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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-07-2023, 04:12 AM
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In the early days of Shamrock parts availability (manual transmission) was a challenge in SA. As was legroom in their "Mk1". Legroom didn't improve much later on, nor did their knowledge and skills. Once automatic, always automatic...

In 2002 they refused to even upgrade to knock-off wheels which were cheap from WAW/Wheelcraft. Anyway, I digress...

Not that there weren't a few manual cars.

With my 6'4" I didn't really fit in any Shamrock. Even with the seat padding reduced to Zero.

All else being equal, as in no parts sourcing problems or space, a manual is the way to go in this car. All you wrote about being told it's easier on the drivetrain and there is enough power is all BS. They just couldn't do it.

You can adapt a Toyota 21R (weak, but can be upgraded), Jaguar (scarce), Toploader...
GILO in Johannesburg has adapter bellhousings. Go with what they offer.

But first make sure you can add a clutch pedal. And a clutch slave cylinder between bellhousing and frame rails.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2023, 09:52 AM
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A manual transmission is a major part of the Cobra experience.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2023, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whodeeny View Post
A manual transmission is a major part of the Cobra experience.
I wonder if this love of manuals in sports cars is a part of the American driving culture where autos are the 98% norm in cars and manuals so rare as to denote sporty competent drivers with good driving skills and give rise to positive comment at car shows. Here in South Africa up to a few years ago manuals where the absolute norm in all cars and never built up the kudos for sports driving. Autos used to be almost by special order.

Hence many South Africans are happy with Autos in their Cobras - its maybe a mindset thing.

I must admit that it doesn't matter to me whether my Cobra is manual or auto but now that I have driven the auto for many years I am more than happy with it for 98% of the use profile - especially since traffic got heavier and hence trip speeds slower.

The tunable Vacuum module recently installed is also nice as I can now play with auto shift points. (Maybe need to install a remote adjustment knob rather like a remote brake balance bar adjuster so experimentation is easier another job for the job jar???)
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2023, 01:49 AM
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If you want an automatic transmission, buy a Toyota Prius...
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2023, 05:51 AM
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It’s a personal preference but twice my wife talked me into buying autos for my personal cars. The first was a new 85 Corvette that I sold a 66 427 Vette to buy. It was booooring! Even putting louder mufflers didn’t help. Sold it after 3 years and about 3,000 miles to buy my current 66. Didn’t make any excuses for the fact I was selling it out of boredom. Twenty five years later I forgot - weakened and bought a used 2008 Mustang GT auto for a daily driver following all her - I won’t be able to drive if you get a manual BS. Again - boring. In somewhat a stroke of good luck another driver hit me a year later and totaled it without injuring me. So I went shopping for another one and told her that in no uncertain terms or conditions I was buying a manual transmission. I had had enough of this - I can’t drive a manual BS and she should stick to her nanny car. And I went through another Mustang GT and Shelby GT350. Now, since I’m retired and don’t have to commute or do much of anything else I don’t want to, I do drive her old leftover Highlander for a runaround to Dr appointments, and Walmart or Lowe’s. And that’s OK because I have sold off the Shelby and bought another old car and now have 3 other cars with 4 speed manuals I can drive for fun anytime I want to. But again, if an auto works for you, by all means go that direction.
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Old 03-14-2023, 08:20 PM
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So Mr. Shelby, should have bought a Prius, instead of his last Cobra? Cheers, Dennis
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2023, 05:21 PM
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I just did a frame off refresh on a Shamrock Cobra and I thought long and hard about swapping to a manual myself. The hardest part of this project for me was resisting the urge to turn my fun little car into something way too powerful and challenging for my wife to drive. I stuck with the auto and I'm glad I did. It's much easier to drink my milkshakes and cruise around without shifting. I did the Lokar tail mount shifter with a fairlane boot so it looks just like a stick if you don't notice the missing pedal. I kept the th350 because is was freshly rebuilt and I think that decision was a mistake.I should have swapped to a 700r4 or similar OD trans. The th350 with the 3:30 gear is quick out of the hole but not ideal at interstate speeds.
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Old 03-22-2023, 08:30 PM
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Default 700r4

