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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-22-2004, 11:21 AM
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Default Some questions for those who have been there...

Hello all,

I am thinking about building a Cobra within the next year or so...basically just waiting to pay off my current car before I go sinking myself in too much further.

I am very interested in the Shell Valley kit for a number of reasons. I like the fact that they don't give me any grief regardless of what kind of engine I choose, and the majority of the parts seem to be pretty standard stuff that is easily sourced. (Domestic)

My questions are pretty practical in nature: what kind of experiences have people who built these before had? Has anyone had one of these for a long time and put alot of miles on it? How has it held up? Any stress cracks in the fiberglass?

How have their frames held up with a high powered engine (somewhere around 500+ hp) and hard cornering?

Basically, I want to build a car to actually drive...not just sit in a garage and look pretty. I tend to take very good care of my toys, but I do like to actually be able to use them..I am interested in hearing what experiences other people have had with these and how well they held up. I'd like to know before I go sinking a small fortune into this.

Also, I did see on their website that they mentioned (in a FAQ) that they were working on an IRS using a Ford 9 inch rear? Anyone ever hear anything about this? That line has been in the FAQ for some time, but I haven't seen anything come of it.

Thanks for your insights,

Jeremy
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 12-22-2004, 11:36 AM
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Jeremy,

Welcome to the club. As for the Shell Valley cobras, we had one up here several years ago and there was a frame problem with them back then. Also Joe, had to keep flying to their place to get parts that fit. BUT, and others will correct me if I am wrong, I think that owner sold out long ago to another person who completely re-did the car and the only one I have seen since was really nice and I talked to the owner at some length about Joe's problems and he said that he hadn't had any more than the normal new build type stuff. He said that they had changed the frame to get away from it's tweaking with anything over 400 horse. We just don't have a huge selection of Cobras up this way, so the only chance most of us get to see the different makes is at shows. However there are bound to be some Shell Valley owners on here that can really help you out. Merry Christmas.

Ron
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:53 PM
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Thanks for the input Ron,

Pretty much everything I have heard of Shell Valley in recent times has been good, but I like to do my homework before I throw money into something.

Frame strength is one of those things that I care about a great deal, so if anyone out there has any good info on their current frames and how tough they are, I'd be really interested in hearing it.

Actually, I also have another question for the knowledgable folks - what is the biggest tire you can fit on the front and back without issues?

Thanks again,

Jeremy
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:53 PM
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I drive the snot out of my Shell Valley. The Mustang II front brakes suck and I went with some high performance 11" rotors and Wilwood remote res. master cylinders, which I believe you can get with your kit now according to Wilwood. Frame and body are stout and some of the parts are certainly better now than when I bought mine under Steve Swaboda's ownership. I do know the new people are MUCH more pleasant to deal with. The body shop thought the body was pretty good, better than most 'vettes they had to paint. I have to be honest though, If I knew then what I know now and could afford it, I would have gotten a JBL.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:21 PM
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Hello Flipper35,

Thanks for the input.

When you say drive the snot out of it, do you mean drive it hard, or put on lots of miles, or both?

If you don't mind explaining a bit, any particular reason you would take the JBL over the Shell Valley? I googled it and it looks like JBL is a Ford engine only outfit. I have no idea what their pricing is like either.

I certainly don't want to start flamewars with the purists, but I was probably going to go with an aluminum SBC...I am already pretty familiar with them and would have a pretty easy time working on it. Ford makes from great engines too, I am not putting them down in the least, but this car is for me so I am inclined to stick with what I know how to work with. That was one of the things I liked about Shell Valley...they seem pretty supportive of a builder taking either path.

I appriciate the info on their fiberglass handywork...good stuff to know.

Thanks again,

Jeremy
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:38 PM
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I took the third path and put a sb Mopar in mine. Would have done the same in a JBL too, just takes a little extra work.

The reason I would go with a JBL is the suspension technology is only about 10 years old instead of 30 years old. And the chassis is closer to an ALMS prototype than a ladder framed sportscar of yesteryear and Richard knows a bit about setting up race cars and driving them.

I do like the Shell Valley and I don't beat it, but I do drive it pretty hard. No reason not to merge at or above the speed limit and no reason to baby the thing at the trtack either. It isn't a show car and never will be with a Mopar in it and that isn't the reason I built it. You will have a hard time finding better performance for the money, especially if you invest half as much in your SBC as these guys do in their Ford engines given the price of good GM parts compared to the Ford prices.

I did have just poly mounts but added a torque rod and mid-plate. I cannot tell you how much of an improvement it made in the chassis response. The motor transfers power instantly and the mid-plate and torque rods triangulate the chassis with the engine and tranny and limit twist. And you will get some twist with any ladder frame.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:40 PM
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Shell Valley is a good company and Rich Anderson is a class individual. They sell a good product and from those that I know that own one couldn't be happier.

Sure hate to see you stick a chebbie in that snake....resale will kill you. I believe you can get all the horsepower you would ever need and more in a well built 351 if you dead set on a small block.

Welcome to the club.

Clois Harlan
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:27 PM
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I've been to Shell Valley, twice actually. I think they make a very nice product and were a close second in my search but IMHO I think the Midstates chassis and body will better handle higher horsepower and more wear & tear.

One nice thing though... you can see both chassis and bodies by walking, oh about, 50 feet. Both companies are now on the same premises and it provides a perfect side by side comparison. Bob at Midstates will have no problem hooking you up with whatever engine/suspension combo you want. I know some people have fit 17" rims under the body (perhaps with a little mod at the factory - just work out any desired before they lay the body). The best advice I can give is GO SEE THEM!
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Old 12-22-2004, 03:18 PM
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Ditto on the Midstates. Mine is 12 years old and half of the 10000 miles is racetrack. The only stress cracks are where a home-repair was done after an argument with a barrier at over 100mph at Heartland Park. The frame is as strong as any ladders out there. Mine was built with thicker wall 4" tubing.

I have BBC and C4 vette suspension and use 17" wheels.
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:50 PM
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All good answers...thanks for the thoughts guys.

Well...as far as the engine choice goes, it's only a modest fiberglass cobra. I don't feel too bad about being unoriginal. If this was a higher end aluminum bodied cobra, I definitely would stick with originality. Like I said...I think Ford and Chevy both have some great engines, but for my purposes, I just want to stick with what I know and have easy access to. If I had a Ford 427 on hand, I'd be all over that.

This talk of Midstates is interesting...thus far I had pretty much planned on the standard mustang II suspension, although the corvette suspension is an interesting thought...a C4 Corvette should have some perks over the Mustang II gear...15 or 20 years worth. Now with all of that talk I am probably really irking the purists. I am not trying...please don't hate me. I still have a helluva lot of appriciation for what you guys have done.

Basically, I would want to build a Cobra to be damn fast, handle well, and still have relatively good drivability. I can compromise some on originality with respect to the internals. I also want the frame to be very robust...even if it means reinforcing it in some way. (Anyone have any experience with this on any kits?)

What made you go for the C4 suspension? How hard was it to build? If you were doing one today, what would you be going for suspension-wise? Sounds like your Cobra is built for going fast, so I am interested to hear any thoughts.

I appriciate all of the discussion...you guys are great. Seriously.
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