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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 1 Post By xb-60
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Old 03-13-2023, 02:21 PM
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Hey yall
Got a couple of questions for you. How many go old school with a 4 speed top loader? Not worried about drivability or gas milage or engine wear. Just good old fashioned fun? Also, How about accessories, such as power steering or power brakes. Not looking to save money just like the looks of the engine area with extra stuff. Thanks, and I'm happy to be here.
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Old 03-13-2023, 04:09 PM
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Greetings donno, and welcome.
Yes, I must be "old school" ....I'm using a Toploader. Originals didn't use an overdrive gearbox, so why should I?
I am using a higher geared rear end, so my overall gearing is like a five speed without a first gear. I'm not planning on being in traffic that often

Cheers!
Glen
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Old 03-13-2023, 04:18 PM
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If you decide on a Toploader, you probably want to get the wide ratio version. I had the wide ratio in my street cobra and I use the close ration in the race car. 1st gear in the close ratio is really tall and you will be predominantly in first gear for city driving. As Glen suggested, go with a rear end in the 3.54, 3.31, 3.27 range. You do not want something in the 4.10 or 3.90 range for street driving, unless you plan on racing from stop light to stop light, as the exhaust gets pretty loud at higher rpms and your hearing will suffer.

Good luck.

Jim
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Old 03-13-2023, 10:06 PM
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I have a close ratio toploader with 3.73 gears and first gear still seems too tall. I would love to trade for a wide ratio 4 speed. My Cobra has a 427 sideoiler and runs about 3000 rpm’s at 65 mph. I do not have any amenities such as power steering, brakes, heat, air or stereo. I just love the sound of the car.
I’m located in central California so I have plenty of good weather to drive it in.
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Old 03-13-2023, 10:08 PM
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Also if you are ever in or near Ripon California look me up and we can take my Cobra for a ride.
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Old 03-14-2023, 06:10 AM
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I've owned a Hi-Tech Motorsport 427 S/C with a 496 FE for 29 years. The trans is an aluminum case David Kee wide-ratio Toploader. Rear end ratio is 3.70. The car has manual steering, manual brakes and no air conditioner.

I rarely drive on an interstate, so the trans/rear combination I have is good for my driving style. If I drove this car frequently on an interstate I would have a transmission with an overdrive.
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Old 03-14-2023, 08:33 AM
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Unless you do nothing but drive on local roads (and/or are deaf), I'd highly recommend a TKX...
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Old 03-14-2023, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strictlypersonl View Post
Unless you do nothing but drive on local roads (and/or are deaf), I'd highly recommend a TKX...
Apparently some have encountered QC problems.
Video is from 2022 and Tremec may have already addressed.
Skip to 5:00 if you want to get to the point:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sijHVUiltg

Broken shifter:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-7mZ9rVY3c

This guy pounds the crap out of the TKX at HP limits.
Appears to hold together even with +600hp repeated hard launch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-7mZ9rVY3c
Some viewer comments state difficulty shifting at high RPM.
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Old 03-14-2023, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strictlypersonl View Post
Unless you do nothing but drive on local roads (and/or are deaf), I'd highly recommend a TKX...
+1 on this above ⬆︎ OP. Forget the period correct perfection stuff. That is for million dollar show cars and people who have a special dedication to a car that is destined to be a show car queen.

If you drive you car, like most of us do, you want it to look like a Cobra but with modern tech and equipment for strength, reliability, and fun in driving. These cars were not just race cars in their day, they were the race cars at the top of the heap that everyone tried to beat.

The originals were not built to be nice street driven cars they were built to be unbeatable race cars without any real concessions for streetability. If the cars were not as spectacular a performer as they were and there were not as many of us wowed by their awesomeness, the replica market would never have happened — but it did!

It not only happened but it brought 90+% of the race car genealogy with it. That means anything you can reasonably do to mitigate the damage the race car genes can wreak upon our bodies (and it is a lot) — the better the car is to physically be around, while running or more importantly being driven.

As nice as the old TopLoaders are the new Tremecs are stronger, shift better and make better in-town and highway vehicles out of cars that can be real rascals.

Go modern tech wherever you can without compromising the original visuals of the car — and that means engine and drive train. An interesting thought someone recently came up with was to use an exhaust cutout in sort of the reverse manner it was originally conceived.

Instead of providing open exhausts when it was actuated it was plumbed to provide under car muffled exhaust when not actuated and much louder side pipe exhaust when actuated. After a few highway experiences at highway speeds using a 3.70 R&P and a non over drive four speed, close ratio or wide ratio doesn't matter, your ears will ring for hours afterward if not days. Did I forget to mention you would be doing damage to your hearing?

Be smart, don't get sucked into period correct this and that. In the end you bought / built this car to be a weekend attitude adjustment vehicle. Make it look as much like an original as you can afford to and use as much modern tech to introduce reliability and civility to a car that was otherwise built without compromise to win races against the best in the world sixty years ago.

Look at my engine and transmission choices. They are absolutely period incorrect. I make just under 700 at the tire which is about 300 too much! The engine will start in subzero weather at the flick of the key and also in Death Valley or up in Denver — it simply doesn't care! The car had a 3.55 R&P which was unmanageable. I went to a 3.08 and finally a 2.73. Now it cruises at 65mph or so at only 1400 rpm and it pulls like a Massey Fergusson tractor from idle without bucking or farting. If you are silly enough, you can light the tires in any gear up through fourth by just rolling into the throttle. Be careful what you both wish for, and build — sometimes you will surprise yourself. These are light cars.

