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lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/10/24 11:04 p.m.

This is an upgrade, not a "build" thread as the car is done and driving. This is also a bit strange because it's the first toy that I've ever bought that's done(for the most part). Only plan on upgrades in the future. 

   So here's the story of how it came into our lives. I build rollbars, rollcages, tube chassis' and suspension components as a dirty 4-letter word called work. I had someone call about fabricating an SCCA-compliant rollcage in an SN-95 Mustang. We spoke at length about the scope of the project and I decided to take a drive to see the car and discuss the whole process in person. I arrive at his house and see the beautiful Coyote-swapped SN-95 that he wants to strip and "cage" to compete in the local hillclimb series. We talk, take notes and mark a bunch of stuff on the car so he can begin stripping it in preparation for installing the cage. When I'm getting ready to leave, I walk to the back of his garage to wash my hands and see the back of a Cobra replica sitting under a cover. I ask "what's under the cover" and he tells me it's his FFR. Since I'm always curious about other peoples toys, I ask what he's doing with it. He tells me that since he never drives it, he's likely going to sell it now that's he's building a new race car. I tell him that when he gets it out, take a few pictures and send them to me along with a description of what's in it. I always have friends and people in the shop looking for new toys, so I figured I could help the guy out spreading the word.


   Fast forward a few weeks and I'm finishing up his car and call him to make arrangements for picking it up. He tells me that he pulled the Cobra out, washed it, took it for some exercise and has a bunch of pictures that he can forward to me. I get the pictures and was very surprised just how nice it looked. I'm not a Cobra guy, but I'll get into that later. A few days later he picks up his car and we spoke some more about the Cobra and what he wanted for it. It was a very good deal, but without seeing the car and going over it myself, it is still something put together by a stranger. That's the downside with buying a "kit car" built from a donor. That evening I showed the pictures to my much better half, explained what he had told me about it and told her that it would be a nice "flip" and a way to make a few bucks. Much to my surprise, she said how nice it was and asked if it was worth us buying and hanging onto. This gentleman is why she's one of the GREAT ones!!! I called the seller and asked if we could come down over the weekend to take a look at the car in-person. That Sunday we set off with the dog for the 1.5 hour trip to see it. I was satisfied with the quality of the build, but again and much to my surprise, Jen said just how much she liked the car. We stepped outside to talk about it and she said that we should buy it, drive it for a year and then think about possibly selling it down the road. This is why I LOVE her! We walked back in his garage, struck the deal and made arrangements to get it back to our house.


    We leave and I'm in shock! She has hated every single "toy" that I've had over the 25 years we're together. 1994 Laguna blue Miata rode too stiff, 1995 Merlot Miata with Jackson Racing supercharger was too loud, another turbo Miata was some other excuse, the 302-powered Miata was too fast, the V-8 MGB was to smelly, the 68 mustang was yadda-yadda. From memory I counted 11 cars that she had no interest in, so I quit trying and had told her that if she wanted a convertible toy for summer weekend drives, she could go buy one she likes since all mine sucked in her opinion. Honestly, they were all LOTS of fun but I can see her point a little I guess. That's why, when she said that we should buy it, I really couldn't believe it. 

   A week goes by and the seller trailers the car up to our house and drops it off. We go over it and all of the paperwork he kept with the car. He was the builder and original owner, so I was able to get all the info on the car and he was able to answer all my questions. He bought the kit in 1998, finished the build at the end of 1999 and titled it in 2000. Over the next 24 years he put a whopping 8200 miles on it and it was one of the reasons he was selling it. He is an Electrical Engineer and "Ford guy", so his attention to detail and knowledge of all things Ford really shows. He had the original build manual, all of his notes, magazine articles, forum threads, parts receipts and files full of all the pieces/parts that went into the build. 

