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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:14 PM
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For me, I chose ERA (289 FIA) for a couple of reasons:
1. It was cheaper
2. At first, I thought that I "needed" aluminum. However, I read somewhere that Shelby originally wanted fiberglass but then stumbled onto AC - I am sure the historians on this website will help me straighten my facts. That allowed me to feel better about fiberglass.
3. To me, the Kirkham is a museum quality, near perfect (better than the original) reproduction; I wanted to "drive" mine hard if I wanted to without worry - it seemed like the ERA would allow me to do that. I also got a little intimidated by aluminum in terms of durability and repair.
4. The ERA look I think is perfect and I think it is engineered in way that is so much better than the original, but with the proper amount of respect for the original shape and design.
5. Resale value: I think that they are both pretty close.
6. I live on the East Coast and the guys at ERA are great; the shop is worth the trip. I betcha if I lived on the West Coast, I probably would have bought a Kirkham.

Good luck.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:18 PM
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Money not being a consideration, the Kirkham seems to be the recognized "top of the line" replica. The Complete Guide To Cobra Replicas always gives Kirkham top billing. But this discussion did trigger a question - what are the chassis+body weights of the Kirkham vs. ERA?
----
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
It's time for you to actually visit both the Kirkham and ERA folks. You're at a point now where you need to actually touch the cars and see them with your own two eyes.
I agree. If you really have $70-75k+ to spend on your first Cobra then you need to visit Kirkham and ERA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
But you need not worry about the aluminum holding up, denting from hail, tarnishing, etc.
I disagree. You need to worry about these things a lot. Anyone can fix fiberglass, and its tougher than a Texas mule. An aluminum-skinned car that is already a friggin' attention magnet is a different beast.

One other thing to beware of: You said you wanted no racing harnesses, rollbars or sidepipes. Its illegal in all 50 states to own a Kirkham without those items.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmariachi View Post
I agree. If you really have $70-75k+ to spend on your first Cobra then you need to visit Kirkham and ERA.
I guess I'm exploring the options to determine if going further and further up the price curve (which seems to be geometric and gets really steep really quickly) is worth it or not to me.

I can be a bit obsessive and seem to have high standards when it comes to automobiles. And over the years I've found I like to grow into things that initially seem a bit too much for me. On the other hand, I don't want another case of Porsche-itis where I can't drive the thing at all.

What I'm doing is giving myself a course in the different choices, so when I do decide I'll have a reasonable chance of getting what (at this time) is right for me.

Those price points really strain to the absolute limit the funds I've allocated to my car budget. At this moment pushing against the upper boundary to see what it feels like, before I may head back down again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elmariachi View Post
I disagree. You need to worry about these things a lot. Anyone can fix fiberglass, and its tougher than a Texas mule. An aluminum-skinned car that is already a friggin' attention magnet is a different beast.

One other thing to beware of: You said you wanted no racing harnesses, rollbars or sidepipes. Its illegal in all 50 states to own a Kirkham without those items.
Yeh, I can see how in the real world the brushed aluminum might draw even more attention than usual. It's easy to think of these cars in the abstract, on their own, as beautiful pieces of mechanical artwork.

Didn't know that about the roll bar and shoulder harnesses especially, that's a big bummer for me. Why is that, might I ask? I'd be curious if most police officers would know enough about the Kirkham to cite me for no roll bar, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AL427SBF View Post
Money not being a consideration, the Kirkham seems to be the recognized "top of the line" replica. The Complete Guide To Cobra Replicas always gives Kirkham top billing. But this discussion did trigger a question - what are the chassis+body weights of the Kirkham vs. ERA?
----
I'll check again, I was under the impression that the Kirkham is a couple of hundred or so pounds lighter than the ERA when similarly equipped.

____________

Feeling a bit self conscious at the moment. I don't want to come across as some wealthy woman who just throws money around. This is a big, big deal for me and I've saved for a long time to accumulate the money I have in my car fund (although buying a Cobra is a more recent development and that's why I'm doing my research now). I also expect more sacrifices in the future once some amount of those funds have been spent.

What I don't want to have happen is to have saved and sacrificed and then ended up with something that's not quite right, and feel bitter about that choice. For all I know, I might end up with a new SPF and a sweet running, lightweight small block/five speed street roadster. It's all open at this point.

