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  #401 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2011, 07:27 PM
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Cobra Make, Engine: ERA 289FIA 2131, 331 stroker by Dan Dalena with 48 IDAs by Jim Inglese, AC Cars AC8 "Rosso Chiaro" (PPG Nexa code FG39) by Connecticut Custom
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Kurt-

Sorry you're in down in Houston because I'd love to see yours (and maybe drive it???) when it is finished. So far, so very good! Are you going with the full monty: nose stripe, gum balls, trunk dimples, etc.?? What tranny and rear-end? Webers?????

Jeff
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  #402 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2011, 07:31 PM
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Last edited by jeffy; 04-30-2011 at 09:07 AM.. Reason: duplicate post
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  #403 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2011, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffy View Post
Kurt-

Sorry you're in down in Houston because I'd love to see yours (and maybe drive it???) when it is finished. So far, so very good! Are you going with the full monty: nose stripe, gum balls, trunk dimples, etc.?? What tranny and rear-end? Webers?????

Jeff
Jeff,

Well, if you’re ever in the Houston area, you’re most certainly welcome to visit us and drive this one. Will you extend the same offer to me as well? You and I certainly share the passion for these Little but Mighty 289s.

Yes, certainly “Full Monty” for this one but just between you and I ;-) my Penny Bank is starting to empty pretty fast so the Webers may be delayed awhile but I did at least have the engine cammed correctly for them. The tranny will be a TopLoader simply because I’m convinced I’d kill a T10 in short order. I’m currently chasing down TopLoader parts that will duplicate the original T10 shifter position and total length. The car is scheduled to ship early May so it’s already in final assembly and I’m anxiously awaiting photos from the factory.

Ok, this is your thread so that’s enough about my build. I’m admittedly excited to share my build with some of the other 289 guys here and I really appreciate your kind words - Thank you!

Kurt

Last edited by LightNFast; 04-30-2011 at 09:35 AM..
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  #404 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2011, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by LightNFast View Post
Jeff,

Well, if youíre ever in the Houston area, youíre most certainly welcome to visit us and drive this one. Will you extend the same offer to me as well? You and I certainly share the passion for these Little but Mighty 289s.

Yes, certainly ďFull MontyĒ for this one but just between you and I ;-) my Penny Bank is starting to empty pretty fast so the Webers may be delayed awhile but I did at least have the engine cammed correctly for them. The tranny will be a TopLoader simply because Iím convinced Iíd kill a T10 in short order. Iím currently chasing down TopLoader parts that will duplicate the original T10 shifter position and total length. The car is scheduled to ship early May so itís already in final assembly and Iím anxiously awaiting photos from the factory.

Ok, this is your thread so thatís enough about my build. Iím admittedly excited to share my build with some of the other 289 guys here and I really appreciate your kind words - Thank you!

Kurt
Hey Kurt - do you have a build thread for your FIA? I see it's scheduled to ship early May? If you don't have one, start a thread....tell us more!
Cheers,
Glen
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  #405 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2011, 07:05 AM
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Will your car be at Carlisle? I'm only an hour from there and I'd love to see it. Really a fantastic build!
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  #406 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2011, 08:55 AM
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Will your car be at Carlisle? I'm only an hour from there and I'd love to see it. Really a fantastic build!
Thanks! Last I heard, Peter P. was going to take it there.
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  #407 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2011, 10:18 AM
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I just spoke with Peter P. and he is still planning to take my car to Carlisle.

One other question for the group. What do you think of the "Carroll Shelby Motors" license plate frame? I'm tending to lean against it but am curious to know how others feel. Thanks!

BTW, current plan is to take the train to Connecticut Saturday morning, take delivery and drive the car back to New York. Hoping for a nice day! It is three years this month since I first started thinking about an ERA, inspired by this article in the New York Times:

A Carrot? A Stick? No, a Cobra
Mark Rabiner for The New York Times


Tim and Fred Heiler with the Cobra replica they built as a reward for Tim's good grades.


Published: May 25, 2008
IN 2001, our son, Tim, was a smart middle-schooler who, like many of his peers, wasn’t meeting his parents’ expectations. We thought he should be getting better grades, but distractions always seemed to get in the way: video games, roller hockey, Magic cards, girls, video games, TV and cars. Did I mention video games?

The Making of a Snake

But we found it tough to be firm with him. Our only child, Tim was engaging, entertaining and had traveled a lot with his mother and me. We really enjoyed his company.

Although he wouldn’t be driving for years, he was already a car fanatic, and he talked incessantly about the Shelby 427 Cobra. “Dad,” he would say, “it’s the sickest car ever made!”

