coating on what we can see, it has apparently survived for some miles.
Looks to me like it sat in flood water.

Doesn't anything think the fuel pumps are a death trap??? We had a similar discussion not too long ago.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2020, 02:31 PM
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No stress cracks that we can see, however we havenít looked throughly for that yet.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:23 PM
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No stress cracks that we can see, however we havenít looked throughly for that yet.
Can we get more pictures from all sides? As you can see there is some disagreement as to whether it's a deathtrap or not!

Either way this is an intriguing build and I for one would like to lay eyes on more of it.
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