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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2018, 06:30 AM
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That is a really nice looking car and you have did excellent work in upgrading it.

Ron
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Old 02-29-2020, 07:40 AM
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fantastic work... I went through the whole thread that was a lot of work ......
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:17 AM
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Wow Brent ! These posts seems light years away compared to where you are today REMEMBER when you had time to work on your car Also we knew each other (Just) though here, again light years from today Huh #3. #2 signing out #1 say's Hi. P.S. hope your trip home today go's well, no getting sick from someone on the plane.
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfa02 View Post
Wow Brent ! These posts seems light years away compared to where you are today REMEMBER when you had time to work on your car Also we knew each other (Just) though here, again light years from today Huh #3. #2 signing out #1 say's Hi. P.S. hope your trip home today go's well, no getting sick from someone on the plane.
Well a good morning to you too Tom! I look forward to posting several project updates in coming months. Until then...talk to you soon. Brent
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Old 03-01-2020, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soroush View Post
fantastic work... I went through the whole thread that was a lot of work ......
soroush,

Thanks for the nice comments. I thought my friend Tom had just broght that thread back up when I responded prior, but see now that you'd actually done so. Have some really cool projects to report soon. One is a 'special secret' project that will be alot of fun! Hoping these projects will give others ideas for updating their cars.

I apologize for the meandering length of this project thread. Would likely take some custom integration, but would be very nice to have a user definable topical index included for such projects (ex: suspension, brakes, steering, diff, cooling, etc. Click the index link, jump to that named section of interest, with the index easily accessible or persistent for reference).

Anyway, stay tuned for future pojects...! Brent
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Last edited by EM-0785; 03-01-2020 at 05:26 PM.. Reason: Spelling
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:56 AM
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i look forward to them as I am like you and I do pretty much everything on the car myself... short of an engine rebuild..
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:33 PM
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wow looking at before vs. after... very nice job
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:18 PM
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Update - more Cobra rolling restoration and modification projects the last couple years...some myself, others by a classic car shop while I was building a Serpent Express trailer. Themes followed include: honoring the year and manufacturer of this replica, itself a 30 year classic when bought in 2015; continued safety/performance modifications; an encompassing silver, black, metallic theme; functionality for our lifestyle; and maintaining a raw, classic character. Doing multiple posts due to size.


Footbox Updates

Master Cylinders & Reservoirs

Prior masters had integrated reservoirs behind the pedals. That included front and rear brake and clutch circuits, all challenging to service. By design it limited pedal placement, as did the pedal based brake balance bar.

The masters, reservoirs, pedals and pedal box were thick with crusty old red brake fluid, grime, and corrosion, from when I bought the car. There was also a carpeted box shaped master cover with carpet fingers between the pedals that was busted up, limited pedal travel and is now eliminated.

All three hydraulic circuits were switched to remote reservoirs in the engine bay. The new Tilton triple reservoir has AN fittings and fluid level visibility. Its short height fit well in the space above the pedal box, still allowing easy access. A mounting bracket was created with nutserts to aid install/removal.

The new Howe masters now attach to and extend through the firewall. The box they are mounted in is 3/16" thick steel from the factory and welded to the frame, so no additional reinforcement was necessary. This freed up room to move the pedals back several inches toward the firewall. A heat shield and rock guard was added to protect the master cylinders on the front side of the firewall.

Prior brake masters were 1” diameter, and prior clutch master was ¾” diameter. New masters are all ¾” diameter, the smaller diameter brake master reduced pedal pressure for stopping.

The new hydraulic flex lines are black jacketed teflon lined braided steel hoses with AN flare fittings (“is that thing turbocharged!” - My Cousin Vinny). The teflon is brake fluid compatible and doesn’t expand much when exposed to brake line service pressures.

Re-routed and replaced some hard steel brake lines (all hard lines on the car are steel, not aluminum, as preferred for street use). Also sealed the pedal box to the chassis, previously had some large exposed gaps. A clamp was fabricated to manage the clutch and brake lines routing out of the reservoir.

All plumbing systems in the car are a combination of AN flare fittings, inverted flare fittings depending on the application, and some tapered pipe fittings on the Wilwood brakes.


Old reservoirs






New reservoirs








Prior masters & pedals








New masters, refreshed pedals, new dead pedal








Masters front protrusions, before & after plate








Hydraulic lines






Pedals

The pedals were moved several inches back, offering necessary space for straighter leg orientation and less steering wheel interference. The pedals were previously way left, with no space for a dead pedal next to the clutch.

Rebuilt the pedal assemblies, with new bushings, hardware, and paint. Converted to a Wilwood knob style inline proportioning valve located near the new pressure brake switch, still fully isolating the front & rear brake circuits. Cut down the balance bar for more room to move the brake and clutch pedals closer to the accelerator. Shimmed the pedals up 0.5” to better align with foot placement for leverage.

Trimmed edge of fiberglass floor around pedal box to match the pedal box opening. This provided more access to move the brake and clutch pedals further right to a better position. That allowed more direct leg leverage and room to add a dead pedal left of the clutch. The brake pedal is now positioned to allow heel-toe operation.

The prior throttle pedal was bent and rusted, a new pedal was made from stainless steel stock. The engine bay throttle linkage was revised and rerouted. The prior linkage hit a firewall relay and was set up with a hard limit that didn’t allow full throttle. The new pedal and linkage provide full throttle without interference. A new throttle return spring bracket was made. Moved the throttle pedal .75” higher on the mount and gusseted for strength.

A pedal stop was added for the clutch pedal. This removed excess leg/pedal extension beyond the reasonable required clutch release range. It provides a solid, known, safe stopping point, particularly useful for me in general and especially higher rpm shifting. Thin glue-on pedal pads were added to all pedals for grip.

A metal floor cover plate was made for the pedal area. Designed with a downward angle leading to the pedals for lower foot position and a heel rest for relief and to avoid catching an edge when operating the pedals.


Masters/pedals installed with dead pedal






New brake proportioning valve & pressure switch






Steering Column Refresh

The steering column was Maverick green, rusted, and loose given a non-ideal mount. It was surrounded by a bees nest of under dash wiring with poor connections, phantom ends, failing taped joints, exposed twisted wires, etc.