   Now for the car itself. It's an early FFR Roadster, one of their Mk1 cars. It's a very "basic" build, nothing special, but a very nice overall package. It has a rebuilt roller 5.0 crate motor, 9.5:1 compression, Crane 2020 billet cam, World Products Windsor Jr cast iron heads and 1.6 roller rockers. All in all, likely a 300hp build. It has a GT-40 intake, 65mm throttle body, 24# injectors and runs FAST EZ-EFI injection computer, Mallory distributor and MSD ignition box. It idles smoothly and pulls to 6200rpm with no issues. The transmission is a rebuilt T-5 built to 1993 Cobra specs and the rear is a Fox-body 8.8 with 3.08 gearing and a traction-loc differential. Brakes are also OEM Mustang with 11" front rotors and rear drums. More on this later. Suspension is also very basic and stock Mustang "stuff" which is the big selling point for FFR and their single-donor build. The way they designed it just plain works. 

   The first thing that I need to address are the horrible looking wheels(in my opinion) and 4-lug brake components. That is why this is an upgrade thread not a build thread. Chris did an awesome job building the car, I just want to make it look a bit more like the originals did and the wheels will be the first order of business. It's a personal choice and has nothing to do with the drive ability of the car, it works fine as-is. 

   More to follow tomorrow.....





dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/11/24 12:59 a.m.

That is very cool! And your house is too!

jfryjfry UltraDork
6/11/24 6:36 a.m.

Nice find!  And agreed on the wheels -  what are you considering replacing them with?


Less simple to address - are the rear wheels too far forward in the wells??

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/11/24 7:20 a.m.

I've been looking for wheels since the car arrived here. There is really only one wheel for a fake 427 Cobra, a Halibrand with 3-ear spinner knock-off. I finally found a set and they are en route from Florida. Once they arrive, I need to do a quick 4-lug to 5-lug conversion(Lincoln front rotors, 5-lug rear axles and drums), buy 4 tires and cross my fingers that they fit.


As for the rear wheel positioning, it is a bit off. While looking around several online forums, it seems like some people blame the body for not being symmetrical, some blame the builders for setting the body a bit too far forward/backward, while others who are using adjustable 4-link arms blame their alignment person. I honestly haven't had the time to look at it yet. Honestly, we've only taken it for one ride around the development and a quick 10 mile drive to and from town so far just to make certain that it runs/drives/shifts/stops. Once life slows down, the wheels arrive and the conversion is completed, we'll start driving it a bit more. The real reason I haven't been taking it out, other than free time, is the HORRIBLE wheels. It looks like a "fake" Cobra as it sits. I guess that shouldn't be an issue since it is a "fake" Cobra after all, but the look is just so off with the 17" Mustang Cobra R wheels. I found 15" wheels which is the look that I was after. 15" wheels with a tire that has a much larger sidewall, something like a 275 or 295-50-15. When all of the parts arrive and the wheels/tires are mounted, I will determine if the wheel needs to be centered in the wheelwell or if the larger/taller wheel/tire combo fill out the space better. The way the car sits, it still has the original Mustang rear upper and lower control arms and quad shocks. There is no current adjustability, but if it's an on going visual issue, I can buy or build some adjustable arms.


New/used wheels to be arriving soon.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/11/24 8:52 a.m.

Nice call on the wheels. 

buzzboy UltraDork
6/11/24 2:38 p.m.

Before reading your response my mind went to the faux halibrands. Was that a stock option on S197s at some point?

akylekoz UltraDork
6/11/24 3:19 p.m.

I think a taller tire to fill more front and back may fix the visual of the rear.  Just more tire, like cartoonish amount of more tire.

2008 Shelby CSX4000 427 Cobra

akylekoz UltraDork
6/11/24 3:20 p.m.

1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (CSX2287) Makes History Again

Also they kinda look that way.

tuna55 MegaDork
6/11/24 3:42 p.m.



A few things:


I'll echo the tire/wheel issue. It looks all wrong and I can't figure out why. Perhaps the overall diameter is too small -and- the sidewall is too small? The front tires look like they need to go forward and the rear rearward maybe? maybe they also need to go outwards? Good choice on those wheels.


Is that perhaps the worst ever place for a shutoff switch?