By accident, I took advantage of Tim’s Cobra obsession, making the car an incentive that turned an unfocused teenager into a high school honor student. Tim is now a college sophomore, and a Cobra replica — built by us — is in our garage.

By middle school, Tim had decorated his room with posters of a 1950s Corvette, a Porsche 959 and a Mini Cooper tuner car.

I had thought I preferred the sturdy curves of a Porsche 356, but Tim convinced me about the hot looks of the Shelby 427 Cobra. Not to be confused with a procession of Ford Mustangs that later appropriated the name, this two-seat convertible was sleek, voluptuous and vaguely menacing.

In the early 1960s, Carroll Shelby hoped to build an unbeatable racecar by squeezing a large American V-8 into a small British sports car. He started with a demure convertible from the AC Company and added large fender flares to make room for wide wheels and tires. Shelby shoehorned a Ford V-8 into the car, along with the rear suspension and drive gears from a Jaguar XKE. The half-breed car was impressive on the track, so Shelby and AC decided to make street versions.

Fewer than 1,000 were built, but the Cobra became one of those larger-than-life legends that spawned a zillion hot-rodder stories and helped to inflate the car’s value as a highly desirable collectible. There’s nothing like a high-powered, pretty car made in very low numbers to run up prices. The car cost less than $6,000 in the mid-1960s, but a nice but not-so-special one sold for more than $800,000 at a recent auction.

The car’s history has fueled an industry that makes relatively low-cost Cobra replicas. There are now perhaps two dozen companies turning out about 1,200 replicas a year; prices range from about $12,000 for a very basic kit, to $45,000 for a complete, self-assembled fiberglass car like ours, to $110,000 for a ready-to-drive car with an aluminum body. Some are excellent and others mediocre, but most can be screwed together well enough to make it hard to tell the replica from the original.

And so it started. Tim studied Web sites, gathered literature and queried my car-freak friends and his own. Why should I object? At least he was reading more.

He found a replica company, ERA, in New Britain, Conn. “More than anything else in the world, I’d love to buy and build an ERA Cobra,” he told me. “O.K., bud,” I said in a weak moment, “if you get on the honor roll and stay on throughout high school, we’ll buy you a Cobra kit when you graduate.” I didn’t think it would happen, but I felt it would be worthwhile to give him an incentive.

Indeed, he began to apply himself in school, and in a couple of marking periods we got a congratulatory note and an honor roll sticker with his report card. His mom, Lynn, and I were ecstatic. Good grades became the norm all through high school, and Tim often reminded me of my promise. I began to think, “We might really have to do this.”

He graduated from high school knowing he’d earned his car, and in 2006 entered Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., as a freshman.

When I picked him up for his freshman Thanksgiving break, we visited ERA’s Connecticut shop and saw where they mold fiberglass bodies, jig-weld box-section steel frames and build cars for customers who don’t want to do their own. At the end of our tour, we put down a $500 deposit on the next available set of parts.

In June, the morning after Tim arrived home from college for the summer, a Nascar-type tractor-trailer arrived at our home in rural Pennsylvania. A bare fiberglass body and a black-powder-coated frame rolled out on dolly wheels, and we helped unload about 20 cartons of parts. It felt like having Christmas in the summer as we unpacked the boxes and covered two bays of our garage with serious-looking parts.

The kit was remarkably complete, right down to well-marked bags of nuts and bolts. It also came with a step-by-step manual and a statement that normal hand tools and about 100 hours of work would get the job done.

Neither of us is a master mechanic, but I had worked in a shop during summers when I taught junior high school, and he had twisted wrenches at a repair shop for two summers. After years of working on grimy, rusty cars, it was such a treat for us to assemble so many shiny new parts — first, the rear suspension with its half-shafts and inboard disc brakes, and later the dash, gauges and wiring. And doing it together was even more fun than we had thought.

With Fleetwood Mac or Green Day blasting, we’d chatter about car stuff, school or music while we worked, but at other times we’d proceed without speaking, anticipating each other’s moves and handing each other the right tools at the right time.

Although it wasn’t part of our original deal, I bought a rebuilt 351-cubic-inch Ford V-8 for Tim’s birthday in July. We had opted to supply our own engine and transmission, and to save money, we tried to scrimp on the gearbox. After wasting weeks on a junkyard transmission that didn’t fit in the car, we finally bought a slick Tremec five-speed, and it slipped right in.

