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CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/21/21 3:38 p.m.

 

One of these days I'll figure out what I really want in a car, and be done with this nonsense, but I don't think I'm there yet. As of this purchase, this marks 45 vehicles that I've owned (including Motorcycles and non-runners), at the age of 35...

Until that point, I guess I'll keep chasing happiness, one motor vehicle at a time. In an attempt to fill the void left behind by the sale of my 911SC, a void that a C6 Grand Sport was unable to fill, I've acquired another one of my "dream cars", a 65 Shelby Cobra replica. 

After finishing my T-Bucket (chronicled here: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/average-hot-rod-build/109661/page1/), I *SWORE* I'd never do another fiberglass bodied car. Yet, less than a year later, here I am....

I've always looked at Factory Fives over the years, mostly because I started my car hobby with Fox Body Mustangs, which the original kits used as donors, and that their performance record is pretty well proven. I'd love a Superformance or Backdraft, but their prices are stratospheric compared to my budget, and despite the fact that you used to be able to pick up a driveable FFR pretty cheaply, there really haven't been many cheap ones on the market. 

Therefore, after about a year of searching, and countless false starts, I succumbed to my lack of patience and did this:

I use the word "budget" loosely.... I picked up someone else's semi-running project for $20k and hope to have it "done" (although that's nebulous and will never happen) for around $25k.

The biggest things it needs are: 1) Bodywork, 2) a Transmission, and 3) miles put on it to shake out all the bugs, oh, and an interior if I'm feeling froggy. 

I want a driveable cobra, that's not so nice that I'm going to be afraid to abuse it, because I sure do plan to abuse it. So I really couldn't justify spending $30k on something, that, at the end of the day, wasn't going to feel like "mine" because someone else finished it, not me.

Would I have liked to build the whole thing myself from scratch? YES, and that was my plan, to do a donor build on a super budget and try to get all in under $20k, I even bought a crappy Mustang donor car, but I eventually had to come to terms with the fact that I have a family now and it would take me way too long to get it on the road, and that I'd just get upset about it, and that this was the best way for my current situtation to have something that's still a "project" without starting from scratch.

I went ahead and made a youtube video for it, and I plan to keep this going as a series as I "finish" and develop the car.

 

Thinkkker
Thinkkker UltraDork
1/21/21 3:41 p.m.

Nice, I move the chassis I picked up along after the dragging out of the race car reconstruction.  

 

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/21/21 3:46 p.m.
Thinkkker said:

Nice, I move the chassis I picked up along after the dragging out of the race car reconstruction.  

 

Something along the lines of what you scored was what I was originally shooting for. I missed out on a couple of chassis-less bodies over the years due to inaction on my part. I didn't realize you had sold yours.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
1/21/21 3:52 p.m.

5K on top of that is not possible unless you re doing 100% everything in house. Been there, done that, I have the tshirt. 

 

Good start though. 20K for that is a really good buy. 

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/21/21 3:59 p.m.
wearymicrobe said:

5K on top of that is not possible unless you re doing 100% everything in house. Been there, done that, I have the tshirt. 

 

Good start though. 20K for that is a really good buy. 

Challenge Accepted ;) Spoiler alert - it's not going to be a show car, and I don't plan to outsource any bodywork.

Do you have a thread or anything on yours?

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 Reader
1/21/21 5:16 p.m.

Subscribed to your channel and will enjoy watching your build. What tracks do you hope to run at when completed?

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/21/21 6:15 p.m.
rico750sxi_2 said:

Subscribed to your channel and will enjoy watching your build. What tracks do you hope to,run at when completed?

Hey, thanks. VIR, Summit Point, and Dominion are my "home" tracks, but I'm yet to run SP Main, only Shenandoah so far. Hoping to hit all 3 with the Fobra this year.

Thinkkker
Thinkkker UltraDork
1/22/21 8:48 a.m.

In reply to CLynn85 :

Yes, moved it along at roughly a 30% addition in funds.  It would have made a great driver and cruiser as it was setup.

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/22/21 6:49 p.m.