Last edited by Flygirl; 10-24-2011 at 07:58 PM..
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:03 PM
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Flygirl,

1. How do you REALLY plan to use the car, and how often?

2. What is "most" important to you about the car?

3. What is "next" most important to you about the car?
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:24 PM
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Like some have said, seeing these cars in real life makes a huge difference in the "emotional" part of your decision, which lets face it, is important.

I had seen many cobras before, FF5, SPF, etc... all looked fantastic. Then I saw some pictures of the Kirkhams... right away I was drawn to them. Then I saw the real ones at their shop. It will really triggers something in you, well it did for me at least. When you see these amazing bodies, the finish, the details, the billet, etc...it gets to you. We buy these cars for different reasons, but a huge reason is how the car is going to make you feel. That feeling comes from the driving sensations, the visual sensations, and the other senses. The Kirkham cobra fill all these categories for me. I know it sound sappy but it is true
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
Didn't know that about the roll bar and shoulder harnesses especially, that's a big bummer for me. Why is that, might I ask? I'd be curious if most police officers would know enough about the Kirkham to cite me for no roll bar, though.
I was joking. Seriously though, the first time you start working your way down the Interstate through heavy traffic and realize how many idiots want to catch up to you and chide you on to "show 'em what ya got," you will realize how many people are really capable of putting you in a ditch with no warning to you. No way I would ever move 10' in my car without shoulder harnesses.

Both cars have excellent pedigrees. If I decide to buy versus build my next car, I will buy a Kirkham as well. But I am glad to have owned this less expensive Hurricane first. I have learned some things that would have been veeryyy painful to learn in an aluminum car.

Last edited by elmariachi; 10-24-2011 at 08:31 PM..
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decooney View Post
Flygirl,

1. How do you REALLY plan to use the car, and how often?

2. What is "most" important to you about the car?

3. What is "next" most important to you about the car?

1. I plan to drive it on the weekends locally (to enjoy the drive to my mom's and park in her garage for the night) or to my place of work on a nice day (the drive is easy, relatively traffic free and parking is secure and not crowded), or to the Sierra foothills or Napa or Russian River valleys for road tripping and perhaps a bit of wine tasting, or for a Cobra get together, or at up to 8/10ths, alone on the twisites early Sunday morning, or a local shine and show event.

Longer trips would be up to three or four day expeditions, likely remaining in CA and done in only the more temperate months. These would be lower/medium budget, staying at reasonably priced accommodations and doing activities not requiring a large wardrobe, valet parking of the car, worrying about my hair, etc. It would be about the car and driving and seeing where the road takes me.

2. What's most important about the car is a balanced blend of rawness, reliability, power and streetability. Balance. I don't mind if I'm wearing ear plugs and my ears are still ringing a bit at the end of the day, or if it gets too cold or hot in the cockpit. What I do mind is if it overheats at the first stop light or isn't reliable enough for those longer trips. But, like I said before, I want it to feel nicely overpowered to where it can scare me a little.

3. Next most important is an accurate body and period correctness, and as little of the kit car feel as is possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avmaviator View Post
Like some have said, seeing these cars in real life makes a huge difference in the "emotional" part of your decision, which lets face it, is important.

I had seen many cobras before, FF5, SPF, etc... all looked fantastic. Then I saw some pictures of the Kirkhams... right away I was drawn to them. Then I saw the real ones at their shop. It will really triggers something in you, well it did for me at least. When you see these amazing bodies, the finish, the details, the billet, etc...it gets to you. We buy these cars for different reasons, but a huge reason is how the car is going to make you feel. That feeling comes from the driving sensations, the visual sensations, and the other senses. The Kirkham cobra fill all these categories for me. I know it sound sappy but it is true
I've driven two ERAs, both 427FE cars, they were very very nice. I'm hoping to see a Kirkham later this week; really excited about that prospect. I've also driven two SPFs, both with stroked Windsors. That's the extent of my personal experience so far.

You're not being sappy at all. It is about the feeling for me, too. It's like the difference between my former Lexus and my former Porsche. The Lexus was engineered to somehow simulate "the feeling." The Porsche just had "the feeling" as a result of the engineering. This car is all about the feeling. I mean, it's so illogical in every way imaginable, how can it not be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elmariachi View Post
I was joking. Seriously though, the first time you start working your way down the Interstate through heavy traffic and realize how many idiots want to catch up to you and chide you on to "show 'em what ya got," you will realize how many people are really capable of putting you in a ditch with no warning to you. No way I would ever move 10' in my car without shoulder harnesses.
Hey, now!
:-)

I haven't yet experienced much of this in my, oh, hour of total time in all the Cobras I've driven. But I can see how it'd be kind of annoying after a little while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elmariachi View Post
Both cars have excellent pedigrees. If I decide to buy versus build my next car, I will buy a Kirkham as well. But I am glad to have owned this less expensive Hurricane first. I have learned some things that would have been veeryyy painful to learn in an aluminum car.
[gulp]

This sounds ominous. I, too, am concerned about the aluminum body, and have yet to see why I shouldn't be. But still researching...