Build the car you want, the way you want it, and then enjoy it — which is why you began this whole journey in the first place. Don't build more horsepower than you need and don't ever get crazy while driving it, you will be happier ...
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Last edited by eschaider; 03-14-2023 at 04:04 PM.. Reason: Spelling & Grammar
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Old 03-14-2023, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaider View Post
+1 on this above ⬆︎ OP. Forget the period correct perfection stuff. That is for million dollar show cars and people who have a special dedication to a car that is destined to be a show car queen.

If you drive you car, like most of us do, you want it to look like a Cobra but with modern tech and equipment for strength, reliability, and fun in driving. These cars were not just race cars in their day, they were the race cars at the top of the heap that everyone tried to beat.

The originals were not built to be nice street driven cars they were built to be unbeatable race cars without any real concessions for streetability. If the cars were not as spectacular a performer as they were and there were not as many of us wowed by their awesomeness, the replica market would never have happened — but it did!

It not only happened but it brought 90+% of the race car genealogy with it. That means anything you can reasonably do to mitigate the damage the race car genes can wreak upon our bodies (and it is a lot) — the better the car is to physically be around, while running or more importantly being driven.

As nice as the old TopLoaders are the new Tremecs are stronger, shift better and make better in-town and highway vehicles out of cars that can be real rascals.

Go modern tech wherever you can without compromising the original visuals of the car — and that means engine and drive train. An interesting thought someone recently came up with was to use an exhaust cutout in sort of the reverse manner it was originally conceived.

Instead of providing open exhausts when it was actuated it was plumbed to provide under car muffled exhaust when not actuated and much louder side pipe exhaust when actuated. After a few highway experiences at highway speeds using a 3.70 R&P and a non over drive four speed, close ratio or wide ratio doesn't matter, your ears will ring for hours afterward if not days. Did I forget to mention you would be doing damage to your hearing?

Be smart, don't get sucked into period correct this and that. In the end you bought / built this car to be a weekend attitude adjustment vehicle. Make it look as much like an original as you can afford to and use as much modern tech to introduce reliability and civility to a car that was otherwise built without compromise to win races against the best in the world sixty years ago.

Look at my engine and transmission choices. They are absolutely period incorrect. I make just under 700 at the tire which is about 300 too much! The engine will start in subzero weather at the flick of the key and also in Death Valley or up in Denver — it simply doesn't care! The car had a 3.55 R&P which was unmanageable. I went to a 3.08 and finally a 2.73. Now it cruises at 65mph or so at only 1400 rpm and it pulls like a Massey Fergusson tractor from idle without bucking or farting. If you are silly enough, you can light the tires in any gear up through fourth by just rolling into the throttle. Be careful what you both wish for, and build — sometimes you will surprise yourself. These are light cars.

Build the car you want, the way you want it, and then enjoy it — which is why you began this whole journey in the first place. Don't build more horsepower than you need and don't ever get crazy while driving it, you will be happier ...
Thanks for the good info. I did take issue with the last sentence though! Too much HP? Never heard of her!

Last edited by donno; 03-14-2023 at 04:35 PM..
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Old 03-14-2023, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by donno View Post
Thanks for the good info. I did take issue with the last sentence though! Too much HP? Never heard of her!
Seriously. Most people put north of 500HP with bored/stroked new engines (be they Windsor or FE). The net result of so much hp and torque from the new engines is the inability to put said horsepower consistently to the ground. The high hp cars are notorious for breaking the wheels loose. If you're lucky it's just a pucker event, if not it's a curb, tree or other large immovable object. There is a recent topic with lots of feedback from a person flaunting this.

Having had a 550hp engine in my 427 CSX4000 car, my next Cobra would be (should I miracously suddenly be 20 years younger) a 289 car. The HP you get out of the smaller engines is more closely matched resulting a track car that won most of the races anyway and is much more street friendly. You see videos of it everywhere - someone with a high hp car making a every day ordinary left turn and suddenly into a oversteer spin in the wrong lane. Someone a bunch of years ago downshifted to pass on I25 in Denver and the rear end suddenly spun out. It was a fatality. The short wheelbase exacerbates this tendency.

In summary, much north of 500hp/high 400s torque results in a car that I was always second guessing about what would happen next.

Just 2c from someone who experienced it.

(I'll wager there are others that rolled their eyes and said "you can think that but shouldn't say it").
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Last edited by twobjshelbys; 03-14-2023 at 06:48 PM..
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Old 03-14-2023, 06:25 PM
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Donno,

Pay attention to what Tony and the rest of us are saying about how squirrely these cars are with high horsepower. You are hearing the truth before you crash. The car will absolutely surprise you beyond your wildest imagination / expectations.
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Old 03-14-2023, 08:57 PM
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Good points Tony! I have to think of the Grandpappy of the Cobra, the tiny Bristol powered AC Ace, with a whopping 125 Hp at the crank! Not only did one win it's class at Le Mann's, they also won their class's in SCCA racing five times in a row! Starting in class E, then bumped up to class D and finally class C, where they had to play with the big boys. Plus, the small block racing Cobra's, which made the legend, were only putting out 385 hp at the crank, with out even an alternator. Were those guys not men? Cheers, Dennis
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Old 03-14-2023, 09:32 PM
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Were those guys not men?
When you consider also they were racing on bias ply tires at close to 200mph then, yeah...
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Old 03-15-2023, 06:58 AM
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After reading the Cobra lecture I'm thinking about transitioning to a Miata with a 6-speed automatic.

Yet...from inception, the Cobra experience for us, wife included, was and is a vehicle that is out of the ordinary that includes the raw features of that type car. It's a fun driving experience, for a while. Which is exactly how I drive it. I still get chill bumps when I first start it. I built it for short time driving experiences.

In contrast, my daily driver for many years was a 106 horsepower Toyota Yaris.
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Last edited by HTM101; 03-15-2023 at 08:29 AM..
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