So the big problem with the car was that it had been originally built with a TKO600, but the builder decided to change course to an automatic. Somehow he managed to burn up the JEGS-sourced AOD with only 400 miles on the clock (improperly adjusted TV cable maybe?), got burnt out on the project, and it sat for a year or so until I stumbled across it. 

He was trying to "hide" the automatic with a butchered shifter that he was going to try and put a boot over. I couldn't wait to make this go away.

 

 

I was about to just hit the easy button and order a TKO and all the accessories from Forte's performance, but I just couldn't bring myself to drop that amount of change when I had a Mustang T5 already in the garage. It's probably a little undersized for the stroked 351, but you don't know til you try....right?

So I brought that home but upon inspection I found that 3rd gear was toast, so I had to go back to the drawing board.

 

 

After going ***WAY*** down the T5 rabbit hole, I ditched my original plan of rebuilding the unit I had, after a friend turned me onto the fact that 99+ Mustang V6 T5's are essentially the same as world class 5.0 T5's, with some differences in bellhousing, input shaft length, and tailhousing. So I hit marketplace and scored a grungy T5 out of a 2000 V6 that a local guy is LS-swapping, go figure, for $250. I figured that made it worth a try.

 

 

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/22/21 8:25 p.m.

In reply to Thinkkker :

At least you came out ahead.

Patientzero
Patientzero GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/22/21 9:17 p.m.

Following.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
1/23/21 7:19 p.m.

As 5.0 guy myself, an FFR Cobra was always on 'the list', but something that never happened.  Congrats on the purchase!

Following with interest... yes

mdshaw
mdshaw GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/23/21 11:10 p.m.

In reply to CLynn85 :

I would not waste time or $ on any T5. 3rd gear is always an issue. I went through a lot of them, even new rebuilt ones with my heavily modified XR4Ti. Can't imagine any better success with a 5.0.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
1/24/21 6:27 a.m.

In reply to mdshaw :

I have never seen an AOD work in anything but the OEM installs.  Unfortunately there is one attached to a flathead in the Ford F2 I am currently doing.

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/24/21 6:20 p.m.
mdshaw said:

In reply to CLynn85 :

I would not waste time or $ on any T5. 3rd gear is always an issue. I went through a lot of them, even new rebuilt ones with my heavily modified XR4Ti. Can't imagine any better success with a 5.0.

It's funny, T5's seem to be binary, either they hold up great, or they're totally unreliable. I've had 2 cars with T5s and one with the even worse SROD, and despite beating the snot out of them, I never had a failure of any kind. I guess we'll see how this one holds up, I'm really pushing the limits of internet lore.

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/24/21 6:29 p.m.

Whoa....I don't think anything I've ever posted has made the little latest news sidebar, I'm Famous Y'all!!!! cheeky

 

In case anyone's wondering, I already got the car back together enough to give it a quick test run around the hood:

 

 

Unfortunately, our bureaucracy is CRAWLING and despite buying a car that was already titled in Ohio, I've hit a roadblock in VA. My in person DMV trip was a mega fail and I've been forced to mail my documentation in to Richmond. They've had it 3 weeks now with zero feedback or updates. 

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
1/24/21 6:33 p.m.

In reply to CLynn85 :

Nice work.  I know you're still sorting it out, but that steering wheel being off center like that would drive me NUTS.

 

Claff
Claff Reader
1/24/21 6:51 p.m.

My dad kinda sorta unintentionally set out to build the cheapest FF Cobra ever and succeeded. He reused everything possible from the donor car, including the wheels. Did bodywork and paint in his garage. No chrome anything, not hot-rod parts. It turned out to be a great driver that he took everywhere (everywhere a 75 year old retiree goes, that is) and got his money back and then some when he sold it after enjoying it for 12 years or so. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
1/24/21 8:06 p.m.

Exhaust note is fairly subdued considering the system.  What's it like with that sort of shifter setup?  Seems like it went together without a lot of drama.

