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Old 11-16-2003, 01:00 PM
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Default The seldom seen Johnex.....

A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to purchase a near new Johnex 427-DD from the original owner. This car was sold new in 2000 and was originaly the chassis display car at the House of Cobras when they were in Orange, Ca. and promoting it as their high end offering. It has a beautifully constructed tubular chassis with the unusual De Dion linked rear suspension.

Since I've started to meet people in the replica Cobra world (hauled it from Arizona to DVFS-3) most have told me that they have heard of Johnex, but...... I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't said that mine is the first they've seen.

Of coarse Johnex is long gone now and apparently one of these is rarer than the "real" thing.

I have no idea how many of these cars exist. I understand that they were initally sold as kits in Canada and later as a turnkey-minus with the CSC chassis thru HOC here in the US. I can say that the one I have is a beautifully executed piece. I don't know if it was a factory completed car or possibly was finished by HOC as a promotional tool for their bussiness deal with Johnex.

Anyone else out there that owns one of these things that was factory or HOC completed and can shed some light ?

BTW....... I finally got around to taking some pics yesterday and put them in the gallary. Anyone interested in seeing a now extinct species of snake can click on the camara to check it out.
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Old 11-16-2003, 04:02 PM
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Marc, you've got a great car! Some people have had issues with the original ownership but no one can argue with the quality of the Johnex chassis. Fortunately, Kobra Motor Company has all the Johnex tooling and continue to produce the car:
http://www.kmcobras.com./products/index.html
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Old 11-16-2003, 06:48 PM
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Marc,

The Johnex is a very nice car and I drove a few of them that HOC had and I found them to be quite pleasant and well behaved vehicles. You purchased a nice piece.

However, I did not know that they built a DeDion rear suspension. I would like to see photos of this if you have any. I looked in your gallery and what is shown is a beam axle. (I do not remember what the linkage type is called. Maybe someone here will know.)

This is an example of a DeDion rear suspension.





I really would like to see details of a DeDion rear suspension in a Cobra. So if you have photos, please share them.
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:43 PM
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Thanks for that info Richard. It's definately not what you've got pictured there.
When I asked what the DD designation was for at HOC, I was told "DeDion link". Is it possible DeDion designed more than one type of suspension ?
They had a independent suspended chassis there at that time that they called an EQ. It had inboard brakes and I believe it was probably a Jag.
I had never heard of DeDion before but it made sense to me that that would be were they got the DD from.
The pics in the galary don't show the whole setup very well. I'm going to have it up on a lift next week and will be able to get a better shot of it.
I have never seen a linkage setup like this before. The lower link attaches at the bottom of the housing under the diff and goes forward and outward on each side, forming a triangle and attaching to the frame rails ahead of the rear wheels. The upper links, which can be seen in the pictures, go straight back, attaching to the frame behind the wheels. It is fully adjustable for pinion angle and has anti squat/possitive lift characteristics under acceleration. It is very stable and puts power to the ground like a drag car.
Anyway... thanks for your response. I would be interested in any more info on where this suspension design came from. It seems to work pretty well.

Marc
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Old 11-16-2003, 10:08 PM
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It kinda looks like a 3 link live axle rear setup with the upper bars running backwards. The 3rd link in the middle of the diff looks like it's a wishbone negating need for a panhard rod or watts link. It's a bit hard to make out the middle link in the pictures, I'd be keen to see some shots from underneath too.

I bet Craig (750HP) would be interested too as he has an odd rear suspension setup in his car.

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Old 11-17-2003, 05:08 AM
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Take a look in my gallery. The pics weren't taken specifically of the suspension, but you'll get the idea.
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Old 11-17-2003, 07:12 AM
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Default Qualoity

I have a Johnex which I built myself. I picked up the kit in late 1999 and had it on the road in the spring of 2001. Except for a couple of very minor problems at the beginning, I have had 3 summers of great driving with the car now.

DD was a designation given to the live axle cars by HOC and it was for Daily Driver ( I always called it Daily Dragster ) EQ was also a HOC designation and it was for Exqusite Quality, or something like that.

The frames and suspension components for the Johnex cars were made by Canada Stock Car, CSC, who build asphalt stock cars. CSC also produced the IRS for the EQ. This unit was based on a Ford 9" with many of the other parts from Bicknell Racing.

According to John Leliever (the original owner of Johnex) the rear suspension on the live axle car was a modified DeDion setup. Mike has described it quite well. The rear end is fully adjustable and can be set up just about any way you want it. I made a couple of passes this summer with slicks and the rear suspension worked great, just like it was built for drag racing.

I am not sure if Kobra Motors are still in business, or not. I went past the building a couple of times in the past few months and it is closed up. If they are still in business, they must have moved to another location.

Wayne
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Old 11-17-2003, 07:47 AM
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I believe they are still in business, and have several rolling chassis kits made up, some donor car and some "DD". They are apparently making no effort to sell these cars - no advertising, no presence at the shop etc. I suppose if you wanted one bad enough you could find a way to get them to sell you one. What a way to run a business!
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Old 11-17-2003, 08:46 AM
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Bob
I checked their web site and they still list the address on Mississauga Road. I was there a few weeks ago and I looked in through a window, the place is more or less empty, just a bit of junk laying around. Absolutely no sign of activity.

I find it very sad that a business based on a good product like the Johnex Cobra just fades away. Five years ago, this was a going concern, now it's nothing.