Replaced column based wiring with a single harness, weather pack connectors and black wrap around sleeving. Replaced faulty turn signal switch. Re-wired to eliminate the prior 3-2 wire trailer light converter, instead using pinout mapping from the factory switch to work off the switch. All blinkers work for the first time, now including 4 way hazard flashers.

Cleaned and re-greased lower steering column bearing, the prior grease had solidified. The column was painted black and sturdy new steering column mounts were fabricated. This included a locating pin from the chassis to the column, so the column is hard located, eliminating lateral or rotational movement. A weather seal was made from sheet rubber and installed around the steering shaft at the firewall.


Column before






Column after














Seats

The seats previously oriented straight ahead. They didn’t ideally align the driver with the offset pedals. So, along with moving the pedals more to the right (still offset some), the seats were remounted angled to the outside.

The seat base frames were tall and we sat higher than ideal, with the roll bar protection line nearly breached. An inch was removed from the seat base frames for a better height orientation. Also added more seat cover bracing and reinforced the seat mounting tabs. Added large doubler plates for the seat hardware to spread the load evenly on the composite floor.

The existing bottom seat cushions had excess padding. The soft base foam was replaced with higher density foam, lowering foam height 1” and compressed height ¼”. This provided firmer support and sat us lower in the car

This all created a more natural driving and pedal operation position. It improved distance between the knees and steering wheel, provided straighter orientation and leverage when pressing the pedals, and reduced torque and fatigue on the lower back (important for me).

Added a fire extinguisher, mounted upright behind the passenger seat next to the tunnel.


Seats/orientation after










Dash & Gauge Wiring

Upgraded much of the prior sketchy and corroded wiring bees nest. Wiring is now typified by solid grounding points, quality connections, proper gauge wire, weather-pack connectors, and black polyethylene abrasion resistant wrap around sleeving. New wiring is fully modular for each harness and vehicle compartment. Replaced the non-functional heater switch with a new Lucas style toggle.

The blower motor was frozen, freed with penetrating oil, works well now. Repaired wiper motor grounding wire. Ammeter was faulty, replaced with a SW Voltmeter in a lower voltage gauge. Added an additional flasher relay for hazard lights. Repaired various grounds on the gauge grounding harness. Then made a new ground wire for all gauges, to ground direct to chassis instead of steering column.

Had a space issue behind the dash causing demister and hose interference, and some gauges not able to seat fully to the dash. The outside of the gauge bodies (blue) was visible when looking at the dash. The simple solution was to slightly modify the driver side demister to avoid interference, re-route the wiring harness under the dash to free space for the speedometer to sit flush, then shim the dash out 0.20” to allow the coolant temp gauge (and thereby all gauges) to sit flush. Added new stainless dash mounting hardware.

Sorting the dash wiring freed up usable space. Moved electric fan relay and starter relay under the dash to visually clean-up the engine bay firewall. Missing gauge retaining clips from SW were added to all gauges. Flasher relay holders were added, previously hanging loose under the dash.

A separate mount was made above the new dead pedal to relocate the headlight dimmer switch to not interfere with the left knee anymore. All knobs, switches, lights and flashers are functional now.


Dash wiring before




Blue gauge side showing before




Gauges now flush after




Dash wiring after










Accessory Charging

Added a magnetic wireless phone charger, wired under the dash to non-keyed 12V power so phones can be charged with key in on or off position. It’s mounted to the bottom dash frame using double locking bi-fold hinges. For use, it flips down, just above the passenger side of the tunnel. This provides visibility and use by both driver and navigator, for GPS, charging, etc. When not in use it flips up under the dash, out of sight, to retain the classic dash look. Detents are set to hold the intended orientation when opened and closed, with the open position perpendicular to ground.


Magnetic phone charger / holder










Air Ducts

Replaced the frozen push/pull control cables for foot vents. Removed foot vent door assemblies and interior grilles and restored condition, plus new hardware. Removed foot vent ducting for cleaning, the passenger side was full of bird seed.

Modified both foot vent metal duct assemblies so the cable pulls to open now instead of pull to close. Placed the knobs under the dash attached to each side of the heater. Modified pass side metal duct assembly so it points forward now on the engine bay side, eliminating over a foot of unnecessary ducting. Stripped, cleaned, painted metal ducts.


Pull knob after




Duct screens after

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Last edited by EM-0785; 12-09-2020 at 08:31 AM.. Reason: Add proportioning valve & pressure switch photos, punctuation, remove photo
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 10-09-2020, 08:22 PM
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Engine bay ducting after




Engine Bay

Intake / Carb

The prior intake was an old, polished Torker 1 with tiny runners and narrow ports well inside the gaskets, limiting breathing and RPM range. The largest round air cleaner that would fit between it and the hood was with a 1.78” tall x 8.11” filter for a 1.3 liter Ford Festiva.

Went with a Torker 2. The T1 had a 4 degree carb mounting pad angle, the T2 was 2.2 degrees out of the box. The car has a ride rake of -0.50” (down in front). The installed engine is down toward the back 4 degrees (proper for this engine). The carb pad was machined down 9/16” to maximize space for the air cleaner. The machinist welded some material to the inside of the plenum to maintain the carb sealing surface. Then lowered the front a bit to set the angle at 4.0 degrees to set the carb relatively level, then a bit more to maximize air cleaner size to the slight downward angle of the hood scoop at ride height.

The T2 ports and runners were shaped nicely out of the box, did a quick gasket match porting to the heads, taking a very small amount off the short runner side and at some various other parts as needed, but leaving the floors alone as was recommended for this configuration. Exhaust crossover port plugs were made for the intake and sealed into position. Edelbrock stopped offering the T2 in polished, which I preferred, so sent to a polisher.

Moved the coil, previously mounted horizontally on top of the intake, onto the inner fender well, in an upright position. This removed it from the heat and cleaned up the look of the engine. Used weatherpack connectors on the distributor harness.

Converted to carb studs, with deeper holes drilled/tapped due to machining on carb pad surface. Modified carburetor linkage to eliminate interference with the intake. The new throttle linkage was made with stainless steel and welded.

Set float levels in the carb. The rear float was too high, the front float was too low. Set idle mixture, both sides were too rich. Reduced accelerator pump nozzle size from 31 to 28. The engine is much more responsive now.

