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Old 03-17-2021, 02:58 PM
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Default West Coast Cobra Owner Build Chassis # 3299

First I want to thank this forum for all the information that helped point me in the right direction when I ran into challenges. This is a build log that assembles all my photos chronologically that my photo Albums may not. This was my first build and many times it felt like a scratch build. This build took nearly 16 years of part time dabbling to complete. There were periods in my life where for up to 18 months not a wrench was turned. Life happens. Thanks to my family for putting up with this! In fact this car is family now forever. Selling it would be like selling one of your kids. Its a keeper. When I started my build I really enjoyed the act of creating and building and didnt think driving it would as fun. Well I was wrong. Its a blast to drive. The only other human to work on this car was a paint and body man I selected who had extensive fiberglass build experience. My goal was to build a driver and not a trailer queen. Ive just reached nearly 800 miles since completing car in May 2020. Grinning ear to ear.

The list of suppliers I used is long and the internet made it possible. Many suppliers were discovered reading this forum. As an automotive engineer by training the fun part of further development of the car begins now. Thats the next chapter Im beginning to write now.

Winter 2004- In The beginning
The year of our third child being born, so it was time to start. Believe it or not after researching cobra kits for over 10 years in the planning, I decided to purchase a WCC in two phases. Part 1 ( rolling chassis) then when I was ready and had the money I would buy Part 2 ( complete body and interior). It never works out like you plan. So read on and learn about my journey. This Ford Big Block 385 series OEM bell-housing was my first part purchased in my build. Formerly in a Bronco. Wacky! I know. Its one of the few used parts repurposed for my build.

Pics from the WCC web brochure.
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Old 03-17-2021, 03:04 PM
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Default WCC Phase 1. Chassis 3299. The Roller



So near the end of 2004 after waiting about 3 months, WCC had completed my rolling chassis and delivered it to my home in suburban DC. Trailered all the way from Windsor Ontario where their shop was located. For those that may not be familiar with this WCC chassis it uses a Mustang II type front end and a full size Pass car Ford 9 inch rear end , 4 link with coil spring and tube shocks circa the 1970ís. Its set up with Power brakes from a F150 truck and Fox body Ford Steering column and power steering rack. It uses the durable and trusted Saginaw Power steering pump used in millions of applications. The 4 wheel disc system uses the 11 inch Granada rotors and GM intermediate early 70ís D52 type front calipers up front and Ford/ Lincoln 12 inch rear calipers found in SVO mustangs back in the day with integral e-brake. A brake bias adjustment allows you tune as needed.

These photos were taken by WCC just before leaving their shop. The sales and marketing photo I had on my wall for years is shown below too


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Old 03-17-2021, 03:17 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299. Engine Selection

2005

The WCC is designed around a Ford Big Block 385 Series engine. You can choose any powerplant you want for this kit but I insisted on a Big Block and I had a budget. Ford Racing at the time in 2005 offered the 460 crate engines that were great value for money. The best part is I went to the local Ford dealer with a pickup truck (THANKS DAD!) to bring home my engine. These crate motors were rated about 500 hp on 106 octane racing gas. 10.5:1 CR meant I could run 93 pump gas and enjoy it on the street, with lower power of course. Remember my goal was a street machine. They used the newest Jon Kasse Racing Aluminum Super CobraJet heads that to this day in 2021 continue to evolve and make big power in current stroked 460. They used a nice high lift cam that it still streetable. I had to use a low rise TorkerII to fit under the hood, so that reduced peak power too. Oh. And I had to machine down the carb base by .250” to ensure clearance and then use a 1/4” carb insulating gasket to reduce fuel boil for better hot restarts.
2005. Crate Motor. The unCrating

Then test fitting with the crane I used only for this project to install the power unit



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Old 03-17-2021, 03:26 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299. Clutch and Tranny Time



2006
After having the crate motor and buying and installing my Edelbrock Torker II manifold to be able to clear the hood( it was a rumor it would clear, i didnt have the body to verify!). I insisted on keeping the original low profile hood scoop to keep the traditional body lines. Thankfully it worked out, it did clear the hood years later I learned. Lol ��
So after collecting engine accessory items like fuel lines, hoses, ign wires etc it was time to buy the rest of the drivetrain.
I purchased a Ford Racing flywheel ( made be McLeod back then) for my big block then a clutch from Centerforce. But immediately after mock-up I realized the silly sliding weights used on the Centerforce pressure plate interfered with my McLeod HTOB i was using. See the pic here. So I decided to use a McLeod single disc clutch with pressure plate. Btw. Back then the McLeod HTOB got alot of bad press for leaks. Mine has held fluid and pressure for 11 years since first fill with no issues. I think its all about how you set it up. And keep the fluid clean!! I decided on the Tremec TKO 600 due to its torque capacity and 5 speed gearing It allowed a nice 2300 rpm at 70 mph in 5th gear (0.82). Perfect for keeping up in traffic on road trips and still allowing 225 mile range from my fuel cell for weekend road trips. Im using a 3.25:1 rear axle gearing for street use.