I have a 700r4 behind a 428FE built with a corvette servo and governor. It shifts at 5500 1to2 and 5200 2/3. I did it for a health reason but with a gated shifter it was a great choice.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2023, 09:00 PM
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That sounds like a nice combo! Carrol had a 428 with a C6. He really liked the 428! I can't find the exact quote, but, he basically said, "how the hell can you tell the difference in HP, between the 427 and 428!" Cheers, Dennis
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2023, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saltshaker View Post
I have a 700r4 behind a 428FE built with a corvette servo and governor. It shifts at 5500 1to2 and 5200 2/3. I did it for a health reason but with a gated shifter it was a great choice.
Jon
I have a gated shifter on mine as well - great choice. My wife rolls her eyes and mutters under her breath "Men never grow up" when I shift across to the gated section at traffic lights when the road is clear because she knows whats coming.
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Old 03-23-2023, 04:22 AM
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I personally like a stick shift, but if you are building the car for resale value or because of what somebody else thinks, you are headed down the wrong path right from the beginning.

It is amazing how many Cobras you see for sale with well under 10k miles. Heck, I put that on in 2-3 years and I live in northern Ohio, which seems to get about 3 weeks of total drive time a year. People buying/building cars for the wrong reason. It is their money of course, but it sure is a lot more fun to be out driving your Cobra than complaining about the fact you can't push in the clutch pedal because your killer engine running on race fuel required a clutch that is so stiff, Arnold Schwarzenegger would have a hard time pushing it in.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2023, 09:06 AM
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While these cars are not investments they have none the less seen prices for quality finished vehicles rise over the last decade or so. That still does not mean they are 'good investments'. That said, they can be bad purchases.

If you build a replica that is not (for the most part) visually similar to the originals, buyers are not as likely to want to purchase your car when you go to sell it (which could be sooner than you thought) and will likely assign a measurably lower value to the finished replica.

With respect to things like heavy clutches and properly designed actuating mechanisms, deliberately selected clutch assemblies can easily overcome these issues. Even if you choose to design your actuating linkages incorrectly, the use of something like the currently available dual disc clutches offered by firms like McLeod can significantly improve the driving experience. These types of clutches can handle 1000 HP power levels (some higher) with a pedal effort that is less than an OEM grocery getter.

Be deliberate and careful about how you configure and build your replica if things like driving comfort, resale value and personal safety are important to you. These replicas are not like the cars that Detroit builds for sale to the public.

As many have already said (or implied) these are hand made race car replicas replicating a pure race car from over a half century ago. They do not have teams of engineers driving them thousands of miles doing QA testing and vehicle refinements before you get yours, as Hal Copple so eloquently observed. All of that falls on your shoulders. Be careful what you ask for and then build. It might be antithetical to what you expected not to mention quite difficult to sell.

Closing comment / observation; Unlike back in the day, horsepower is easily created today. Do not overreach! These cars were World Champions and raced essentially undefeated with less than 400HP! A gazillion HP is not only not fun to drive, it is outright dangerous for you and those around you. The cars can swap ends on you as quickly as you blink your eyes. Big horsepower does not enhance the driving experience and puts you and others at risk.

Did I mention they can kill you? ...
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2023, 09:05 PM
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Cobra's were not pure race cars, the majority never raced, only a handful were built as outright racers! They did good in SCCA, not as good as the AC Ace 5 straight class championships. The Cobra only had one outright first place finish in FIA races, a MK I car, driven by the great Dan Gurney at Bridgehampton in 1963. As for the FIA Chamionnat du Monde des Constructeurs, ceased to exist before the first tube was cut at AC for CSX2000, so no world championship! The Daytona's did win the Class III in 1965. In 1964, they lost, not because of Monza, but the real last race, the Tour de France. In the Cobra's defense, that race was a diabolical course, designed to kill cars! 64 was no different, with over half the cars not finishing, and one by one all five Cobra's died! Ferrari won again. I do agree, that to many have been told they need way more power then can be put to the road. In the end, build what you want, slandered or auto, it will be more exhilarating then any Corvette! Cheers, Dennis
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Old 03-23-2023, 10:13 PM
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I finally found the exact quote from Carrol on the difference between a 428 and 427. "how do you tell the difference between 425 bhp and 475 bhp?" He also said, 427s would sometimes throw a rod at 3000rpm for no real reason. Cheers, Dennis

Last edited by Harpoon PV2; 04-01-2023 at 10:59 PM..
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Old 03-23-2023, 11:13 PM
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If I recall correctly, from personal experience, the common TH350 or TH400 does downshift when you approach a slow bend in high gear and push the throttle to accelerate.