Pressure testing identified a pinhole leak on the front coolant crossover passage on the intake, from a casting flaw. Drilled intake at casting flaw leak, tapped and sealed with a small stainless steel set screw.

The head intake ports look like they'd suck up a tennis ball.


Torker 1 small runners before






Torker 2 larger runners after



Torker 2 light porting, polishing & repair
















Head intake ports/gaskets before & after






Coil location/wiring before & after






Throttle linkage after




Air Cleaner

Limited hood clearance had only allowed an undersized air cleaner. Carefully measured and mocked up for an air cleaner to maximize the available space with the tight hood clearance and within the hood scoop. A rectangular K&N was the largest pre-made filter option found to fit within the space constraints of the hood. A desirable base and top weren’t located for that filter. A custom aluminum air filter base & top were fabbed and powder coated ano silver to match other engine bay parts.

The air cleaner design accentuates the metallic theme of the car and engine bay and is a bit unique, which I like. Also revised the PCV plumbing. Made an outlet in the air filter base for a valve cover breather inlet. An AN hose was made for the valve cover inlet plumbing. Used low profile polished valve cover breathers.

This was a significant air flow improvement and visually more appropriate. I’d hoped for a filter top, even cutting one into this top, yet it wasn’t in the cards at this time given space/parts involved. Gained significantly more filter area, which, along with the larger T2 ports, really helped the engine breath. There is room to extend this style air cleaner toward the cockpit some, requiring a custom air filter, if desired later.

Added an electric choke to the Holley carburetor.


Old air cleaner




New air cleaner




Displacement

The car had been advertised as a 514 stroker. A Ford experienced mechanic did the purchase inspection, and replaced a leaking rear main seal. With the pan off he said it had the stock 2YA crank and was a 460 with .30 over (he’d measured the bore), but he said not a stroker. That’s what we thought at the time. Later upon further research, I wondered if it was an offset ground stock crank, that he just hadn’t caught or considered.

During this intake job I had the shop measure the stroke via a spark plug hole, with a tool they made, and managed with the piston shape. They measured approx 4.2”, noting their measurement method had room for error, yet clearly not a stock 3.85” stroke. At .30 over (4.39 bore) it’s very likely a common offset ground stroke of 4.225 (512) or 4.25 (515), or thereabouts for a 514. It is also possible that it’s say a 509 or thereabouts. However, for now I’ll just call it a 514, as advertised, as likely the best evidence of the actual build knowledge

After confirming this I called my friend Tom (Alfa02) and led with “Stroker Ace here.....guess what...” Told him the story, now he just calls me ‘Stroker’.


Valve Covers, Distributor & Rockers

Sent the corroded distributor housing and valve covers to the polisher. Also polished the vacuum advance. Since the T2 intake placed the water neck slightly closer to the distributor with my chosen water neck, switched from the larger Duraspark cap & rotor to a regular size (at my RPM levels, spark crossover/scatter within the cap is likely a non-issue). The cap is now black along with black plug wires for the clean, black and silver engine bay theme.

The plug wires were rerouted for improved access and engine bay appearance and less heat. My distributor was identified as from a big block Mercury Marauder, and rebuilt with a new advance plate, internal ground wire, etc. I’d previously installed a Pertronix ignitor. A steel hard line was made for the vacuum advance.

The valve cover plaques were worn and outdated so had new ones custom made, respecting the manufacturer and date of manufacture, in the black and silver theme, custom shaped for the valve covers. They were laser etched, with the plates initially being black anodized and then the laser removed the black to expose the base aluminum. The serial numbers/date were also done with the laser at a higher setting.

Under the valve covers we found Harland Sharp roller rockers and some light port work on the intake ports on the D0VE-C iron heads. The valves/rockers were adjusted, which quieted the engine noise down. Got an old pair of cheap valve covers and cut the tops as sacrificial units to use when adjusting the valves/rockers, but it was still too messy, perhaps due to the high volume pump, so it was done by hand turning the engine.

Installed studs for valve cover mounting. Removed prior bulky spark plug wire looms in favor of reduced footprint and stud mounted looms.


Polished distributor & valve covers




Distributor rebuild




Roller rockers




Overall engine bay prior










Overall upgraded engine bay
















Cooling & Overflow Pickup

Changed the thermal fan switch in the radiator from 185 degree to 195 degree. It was coming on too often when not needed, so this right sized it.

Added a pickup tube to the cooling overflow tank to create a true expansion/retraction chamber. That was a leftover need from my prior cooling system upgrade project. Used black hose with AN fittings and installed a threaded dipstick.


New overflow plumbing




VIN Plate

My car didn’t have a VIN plate installed. Ordered a replacement from Everett Morrison after they verified proof of title. Riveted it in the engine bay above the passenger footbox, easily readable. Also got the 2nd small rectangular self stick VIN plate that would go by the windshield, but holding off, considering the location.


VIN plate installed








Clutch / Flywheel / Bellhousing Upgrade

Clutch

The prior clutch pedal was ‘very’ stiff, even with a small master cylinder diameter and large slave cylinder. Upon disassembly, it was a heavy three finger style clutch, probably good for drag racing, with an 11” disk. Replaced with a McLeod Super Street Pro 12” single disk, dual friction, organic/metallic, diaphragm style, rated to 550 hp, SFI approved. That was the highest HP rated single, organic based disk they had designated for street use I believe, adequate for my power levels with street friendly characteristics and reasonable pedal pressure. It’s much easier now for street use, yet still a very positive feel and not too soft, I’d say just right.

Went with a McLeod billet aluminum hydraulic throwout bearing, which replaced the OEM bearing retainer, and eliminated the clutch fork and slave, particularly given my slave attached to the chassis vs the drivetrain. Could have re-mounted the slave to the drivetrain, yet the HTOB seems to ensure full clutch release with less room for adjusting errors and limits. It appears to be a well engineered, complete part/system. It allows flexible bleeder location versus the fixed orientation on a slave. Installed a bronze roller pilot bearing.


Bellhousing & Flywheel

Installed a high strength steel SFI scattershield type bellhousing & SFI steel flywheel, which I preferred over the stock iron units. May move to a 5 speed later, but am not yet settled on the configuration, and I like how the toploader shifts.