To be continued"................
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Old 03-17-2021, 06:07 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299. Drivetrain Install



Summer 2006
So life keeps happening and in 2006 the Real Estate market was getting hot and we took the opportunity to sell high and buy high in a house upgrade. That meant I had to have the drivetrain installed so I could trailer the rolling chassis to its new home across town. Nothing like a deadline to focus on your build! So needless to say the rolling chassis was ready to trailer in a rented uhaul trailer on moving day. The rest of 2006 and most of 2007 was spent building out my workshop and doing house stuff in my new house so I can finish the Cobra. I promised myself I will never pack and unpack my entire house ever again. Lesson learned.



Here are pics of the drivetrain


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Old 03-17-2021, 07:39 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299. Cooling System Details

2008. Improving the WCC Cooling System

The biggest challenge with any car design that uses a high horsepower motor is to manage the heat rejection through air flow and coolant flow. Cobras are no different. So upon filling my cooling system for the first time I realized the WCC provided radiator leaked as fast as I filled it! What a POS ! That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The WCC kit supplied radiator was from some stationary engine( generator?) and was a brass and copper design that no joke weighed about 40 pounds! This unit was never designed for automotive use, it had a 4 inch thick core. The radiator is the heart of the cooling system, its the foundation. So I called up a famous radiator company in South Carolina and had a custom aluminum radiator built to my specs to handle 500+ hp
I chose to use twin SPAL 13 inch fans because they are an OEM fan supplier and durable. SPAL fans protect some of the most expensive OEM production engines in the world. They can be trusted. Each fan rated at 1,700 cfm. Other car builders I spoke to advised to always over design the fan size and flow rate. You can control the on /off temp strategy with a controller to optimize them later. I achieved 69% core coverage with these twin fans without a shroud fitted. With both fans running you can hold a sheet of 8.5x11 paper 5 inches away and it will suck it out of you hands. I have air flow!
Dont forget about coolant flow!. You want to maximize the flow at idle for a street car so you can manage the heat in traffic. I ordered a WP pulley to ensure its as small as possible to ensure max coolant flow in the low rpm low air flow through rad modes like traffic. The Ford Racing crate motor used an Edelbrock high flow WP. Contacting Edelbrock they were happy to share the pump curve with me, their customer. I also changed the lower hose design such that the chrome expansion tank 5/8 line fills into the lower hose to reduce air pockets. The last mod was to add a coolant air bleed valve to the water outlet neck on the intake. Its a production GM part. Btw. I learned all these off shore made chrome water outlets are warped about .080” on the gasket surface and leak. I didnt have access to a mill to fix it then so I found an cast iron outlet from a 1969 429. Problem solved.



Here is my sketch and pics of it installed.





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Last edited by kitcarbp; 03-23-2021 at 06:31 PM..
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Old 03-17-2021, 08:54 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299 Driveshaft by Dennyís



2009

So in the Fall of 2009 I was ready to fire it up for the first time. But to be able to test the drive train I needed to install my new custom made driveshaft and needed wheels. I used Denny’s Driveshafts in upstate NY. They are awesome professionals to deal with and made it easy for me. I used 1330 truck flanges at the diff compared to the smaller 1310 pass car flange on the diff as shipped from Ford originally in the 70’s. I found the Team 3 Wheels (formerly ET Mags) from a fellow WCC owner who is a CC forum member too. Love these wheels! He shipped them from CA. They are 12 inches wide for the rear and 8 inches wide for the front. The large rear wheel width allows me to run Drag Radials in 325-50-15 sizes. I started with 265-50-15 in front but recently found larger diameter 235-60-15 to fill more of the wheel well to my liking.






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Old 03-17-2021, 09:11 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299 Start Up ; Fall 2009



2009

Here is the pic on a November afternoon in 2009 when I pushed the Cobra out of the garage for the first start. I primed the engine beforehand with oil to get psi up and oil up to the rockers. Using a small 1 gallon plastic gas jug as a fuel tank the electric fuel pump primed the fuel system and filled the carb fuel bowls. The sound of the pump whining and changing pitch as pressure builds........priceless! One voice in a symphony of hot rodding. Love it!

