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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-25-2020, 03:46 PM
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Default Newbie to the Cobra world

Hi all,

I feel I'm coming to the end of my HPDE trackdays and very much interested in a Cobra. I'm looking for the reliability of a daily summer driver while still able to handle the stresses of an occasional road course trackday. I've primarily been looking at buying turnkey but open to builds (zero experience). Look forward to learning track proven insight/recommendations from others in the forum and help me make an educated/tailored purchase in the future.

Steve
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:05 PM
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Have you used the index and topic lists within them to read any of the myriad topics on this subject?
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:19 PM
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Have you used the index and topic lists within them to read any of the myriad topics on this subject?
Thanks, I've just started to dive into this forum (1st day). This was just my intro to everyone else. SO much to learn!!
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:01 PM
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You can search the other topics for the discussions of the various manufacturers and the merits of all the choices. But the first thing you need to define is your price point. The choices at 30K are a lot fewer than up to 200K. (Quality and quantity.)

You are right in looking for a completed car. If you want to drive it just buy one that is done. If you want an exercise in construction build a kit, but if you're doing that, there are lots cheaper kits than a Cobra that you can bust your knuckles on.
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Old 02-27-2020, 01:41 PM
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So the journey has started, I just put up my track car for sale so I can start saving a deposit for a future Cobra :-)
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Old 03-22-2020, 08:01 AM
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Sold!
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:20 AM
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Sold!
Nice! That was pretty fast

If you want to talk Backdrafts I'm here to help with a lot of very happy customers. New RT4 chassis has arrived with true front and rear coilover suspensions and the LSD is now standard.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:05 PM
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Your life will change for the better
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:33 PM
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Sold!
Not so fast. The long term successful owners of these cars have generally had a passion for these cars since they were children. These cars are absolutely useless for just about everything that you think of when you think of a car -- and they will kill you in an instant. The only thing they do really well is go insanely fast and attract an incredible amount of attention. The overwhelming odds are that these cars are not for you.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:49 PM
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Not so fast. The long term successful owners of these cars have generally had a passion for these cars since they were children. These cars are absolutely useless for just about everything that you think of when you think of a car -- and they will kill you in an instant. The only thing they do really well is go insanely fast and attract an incredible amount of attention. The overwhelming odds are that these cars are not for you.
Appreciate your warm words of encouragement
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:57 PM
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SGwick where are you located?
and
Welcome to the Madness.

Lot of true in what Patrickt posted. A Cobra seems to be a lot different than other sports cars.

Dwight
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:05 PM
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Welcome SGwick, by the way when these snake's bite, there is no CURE Cheers TommyRot.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:08 PM
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You can buy a Cobra finished and ready to drive a lot cheaper than building one. And you can drive it today.
Now you need to be careful because you can pay $30,000 for one that you have to spend another $30K to get it safely on the road.


Find a car with a color you can live with and the motor you like. Changing a tranny is not a be issue but a repaint is a nightmare because of the paint shops.

Find one with the rear end you want. Very hard and ($$$$$$) to change from straight axle to IRS.

With the motor you can always add horsepower but you need to pick which base motor you like, Coyote, 5.0 / 302, 351W / 408, FE big block or others.

I like small block 5.0's but I think the 408 W stroker is the best hp for the dollar. 530 hp very street-able for $8,000 - $9,000.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:22 PM
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Appreciate your warm words of encouragement
These cars require a "calling." If you don't have it, then you'll be making a mistake. For example, New to the Cobra world? Have you always dreamed of having a Cobra? Read carefully.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:27 PM
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Do not build a kit or buy an unfinished kit unless you are more in love with building a car than driving it. If you want to build there are lots of other cars that are easier and less costly to build. In addition, as has been mentioned, it is true that the love affair with a Cobra can be short lived. Don't invest all the time in building one only to find it wasn't for you. Buy a "starter car" to determine if you are a true Cobra match, then build if you want. In addition, building one takes LOTS of tools you don't have and will cost a small fortune to buy. I've discussed this several times recently, use search. I don't feel like repeating it. In a nutshell, making a Cobra your first fabrication task is a kit waiting to be sold for pennies on the dollar and YOU WILL NOT SAVE ANY MONEY!


Buy a car that has enough miles to be "sorted out".

