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Old 12-08-2011, 02:07 PM
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Default Best Cobra kit companies

I'm looking for input on what companies you would recommend to use to buy a kit from. I am looking to start the build in the spring. I have looked at Factory Five any other recommendations?

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Old 12-08-2011, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanman1972 View Post
I'm looking for input on what companies you would recommend to use to buy a kit from. I am looking to start the build in the spring. I have looked at Factory Five any other recommendations?

Thanks
Newby
Before we can answer your question, we need to know what your budget is like. We then need to know whether you want a big block, or a small block car as those simple items will allow us to refine your goals of cobra replica ownership.


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Old 12-08-2011, 05:12 PM
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Try this old thread. Some of these might still be in business.
List of Manufacturers

Nope, the excell link did not work.

PM me your e-mail address and I can send you the list in Excell and PDF format if you wish.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:10 PM
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tanman1972,

Where in OK are you? You mentioned you've looked at Factory Five; in person, or brochures/web sites? I've got a Factory Five in Broken Arrow. It's complete except for paint, you're welcome to look at it.

best wishes in your hunt,
Joe
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:33 PM
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Not knowing how soon you wish to purchase, a number of the Cobra kit car companies could be seen next year at the Carlisle ( PA ) Kit Nationals, May 18-20

Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals - British, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Collector, Performance, Parts, Accessories
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:09 AM
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Take a good look at ERA, Hurricane, Shell Valley, FFR and others that will provide a quality kit. Compare what's included with the kit, quality, originality, how much work you want to do yourself and of course, price. There are plenty of good "rollers" , complete car without engine, trans etc. that will save you time.
They're all good, just do your research so you get the one that "blows your mind" everytime you think about it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:46 AM
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If you are in Oklahoma eventually a manufacturer will come up as a possible alternative located in a small town ACROSS THE STATE LINE northeast of Tulsa. Stay away from that guy, protect your investment and look at Backdraft, Hurricane, Factory Five, ERA, or maybe even Shell Valley or Superformance.

I see three levels of manufacturers: All in at $30,000.00 or all in at $45,000.00 or all in at more than $60,000.00. Sometimes you can spend more by initially spending less. Make a list of your must haves and what you are going to do with your car. Cruise, car shows, personal enjoyment, ocassional track days, or full out racing.

Don't skimp on brakes regardless of what you are going to do with your Cobra. Also, bigger is not always better. An FE engine looks great but they are not the only options for a Cobra. I have had both sb and bb in my Cobra and in my Daytona Coupe I have a 408 stroker that will run circles around my cobra and get about 8 more miles to the gallon on PUMP Gas (my 427 likes 110 octane at $8.00 gal).

Just some personal thoughts but it is your dream car so be sure to make it yours. Advise is good but you know what turns your head and two years from now don't wish you had done something else. The really good thing about these cars is that they don't depreciate too much as long as you don't put a Chevy in for power. Nothing wrong with Chevy but they don't belong in a Cobra.

Clois Harlan

Edit just for the record: I have built two kits by one manufacture, I have built one FFR Coupe, another Coupe, two Backdrafts, and one Hurricane. Helped on a few others including EM and Kirkham.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:49 AM
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First off there are very few people that have actually built more than one brand. But, reading a lot of build sites will give you an idea of the work involved and the quality. Also, understand that few will tell what they really think about the quality of the kit they built for fear of the company going out of business and their car being worth less. The question that was asked was "Best Cobra Companies", not best kit. The two may not be the same. A good designed kit can be worth nothing if the quality has been run into the ground by a currently bad managed company.

Various versions of the question have been asked over the years but there are no easy answers. Some very knowledgeable people will not bother to answering these types of threads anymore because they are so many past ones that address the issue. After having gone through this process and having some regrets after I learned and learned and am still learning. This is what I would do.
1. Be honest about your skill level. Some kits are a lot harder than others. If you don't have "a lot of skills" just buy the best one you can within your budget.
2. Determine your budget. Lower priced kits will run in the mid and upper 20K area to complete and it just keeps going up from there.
3. Be honest about your commitment to this type of project. It can be very frustrating when things are not like putting together a model that you envisioned. Many are a kit in name only. You may get a bunch of parts and the manual may be junk, and many of the parts may vary in quality.
4. Go to the plant and actually look at the parts and talk to the people. Ask for the names of the last five or so people that have bought the kit so you can contact them. Everything you wanted to know about the FFR cars is over on the FFR site. Those guys are dead honest about the problems they have. The new version is a lot better than the older ones. Regardless, actually go and see the parts and body unassembled, even at someone’s home that just got one. Old body molds create a ton of extra work, so run your hand over the body and look at the seams to see if they are tight and small. I have been told molds should not be used more than about 200 cars. I had places in my body where clay was used to fill the voids in the mold.
5. When you talk to people determine if they were a builder or a buyer. Builders have been through the process and the learning was in the doing.
6. Understand that the company that built a friends car may not be the same today as it was yesterday. Key people quit companies all the time and money is tight, and the quality may not be the same today as it was a year ago. Today information must be current!!
6. Make sure you undrstand what parts you are getting. From experience get the one that is the most complete. It can cost a ton in gas just going to get bolts and it all adds up in build time lost.
7. Get a manual and read it. If the manual is not good move on.
8. This really should be first. If you are married and you want to stay married, have your wifes support. If you don't stop now!
9. As one of my friends said, don't become "Cobra drunk" where it all looks good.