Went with a QuickTime 6.1 SFI unit which allowed for a 12” disk. Trimmed the bottom for clearance, while still considering it a safety improvement even with impact to SFI. Verified the alignment of the bellhousing to the block centerlines. The bellhousing centerline is .005” off center of the crank, which is within manufacturers specifications. Modified the scattershield around the starter to add clearance to the frame rail. The starter ground strap was too small, fabricated a new appropriate sized ground strap for current load. Secured clutch hydraulic line and bleeder for easy access.

The existing flywheel was 184 tooth at approx 43 lbs. Replaced with a McLeod billet steel SFI 30 lb 176 tooth flywheel. That seems appropriate for my 2,900 lb car, closely matching the common rule of thumb of 1% of car weight.

Inspection inside the toploader top cover verified wide ratio gears. Also replaced the transmission mount.


Prior bell, clutch & fork








New trimmed bellhousing, cover plate, flex bleeder & starter grounding cable










New transmission mount




Shifter

The existing Hurst Competition shifter movement has been improved. Upon removal there were two stacked shift boots, a rubber lower and a vinyl upper. I assume the lower was for water protection, which didn’t seem necessary in that location given my driving, and was removed. The shifter mechanism had hardened grease, which was cleaned, shift plates were greased, and shift rods adjusted. It shifts even better now. Also replaced the white Hurst shift knob with a black one, still with shift pattern. I figure if anyone else does ever drive or move the car, say a shop, I don’t want them guessing.


Prior white shift knob




New black shift knob





Headlights

Previously had blue dot tri-bar headlights with mounting buckets drilled way off for clocking, and sketchy wiring. Replaced headlights with reproduction Lucas PL700’s, with H4 bulbs and proper wiring, weatherpack connectors, and black sleeving. Properly drilled for mounting buckets with aligned tri-bars. The silver Lucas center shields look just great on the silver car. The lenses seem more rounded out and make the car feel alive, like eyes on the Cobra. Pleased with this simple upgrade.


Headlights before




Headlights after






Headlight wiring after (photo is before tightening of mounting nuts)




Front blinker light

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Last edited by EM-0785; 11-28-2020 at 01:55 PM.. Reason: Remove duplicate photo; add head intake port/gasket photos, revise photo order
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:24 PM
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Fuel Line & Tank Updates

Due to age and prior variable sizing, replaced all flex lines for the fuel and PCV systems with petroleum compatible rubber hose with stainless steel jacketing and a black cloth overwrap. Also replaced the fuel filler tube with a new rubber hose. Used all 3/8” fuel lines, prior had a combo of ⅜” and 5/16” sections. Replaced red/blue fitted carb fuel log/lines with silver/black ones.

Also, replaced some dangerous fuel sender wiring. It had exposed twisted wires laying loose on the fuel tank, and a poor ground. Replaced with new wire, solid connections and grounding, weatherpack connectors and black wrap around sleeving.

The fuel tank was cleaned inside and out and painted black. Prior crooked tank mounting is now levelled using fabricated spacers for the passenger side of the tank. New rubber mounting pads were added to the tank and straps. The mounting bolts were rusted and different lengths, replaced with new stainless of the same length.

Based on the shape of the tank and the shape, ohm range, and design of the sending unit, it was determined the OEM application it came from (2nd gen Camaro). Replaced the fuel sender matching the prior 2nd gen Camaro tank sender, with a custom shortened pickup tube, also adding a filter sock to it. This resolved the bouncing and misreading fuel gauge issue. The gauge was tested functional through its full range of motion.

Rerouted the fuel filter from up over the front of the engine to a larger sized remote filter located at the lower front passenger side of the engine bay. This allowed for a larger/better filter, easy servicing, and cleaned up the look of the engine.

This included re-clocking the fuel pump orientation and replumbing from fuel pump to carb. Also verified the gas gauge functionality, verifying that ohm reading at sending unit matches ohm reading at harness/gauge connection.


Fuel sender wiring before




Fuel sender wiring after




New fuel filler hose




Fuel log & fuel fIlter before






Fuel line, filter, log routing after
















Fuel tank from behind after








Fuel tank from behind before

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Last edited by EM-0785; 10-12-2020 at 07:20 PM.. Reason: Remove duplicate wording
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:26 PM
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Trunk

Taillights

The rear taillights were rewired, with soldered ground connections to the Lucas lamp bases. The Lucas style bullet connectors were replaced with Weatherpack sealed connectors. The reflectors were not modified at this time, but may be down the road by adding reflective metal plates behind the light assemblies to enhance light emitted from the taillights.


Running & brake lights





Battery Relocation

Relocated battery from the center behind the bulkhead, to the rear passenger trunk fender bump out. Added an aluminum mount plate and hold down, all easily accessible. Ample cable was left to pull the battery into the trunk for inspection & attachment. Got a new cut-off switch and relocated it, with added jumper posts, to a new fabbed panel. The prior cut-off switch was not rated for the electrical load. Trimmed kill switch lever to reduce chance of a shifting load in the trunk turning the switch off, given its location.

Attached Battery Tender lead with nuts. Created an access hole out beneath the trunk, dropped & fastened a capped lead tight below trunk for anytime access without opening the trunk. I still open the trunk to kill the cut-off switch before charging, but no longer have to drape a cord under the trunk lid.


New battery location/mount & new cut-off & jumper post panel




Chassis ground and battery tender lead






Rear Trunk Space

Removed the three vinyl panels previously framing out the trunk space. This opened up the trunk space quite a bit, front to back and side to side. Repainted the fiberglass sides black for a clean look. This car has thick fiberglass so not as concerned about that being exposed and will pack accordingly. It now has an open, raw appearance, added usable space, and room for wider length items like my PiggyBack tonneau cover.

A removable aluminum mid trunk bulkhead style panel was fabricated. Media plated, primed and powder coated ano silver. This runs side to side under the trunk hinges about where the prior vinyl side to side trunk panel was. Next to it added a new fixed cut-off switch panel with battery jumper posts and a back cover plate shielding the wiring from the front trunk area.

The trunk divider is held in place with four Dzus quarter turn fasteners (like used on removable body panels on race cars), so it’s quick and easy to remove when needed. This splits the trunk into fore and aft sections, and allows the divider panel to be removed for a full sized trunk when needed. The rear section has more room than before side to side plus improved battery access. Added new black carpet in this now wider rear trunk space.