Last edited by Flygirl; 10-24-2011 at 08:55 PM..
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:49 PM
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Feeling a bit self conscious at the moment. I don't want to come across as some wealthy woman who just throws money around. This is a big, big deal for me and I've saved for a long time to accumulate the money I have in my car fund (although buying a Cobra is a more recent development and that's why I'm doing my research now).

Not at all and you're doing exactly what you ought to be doing, asking questions and getting smart on the subject. Hopefully you will stay the course and end up with one or the other, both are top notch but the Kirkham is the "gold standard" imo. Buzz described the cobra best when the question was asked why these replicas are so popular among replica purchasers. Even I was surprised at Buzz's articulation of what makes these cars unique, carbon monoxide poisoning aside, the grease monkey got it right

The Cobra is a perfect storm of classically beautiful proportions and lines enhanced by functional modifications that really deliver on the visual promise of formidable performance. Starting with the timelessly pleasing shape of John Tojeiro's barchetta body, the Cobra sort of accidentally evolved into an automotive icon that manages to be both obscenely voluptuous and menacingly aggressive in appearance.

Nothing in that shape is a styling exercise - it's all functional and it elicits a strong reaction from everyone who sees it - from toddlers to the elderly, male and female alike. The reaction varies from person to person as the look of the car stirs a different part of different people's souls, but guaranteed, there's always a reaction. Unlike the majority of other automobiles, you cannot remain indifferent when you see, hear, smell or feel a Cobra.

Then of course, there's the performance. Both small and big block Cobras deliver the goods to driver and passenger in a direct, unfiltered manner that goes straight to the seat of the pants. You receive powerful inputs of sound, smells, g-forces and a view across the most curvaceous hood and fenders you've ever seen.

At least four of your senses are bombarded with a staggering shot of direct inputs that are normally softened, dampened, insulated and otherwise censored in ordinary cars. You never walk away from a fast drive in a Cobra without feeling the familiar effects of adrenaline overload - not unlike the vibrating rush you feel after surviving a near death experience.

Cobras are simply about visceral extremes. Extreme beauty, extreme sound and extreme performance. Its the unfiltered, adult, alcoholic, XXX version of the automobile - not for the meek or faint of heart; and above all: THE SURGEON GENERAL WARNS THAT THIS AUTOMOBILE CAN BE ADDICTIVE AND HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmariachi View Post
One other thing to beware of: You said you wanted no racing harnesses, rollbars or sidepipes. Its illegal in all 50 states to own a Kirkham without those items.
I don't know of any law that wouldn't allow a street model Kirkham (no racing harnesses, rollbars or sidepipes) to be registered here in CA. Seat belts? Yes.

The weight difference will vary depending on equipment. Patrick has an ERA with a 428 and aluminum Edelbrock heads and I think he said it weighs about 2,650 lbs. My Kirkham with an aluminum block and heads weighs in about 2,128 lbs.

Last edited by RodKnock; 10-24-2011 at 09:20 PM..
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:57 PM
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Buzz did well, but the quintessential of Cobra tributes was written by Hal Copple (who owns a SPF). Natalie, this is it in a nutshell, every last word:

"If you want to just gas and go, and never have to worry about replacing an alternator, or snugging down the header bolts, or getting a wet leg driving in a rainstorm, or learning how to set your carb float level, or driving in traffic on a warm winter day with "winter gas" in the tank, get the 'Vette.

With a Replica, even a Superformance, you have to remind yourself that you are driving a hand made race car on the street. There is no compromise for anything other than pure speed. These cars are brutal and unforgiving, with all the refinement of a medieval battle ax. Like being in a relationship with an exotic dancer, you can never take anything for granted. These cars don't have millions of miles of testing refinement before you get yours. For any trip longer than an hour, you need earplugs, and goggles, and carry Advil and eye drops. You will need to learn to "read" the clouds for rain in your path, and have experience in unwrapping your frozen fingers from the MotoLita. You will experience lady passengers "wetting" the passenger seat when you merge into traffic from an on ramp, and then nearly burn their calf getting out of the car.