As Marc said, these are rarer than "real" ones. I believe that Johnex produced somewhere between 100 and 200 cars (this is just my guesstimate) over the 10 to 12 years they were in business. I asked John about this but he couldn't give me a solid number since he did not keep good records about the number of cars produced.

I gave mine the number JNX 5899, this is the pickup date, the 5th of Aug '99.

Wayne
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Old 11-17-2003, 09:11 AM
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What did those cars use as a transmission? I keep thinking that it was a late model Toploader with the 4th gear overdrive. A guy in town, I think, has one with that tranny. Please advise.
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Old 11-17-2003, 09:40 AM
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Hmmm,,,,, and I thought the De Dion suspension was what the Jaguar's used. BUT they don't have that "tube" like Richard shows in the illustration.

Perhaps all these years I too have been mistaken about what constitutes a "De Dion" suspension system?

Ernie
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:12 PM
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It is a shame that a car based around the CSC chassis not being built any longer. It is certainly superior to the standard ladder style frame that is the platform for most of the others.

What little I know about them is that the House of Cobras was marketing them in addition to SPF. My understanding is that they were working with Johnex to bring it up to the finish standards of the SPF and were advertising it as their "headline manufacturer".
They were available thru HOC as a "TKM", without engine/trans in direct competition with the SPF.

Probably due to the added cost of buying the chassis from CSC instead of building their own comparativly inexpensive ladder, they were priced higher than the SPF. That was not a good thing because apparently nobody was willing to pay extra for the "up-engineered" chassis to cruise around on the street.
The obvious end to that story is Johnex went out of bussiness and HOC..... I have no idea what went on over there but it was something.
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Old 11-17-2003, 12:25 PM
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Cal
They would build the frame to accept any combination of engine, transmission, differential. When I ordered mine, I specified a 351W, toploader, and a Lincoln Versailles rear end. I took the differential housing to Johnex and they (probably CSC) cut off the unwanted brackets and welded on new parts. The frame came powder coated black with everything welded in the proper place to accept my drive train.

Marc
As far as the HOC deal went, I only heard one side of the story so I do not want to speculate as to what really happened but Johnex was doing well until they got tied up with HOC. It all went down hill very quickly after that. I don't know who was right and who was wrong but I saw finished cars sitting in the Johnex shop for months just collecting dust. There is usually only one reason why a seller doesn't ship product to a buyer but who am I to say what was going on.

As far as costs are concerned, a company like CSC can probably produce a frame cheaper than you or I could. They are professional fabricators with all the right equipment, certified welders, etc. It is quite normal for most manufacturers to purchase many parts that have been made for them rather than make everything themselves.

Wayne
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Old 11-17-2003, 01:13 PM
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Anybody ever see a Johnex with a 460 or a 351C ? I do know of two buyers who were told these motors would fit (salesmen argh), and they didn't.
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Old 11-17-2003, 01:32 PM
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Mr. Fixit
Ihaven't seen one of those but I think they would be a pretty tight fit, especially the 460. The drivers footbox had to be modified on mine (by Johnex) to clear the FE headers. I believe the 351 was the standard engine and changes were made to accept the others.

Marc,
I don't know what HOC was selling the Johnex cars for but up here they ranged from $55,000 CAD and up for a turnkey, substantially less than a Superformance up here. remember too that the frame and body were made here with Canuck Bucks and should have been pretty attractive with the exchange rates as they have been.

Wayne,
I know it looks deserted, but there is a little activity there. John Smythe of Heritage Coach Trimming works out of one of the back bays. He did the interiors for the Johnex cars. I'm close enough geographically to have watched as the parts for my car were brought together and had a few conversations with John and his successors. What a story! As you say, you get only one side of the story, so, like you, I'll keep that to myself.
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Old 11-18-2003, 06:51 AM
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Bob
I have talked to John Smyth of Heritage on several occasions since the demise of Johnex. Even his shop appeared to be vacant the last time I went by there. I will give him a call and see what's up. As you are probably aware, he is a great guy who does superb work on all types of interiors, not just Cobras.

Mr. Fixit
The Johnex cars were originally set up for road racing, this is long before HOC became involved. The engine in my car is set right back against the firewall resulting in 52% weight on the rear wheels and 48% on the front. This arrangement meant that the engine and bellhousing were very tightly squeezed into the limited space available. I have seen Johnex cars with 427's or 428's in them but never a 460.

From what I remember, HOC didn't care too much about the weight distribution from a racing point of view so they asked Johnex to move the engine mounts forward a few inches to make it easier to install larger engines. I had to modify the foot box on the driver's side of my car so as to be able to change the last two plugs on that side without pulling the car apart.

Wayne
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:51 PM
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Thumbs up

I have had one for close to 5 years,unfortunatly I've yet to finish it,
keep gathering part's,and trying to find the time to get it finished,the frame
and body are up there with the best,I hope to complete it as a street version
no roll bar,hood scoop,or side pipes might have to exit exhaust in front
of rear wheels because of IRS.
L.H.
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Old 03-18-2004, 07:21 PM
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Default Johnex being built again

Johnex cobras are being built again by Johnex3 Motorsports in Niagara Falls, multiple cars in different stages, using CSC frames
also a coupe is on the go and a grandsport corvette
check out the website for info

Johnex3motorsports
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Old 03-19-2004, 05:49 AM
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Good to see that someone has picked up the pieces and brought Johnex back to life. These are great cars, but of course I am prejudice.

Wayne
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:45 PM
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Thanks for the thread, one of the most informative I have read.
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