Added a missing crossbolt at the base of the roll bar for safety.


New rear trunk space and wiring






















Front Truck Space (Special “Secret” Project!)

Now for my most creative conception, and the project we’re most excited about. We now have a four passenger Cobra! We cut a rectangular pass-through opening in the bulkhead for access from the cockpit into the now separated forward trunk space. This space got separate black carpeting and is trimmed out and enclosed with a black nylon pass-through cover on the bulkhead, fastened with snaps. The cover is designed to roll up from the bottom with nylon straps that hang down from inside to hold the roll in place using top snaps.

We installed metal tie down loops near the back, which short dog leads attach to. We may also create a cargo net solution to clip to the metal loops as well.

This allows our two miniature long-haired Dachshunds to ride with us. Larry (black/tan) and Leon (red) are burrowers, preferring small spaces, and being right between us. The leads attach to their body harnesses and allow them movement within the space, but not to get out into the cockpit. Padding was fabricated to cover the roll bar leg in the pass-through opening to protect the dogs. It was separately carpeted for easy removal and cleaning.

The forward trunk also allows ready access to clothing, bags, comfort & convenience items while driving. Sort of like a giant reverse glove box, or well, a forward trunk. Now with the removable panel between trunk spaces and the access hole into the cockpit with roll-up nylon cover, we could pull up to Home Depot, open the trunk and just keep on pulling out a very long piece out of the trunk, just for peoples’ reaction.

So the entire usable front trunk was gained, even as we expanded the rear trunk space width wise. All it took was a little creative thought and planning. Where there’s a will there’s a way, I was determined to develop an option to bring our dogs with us!


Front trunk access with cover rolled/snapped up










Front trunk access with cover rolled/snapped down








Our dogs






Dogs in Cobra






(Note: In actual use, the front trunk is about the greatest this ever! The dogs get ever changing scents from the fresh air like they're at a window. Also, on a recent trip, we were loading up to head home. Sweatshirts, giant sports purse, COVID kit, auto store bag, grocery bag, and a 12 pack of tall Propel waters the relatives made us take. The front trunk just sucked everything in no problem, room to spare. Snap it closed and done, easy in, easy out, and accessible, by the passenger of course, while driving.)


Interior - Other

While carpeting the trunks we also replaced some of the carpet in the cockpit, including retaining the vinyl corner beads on the tunnel with new ones. The door sills were drilled and tapped for 10-32 screws as physical carpet hold downs to prevent carpet peeling below the door latches, which has been an issue.

Diagnosed issues with hinge covers on doors, not holding in place and binding. Cause was sheet metal screws shoved into 8-32 tapped holes. Solution was drilling and tapping door hinge brackets to 10-32, re-installing door hinge covers in a solid, aligned manner.


Overall interior before




Overall interior after (so far)




Rear Bumper, License Plate & Mount

The rear bumper stuck out way far, so we shortened it several inches with new spacers, tighter to the body. It would have been envious as an extended truck bumper, it’s now more natural for a Cobra. The prior black rubber rear bumper grommets were replaced with custom stainless steel pieces to cover the body holes and provide a clean, integrated look between the bumper and body.

The mounting was structurally strengthened, creating a bumper that can take the full weight of a person without concern over damaging the mounting. This allows for pushing the car by hand if needed. It also allows for pushing down on the rear bumper so the car clears the Serpent Express Trailer door with the soft top on.

Previously there was not room for a license plate between the light fixture and trunk handle, even with common tight space mounting brackets. A European plate would have fit fine, we assume by design.

The license plate had been mounted on the outside of the extended rear bumper. One local owner has a bottom center license plate notch cutout to go around the trunk handle. However, I didn’t want to go that route. The shop came up with a custom solution.

The license plate light fixture was replaced with a custom fabbed aluminum mounting bracket. Designed to compliment the Cobra’s lines, it re-aligned the license plate without visual interference from the bumper, for a clean, uncluttered look. They used small, dual LED license plate lights integrated into the classic looking license plate frame’s upper bolts. This allowed moving the license plate to the body, improved night visibility of the car, and created a clean, integrated look, unique to this car. Thin rubber bumpers isolate the plate from the body.

The rear of my car always seemed rather large and bulbous, even among 427 wide body Cobras. The area by the rear cockpit bulkhead rides higher than some brands. The typical Cobra license plate light added to the overall bulky feel. The license plate previously low on the bumper visually left a disproportionate amount of body bulk above it.

We eliminated the typical license plate light, raised the license plate up into that space, and pulled the previously extended bumper close into the body to tighten up the overall appearance. From behind this seemed to proportionally reduce the sense of massive rear bulk. It seemed to balance things out, reducing and tightening the look from the rear, almost a bit more like a small block Cobra feel.

Took a bit of a different tact with licensing this car and decided to honor the classic nature and period of this replica itself. Changed from a modern day collector vehicle plate, to an era correct 1985 WA plate for the manufacture date of my car, still under the collector vehicle (30 year+) classification. Got reproduction tabs for the month and year of my car’s manufacture, which both happen to be green and match the green plate characters for a clean, singular look. Used a thin, chromed license plate frame, more common for that era.

The license plate is in near perfect condition as if it’s never been on a car. Very well preserved from 1985 and a very clean look. Later, after placing the plate, as a separate project, we looked long and hard for a rear view mirror to use.

The shop came up with a Lucas 608 dipping mirror with a classic silver look to it. I then realized that the license plate ended in 608 and I figured that plate was trying hard to be British just like the trunk space design intended. I then further realized the plate’s letters LUS could also be short for Lucas, in its further attempt to be on its best British behavior! So it was meant to be, and the plate is now comfortable in its own skin. Proudly, along with its British reproduction counterparts of the Lucas 608 mirror and the Lucas PL700 headlights!


Rear (extended truck!) bumper & lic plate before




New lic plate mount








Rear bumper & lic plate after








Rear Badge

A custom stainless steel Cobra badge bracket was welded to the inside of the driver side bumper overrider. The bracket was designed to place the badge in the horizontal center of the driver side outer rear hoop, as if floating, with a clean, integrated look. It’s nearer to the lower hoop bar so when standing behind the car looking down to read the badge it’s not impacted too much by the upper hoop bar. That framed the badge nicely to stand out, while out of the way and protected.


