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Old 03-24-2018, 01:10 AM
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Default Do's & Dont's - When buying a pre built Cobra replica what do you need to look for?

Hi ACA,
New here and looking for some advise and guidance. I have always wanted to own an AC Cobra and have talked the wife into it if I can find one at the right price. I am looking at the cheaper end of town and was hoping you could give me some advice on the pit falls to try and avoid. I'm no mechanic and haven't yet done my research so I'm looking for any advice no matter how big or small....I guess the journey has to start somewhere and I cant wait.
Thanks in advance.
Cameron
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Old 03-24-2018, 04:53 AM
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Which state / area are you in?
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:23 AM
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Hi Treeve I am in Adelaide, SA
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:27 AM
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If you can contact some people close to you that have Cobras that would be a great place to start. Look at theirs and see what they have done and if you can have them take you for a ride in them. Any Cobra can be great or a huge problem depending on who built it and how well they did the job. Also look at the build threads and see what things you should look for. Decide how you want to drive the car. Are you going to race it or do you want to show it or just have a nice driver that you can get out and enjoy.

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Old 03-24-2018, 07:12 AM
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Welcome!
I am not in Australia, but from what I have read in the threads on that sub forum, it sounds like the first thing you need to see is if you can register the car where you are. I would say the second thing is to do a thread search because there are many threads on that topic that contain a lot of very useful information.

Best of luck on your search. These things are a blast!
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:52 PM
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Thanks ROn61 & dallas.
Really just looking for something to drive on the weekend and enjoy. The odd track day might be fun. Becoming a member of a car club would be of interest.

There is one Cobra that I am interested in looking at that is currently for sale. Are there any common issues or problems to look for when purchasing?

As I am looking at pre built and registered the registration should be no worries.
I will do a search of some of the previous builds for research.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:24 PM
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Hi Cameron,
Are you just looking for a second hand assembled car or contemplating building a kit car?

Cheers
Richard
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Old 03-25-2018, 02:29 AM
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Hi Cameron,
Smart thing to do would be to come along to the Adelaide-based SA Cobra Club meeting and you will be offered all sorts of good advice. Meets on the third Tuesday of the month at the Mile End Hotel, just west of the CBD.

Cheers,
Glen
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Old 03-25-2018, 02:48 AM
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Flicking through carsales Im surprised at the price variation between seemingly similar cars. Until you take a good look at a group of cars together you wont get an appreciation for the differences between body shapes and chassis and suspension design between the different models. After that it comes down to how well it was put together and subsequently maintained. It always strikes me as a little odd the number of cars 20+ years old with less than 15,000 kms in the clock. Take these with a grain of salt....
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Old 03-25-2018, 02:56 AM
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Yep, agree with Tenrocca....and that's the sort of information that you can shortcut massively by going to a club meeting. All Cobra replicas weren't created equal.
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Old 03-25-2018, 03:40 AM
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SSV Ute I am not overly handy so would rather purchase something assembled.

Tenrocca I know that is why I started this post as there seems to be a fair variation in years, km's and pricing so wanted to know some of the common problems etc or things that can cost big $$$ if needing to replaced or fixed etc.

xb-60 that is great. I live in the western suburbs so that is nice and close and would be great to hear from owners as to what to look for and the differences.
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:20 AM
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Cameron, buying a cobra ICV can be a headache if the car is not registered in the same state as you reside in. Having said that it can be done if the car is registered in another state but you are in uncharted waters as said new car has to be inspected for new state registration. Cost of new registration will vary as car may not meet our state requirements and will need to be changed as required.
Registered cars are all different as some were built over 25 years ago and display that era engineering and requirements for registration.
Add the engine /drivetrain variations, paint, upholstery manufacturer body shape and chassis /suspension/wheel options and colour choices oh and price $$$$.
However don't let any of that put you off as there is a lot of fun in the looking and learning phase and even more in owning and driving one.
Hope that helps a bit. John.
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:36 AM
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Thanks John that is really useful information re registration and age. I would have assumed if it was registered in another state that it would have been a simple thing but perhaps not it sounds like. Thanks
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:09 AM
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Hi Cameron,

The advice of attending a meet and seeing/talking with owners sounds likely the greatest approach/benefit of all as a starting point. Also, then having a Cobra knowledgeable person and inspecting mechanic look it over before finalizing would surely only help.

If you aren’t able to do so, or to at least highlight a couple things here for perspective, from my limited perspective, here are some things I’ve noticed in general, in answer to your question about common issues in your posts #6 & #11.

It seems some of the most common issues many Cobra’s seem to have are cooling/overheating issues. That can really limit the ability/flexibility to drive at all. If the requirements where you live dictate more modern engines, and perhaps corresponding cooling systems, maybe not as much of an issue.