Depending on vacuum in the manifold.

Also, applying WOT you have a kick.down switch sending the transmission into 2nd or 1st, again depending on vehicle speed and engine vacuum. Not nice in a long bend.

The reverse happens when you accelerate smootly through a bend, lift slightly, and the automatic shifts up.

Not a very controlled manner to drive fast.

What I did have once, if I remember correctly, was a "manual" TH350 which changed gears only when you shifted by hand. It would even roll away from standstill in 3rd, if you so desired.

Good for driving in the snow. Especially with M&S BFGs...

As posted before, a Shamrock may not have enough room for a clutch fork and pedal. Check with someone who has a manual in it.

When I took Jan Nel's Mk1 Shamrock to port almost 20 years ago, I really struggled to find space. But I am 6.4, which is cramped in most Cobras. It had a manual.

Clive C, with the supercharged Shamrock had a manual, if I am not mistaken. 15 years ago. I can't recall why I didn't take his offer to drive it (at Killarney)
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2023, 12:54 AM
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Dominic - what you say might happen but not in my experience - on Killarney race track I can leave it in second (when in gated shift) from entering Hoals Hook to exiting Malmesbury Sweep. Never had an unexpected down or up shift although I am sure that if I left her in drive that might happen. Second gives me up to 160 KPH (100 MPH) and I stay well within my motors torque band. I don't really believe having a manual would make it any more fun having driven the following manual cars on that track - Group N Toyota Conquest 1300 3 Valve; MK1 Racing Golf GTI; 3.6Liter Single Seater and GT40.

I must admit the only manual that I felt added to the experience was the Sequential box in the single seater which was fantastic. I wouldn't mind one in the Cobra although it might not be that much fun in traffic (Finding Neutral can sometimes be tricky - or was in that car).

Off Topic - The car I enjoyed most was the Toyota which opened my eyes to how much fun an under-powered sweet handling car can be to drive in anger. In fact if I ever bought a car for track days that's what I would buy.
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Last edited by Snake2998; 03-25-2023 at 12:58 AM..
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 04-04-2023, 09:23 AM
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Does anyone have a Chev LS and an automatic in theirs? I'm curious as to what will fit in a FFR Roadster? Any 6sp auto boxes out there?
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Old 04-04-2023, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tmatts View Post
Does anyone have a Chev LS and an automatic in theirs? I'm curious as to what will fit in a FFR Roadster? Any 6sp auto boxes out there?

based on that, perhaps there is a nice Corvette in your future? Might fit the bill a bit better... just sayin'.
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Old 04-05-2023, 12:30 AM
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Personally, I like a blown Buick Nailhead with a B&M Hydrostick.

Just sayin' ...
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Old 04-05-2023, 09:12 AM
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Ed, How about a 50's Cobra? A big ol'hairy J2X Cad-Allard, with 3speed GM truck tranny My uncle Dick (Not really my uncle) but we always called him that. He had 2- one for street and one to chase them "Little Furrin Cars" at the track (Ferraris, Maserati, Jags). He'd come in after a race all sweaty & worn out from herding that ol'horse and say I caught and passed a few of "Them Sum of-*****es" Side note: after retiring from racing he owned many Ferraris in his life-time, so you can teach an old dog new tricks Changing the topic back, I had a JCF 289 street, with C-4 Auto and a mild 289 (320HP) very nice driving car, just a little too tame for me, maybe when I get OLD (Gosh I'm only 67yo) I'll buy another Automatic Cobra, but right now it's a 5 or 6 speed. Cheers Tom.
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