Rear club badge




Front Badge

I had a common red, white and blue Cobra badge on the front body of the car. I preferred a more unique look, integrated with the rest of the silver/black car theme. The paint was stripped and the underlying metal polished, for a raw look in line with the metallic/silver theme of my car. It came out just right. I could fill some black in the inset portions down the road, but I’m very much enjoying the silver for now.

Previously the badge had just been set in place with its pegs. It now has push fittings on the underside holding it on.

Front Cobra badge before




Front Cobra badge after








Fuse Blocks

This was an earlier project started based on the results of a 16 screw voltage test in a club thread by PatrickT. I tested voltage across all fuses with the key off then on. Found some deficiencies. My fuse blocks had a lot of corrosion so I decided to restore their condition first and see if that made a difference.

A few nights of steel wool, metal polish and contact cleaner. Replaced the rusted mounting hardware with new stainless. Replaced fuses (not yet reflected in photos). The good news is it looks a little better.

The better news is it restored the lost function of both my horn and wipers! This highlights the importance of starting with baseline diagnostics. My wiper motor research went on hold at that point!


Fuse blocks before & after








Horns

Cleaned and painted the dual Fiamm horns, and did a refresh of the ground. Then went a step further and the shop removed them from the engine bay and remounted them in a hidden location in the front of the car to the upper front side of the radiator, with a new fabricated mount and an enhanced wiring arrangement.


Horns before






Horns during






Horns after (before moving)




Horns after (after moving)




Windshield Frame

An early on project, the chrome on this 1985 replica was in need of some restoration from years of rust, pitting, and grime. Nothing many nights of polishing couldn’t overcome. A nice result!


Chrome before








Chrome after








Hood Prop

The prior hood prop had no receiving hole or similar secure fastening solution. The hood frame just rode on the rod end. This is an extremely heavy hood given the older EM thick fiberglass. The rod would walk on its own, and require reorienting every several minutes to the center point, with careful movements while working around the car. It risked crashing down at any moment, given the slightest bump.

I’d promptly incorporated a 2nd manually extending prop to assure stability, until a permanent solution was deployed. There was also no rod holder when closed, the rod rode loose against whatever it rested on (and bounced).

A prop rod plate with a receiving hole was mounted to the hood frame and a snap-in catch installed in the front of the engine bay to hold the closed prop rod in place. These simple updates solidified the situation and worked well. One less worry and no more dinking around with it. I can now have the hood up with confidence.

Also mounted rubber bumpers under the hood to prevent hood rattle.


Hood prop before




Hood prop after







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Last edited by EM-0785; 11-28-2020 at 02:05 PM.. Reason: Spelling
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:27 PM
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Tonneau Cover

I wanted a tonneau for garage use (dust & insects), and for sun, light rain, birds, and humans when out and about. I didn’t want to add more Lift-The-Dots for a driving capable tonneau cover. Went with a PiggyBack tonneau cover that sets on with bungee straps hooking around the side pipe mounts. Went with the body/stripe color scheme of my car.

It has internal metal support rails, and protective flaps under the bungee straps. Pig (Pigfarm70 on this site) was helpful and accomodating, working with me to sample several color and material options to meet my specific needs. The internal metal rails make the rolled up length a bit long for my prior trunk configuration, but it fits now.


PiggyBack cover












Side Pipes

Leveled the driver side pipe with a new exhaust hanger. It had angled down quite a bit to the rear. It looks much better now, much more level.


New side pipe hanger




Side pipes after




Wheels

My wheels are old two piece Centerlines with separate knock off adapters and hub baskets. The adapter had always presented challenges when threading the lugs on, binding, sacrificing lugs, and creating less than ideal seating. I saw some improvement when I widened the lug holes in the adapters. Yet the aluminum adapters were still interfering with the lugs/washers, creating a variable seating surface that was not ideal. The shop achieved a more permanent solution.

The adapters were machined to enlarge the lug nut holes such that they will seat entirely over the lug nuts and washers without touching them. The adapters were then bolted onto the rims in their proper aligned positions with countersunk flat headed fasteners. The lugs work smoothly now, with no binding, for a confident seat directly on the wheels, and fewer loose intermediary parts to interface, bind, and deal with each time the wheels are mounted.

The right front wheel always had a slow leak. The two wheel halves needed re-sealing. The wheel shells were cleaned with a wire brush wheel to prepare for sealing. A quality aircraft sealant was used for a durable seal. Will likely do that to the other three wheels over time.


Adapters bolted on






Wheel prep and sealer








Suspension & Ride Height

After my initial suspension project I’d left the car riding a bit high, planning to bring it down over time as we proved out no rubbing and ensured no clearance issues. The shop now dialed in the suspension, with the new trimmed scatter shield in place.

All coilovers were lowered as far as they could go (approx. four turns) while keeping the lowest chassis point, the trimmed-off scatter shield, above the scrub line about ¼”. It functions and looks better, and still has plenty of bump travel. With the shocks initially moved to full soft with no rubbing in test drives, they were then dialed firmer tor handling/preference. The car has a very tight turning radius with no rubbing now at the new height. It turns so sharply, I need to install oversteer stops as well in the future. Importantly, the shop did corner weight balancing, and front and rear alignment.

Rear camber was excessive, as purchased at -3.00 degrees at each rear wheel, quite a bit for a street car with fairly wide tires. The shop custom made thicker shims to reduce rear camber to approx. -2.00 at each rear wheel. The shims were added to the ends of the half shafts next to the brake rotor, to push the axles out and straighten up the tires some. That is as far as it could go without narrowing the rear suspension or reducing tire size, so as to have adequate tire clearance. We should be able to reduce neg. camber further once we install the rear anti-roll bar in design, as the body won’t roll as much during cornering.

For now at least the extra negative camber will help the tread plant level under cornering/acceleration given the torque of the big block. We’d prefer to be at about -1.0, eventually. Rear toe is .062” toe out, which wasn’t too bad and left as is, since it isn’t easily adjustable on the Jag rear ends.