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/24/21 8:16 p.m.
Claff said:

My dad kinda sorta unintentionally set out to build the cheapest FF Cobra ever and succeeded. He reused everything possible from the donor car, including the wheels. Did bodywork and paint in his garage. No chrome anything, not hot-rod parts. It turned out to be a great driver that he took everywhere (everywhere a 75 year old retiree goes, that is) and got his money back and then some when he sold it after enjoying it for 12 years or so. 

That's awesome. My original goal was pretty much aligned with this. I was going to build the cheapest cobra I possibly could, just to spite all of the "you can't build a cobra under $20,000!!!!1111one" people. It's gotten to the point that when I see a 4 lug cobra instead of looking at it with disdain I look at it (and the owner) with respect in that they were able to build a nice little car on a budget. Have any photos of the car before he sold it?

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/24/21 8:17 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

It is, at least it is at idle... Haven't really gotten to open it up yet. I think it'll scream pretty good at WOT, but with the muffled sidepipes it's no where near as rowdy (obnoxious?) as my T-Bucket with lake pipes...

CLynn85
CLynn85 HalfDork
1/24/21 8:19 p.m.
Indy "Nub" Guy said:

In reply to CLynn85 :

Nice work.  I know you're still sorting it out, but that steering wheel being off center like that would drive me NUTS.

 

Ahahaha, yeah, the fact that he drove the car like that for a while makes me start to question how well other parts of it are assembled.... but I'm yet to find anything loose/not torqued. I was actually going to fix it earlier tonight but realized I need to get a little 3-jaw puller to get the hub off of the shaft.

Flynlow (FS)
Flynlow (FS) HalfDork
1/24/21 8:44 p.m.

Looks like a heck of a project!  If you need a longer shakedown cruise later this year, head down to Richmond :). 

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
1/25/21 2:38 a.m.

Cool, I haven't had time to check out the videos yet though. I like when updates are also in text and photos :-)

As I work with tech inspections for amateur built vehicles in Sweden I have had the privilege to test and drive quite a few Cobras over the years. The Factory Five Cobras always seem to just "work". They are nice to drive and seldom have any issues. Sure, there are others that have their merits (a well built Corvette suspension based car can be fabulous) but the FFR is probably what I would go for myself.

Budget Cobra is an interesting concept. I have had one customer that took that seriously. This was back in 2004-2006, and on the first inspection he said that his budget was 50 000 SEK (roughly 5000 USD). He laid up the body himself, used a Volvo 140 front suspension, Volvo 140 (or 240, can't remember) rear axle. A generic small block Chevy and probably a TH350 (yeah, but budget). When I did the final inspection the car looked rather nice so I had to ask - how did the budget thing go? The builder explained, yeah, I blew the budget...by 500 USD ;-)

The cool thing is that this one drove every bit as nice as the Jaguar based replicas that people spent at least three times his budget on. It looked good too - sure, a bit of a stripped down racer look but still. And, it has a tow bar :-)

Good luck with your project and be sure to enjoy driving the thing!

Gustaf

dlmater
dlmater GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/25/21 11:18 a.m.
CLynn85 said:

Unfortunately, our bureaucracy is CRAWLING and despite buying a car that was already titled in Ohio, I've hit a roadblock in VA. My in person DMV trip was a mega fail and I've been forced to mail my documentation in to Richmond. They've had it 3 weeks now with zero feedback or updates. 

I'm in the Richmond, VA area.  When I completed mine a couple years ago (although new, not previously titled in another State, and before Covid) I used the information in post 1 of the following Link Here  No issues and the process was very smooth.  Every State seems to look at replicas differently. Not sure how the previous Ohio title affects this or not.  

And of course, a gratuitous shot of my budget FFR cobra build.  I debated endlessly about the body and paint work.  In the end, wanted a driver without fear of road rash, etc.  Given the quotes I received and being on a budget, I chose to paint it myself.  First complete car I've ever painted.  The learning experience alone was worth the effort. Could be better, but satisfied with the result.  

 Again, I'm in Richmond.  If you have any questions or need for any help, let me know.

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