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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 1 Post By mrmustang
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Old 01-25-2022, 07:42 AM
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Default New member looking to learn, then buy

Hello All! I'm a new member who has just begun my search for my first Cobra. I don't know near enough about which one I want, or why some are $35k and some are $120k. So I'm here to learn, first, then to shop.

I just sold my Ferrari F430 Spider, but it's full winter here so I couldn't drive it anyway. But come spring, I'm going to really miss it, unless I've pulled the trigger on the cobra already.... so that's my timeline.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by maytag View Post
Hello All! I'm a new member who has just begun my search for my first Cobra. I don't know near enough about which one I want, or why some are $35k and some are $120k. So I'm here to learn, first, then to shop.

I just sold my Ferrari F430 Spider, but it's full winter here so I couldn't drive it anyway. But come spring, I'm going to really miss it, unless I've pulled the trigger on the cobra already.... so that's my timeline.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!
Start by educating yourself as to the different brands of Cobra, ERA, SPF, CSX, Unique, Backdraft, Factory Five Racing, and a host of others.

Next, decide on which body style you want, 427SC, 427 street, 289FIA, 289 street.

Finally, before anything else, decide on how close a look and feel you want to an original.

Start your quest by CLICKING HERE

Everyones tastes are their own, take your time and learn the differences, do not get caught up in the sales hype of this vs that.

Hope you find this helpful.

Bill S.
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maytag View Post
Hello All! I'm a new member who has just begun my search for my first Cobra. I don't know near enough about which one I want, or why some are $35k and some are $120k. So I'm here to learn, first, then to shop.

I just sold my Ferrari F430 Spider, but it's full winter here so I couldn't drive it anyway. But come spring, I'm going to really miss it, unless I've pulled the trigger on the cobra already.... so that's my timeline.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!
First, know that you're going to get innundated with guys tellling you to buy what they own. Brand loyalty here runs deep. I say that half jokingly, but in many ways it's true. The bottom line is, you have to make up your mind what basic features you want and most importantly what your budget is. What are your must haves? For example, I wouldn't own a Cobra that doesn't have IRS in the rear. Others couldn't care less. Is it important for you to have an aluminum body or is fiberglass ok? Is a car that someone else built from a "kit" ok, or is it necessary to have one that was factory built as a roller and someone only had to install the drivetrain? If aluminum is nesessary, the Shelby or Kirkham are really your only game in town with rare exceptions, and you're well over $100K to play that game. If you must have a factory assembled roller, then you're basically looking at Superformance and Backdraft. Most of them are north of the $50K mark.

In "ranking" the desireablilty of brands (and this will surely raise a $hitstorm), I would say as a general rule, it's sort of like this, from top to bottom -
Shelby Aluminum, Kirkham, Shelby Fiberglass, ERA, Superformance, HiTech, Contemporary, Backdraft, Hurricane, Unique, and then the rest. Quality of build plays a huge role in this as well. This is assuming all are built to a very high standard, and some will move a particular brand up or down one or two notches, especially if they own one and have that brand loyalty we spoke about earlier!

There's always the big block/small block swamp to swim in as well. Ford FE big block engines (the original type big block the Cobra's came with) cost more to build and typically retail for more when installed. The same car with a FE and a small block will typically see the FE equipped car sell for more.

Keep in mind, not to confuse you more, that the big block / small block issue isn't just for engines. The car that most people think of when they think of a "Cobra" is the big block car. However, the first Cobras were small block cars. Not only were the engines small blocks (260's then 289's) but the cars were different too. Less extreme flares, different nose opening shape, and countless other differences. Some guys have a very strong preference for these cars.

It's not uncommon to see "big block cars" with small block engines. In fact I would say the large majority of Superformace and Backdraft cars, for instance, are big block body cars with small block engines. Most Shelby, Kirkham, ERA and Contemporary cars are big block cars with big block engines.

This is only a macro and vast overview, but hopefully it's enough to get you started on a many hours long search on here and on Google to learn more.
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Last edited by 767Jockey; 01-25-2022 at 08:52 AM..
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:58 AM
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In the Cobra space the old adage "You Get What You Pay For" couldn't be more true.

You will get lots of input on one manufacturer over another. Almost all of it is emotionally based. Facts are that if you pay more you'll get a better built car. Then you separate the different suppliers in the price band - and again, those choices will come to more or less personal preferences.

NO MATTER WHAT DO NOT BUY A CAR THAT YOU DO NOT PERSONALLY SIT IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT! You do not sit in a Cobra, you wear it. All of them, even within the same manufacturer, have different seat and steering wheel configurations and you don't want to get a car from Bring A Trailer only to find that you have to do a couple of thousand dollars of mechanical rebuilds to keep the steering wheel off your lap.

I was quite happy with the CSX.

Set a budget and search. Start with www.cobracountry.com
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:08 AM
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I'll expand on something that 767 said: While everyone thinks of a Cobra as the big wide hipped 427 car, they are in fact not very street friendly. Mine had a small block427 Windsor. It never felt happy driving on the street. Engines with that large of a displacement and the lopey cams they typically come with want (no, need) to run at rates (RPM) higher than you can give it on the street. Mine always felt it wanted the cobwebs blown out. So in practice, I drove in lower gears and higher RPMs.

Also, don't confuse Small Block and Big Block vs displacement. You can get a SBF (aka, Windsor) with "big block" displacements, e.g., 427 or more. The SBF will behave differently than the same displacement BBF, mostly in the torque/hp curve.

Also, SBFs will not leak oil. (There is an old joke about "How do you know a Side Oiler (the name for the BBF 427) is low on oil"? Ans "It stops leaking".)

A small block car (CSX2000 based) with a 289-class engine is all the horsepower you'll ever need and is a much more streetable car.

I always said that if I got another Cobra it would be a small block car.
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Last edited by twobjshelbys; 01-25-2022 at 09:11 AM..
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Old 01-25-2022, 10:33 PM
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Toney is dead on with his Cobra descriptions. Also remember, a small block in a big block chassis is historically correct! When Shelby sold the Cobra name to Ford for $1.00, they shut down the Cobra program. However, AC, the company that built all the chassis, except for the King Cobras made by Cooper, was allowed to build some more cars. They built big block coil spring cars, but installed 289 engines, thus the AC289 cars. The last one, COX6127, fittingly was exported to the States, with the note stating, "chassis parts supplied lose, no engine." Talking to guys in the UK that drove most of the Cobras, all seem to agree that the AC289 is the nicest of the bunch. Don't get discouraged, there's one out there that will work for you. I've been waiting for 47 years, but I know it's worth it!
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