On the front, the shop made my day when they said that whoever aligned this in the past did a pretty good job. That was me, in my garage, upon upgrading the front suspension, brakes, and steering rack. With the front now lower, it’s currently at -.125 camber and +.5625 caster on each side. This was conservative, as they noted, due to the fact there’s no more adjustment left on the LF corner, which both sides are pegged to.

Typically they can get a degree or more negative camber from a MII frontend, so they assume the limit may be due to my shortened control arms. They felt this was set as good as it gets currently and is matched on both sides.

Front toe-in was about 3/32” per side (.187 or about 3/16” total) and the shop reduced to 1/16” per side (.125 or 1/8” total), given my newer tight steering.

The car has a fair amount of bump steer, as measured, in two inches of droop, the wheels toe-in about 1/8”. We may consider fixing this later. For now, at least it’s toe-in bump steer, likely better than toe-out bump steer.

The ride height is now more natural, lower, and better equalized per side. The car drives much better with the suspension dialed in, the alignment, and the lower center of gravity, including lowered occupant seating positions.

The starting LR/RF cross weight with no driver was 49.6%, which served as a solid starting point for dialing in. After dialing in, the LR/RF cross weight was 50.2% with no driver. Then with a driver close to my weight it was 49.5%. Total weight was 2,906 with a half tank of gas and no driver, with a F/R weight distribution of 47.3% front and 52.7% rear, providing some rear traction which works for me. That reflects close to 100 lb weight reduction from the front suspension, steering & other upgrades done previously.

The big block engine sits well behind the front axle. That helps with the rear weight for traction, it just doesn’t do any favors when you want to remove the heads, which protrude behind the firewall.

With the new ride height and suspension aligned and dialed in, the front lower A-arms and steering tie-rods, and the rear half-shafts, are all very close to level now, at rest, which was not the case before.

If I want to lighten down the road next steps would include aluminum heads and carbon fiber hood. My hood is unbelievably thick and heavy fiberglass, plus c.f. would allow a slightly larger scoop for a yet larger air cleaner. The shop has certain materials expertise and a relationship with a local c.f. specialist for such a project if/when I’m ready. I’m glad I asked them about it, as they can get that done, just another list item.


New ride height






Corner weight balancing




Level suspension/steering arms after






Anti-Roll Bar, Tie-Down Rings & Tow Hooks

Added DOM mild steel tubing structure to front of Cobra, welded and painted black, to function as a front anti-roll bar mounting bracket and as car tie-down points. Also installed front tow eyes to the frame rails, and made a simple, removable nylon rope tow harness to fit across and through the grille opening. Verified the harness will not damage grille opening at expected towing angles when winching onto my trailer.

The harness clips onto the tow eyes and spans across the center of the grille opening. The winch cable clips onto the harness for winching and self centers. The harness rope is easy to remove when not in use.

By design, the solution allows winching the car into the trailer through the grille without damaging the fiberglass or bumper. The new front tie-down hooks are easily reachable from outside the trailer, through the multiple trailer zipper doors. This all worked out great, with the car’s tie downs and tow eyes all hidden from view and functional. A separate Serpent Express trailer build entry will be posted to my build log soon as well.

Mocked up geometry to verify pull angles of tow hook mounts will not impact the body. Mocked up anti-roll bar and endlink geometry to verify no interference issues with wheels, suspension, and steering components through full shock travel and steering angle. That did require re-routing the front caliper brake lines.

Delfin bushings were used on the anti-roll bar. The end links were attached to new mounting tabs welded onto the tubular lower control arms. They have ball joint-style tie rods allowing for a wide range of articulation. They offer less deflection than a rubber/urethane bushings, and are suitable for street use. They’re sealed, weatherproof, and OEM quality, ensuring long life.

The car now handles better with less body roll, better character over bumps and reduced chance of snap-spin given an improved anti-sway bar relationship favoring front vs back.

The rear anti-sway bar was removed to allow the IRS to work, and, as it really wasn’t doing anything the way it had been designed originally. An integrated design has been determined for an effective rear anti-roll bar solution in the future, and to work better in conjunction with the front anti-roll bar.


DOM steel ARB structure with tie-down rings


























Tow hooks






Winching & car-truck-trailer








Soft Top

Installed the soft top for the first time, without side curtains for now, just open windows. Everett Morrison (including via their vendor) did it right. It looks great, very aggressive. It fits tight, matching the curves, with a low design and is a rich black.

A quality, classy look, as far as soft tops go, especially against the silver. If only James Bond had driven a Cobra!

One installation issue needed resolution. The trunk lid brushed the rear center two Lift-The-Dot fasteners when installed, and there were multiple previously broken studs in the fiberglass chassis there. Extracted those studs and replaced with two new, lower profile bolt-through style Lift-The-Dots. Also repaired the top glueing on the leading edge of the top where it’s glued to the windshield attachment hardware.

One operational issue was resolved after use. At moderate speeds the mounting in the top windshield frame rattled. Foam was added (non-visible) and the issue was resolved.

Another operational issue was identified after use for future improvement. Over 60 mph, wind buffeting shakes the windshield frame, scary for breaking the windshield and limits usable range. Looking to add some additional structure to the soft top frame. Likely a bar from the top center of the windshield to the soft top main hoop just behind the doors, in early design concept. Perhaps even some screening to limit the top material from buffeting. I want to ensure a wide speed range of use with the top only and no side curtain/windows, which is how I prefer to use the top arrangement when installed.


Soft top installed









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Last edited by EM-0785; 11-28-2020 at 01:48 PM.. Reason: Add missing word, correct for duplicated clause, add photo
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Old 10-09-2020, 08:29 PM
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Side Mirrors

Added side mirrors from The Dream Car Company in polished billet aluminum. These attach to the upper wind wing mounts and feature 4” convex mirrors that are positioned higher up than my prior fender mounted mirror. The mounting arms also reach out farther which I wanted with the soft top.

The improvement in overall visibility and blind spot coverage is significant. They work great, and may be the single best thing I’ve done on the Cobra. Much safer with more confidence in traffic. The soft top creates a slight head check blind spot, yet these mirrors seem to help compensate for that nicely.

They are easy to install and remove so there’s a chance I may use these with the soft top and other traditional higher mounted mirrors when not using the top, we’ll see.