Most installations require muscling a transmission up under the car with the help of a hydraulic jack or two. We simply plopped this one onto the floor where the driver’s seat would eventually go, unscrewed a side panel on the tunnel, slid the gearbox over onto the frame and against the engine.

Mr. Shelby designed the 427 Cobra with the engine slightly behind the front wheels. For this reason, and the fact that the car is relatively short, the driveshaft is only 14 inches long, instead of the usual 4 to 6 feet. We just sat in the seats and bolted it in, refitting the top tunnel panel when we were all done. Tim said he eventually wanted to make a Plexiglas panel so he can watch the driveshaft spin.

Among other things, he installed the entire wiring harness himself and was pleased when all the lights and gauges worked. The day before he returned to college, he cranked the starter. The car backfired through the air cleaner as it tried to catch, and the tension grew as we moved spark plug wires around in the distributor and tried again and again. When the engine finally rumbled to life, it was the perfect ending to our summer.

To my delight, Tim had elected not to use the signature Cobra side pipes, but a less-showy under-car dual exhaust system used on some of the original cars. It’s quieter than side pipes, but the V-8 burble is still sweet.


When the first-drive day finally arrived, I don’t know who was more excited. Tim climbed in, latched his four-point belt, set the choke, turned the key and the engine came to life. Standing beside the car, I had a lump in my throat as he backed it smoothly out of the garage. Tim, who had needed a special incentive to find his way, now knew exactly where he was going.

Piloting our Cobra has been a pleasant surprise. Although popular myth says Cobras are a handful to drive, an advantage of good replicas is that their frames are generally more rigid, so handling is better and there’s noticeably less vibration. It’s quick, as any 2,200-pound car with more than 300 horsepower will be, but predictably easy to control. Handling and steering are excellent, there’s little wind noise and the well-placed controls feel smooth and light.

Several car-enthusiast friends reacted early on by saying, “You’re giving a 427 Cobra to a teenage kid? You’re crazy! At least take him to a good safe-driving school before you turn him loose.”

They were right, of course, and Tim, who always wanted to go to such a school, agreed. We plan to attend a safe-driving school (not a racing school) together this summer. He’ll be 20, and I’ll be the one with the enormous grin on my face.
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  #408 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2011, 10:53 AM
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Put the Shelby plate on it! Only feelings your gonna hurt is old Shelby himself. The cars are a tribute, so why not! That's my thinking anyway
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  #409 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2011, 04:36 PM
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Hi Jeff,
Saturday morning? OK I know luck doesn't come into it, but....you lucky b*st*rd!!!
OK got that off my chest.
Carroll Shelby Motors? Yours has some inspiration from cars like CSX2557 and 2558. If they had the plate surround, then put it on your car.
You have experienced some of the journey already, now enjoy the drive! And we expect another post from you after Saturday...
Cheers,
Glen
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  #410 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2011, 06:57 PM
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Default OK, now it is really MINE!

Lucked out and had perfect weather to pick up ERA 2131 and drive it to its temporary home at a friend's house in Westchester. Here are some pictures from the pick-up.



















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  #411 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2011, 07:10 PM
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Default Wonderful!

That's been a long time comin'. So how'd you like driving it?
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:10 PM
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Default fantastik!

great day weather wise...how did it drive?...and did you take any other photos of projects in the shop
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  #413 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2011, 08:27 PM
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I hope you didn't hurt yourself, those Webers are tough to resist. Car looks great out in the sun. How long did it take you to get unpuckered from the seat?
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:51 PM
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Jeff ... Congratulations !!!

Car looks fantastic, nice to see it outside and ready to roll. Can't wait to hear how you like driving it. Have FUN !

- Tim
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  #415 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2011, 10:33 AM
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Thanks, guys!

The maiden voyage was fantastic. The engine note alone is entirely worth it; I think that is the main reason I wanted a Cobra in the first place!

Absolutely delighted with the driving. Rock solid tracking, and the suspension handles all the bumps we have up north flawlessly. Steering, brakes, pedal placement, driving position, all just right.

Webers were nearly perfect. I tried but couldn't really find the transition from the idle to the main circuits, smooth all the way up. I could cruise at and smoothly accelerate from any RPM. No need to try to keep it in the main circuit RPMs (around 3,000 and above). Perfectly behaved in street traffic and a beast when let loose. And the sound as it winds up! I could listen to that all day!

Some who have the dual outlet Weber manifold and the oil cooler complain about not maintaining enough engine heat on the highway. I did not have that problem. Heat stayed right at about 140 degrees, sometimes a little under.

