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old willy 06-13-2021 07:19 PM

Canuck 289 scratch build
Well now, OK where to start.

I have been actually working on this project for a couple of months or so but due to my slow typing abilities and reluctance to stop working on it to do said slow typing and crop and resize pictures to post I have not posted anything till now and I am sorry because I said I would start posting when I started asking questions about my mystery 289 body, it’s still a mystery by the way.
I figure I am at least a year behind on this project (or 20+ years) but these deadlines are self-imposed so who really cares. I could blame it on other projects in the shop and then on the COVID :mad: thing as I did kind of put the brakes on and “wait and see” for a bit but I am working on it again now.

My plan for this posting is to try and be less “wordy” (is that a word?)As I tend to ramble on and go into way to much detail about things and my slow typing skills just don’t help, sometimes just composing a proper email can be daunting for me. SO having said all that I do want to share with the group as you have all shared with me and I am grateful for all of the information and the great finds on our for sale listings.

So here is the deal, I will post the pictures I think are relevant and add some updates and comments and if you folks have any questions or want more information please ask and I will do my best to answer them.:)

old willy 06-13-2021 07:44 PM

Ok, so to bring this up to date, I have wanted a 289 for longer than I want to admit and have tried to get this off the ground a couple of times before but other things ( life ) got in the way, I am sure many of you can relate to this. I was even considering the 289 USRRC package from Factory Five but it was really not what I wanted, nothing against their products, just not for me and if I am going to spend that kind of money ( it’s less of the kit and a lot more money to get one into Canada) I want what I want.
In early 2019 I came across an online classified add for a 289 slabside body shell at not an unreasonable price or distance from my home and after talking it over with my wife I decided this was my best chance to finally do this.
I made a post here asking for any info on this body as I have no idea who made it, I put the body away for a year, or I thought for a year at the time, :LOL:

I got to work getting things in order in the shop, I needed to finish up a couple of other projects( need the space) and add some equipment.
I had been working on a 1973 Massey Ferguson MF12 garden tractor off and on for quite a while , it was a very well-loved example that was given by a friend. Who assumed (wrongly) that I needed another project and in the end after sourcing another MF12 tractor wreck with different problems, dismantling both completely, picking the best parts, fixing pieces, making new parts that I did not have or were way beyond, upgrading the engine, sandblasting, priming and painting everything it is a lovely little tractor and quite useful.

I built a press brake and a metal cutting jig saw mostly from junk around the shop, I also found a tube roller on sale and got my old Pro Tools 105 bender out of mothballs among other things to get the shop ready.
I gathered some other suspension pieces and a 302 Ford and T-5 gearbox that I mentioned in my mystery 289 body posts.

I then started ordering things, some blank hubs and AC spinners from MWS in England, I few small items from Finishline Accessories (before they disappeared) and went ahead with a set of chassis drawings from Chuck Lindquist.
Let me say, in my opinion, if you are planning on going down this road Chuck’s drawings are a definite asset! For me there will need to be some changes made to accommodate my body shell and other things but for the major pieces and understanding the relationships between different things they are my best asset as I have no direct access to an original or replica at all.
The amount of work that has gone into these and is still ongoing is amazing and if you can support what he is doing please do so, these are an amazing resource.

During all the weirdness in the world I also managed to order 5 beautiful 15 x 6 knock on wire wheels, also from MWS.:):)

Then with drawings in hand I worked up a steel order for my favorite supplier and without too much trouble given the state of things (other than the price being almost double!) I got an order of steel delivered here in the first week of March and built myself a quick jig / work surface. It has adjustable feet so I can keep it level even if I need to reposition it in the shop.

Then I got to work on the main chassis tubes and front and rear towers and tacked them together and squared them up on the table and added some clamps to keep them put.
I also laid out some key points for mounts that will become harder to measure later on.

I laid out and formed the cowl hoop and if you have never tried rolling 1 ˝ x.120 DOM tube in a small manual tube roller be ready for a fight! About 4 hours! Man that stuff is tough, my wife thinks that is good and I agree. I also formed the rear support hoop and then got the body down from the ceiling and set it over top.

This is another place the plans are incredibly helpful, I started to realize my body was a bit out of shape from sitting around for who know how long but by knowing the heights of various supports and other structure I managed to make some key supports and figure out some work arounds for a couple of different issues and got it secured in relation to the main chassis for the next steps.
I now know there will be some body surgery later in the build but it won’t be a surprise. The more problems I figure out now the less reworking there will be later, lets just say for now there are issues around the cockpit area.