What is on the floor on the passenger side?


What is going on with the chrome doodads on the corners of the hood?


How does it drive?

wearymicrobe PowerDork
6/11/24 3:59 p.m.

Nice call on the wheels my FFR v3 had the same wheels yours did but it was a spec racer and they held air and were light enough. 

The more power and fancy you put into these things the worse they are to own. Built like this one with most of the mustang stuff is the exact way you want to own one. Really good looking car. 

Mrfurzzy Reader
6/11/24 6:21 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

I saw a cobra replica at a show this weekend that had a shutoff in the same spot. I had the same thought that you did. At least the car is small enough that you can easily reach in and kill it from the outside.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/11/24 10:04 p.m.

1. The "thing" on the passengers floor is the emergency brake lever. It's actually in a very convenient and out-of-the-way spot.

2. The chrome doodads on the corner of the hood are the hood latches. I'll include a better picture.

3. I never gave much thought to the master kill switch location. Where do you think would be a better spot? The battery is about 12" from where the switch is located.

4. As far as driveability, it's quite suprising. It starts easily, revs a bit high for a few seconds and settles to a nice smooth idle. The open air cleaner element makes quite the racket under the hood and dash especially during a cold start. If it bothers me, I'll build some sort of cold air box. I would prefer a carb to fuel injection, sorry guys, old school here, but the car runs so well and given its purpose in our lives, it will be staying just the way it is. It runs fine, pulls to redline with no stumbling and shifts very smoothly. Props to the builder as there has been nothing so far that I can criticize. The only item so far that needs some adjustment is the passengers side door latch. It makes some noise over bumps, so it's probably just a small adjustment.

5. I would like to see what a set of GoodYear "billboards" look like on the car. Do you think they would be bit too "over the top" and boy-racer looking? I see them on cars and like the look even though I despise raised white letter tires, but those are different with the faded stencil lettering. What does the hive think???

6. Was considering adding an oil cooler to the front with -AN fitting/braided lines. It's just a looks thing as the engine certainly doesn't need an oil cooler. Maybe a project for over the winter.


8. You guys fill them in.


Heres a few more pix because we all like pictures.




lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/11/24 10:07 p.m.

GoodYear "bill board" tires on a Cobra.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/11/24 10:11 p.m.

Faded stencil lettering all the way.


Unless, you know, you want some yellow billboard letter nascar slicks instead. 27.5x12.50x15

I know a guy with a berkeleyton of them.

Grunion New Reader
6/12/24 1:01 a.m.

I like it, like the billboard tires and its simplicity. I also think you need heat shields on those side pipes, once you get driving it you will know why. My son still has a scar of the back of his calf thanks to an unshielded side pipe.

tuna55 MegaDork
6/12/24 8:16 a.m.

RE: Master kill switch:


The SCCA requires them to be at the base of the A pillar or C pillar, outside the car. The NHRA requires them to be on the rear panel facing rearwards. I don't know all of the rules, but generally it's outside the car. Even if it's inside for convenience, that's over your right shoulder. With a real harness on, as it appears you have there, that would be a challenge to reach.

Apexcarver MegaDork
6/12/24 9:29 a.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

Thing is, the included rollbar would not pass for any level of SCCA activity requiring the kill switch. I would say it's there for convenience of longer term storage and is in an installation convenient spot (access to wiring/battery) 

I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Apexcarver MegaDork
6/12/24 9:39 a.m.

As far as other improvements.

  1. How is the wind buffeting? I know many do side "wings" to the windshield to help that.
  2. What weather protection? Tonneau cover? Sun visors wanted? I have found that I feel a lot better parking my bugeye sprite somewhere with a tonneau cover. Not that it's a major barrier to theft, but minimizes people scoping it out. Also, cuts down on dirt debris when parked and it's nice if you get caught out with rain and want to wait it out. Big one, keeps black vinyl seats out of the sun so they aren't blazing hot when I get back in the car 
  3. Make very sure that you/the missus are very aware of exhaust pipe "snake bites" meaning burns from them. Everyone I know with a cobra has gotten burned at least once, some with scarring.
  4. Small, but I did a clip on panoramic rear view mirror on my sprite, made it a lot easier to be aware of cars around me. 
jimbob_racing SuperDork
6/12/24 9:40 a.m.