Was looking to add a chrome or polished cover where the prior fender mounted driver side mirror was. However mocking that up seemed to be a large piece that unnecessarily drew attention to it. Installing two very small stainless steel screws into the mounting holes to cover. It’s very subdued and still in keeping with the silver/metallic theme and downplays that area.


New side mirrors














Old mirror screw holes covered












Rear View Mirror

My dash mounted rear view mirror sat a bit low already, and was really lacking with the soft top on. I looked at extending it, or getting a center rod mounted style. However to gain significant safe usefulness, and with no rattling, I decided on an upper windshield mounted mirror.

To maintain a classic era look, the shop identified a Lucas 608 dipping mirror reproduction. The mounting arm was modified/shortened to keep the mirror close to the top of the windshield in a useful location. A polished aluminum clamp was made that attaches to the runner on top of the windshield and fastens with a set screw. It was designed with a slight downward angle allowing the mirror to be raised up higher on the windshield while still allowing for the necessary range of view.

The mount will double as a sort of physical lock for the soft top to keep the bars from moving inward should the outer clamps somehow become undone (which is unlikely). The clamp is easily removable for installing and removing the soft top.

I looked at some black mirrors, yet with my new silver raised slide mirrors, after mocking up with a black mirror, the Lucas 608 seemed a more compatible color (and style) scheme. Shelby apparently used the Lucas 608 on (some) first gen GT40’s, so it should work for my Cobra.

Filled the prior dash mirror’s mounting holes with small stainless steel screws like with the side mirror.


Lucas rear view mirror










All new mirrors






Rule Garage

A shout out to my shop friends at Rule Garage in Tacoma. They indulged my many ideas, taking ownership in those projects, and offered many useful suggestions/solutions. They were very easy for me to deal with, we were really on the same page. They felt like family, and treated the Cobra as part of their family.

Andy (father) has a Journeyman Certification in Mechanics and a Certificate in Electronics, plus over 40 years experience in the custom car world including decades building hot rods. Tyler (son) has degrees in both Vehicle Engineering and Plastics Engineering, and a strong aptitude for auto electrical principles and application.

Thanks guys for enhancing my Cobra experience, given that continual improvements are my creativity outlet, and also in maintaining a focus on the core themes for my car. Nice work guys, we will be back, the Cobra really likes you.

Here are Andy and Tyler with the Cobra...


Rule Garage team



Below is a link to a recent write up from Andy’s technical college alma mater, with the Cobra pictured in Andy/Tyler’s prior shop:

https://thesubtimes.com/2020/03/18/a...cptc-programs/
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Last edited by EM-0785; 11-17-2020 at 08:24 AM.. Reason: Add word.
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Old 10-10-2020, 03:45 AM
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Stroker, when you emailed and said there's a (little) update on your post, you weren't kidding First off Folks, let me tell you a little about our friend & club member EM-0785, now on to be known as "Stroker" This man has Priority, funny thing is his Cobra is 4th on that list. Brent has been a Life Long Car Guy, but he put all that on hold to have a "Great Family" (Joan is a Sweetheart) & build a very successful business". Always thought about someone else, never himself, and if you were lucky enough to have him as your Friend, you knew this was to be a life-long friendship. This is just a quick post to tell you how happy I am, that the EM, is now ready for our drives next year, and what a great friend you have & will always be. You should be justly proud of your (New) EM. We have a saying "We were Cobra friends, now were friends that own Cobras" Big Difference. Your Buddy, TommyRot.
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Old 10-10-2020, 09:12 AM
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Tom, thanks for the very nice words next above. You’ve had it right when you‘ve always said we’re just a couple of Cobra nuts!

I remember after talking on the site when we first met in person years ago at the classic car auction. Without hesitation, we both led with a handshake and pulled in for a shoulder bump and a pat on the back (what we call a Cobra or car guy hug). It felt like a friendship from the start.

Also, I’m glad that somebody’s finally figured out my priorities, I do sometimes wonder! But you’ve got it exactly right there. ☺

Brent
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Old 10-11-2020, 08:44 AM
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You're more then welcome Stroker Your last phone call, say's it all After "burning a whole lot of Dead Dinosaurs" You sounded like you had a (Song in your heart & a spring in your step) Finally driving yours, is your "Light" at the end of the tunnel. Look forward to next spring when we can enjoy these great cars & great friends here in the PNW. Cheers Brent TommyRot.
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Old 10-11-2020, 09:42 AM
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WAY TO GO, BRENT !!!! All of this has taken one heck of a lot of time and effort, to say nothing of the expense! I most respectfully admire your tenacity! Job well done! How nice of Joan to have supported you through all of this. I do, however, pick up that she is enjoying the "trip" also. I can't wait to see it for real!!! So so proud of you! Now, go out and enjoy the fruits of your labor, my good friend. Cheers! Larry
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:51 AM
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Hi Larry,

Thanks, it’s always an honor to hear from you Larry, not seeing each other as much with COVID. I took much inspiration from you, with your Dachshund in your airplane and on boats with a carry handle life vest.

Your assistance in planning and quick technical build checks as I built my Serpent Express trailer was invaluable, as a prior S.E. builder yourself. If a solution being considered passes muster via your common sense, experience, and engineering background, it’s more than good enough for me.

Joan had it right after she first met you when she said, ‘boy I could hang out with that Larry all day long, he’s just great!’

Well, we’ll be rumbling and rolling soon, looking forward to it Larry! My entire being smells like gas and exhaust again now, very relaxing!

Take care…Brent
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Old 10-11-2020, 07:59 PM
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Boy Stroker, doesn't get much better then Larry being a CC member for 10years, and the very FIRST post he makes is to your Great rebuild That say's it all. Cheers Buddy
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Old 11-09-2020, 11:28 PM
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(Follow-up on the recent front dog trunk project chronicled above...)

A great outing with the whole famdamily!

37 degrees and light rain in Issaquah. No worries with the soft-top (no side curtains) and bomber jacket with collar flipped up. Wipers work!!

This is how the dogs roll, they loved it, especially the half-time walk break and doughnut snack! Went to the classic old-fashioned Top Pot Doughnuts round shack building in Issaquah, WA. The building and grounds are very cool, a real blast from the past that still exists.







Click for video:

https://youtu.be/cOkxfubiSOc

Last edited by EM-0785; 11-11-2020 at 06:32 PM..
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