Next up was building some brackets to hold my hub assemblies in relation to the body and chassis, I slipped a tire onto a rim( ever “walked” a tire on to a rim at home? Lots of soap!) to be able to check the real life clearances and see how it looks in the wheel arch, looks really good, by the way!

After all that I have taken the body back off the chassis and hung it from the ceiling again. I have taken all the relevant measurements on the hub mountings in relation to the chassis and other things and now I can start laying lines on long pieces of paper and get working on some suspension details, oh boy!:3DSMILE:

I also wanted to mention that I got in an order from Cobra Performance / CSX Parts and if you have never dealt with them it was a great experience. The parts are excellent and things were in stock! The packing and shipping were also excellent. It was mostly small parts for the pedal box and steering, including a beautiful new Moto Lita wheel, WOW!
I do have the dimensions in Chuck’s pans for all the pedal box parts but the time to machine and fabricate them vs the price to buy them just did not make sense this time. But I will get to them later.

So that’s it for now, I think this will be the longest post but I just wanted to get this started right and up to date, so thanks for reading all that. I will do my best to make these more regular and keep pushing ahead in between other things like working and the summer” honey do” list.

Take care and stay safe my friends, I will update again soon......I hope...:)

LMH 06-13-2021 08:17 PM

Looks great! What are you using for hubs for the wire wheels?

BTW, yes, is awesome! I've been dealing with Sonia lately about a radiator and she went way out of her way to send me requested photos of the actual radiator! After she put up with my OCD and all my emails, I finally ordered it last week! Above and beyond IMO!

xb-60 06-14-2021 02:16 AM


Originally Posted by old willy (Post 1493925)
....I will do my best to make these more regular and keep pushing ahead in between other things like working and the summer” honey do” list.

Take care and stay safe my friends, I will update again soon......I hope...:)

willy, what a great post on your build thread! You have my attention, and no doubt the attention of many others here. What this forum really needs is plenty of build threads, so please post updates often, mate.

You also piqued my attention with your mention of your MF. I spent many, many hours :JEKYLHYDE on first ,an MF35 and then an MF135, in my earlier years.

Don't forget to ask questions on this forum. No question is too obscure or silly, and it can help prevent expensive (in time and $) delays.


1795 06-14-2021 03:51 AM


You darn Canucks are making us look bad with all of that ingenuity! I can quite imagine that bending those tubes by hand was difficult. When I was building my race car a friend had a tube bender for forming the cage that he let me borrow; you needed to have about 6' extra of material in order to get the leverage to bend the tubing.

You are way up there in some nice country, may have to come visit once the borders open. I have done several wilderness canoe trips in Algonquin and made it up to Temgami once.

Good luck, and keep up the good work. There are a few very knowledgable people in Ontario.


Sawdust 06-14-2021 04:00 AM

Great pics and thanks for sharing your adventure with us. I see that you are in Baysville, I'm about 45 minutes from you in the Orillia area. It would be great to come up and see your Cobra one day.

FIA289 06-15-2021 09:13 AM

Thanks for sharing your build Old Willy

Love the 289 leaf springs, nice to see one being built with wired wheels, Looking forward to seeing more.

Your right about Chucks drawings, I bought his Daytona chassis construction set a long time ago. Finally kicked my behind to start my chassis. Just finishing a good reorg of the garage to be able to start next month.


old willy 06-15-2021 06:28 PM


Thanks for all the kind words folks,
we all need some encouragement from time to time and this is where I come to get it :)

As for the questions and comments,

The front uprights are 65' MGB that I just cleaned, painted and re bushed, the wire wheel hubs are of course from the same car as will be the steering rack and column. I had it available and I am about to find out if I can make it all work out. The rear hubs are from a 95' cougar with wheel adapters from MWS drilled to match my hubs. I am also planning on using the 8.8 diff as well but more on that later as the suspension progresses.

Hey Stu!
Nice to hear from you, we did meet briefly at the last Bracebridge car show, you were there with another Cobra owner, 2 beautiful cars side by side in the sunlight! When there is a bit more to see I will let you know.

And now a question of my own....

Does anybody know what the approximate ground clearance is under the main chassis tubes on a stock 289?

I would like to be close and it does figure into the suspension set up, currently I think I am high in the back at about 7 inches and about 6 in the front, but that was based on where the wheels sat in the wheel arches.