This car is awesome.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/12/24 10:41 a.m.

   The master kill switch is likely there due to its proximity to the battery and ease of wiring installation. Since the car will never see any competition of any kind, it's location and legality won't come into play. Same goes with the rollbar. The one in the car is the larger 2" diameter as opposed to the 1-1/2" they also offered. It looks much better than the smaller bar. The shorter height also looks better to me than the taller ones that I've seen which are taller than the windshield.

   The sidepipes are going to be an issue for anyone going for a ride. My better half knows all about hot exhausts from the Lotus 7 replicas that we've had. When the car arrived here, I showed her how to enter and exit the car without grabbing the windshield and moving her legs beyond the pipes and sliding her @$$ to the edge of the seat before trying to stand up. Since I know that it's going to be an ongoing problem, it's just easier for me to walk over and help her out. After all, remember gentleman, chivalry isn't dead!

   I've looked at both sun visors and wind wings on the FFR site. I think that I prefer the clean look without them. The buffeting in the cock[it is just something that has never bothered me in any of my convertibles. On our 1 ride so far, she didn't complain, so for now, it will be driven the way it is.

   The rear view mirror is in a decent position, but it's small. The drivers side bullet mirror is damn near useless and nor something that I would have installed, but it does look like it's supposed to be there. It's just easier to look back and see what's around rather than trying to stare into and focus on the blur in the mirror.

   The car has no top, no windows, no tonneau and no provisions for one either. I like tonneau covers and thought about one, but it's the fiberglass body that would stop me. Installing the Lift-A-Dot posts in fiberglass, over time and from putting pressure on them while pulling on the cover tends to chip the surrounding paint and fiberglass. You could put a washer under them, but with all of the compound curves on the body, the washers might not sit flat. I need to do more research as it is something that might be worth installing if we plan to drive it more often.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/12/24 10:42 a.m.

I'll get a start-up and sound video tomorrow.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
6/12/24 11:52 a.m.

The rear axle isn't very well located on Fox / SN-95's.  You may not notice that much or care if this is just for cruising.  Something like a torque-arm + panhard bar setup was where I thought about taking my SN-95 but I sold it before really digging into the thing.  The debate on rear suspension solutions for cars based on the Fox platform can get heated.

Redoing the rear suspension would be a good opportunity to get that rear axle relocated further rearward.  Agreed with previous comments that it looks odd currently.  Relocating the front obviously would be more involved.  It's like these cars need a good three inches more wheelbase.

A second matching rollbar hoop for the passenger side with mount provisions for a behind-the-passengers wind deflector is probably not part of the plan but could be useful additions...

p.s. great choice on the replacement wheels, never liked those 4-bolt Cobra R replica wheels, and they look especially odd on your FFR.

Apexcarver MegaDork
6/12/24 12:07 p.m.

In reply to lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) :

Here is the clip on mirror solution I was talking about. This is the one I ordered. Amazon Link

Its <$10, clips on and off, and actually made a good difference for me. 

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/13/24 10:08 p.m.

I was able to find, buy and have a set of wheels shipped. They arrived today. It was good and bad. The good part is that they're here and have the correct look. The bad is that they're 15x7 & 15x10. I wanted 8's & 9's but these were a good deal. The other strange part is the 7" front wheels. They cast one center and then weld it into the wheel barrel at the desired backspacing measurement. Since the front wheels are a bit "narrorw" and the center is cast with very deep reliefs, the whole center sits weird. I'll go take a picture to show what I'm trying to explain.


lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/13/24 10:53 p.m.

Here is the part of the cast center that sits "proud" of the barrel. Maybe this is normal for this type of wheel, but it's just not something that I've seen before. 

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