Consider a 289-based design (one derived from a Shelby CSX2000 series) that uses the "small block" engine. They have all the horsepower you need for driving the street and while it will still whisper "I'm going to kill you" when you turn the key, it's not nearly as likely to do so as the 427. You only need 400hp (I'm using need in stead of want) for a street car and these 700hp Cobras are only about bragging rights since you can't effectively use the horsepower at the wheels. And something like that will exchange front and rear end in a heartbeat.

Reliability (with a true 60's power train) and Cobra are mutually exclusive terms. They are a tinkerer's delight or nightmare depending on which side of the knife blade you lean.

Don't think you're going to find a Cobra for 20K. Occasionally real deals do show up but for the most part anything in that price range is going to be a disappointment. Just to baseline, if you're building a kit you should allocate 20K to the power train.

Choice of period correct or modern power train is up to you, but a Cobra with a Coyote will demand a lot less in resale. On the plus side a Coyote will be closer to your desire for a get in and drive and never worry about tinkering with the engine car.

Never buy a Cobra from just an ad, even if you get a third party PPI. I "tried on" several Cobras (as I describe it, you WEAR a Cobra, not sit in it) and found that on my first choice the steering wheel hit me in the lap. Don't get one that doesn't fit. Buy locally or be prepared to get on an airplane. One exception: For the factory built cars like Superformance, they are very repeatable, so if you find one of a certain vintage and "try it on" and it fits, others of that same vintage will be OK. SPF moved stuff so different generations do vary.

You don't say where you are. Before buying any car check with your local DMV over licensing requirements and especially ask about the emissions and safety inspections. While it's a 65 Cobra, some states consider the BUILD DATE no the "most closely resembles" date unless you argue with them. Especially California and other states that are adopting the CA rules.

Use the forum index and go back a few months. This isn't a new topic and has been discussed many times.
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Last edited by twobjshelbys; 03-22-2020 at 01:32 PM..
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
Not so fast. The long term successful owners of these cars have generally had a passion for these cars since they were children. These cars are absolutely useless for just about everything that you think of when you think of a car -- and they will kill you in an instant. The only thing they do really well is go insanely fast and attract an incredible amount of attention. The overwhelming odds are that these cars are not for you.
Reading your 12 page link (still on 6pg) Patrickt, I welcome and appreciate the combat drop into the cobra LZ (it took me a second) to get me to consider all factors. Always open to insight.
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Old 03-22-2020, 02:14 PM
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"Cobras are uncivilized and crude"...I want in.

I recently test drove a couple of cobras that sealed it for me. I originally thought the cobra signified that my track days are over but all it did was reignite the fire. I'm far from owning one right now but its a goal I'm forging towards. Thanks again all for chiming in.

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Old 03-22-2020, 06:07 PM
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Perhaps reading all of the threads for newbies
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:53 AM
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Welcome,
I say do your homework and jump in.
The only problem I have had with the cars is trying to stay with only one of them.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:25 AM
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Get the features you think you *may* want NOW.

Years ago I had a factory five with 351W and 3-link rear. 415-420 engine HP, which I could live with, but the rear suspension left much to be desired, and braking was atrocious (easily locked the front). It had power steering which was too quick as well- easy to turn but twitchy as anything on the highway.

After I sold it, I missed having one- and found a used superformance with 38K miles.
After spending a lot of time sorting this one (mostly chasing little leaks, fixing things that bugged me), it's almost there- the RT suspension upgrades and better tires are a MUST. I'm down to one oil leak- pretty sure it's still the oil pan gasket, unless I got lucky and it was the fuel pump gasket.
The superformance is a well sorted car, the brakes work well, steering isn't twitchy/scary, but as I found out on a tight track, it's very tiring to fight the unpowered steering. On a road course you'll probably be fine.

Everything is manual and stiff- stiff clutch, shifter, wheel, good lap times will feel like a victory, you worked for it!

I still enjoy working on these cars more than any other car- I don't know why, they're just fun to wrench on.

Only car that could tempt me now is a Kirkham. Rodney's car was beautiful- body, sure, but the suspension bits and mechanicals are what draws my eye

Also, going from low 400s to mid 500s in HP (Roush 427R), mid 400s is probably optimal for the track. Even with sticky rubber. With the sticky Avon tires, I still can't floor it in the first 2 gears, it'll just spin. A hard 2-3 shift will spin.

-Dave
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