It started on the first try. I’ll have to dig up the video and post it here later. The team Cobra photo is how you build a strong pit team. At a very young age. I love the gauge package dashboard I used for engine startup and cam break in. Those are Harbor Freight gauges! Still packed away somewhere in a box in my shop. Lol







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Old 03-18-2021, 11:39 AM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299 Build Log; Issues after Startup

2010. Clutch Adjustments

So while the startup and cam break-in went flawlessly i discovered a few things needing correction
1) I was not able to get the clutch to release no matter how many adjustments I made to the pedal and MC linkage. I finally changed my clutch master cylinder to a larger diameter to move the htob farther , increasing its stroke. I moved from a 3/4 inch up to 13/16 and that was the sweet spot. It increased pedal effort of course but solved my problem. The piston lengths available for my McLeod HTOB SEEMED EITHER TOO SHORT OR TOO LONG in my application. Now the clutch was working as it should with the 13/16 MC. If I had to do this all over again I would custom modify a clutchfork to accept an external slave cylinder. I just didnt have those fab skills at the time. Although there are probably some OEM Htob now that I could adapt for Tremec Tko600 use here in 2021. The other lesson learned was next time I would look for a pressure plate that required less finger travel to disengage the disc.
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:21 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299. Need the Body Now. Found it!

So by the Feb 2010 Im feeling pretty good about the project now in year 5. I have a running driving shifting very expensive go-kart. I had no idea that the easy part was over. Now to find the body. So I called up WCC to get pricing on the phase 2 kit which is supposed to be all the parts to finish the car. After getting pricing from WCC I thought to myself, Self! Im on a budget here, college payments are 4 years away! I bet I can find an unfinished kit somewhere for about 50% of what Vern was asking at WCC in Canada. I had nothing to lose. So more life happens and the cobra sits some more and its March of 2010. I find an unfinished car, complete body with a rare hardtop ( see pic below) and all the exterior bumpers overriders etc but no interior. Its a great deal so I bid and win the car on Flea-Bay. The car arrives from California on a Sunday in April 2010 and is as advertised, surprisingly. Here is WCC kit #2 arriving in Spring of 2010 at my house. My wife begins to think Im crazy. I now own 2 unfinished WCC kits.
I Met the transporter driver at my local high school and dragged the kit home on a trailer. Like the tow vehicle? Lol. Looking at the photos now years later, It shows the Cobra on top of the Ferrari in the delivery truck. How fitting.











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Old 03-19-2021, 12:16 PM
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C'mon, c'mon . . . more posts and more pics. Exquisite story and build thus far!

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Old 03-19-2021, 02:47 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299. I have a plan!

Fall 2010
So now that I have an expensive WCC go-kart and another unfinished WCC I picked up on eBay, my plan was to sell the extra unfinished chassis to help offset the costs invested on the eBay purchase. My wife just rolled her eyes but was a trooper when I explained the plan. So I advertised the unfinished rolling chassis in late summer and a few months later I sold it for the asking price. It was priced to sell! The dude that bought it wanted to build an armored vehicle with the WCC chassis Lol. Good luck buddy. No joke. You cant make this stuff up!

Now with the spare chassis gone and remonetized, it was time to hoist up the body and hang it from the rafters above where the chassis was parked. Now I would look for a body shop to take on the body work.
This is where the story turns sad and dark and I almost gave up my project. Read the next post to see what happened.

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Old 03-19-2021, 03:05 PM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. The Great Recession Years

2012
After procuring the body, the project sat in my garage in literally “ suspended animation”. For nearly 2 years from 2010-2012. Family commitments , youth sports coaching and life was busy. Those that remember the great recession and the impact it had on alot of people it even impacted us white collar folks in the auto industry. The lucky ones like myself were able to keep their jobs but salary reductions were the norm and bonuses eliminated. There was no extra cash to finish my Cobra project which is by nature cash intensive. It appeared I was heading down the infamous path of yet another unfinished Cobra project of which there are hundreds out there even today! I have read reports that Cobra Projects rank 1st in unfinished projects in the car hobby world. Someone should fact check that!