This being said, I believe ERA and Hurricane Motor Sports are the top on my list. Kirkhams are in a league all their own and are not a kit. From there it really gets tough and requires a lot of work to have the least regrets.

Good luck.
Wayne
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:01 AM
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Best Cobra kit companies

For a true replica -
#1 Kirkham
#2 ERA
#3 Emerson, Superformance, Factory Five, Backdraft ...

You should find it with those 6, let your wallet decide, you get what you pay for.

For a roadster that looks like a Cobra, but designed for handling/track performance 1st, then it would be a JBL. In this category JBL has no peers, hand built to aerospace standards & hardware, they also happen to be in OK.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:16 AM
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Wayne has the best advice in this thread and perhaps in this forum on this subject. listen to it. Take advice from people who are most supportive of the brand they own with a grain of salt, particularly if it is the only one they've built. I've built kits from Classic Roadsters, Outlaw Performance, Precision Engineering, ERA, FFR, RCR, and Kirkham (roller, not really a kit). All, other than the ERA were mine. I don't have a bad thing to say about any of these companies, but I would put overall satisfaction (my satisfaction in quality, ease of build, service, and performance/reliability after the build) in this order from best on down:

Kirkham
ERA
RCR
FFR
Outlaw Performance
Precision Engineering
Classic Roadsters
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:18 AM
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The OP wrote "what companies you would recommend to use to buy a kit from. I am looking to start the build in the spring." Superformance, Backdraft and Kirkham's are not kits that an owner builds, they are completed rollers.

If you want to build a car yourself from the ground up and you want an inclusive offering, Hurricane, Factory Five and several others offer turn-key kits that include everything you need less powertrain, tires, paint. Plenty of other kit builders out there depending upon your budget and preference.

Do your homework, look at cars in person and talk to owners. The points made above are valid...you can spend $5k just chasing bolts, bit-parts and fittings if the kit doesn't include them. Shortlist your contenders, talk to or visit the companies, get a bill of materials from each and build a spreadsheet for yourself from which to make a decision. You'll be less likely to be disappointed later, as MANY are after buying the wrong kit.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:15 AM
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If your budget allows for an extremely accurate high-end, aluminum-bodied Cobra recreation, check out Shelby American Shelby American Inc. and Kirkham Motorsports Kirkham Motorsports.

If you want a really nice fiberglass bodied Cobra that is accurate (read that sleek, low and well-proportioned from all angles - like the original) there are a few good companies to choose from. These companies will equip their cars with the preferred independent rear suspension (IRS) as standard equipment or at least offer it as a factory option. Most will allow you to buy anything from a basic body and frame, to a painted roller minus drivetrain to a turnkey car completed by a preferred assembler. These companies can provide you with all the parts needed to complete your project. Having no idea of your budget or priorities, here are the ones I recommend giving a looksee:

ERA Era Replica Automobiles - Makers of the 427, 289FIA, and GT40 replicas has a stellar reputation for its beautiful body, high quality and sound engineering. The cars are built to order and there is a bit of a wait from the time you place your deposit to the time you get your car. Respected as the top of the line in fiberglass replicas.

Unique Motorcars Unique Motorcars is, I believe, the oldest surviving Cobra replica manufacturer in the business. They build a beautiful, accurate and well engineered car that goes together easily and has the "right" look and stance. You can buy anything from them in packages to assemble as time and budget allow, but their "Deluxe Pallet Kit" is one of the best options in the world of Cobra replicas. I own one and I can attest to their quality and the high level of support from the manufacturer and the owners community at Unique Forums . Highly recommended.

Factory Five Racing (FFR) Factory Five Racing built a virtual empire and a huge following by providing enthusiasts with an affordable Cobra replica that could be either completed on a budget using donor parts from a late model Mustang or built more expensively as a "non-donor" car using factory parts and components. The body had some readily identifiable quirks that set them apart visually from the more "accurate" brands. The basic car has a nice round tube chassis with solid rear axle, but IRS is a factory option. The new "Mark IV" body does away with most of the quirkiness and is much more accurate in appearance.

Hurricane Hurricane Motorsports - 427 Roadsters is a recently reincarnated brand that provides a very nice looking car that seems to go together very well, particularly after benefiting from engineered-in improvements gleaned from inputs provided by customer/builders. Like FFR, the basic kit is equipped with a solid axle but IRS is a factory option.

Superformance Superformance | Home is a popular way to go if you want a car complete in every way minus engine and transmission installation. Consistent assembly-line quality and a long list of standard features is what you get for your money along with a dedicated, factory-backed owners support group.