Although they weren't supposed to, the fancy McTrumpet stacks and wire mesh screens disrupt the air flow enough that Doug felt the Webers lost a little something at the high end. After Carlisle, I'll take it to Inglese for a look. May just go back to the open stacks.

Didn't really come close to the limit cornering, braking or accelerating, but it feels easily as strong or stronger on all counts than the Porsche Cayman, 911 and BMW M3 I drove at a Skip Barber school at Lime Rock (M3 is the closest). I don't think the Lotus Exige (which I also drove there) would have much edge handling, and it is a lot less comfortable than an ERA. And the Lotus doesn't make that great sound!

In fact, my ears are still a little sore after three hours driving yesterday. The noise is not really bothersome while driving, but I guess it adds up over time.

As far as wind goes, the car is pretty comfortable around 60-65, so the temptation to speed is dampened somewhat (almost got caught nonetheless!). Around 80, I wouldn't trust keeping a baseball cap on for very long.

The Kirkey is VERY comfortable even though it initially feels snug. Very happy with that choice. I'm 6', so sitting on the floor isn't a problem with visibility.

To anyone starting a build, I very much recommend the rectangular rear view mirror for the cockpit: you can hardly see anything in a Raydot.

The combination of the 3.07 differential and the Richmond Road Race 5-speed is very good. The 3.04 first is just right: starts rolling easily but I still get a nice long pull. The 1:1 final probably isn't the best for cruising and highway gas mileage, though, but I knew that going in.

The instruments all look great, but the NOS speedo started to go haywire after about 15 miles, so that will need attention at some point. I also think it is undercounting mileage. The only thing I would change is the placement of the oil pressure gauge. Where it is now it is partially blocked from view by the steering wheel. I think I'll have it swap places with the less critical fuel pressure gauge so it is easier to keep an eye on.

The only thing on the drive that was a concern was, more often than not, I got a bit of grinding on the shift from fourth to fifth. Very strange; no idea why that is happening. I'll check in with Doug and Peter tomorrow.

BTW, the 289 is now the hot car at ERA: Peter P. said that his backlog is nearly all slabsides and FIAs, with a couple of GT-40s. No 427s other than what's in the shop.

So there you have it! I'm officially an ERA owner now! Time to go for a drive!
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:29 AM
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The only thing I would change is the placement of the oil pressure gauge. Where it is now it is partially blocked from view by the steering wheel. I think I'll have it swap places with the less critical fuel pressure gauge so it is easier to keep an eye on.
No. If it is one of the spokes on the wheel that is impeding your view then have them install a Quick Release hub on your steering wheel. You can then easily adjust the wheel so it is exactly where you want it. Not to mention the fact that if you, or anyone else, has to do any work under the dash being able to pull the wheel is a real blessing.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:06 PM
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No. If it is one of the spokes on the wheel that is impeding your view then have them install a Quick Release hub on your steering wheel. You can then easily adjust the wheel so it is exactly where you want it. Not to mention the fact that if you, or anyone else, has to do any work under the dash being able to pull the wheel is a real blessing.
I have the detachable wheel. The rim is blocking the gauge, not just the spokes. CSX 2557 has the layout with the oil pressure on the right (my car mimicked CSX 2558 which had the oil pressure on the left).
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:12 PM
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I have the detachable wheel. The rim is blocking the gauge, not just the spokes. CSX 2557 has the layout with the oil pressure on the right (my car mimicked CSX 2558 which had the oil pressure on the left).
Yep, I see. If you were an inch taller, or an inch shorter, or sat an inch closer, or sat an inch farther back, then you probably wouldn't have the problem. Switching mechanical gauges is a bit more of a PITA than most people think, but certainly not more than an afternoon's work. I don't know why you would grind going from 4th to 5th. That bears watching.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:26 PM
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I have the detachable wheel. The rim is blocking the gauge, not just the spokes. CSX 2557 has the layout with the oil pressure on the right (my car mimicked CSX 2558 which had the oil pressure on the left).
Hi Jeff,
Tell me (for my own purposes, and as always, thinking ahead), would gauge visibility be improved if the whole grouping was shifted in towards the vehicle centreline a little?
Great shots, by the way, and I'm not surprised you're pleased with the Webers. Tuned by an expert, they're great.
And have you deserted NY?
Cheers,
Glen
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:08 AM
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Jeff:

Congrats! It's been a treat seeing your car come together at ERA and your build thread is a great resource for anyone in the beginning stages of planning their FIA car. Unfortunately, it appears I will be unable to make the Carlisle show this year due to some work-related travel...there are several details of your car I would like to view in person.

Wishing you many miles of smiles!

- Allen.
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