2013
WCC project for sale on Ebay! By 2013 I had lost all hope in completing the project due to continued financial troubles at work and sinking salaries. Auto industry recovery was steady but slow. So I gathered the courage to photograph everything and post it on eBay. The response was enormous. The very next day I was showing potential bidders the kit in the garage ready for body work but no interior yet. I had priced it to sell. It broke my heart to do this. Here are some of the pics from the eBay posting of my project. Including the WCC list of hardware supplied in Phase 1 of my kit. I was physically sick to my stomach having to sell a project I already had well over 800 hours expended over an 8 year period. Ive never been sadder.



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Old 03-19-2021, 03:49 PM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. Stop the Bidding! Auction Ended by Seller!

2013
The second night into the eBay listing I broke the news to the extended family that I put the Cobra project up for auction. That day was a complete embarrassment because I have never quit anything. The family was shocked and couldn't believe it. They knew the blood sweat and cursing I had already invested was profound on the project. That night at dinner we found a way forward that would allow me to continue the project. Iíll leave it that. Enough said. I love my family!
2014
In the Spring with my project having a new start again I finished up a few odds and ends and found a body shop that specialized in Corvettes. They had experience restoring and customizing Vettes of all Years. Ive seen their craftsmanship on cars near me. Why was that important? I wanted a very experienced fiberglass man and painter. While my Cobra was there they even repowered a 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt Clone. That was cool to see! Same motor as by Cobra. 385 Series big block. Of course they were all Vette guys and they swore they would never tackle a Thunderbolt project ever again. One and done! They were happy to see the Thunderbolt Clone leave their shop
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Old 03-19-2021, 04:13 PM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. Off to the Body Shop!

Summer 2014
It took a while to agree a start date with the body shop because they were slammed with Vette work. I was patient. I waited this long, whats another few months? In July 2014 I rolled the Cobra out to the street with the body in place but not yet fastened with rivets permanently.
Called AAA and they took it to the body shop. Now the progress really begins! The body man would be the only other person that worked on my car. Up to this point I was the only wrench. Notice the chalk drawing on the driveway. I guess earlier in that day it was playdate at my house

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Old 03-19-2021, 04:22 PM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. Start the Sanders!

September 2014

Here are pics from the first week. Let the fabrication begin! I dropped the car off in July and the guys didnt start on it until Sept. imagine a sought after bodyshop running behind plan!
Remember my eBay purchased WCC kit included a very rough Vern special WCC hardtop. The word rough is quite kind! But I had one. The pictures here of the hard top are after a week of cutting and glassing to get the fit right to the body. Way more labor than I planned for.

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Old 03-20-2021, 07:22 AM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. Body Work In Progress + Mods

Oct-Nov 2014

Changes! Redesign topics. So as with most projects, there is scope creep. I wanted to add a few safety features for seatbelt harness mounting. I selected Schroth Racing 4 point harness out of Germany because they had undergone DOT testing their belts for selling in the USA many years ago. They are well engineered and good quality. Seat belts are pretty important. Today watching the 12 hours of Sebring the LMP class prototypes were also using Schroth belts. I trust them. I had the body shop weld up a harness bar that mounts in the trunk in place of where the traditional WCC fuel tank is fitted. My body has a fuel filler in the rear fender that I like which meant the fuel tank is in the floor of the trunk. We welded in a fuel tank support bar into the frame to support the fuel tank weight beneath the fiberglass floor. Here is a pic of the assembled PE plastic tank and my pressure test on the bench to check for leaks before installing. Note the Schwin bike pump used to pressurize the tank a few psi. I used these fuel compatible sealing washers shown for every fastener on the fuel tank you must use shoulder bolts to ensure they seal correctly. Also note the GM Group 78 battery with vent tube assembly from a GM car that used trunk mounted battery. Keeping the acid vapor outside! Oem look!




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Old 03-20-2021, 04:59 PM
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Default WCC Chassis 3299- Finally in Guide Coat

December 2014.

By mid December the mods I requested were done and the body entered a guide coat stage for a little bit and more sanding of course


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Old 03-20-2021, 05:08 PM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. Silky Smooth Primer

December 2014
Here are more pics of primer coat stage , now 10 years into my build, a long haul!



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Old 03-20-2021, 07:32 PM
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Default WCC Chassis #3299. The Dash Build- Machining

While the body was being taken care of at JBL Automotove in Dulles, VA, I was busy building the custom dash. I started off with a billet sheet of aluminum. I was lucky to have machinist friends help me out in creating the CAD/CAM files for the dash. We used a multi axis Haas CNC machining center to build some magic. Here are the pics of how he did it

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