You will have all the invisibility of a burning Hindenburg, and flee from underground parking lots with uncountable car alarms screaming your departure. When you stop, you will remind yourself that these cars get more attention than a dead body in a parking lot.

With a power to weight ratio better than almost every supercar, you will find your 1/4 mile times traction rather than power limited. On the other hand, when you stage, out of the corner of your helmet's visor you will see almost the entire audience lining up at the fence, most with cameras up. If you track on a road course with a Porsche club, owners of expensive German machines will come to the fence to watch you power out in smoking oversteer. You won't even try to start your engine in the garage, but push it out onto the driveway, else your loyal watch dog will croak from the exhaust fumes. If you idle next to other "sports" cars at a traffic light, by the green, their girlfriend will be coughing green phlegm into her hanky, yelling at her date to just go! When you refuel, you might as well prop the "bonnet" open, because you are going to have to show your motor to just about every other guy there. When you order your wings at Hooters, your waitress will whisper in your ear "take me for a ride." When you stop at the red light, the girl in the convertible next to you will invite you to "take my top off too."

When you slowly pass a troop of Harley riders, they will look over and give you thumbs up. When you want to ease out into traffic, other cars will immediately pause to let you go ahead of them. When your engine has its hot, crackling, intimidating exhaust sidepipe aimed right at the flank of the GTO, or the Z28, your exhaust pulsations slowly unscrewing his lug nuts, the other car will remain motionless, as if the slightest quiver of his car will cause your car to stomp it dead. When you leave it open in a parking lot, and come back to find your sunglasses and cell phone still sitting on the tunnel, it is because your car has sullenly warned those who came over to admire it "touch me and I will rise up here and kill you dead."

When you put that tiny silver key into the ignition, and begin your start countdown, your car will whisper "take me for granted, and I will kill you." When other drivers just hop in and snap up their belts while backing out of their parking space, you will still have two more minutes before you even get all the Simpson's properly on and snugged down. Pulling up in a Cobra replica is like landing an F4U at an ultralite convention.

In summary, very, very few drivers want this kind of attention, or can tolerate all that a formidable Replica demands. These cars are intolerant mistresses. But remember, there will come a day when you have to hang up your car keys for the last time. And perhaps you want to say then "I did it."
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flygirl View Post
3. Next most important is an accurate body and period correctness, and as little of the kit car feel as is possible.
The ERA has a square-tubed frame. The Kirkham is round like the original. If that makes a difference.

FWIW, I wanted aluminum and I wanted unpainted. They're just very unique. The polished variety even more so.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 09:02 PM
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I don't know of any law that wouldn't allow a street model Kirkham (no racing harnesses, rollbars or sidepipes) to be registered here in CA.
I was joking.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 09:04 PM
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I can't speak authoritatively about an ERA. I own a Kirkham. I have a friend that built an ERA and it's a very nice car, and he did a very nice job, and it looks amazing. My car is polished with racing stripes and has quite the patina on it. Nothing that can't be polished out, but frankly, I like the way it looks. It looks used and it definitely IS used. I've put almost 18k miles on it in three years and taken it to the track for the last three open tracks. The car is phenomenal on the track. I think what I love most is that its as close to a sixties era cobra without the price tag. So, its made out of the same material as an original, has the same frame as an original and it comes with all the same shakes, rattles and noises of an original. It was a rough car then and it's as rough today. I, personally, love that. I guess this is long version of what could been a very short, heavily biased opinion to "go with the Kirkham!" It's as close to real as you can get, and if "real-ness" if anything what you're after, you will not be disapointed. I do have one piece of advise, that's been stated already, go visit Kirkham Motorsports and ERA and use the visits as part of your decision making. And, finally, if you can make it out to the next open track day at Miller Motorsports park you can take my car out and beat on it. It'll grease the check for sure.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 10-24-2011, 09:04 PM
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^^^^ Thank you, I've heard that before about the Cobra experience. Excellent.

I appreciate the warning and believe I'm up to the task.

As long as it's reliable—not "I don't have to work on it" reliable, but "it probably won't leave me stranded" reliable, that's really all I ask.

The part about lady passengers "wetting" the seat worries me a little, although there's no mention of lady drivers so I figure I'm okay as far as that goes.

Last edited by Flygirl; 10-24-2011 at 09:28 PM..
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