Another common issue seems to be tire rub issues. Including hard cornering, bumps, u-turns, wheel offsets, suspension location/design, etc. Can be hard to test all scenarios on test drives, so can also look for signs and review with that in mind, and with someone who knows Cobras.

I believe safety should always be considered as well. When Cobra’s catch on fire it’s often due to faulty electrical wiring issues, fuel line/carb issues or brake line fail issues. You can see how most all Cobras carry fire extinguishers or have fire systems, there’s a reason. So worth verifying condition, design, function, age, materials, quality build in that regard.

Safety can also include whether you want full harness belts, dual roll bars, high back seats to avoid neck snap if hit from rear, etc. In today’s busy traffic and the way people drive, being rear-ended can be a rear safety concern.

Like you, I was after an already built car. Was mainly after a hobby car that would keep me physically and mentally active, as I get older. With no build manual, searching parts/systems/solutions on the Internet has kept me very mentally active for sure! It’s like an ongoing puzzle, very satisfying to learn/overcome and to get control over different areas as I go. Creating my own manual as I go.

So I wanted a solid built car with some core aspects I desired by design, such as large engine, subdued color scheme, manual transmission and independent rear end. Yet one that left opportunity for continual improvement, while the core was still intact, solid, and generally drivable as I go. That’s exactly what I got, and it’s been great for meeting those goals.

If you find a car with a full build manual that takes a lot of the guesswork and puzzle out of it.

Hope it all works out well for you. Brent
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Old 03-25-2018, 04:34 PM
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Hey Brewjitsu welcome to the madness.

As has been said, you need to know your main end use of the car you want it to perform, understand the features and components you'd like to have on board, and then try and find a car that ticks as many boxes as possible whilst being well engineered that you don't have to undertake too much retro-engineering to meet any current SA requirements.

For example my kit came with rims but not what I ultimately wanted, replacing these was about $4,000 - repainting to your desired colour is anywhere perhaps from $8K northward, interior rebuild is also going to cost thousands, so buying someone else's built is likely going to involve compromise.

Get to club meetings and pick the brains of owners, look at as many cars as you can and take photos to remind yourself of features and research as much as you can before jumping.

I'll take a stab and suggest that re-registration into SA will not likely be as arduous a hurdle as it can be in other States but there can be potential issues and you need to find an approved engineer for SA and bend their ear on likely issues that might cause registration problems.

Do your homework well and this will minimise any potential regret later on with purchase.

At the least you will better understand what you are buying, what you need to do to the car and the potential cost for any upgrades you'd like to make to personify the car more to your tastes.

Good luck with the journey.

Steve
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:02 PM
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Changing registration interstate is not as simple as with a mass produced car. Without going into heavy and tedious detail, the simplest way to look for a car is for one in your own state that's for sale.

Treeve
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:14 AM
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Thank you Brent, Steve and Treeve. This is the sort of advice and input I was hoping for. Great information on what to look out for that I can use to help identify potential problem cars.
I really appreciate your time responding to these questions.
Definitely will catch one of the next club meetings.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:23 AM
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P.M. Sent
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:30 PM
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just echoing much of the advise all ready mentioned . i was like you a few yrs back wanted one all ready built set my mind on a budget and searched . i am in sa also found what looked like was the perfect car in tassie we flew down and the car was a real dissapointment while it looked fantastic in all the photos what was not mentioned the pics were takes straight after it was build not 18 yrs later down the track.. ah well at least a nice weekeend away was had .
thought i had a car lined up in qld but that fell thru some other cars interstate needed full engineering to be registered in sa .. in the end i flew to qld and ordered a absoulute pace cobra. fantastic product and i am about 2/ 3rds the way thru building atm been a bit slack with other commitments tho... go to a club meeting talk to a few of the fellas as there are def some cars to stay away from ie toyota crown chassis cars
cheers dean
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Old 03-26-2018, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewjitsu View Post
Thank you Brent, Steve and Treeve. This is the sort of advice and input I was hoping for. Great information on what to look out for that I can use to help identify potential problem cars.
I really appreciate your time responding to these questions.
Definitely will catch one of the next club meetings.
Hi Cameron,

Another area that seems a very common issue, and safety consideration, is the brakes. You’ll find many posts on brake issues on this site, and the current one going entitled ‘Very hard brake pedal marginal stopping’ started by Dennis Mosley. That posts seems a good summary of the common issues at play with Cobra braking systems.

Does it stop confidently, with reasonable leg pressure, have a reasonable pedal ratio, masters sized properly front to rear with proper balance. My understanding is if the rears lock up ahead of the front it can tend to cause spinouts, a simplified comment, but ‘in general’.

It seems more issues when the front and rear brakes are different type, design, and install year, if not planned and/or dialed in properly together. Such as Wilwood fronts and original jag rears (like me and many others have), again, at least if not planned/tuned to work well together accordingly.

Who built it, and how they went about it, probably most directly impacts the bell curve on the brakes, and throughout.

Brent
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