There are others like the awesome but limited production Carbon Fiber replica by Roger Bolick that takes accuracy to an entirely different level, and there are still others with varying degrees of concession to accuracy, quality and cost. These are only my suggestions as a starting point - others will have their recommendations. Ultimately your choice will boil down to what matters most to you.

Do some searches on this site - there are enough pictures, detailed discussions and documented build threads to make your head spin. Get out there and meet your local Cobra guys and look closely at the different brands. The more information you acquire, the more you'll find yourself being steered towards your perfect Cobra. Happy hunting.
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Old 12-09-2011, 01:09 PM
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I'll echo Buzz's feelings on Unique. A great product and the Weaver's will stand behind it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
If your budget allows for an extremely accurate high-end, aluminum-bodied Cobra recreation, check out Shelby American Shelby American Inc. and Kirkham Motorsports Kirkham Motorsports.

If you want a really nice fiberglass bodied Cobra that is accurate (read that sleek, low and well-proportioned from all angles - like the original) there are a few good companies to choose from. These companies will equip their cars with the preferred independent rear suspension (IRS) as standard equipment or at least offer it as a factory option. Most will allow you to buy anything from a basic body and frame, to a painted roller minus drivetrain to a turnkey car completed by a preferred assembler. These companies can provide you with all the parts needed to complete your project. Having no idea of your budget or priorities, here are the ones I recommend giving a looksee:

ERA Era Replica Automobiles - Makers of the 427, 289FIA, and GT40 replicas has a stellar reputation for its beautiful body, high quality and sound engineering. The cars are built to order and there is a bit of a wait from the time you place your deposit to the time you get your car. Respected as the top of the line in fiberglass replicas.

Unique Motorcars Unique Motorcars is, I believe, the oldest surviving Cobra replica manufacturer in the business. They build a beautiful, accurate and well engineered car that goes together easily and has the "right" look and stance. You can buy anything from them in packages to assemble as time and budget allow, but their "Deluxe Pallet Kit" is one of the best options in the world of Cobra replicas. I own one and I can attest to their quality and the high level of support from the manufacturer and the owners community at Unique Forums . Highly recommended.

Factory Five Racing (FFR) Factory Five Racing built a virtual empire and a huge following by providing enthusiasts with an affordable Cobra replica that could be either completed on a budget using donor parts from a late model Mustang or built more expensively as a "non-donor" car using factory parts and components. The body had some readily identifiable quirks that set them apart visually from the more "accurate" brands. The basic car has a nice round tube chassis with solid rear axle, but IRS is a factory option. The new "Mark IV" body does away with most of the quirkiness and is much more accurate in appearance.

Hurricane Hurricane Motorsports - 427 Roadsters is a recently reincarnated brand that provides a very nice looking car that seems to go together very well, particularly after benefiting from engineered-in improvements gleaned from inputs provided by customer/builders. Like FFR, the basic kit is equipped with a solid axle but IRS is a factory option.

Superformance Superformance | Home is a popular way to go if you want a car complete in every way minus engine and transmission installation. Consistent assembly-line quality and a long list of standard features is what you get for your money along with a dedicated, factory-backed owners support group.

There are others like the awesome but limited production Carbon Fiber replica by Roger Bolick that takes accuracy to an entirely different level, and there are still others with varying degrees of concession to accuracy, quality and cost. These are only my suggestions as a starting point - others will have their recommendations. Ultimately your choice will boil down to what matters most to you.

Do some searches on this site - there are enough pictures, detailed discussions and documented build threads to make your head spin. Get out there and meet your local Cobra guys and look closely at the different brands. The more information you acquire, the more you'll find yourself being steered towards your perfect Cobra. Happy hunting.
In your first sentence you mention Shelby American and Kirkham for aluminum rollers (they are not kits and I don't think most people (short of experienced aircraft builders) would do well to try to assemble an aluminum car in their shop.

But at the end you mention Superformance for fiberglass rollers, but neglected to mention Shelby American. When you finish either car similarly they will be within 10% of each other (yes, the CSX will usually be higher) but I've seen a fair number of SPF cars that topped out Shelby. It all depends on options but more so on power train. This will clearly no longer apply when/if Shelby re-opens their order bank with a $25K price increase.

If I were doing another I would lean towards an ERA 289 FIA car although I might get over the hail stigma and go with an aluminum from Kirkham [I'd still paint it]... That is primarily because I think the 427 cars are over done power wise and in my case I had all this "go power" that was under- or un-utilized. I'd rather take a 289 to its max capacity than a 427 to 1/2 or 2/3. I also like the usability of the new Daytona Coupes.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:20 AM
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I have no idea how much the OP knows about the current replica market offerings so I threw in a passing mention of the the aluminum cars for a comparative reference. I also have no idea what level of assembly/fabrication the OP is interested in - whether he wants to drop an engine and trans into a roller or to build a car from the frame and body on up.

I never intended my post to be the complete guide to Cobra replicas, and I did state clearly that these are just my opinions as a starting point which others will hopefully add to. The intent here is to help the new member without feeling the need to nitpick other people's posts.
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