I think the chassis should be somewhat parallel to the road or is it higher at one end?%/ The fronts always look high in pictures but I think that is an illusion created by the shape of the body.
Any help with this would be greatly appreciated, otherwise I will go for the educated guess and just make sure my little screw jack fits under it. No point in having the spare if you can't use it.

Thanks friends, I will check back in soon:)

1795 06-16-2021 03:10 AM


I have an FIA with the original style frame and transverse leaf springs. It's on the lift now but should be off of it by the end of the week and I can take some measurements for you. I have lowering blocks on mine to decrease the ground clearance for racing, but all I have to do is add the height of the blocks back in and that should provide the regular height from the frame to the ground.

Keep up the good work.


old willy 06-16-2021 06:15 PM

Hey Jim,

Thanks I would really appreciate that. I just want it to sit right in the end, I am not trying to build one of these modern " in the weeds" type cars.

I know the original Shelly jack was about 5 1/2 inches tall and is meant to go under the frame tube so I was thinking 6 must be close but I just can't find a good reference for it.
I am going to be running a 205/70R15 tire which is about just slightly over 26 inches in diameter so I guess that factors in as well.

I look forward to your reply


LMH 06-17-2021 07:01 AM

In a road test back in the day, CSX2000 was measured at 7" of ground clearance. That may have changed a little once production started though. 6" is probably a pretty good guess!


map 06-18-2021 04:00 AM

Looks like a MR.Bruce body.

old willy 06-22-2021 06:42 PM

Thanks for the road test info, I have not seen the 7 inch figure before. I have found reference to 4.5 and 5 inches but I am assuming those were measured under the mufflers or something and I would believe it but at 4.5 inches one could not use the included jack.

Thanks for the picture Monsieur map, that is just a classic garage shot, call it "dust and passion" or something, I did not recognize your handle at first but when I looked again I do recognize that project and have been checking in on your progress from time to time but honestly did not remember that picture. Any new updates on your excellent build? Yours has been one of my inspirations to go the scratch build route. I do see the family resemblance there for sure, I have never seen a Mr. Bruce body in person although before I found this body that was going to be my first choice, I am told he does nice work.

I will keep you folks posted on my progress and based on the 7 inch number I think some where in the 6 to 7 inch range might be just fine, it also give me a bit more wiggle room on my calculations.

1795 06-23-2021 02:57 AM


I should have a measurement for you shortly. Got delayed on a couple fo things and the car is still on the lift. Should have it off the lift if all goes well in the next couple of days.


xb-60 06-23-2021 09:57 PM


Originally Posted by map (Post 1494036)

I agree. Looks very much like a Bruce Chervenak 289 roadster body.


1985 CCX 06-24-2021 12:36 PM

I can measure mine tonight!
Guessing its not too high as clearance is an issue.
I try to remember and help this out.

1985 CCX 06-26-2021 08:59 AM

I got 5.5” to muffler
6.25 to bottom of frame

Front tires 26.25" diameter
Rear tires touch over 26" diameter

1795 06-29-2021 02:55 PM

Ok, finally got the car off the lift. Adding the height of my lowering blocks in I have 5 1/4" to the bottom of the frame at the front tire and 7 1/4" to the bottom of the frame rail at the rear tires. My front tires are 23 1/2" and rear tires are 26" tall.

Hope that helps.


MAStuart 06-29-2021 06:35 PM

Jim am glad to see you said how tall your tires are. Without tire hight the frame numbers are meaningless. What brand and size are your tires? The Daytona coupe chassis and body buck I am building is sitting o some dollies and the frame rails re 5 1/4 inches off the floor. With 26 inch tires it looks about right.

1795 06-30-2021 02:57 AM

The tires that I have are Hoosier TD-R's and the fronts are 25.5x8.5x15 and the rears are 26.5x9.5x15. You would not be able to use these tires, as although there is a DOT stamp on them, they are not street legal. They are a bias ply vintage racing tire. They grip well on a dry track and skate all over the place on a wet track. The rear tires are 11" wide and there are three grooves on that entire width! When new the depth of those grooves is about 1/16"; they do not channel a lot of water.

Your build sounds like it is coming along well. With the 1" lowering block in the front and a 1 1/2" lowering block in the rear my actual frame measurements to the ground are 4 1/4" at the front wheels and 5 3/4" at the rear. On the track that change made a significant change in handling corners at speed, but it would not do well on street conditions at that height in front.

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