Before buying your own kit you need to decide whether you’ll be using all-new components or whether you wish to start with a donor car.. For the project in this book I chose the Factory Five Racing Mk4 Cobra kit. We’ll be building our Cobra replica with all-new components.
This Tech Tip is From the Full Book, HOW TO BUILD COBRA KIT CARS + BUYING USED. For a comprehensive guide on this entire subject you can visit this link:
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Select a Donor Car
There are many things to take into consideration when you are looking for a donor car. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- How much does it cost?
- How many miles does it have? Most cars were designed to last only 120,000 miles so you would then buy a new one.
- Are you going to re-use or replace important items the brake hoses, master cylinder, and calipers?
- How long the car has been sitting? (calipers can seize)
- How much wear is on the rotors?
- What kind of shape are the bushings on the control arms?
- What condition is the radiator, rear end, and gas tank in?
- If the donor car has fuel injection, can the kit manufacturer supply the wire harness to include the computer system that runs the fuel injection system? What you should do is make a list of all the items you have to remove and re-use from the donor car. These are the items you should examine when purchasing the donor car. Second, when you are comparing donor cars here are some items to consider:
- How well does it handle and how good is the ride? (determined by the design of the chassis)
- Does it have an adequate brake system? In a car like this you want the best brake system available. Is there an option for a better brake system? You cannot just take a brake system out of another car and re-use it on a car that is completely different. Weight distribution, total weight, spring rates, tire size, and much more are important factors in choosing the right brake system.
- Have you considered power brakes? How strong are your legs?
- What about power steering? How strong are your arms and how fast can you move them? Remember you will be compelled to drive with two hands at low speeds and shift at the same time. How close to the door does the steering wheel come?
- Does the donor car have a safety fuel cell? Is it an option? Where is it located? Why is the fuel filler not on the fender?
- Does the roll bar come as standard equipment, or is it an option? Is the roll bar attached to the frame? If not, how much would it cost to do it? Does it come painted or chrome plated?
- How strong is the frame? Will it twist? Which engine is recommended? That suggests what the frame is designed to take.
- Chrome door sills?
- Chrome all the way around the engine compartment?
- Light under the hood & trunk?
- Grilles in front?
- Ten gauges rather than five? Why a dash panel rather than mounting directly to dash?
- Stereo and speakers included?
- On the cooling system, why is the radiator vertical? Why is it that big?
- Enough support under the nose along with a skid plate?
- Are the bumpers included or are they an option?
- Do the headers/side pipes come un-coated, chrome plated, or S/S?
- Why a full interior?
- Why are WCC seats more comfortable than original design?
- Why are there trim moldings around the cockpit?
- Why are there return lips on the wheel wells?
- Why do you sit low in the car?
- Measure the distance from the bottom of the steering wheel to the seat and floor. Is it enough? Should it be wider? Or longer?
- Why are the seat belts bolted to the frame?
- Why is the trunk so big?
- Why is the battery in the trunk?
Factory Five Racing
When it came time to decide which kit to build for this project, Factory Five Racing was at the top of our list, with its Mk4 Base Kit, Challenge Kit, and Complete Kit. We chose the Mk4 Complete Kit. After all, Factory Five Racing (FFR) is the market leader of new Cobra kit cars. The company offers one of the best Cobra kit cars on the market today. Beyond that, a thorough and detailed Cobra assembly manual is included with every kit to help the novice assembler through the entire Cobra buildup process.And the company even offers an assembler school where the customer learns how to assemble the car, so when they return home, the customer is able to competently assemble his or her own car. No other company matches Factory Five for customer support and service.
Brothers Dave and Mark Smith founded Factory Five Racing in 1995. It employs 30 full-time staff members and has become the largest manufacturer of component car kits. Everyone who works at the company is very knowledgeable and passionate about the automotive enthusiast hobby in general and Factory Five Racing in particular. Critics and competitors have called FFR a cult. This claim is embraced by Factory Five right on the company’s Web site: “We won’t ask you to drink Kool-Aid or wear a brown shirt, rather, fellowship, kindness, gear-head knowledge, and a love for all things Motorsports are the only requirements in this club. Welcome to the cult of Factory Five!”
With component kits engineered and designed through a sophisticated CAD/CAM system and built using automotive robotics and skilled technicians, Factory Five Racing produces high-quality, affordable component car kits and provides exceptional customer service. FFR’s customers are almost fanatical about the company and the component kits that the company manufactures and sells.
In addition to manufacturing three variants of the Cobra replica kit, FFR also produces the mid-engine GTM Supercar, the 1933 Hot Rod (a 1933 Ford convertible/coupe kit), and the Type-65 Coupe (Cobra Daytona Coupe kit). For more information on these component vehicles, visit Factory Five Racing’s Website. You can also join the popular independent web forum of FFR owners and enthusiasts.
Written by D. Brian Smith and Posted with Permission of CarTechBooks