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Factory 5 Cobra Kit Cars

SKIDMARC

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So I have been thinking about one of these. Anyone ever build or own one? Can a guy with average mechanical know how build one in the garage minus motor,trans, rear end and paint?

I have doing some pricing and I can most likely build one for around 45k with a Blue Print 307 Fuel Injected motor. The motor is 15k by itself. But the car would be completely brand new. Not bad for a nice hot rod. But I would need to build the car excluding the motor,trans, rear end and paint.

Or I could buy one used for around 30-35k with mustang fox body parts and motor. Of course I could spend around 45-50k+depending on build quality.

Just wondering if anyone has done this before and how it worked out. I also wonder how much a shop would charge me to build one? Maybe @bonesfab could chime in on that.

Below is what it could look like

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for a nicer one
 

SKIDMARC

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The kits are reasonable. Depends on how nice you want it. Buying one done is a crap shoot. There are a bunch of these things that are hacked together and scary as shit.

That's what scares me about buying a used one. I wouldn't want to get to crazy but a good power train would be key. Wouldn't want to regret not having more power later.

When you say the kits are reasonable do you mean price wise or ease of ensemble wise?

A complete kit will run 20k. You just need a motor, trans, rear end, wheel, tires, paint. I figure with new nice stuff not crazy expensive it could be done for around 40-45k total

How much do you think a hot rod shop in Camarillo would put one together for? ;) Ballpark.
 

Xtrmwakeboarder

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I think someone on here has a Kirkham. I’ve been meaning to head to Superformance in Irvine to check them out. Definitely a bucket list item.

Go big and create a thread on here for us to live vicariously through you.
 

ArizonaKevin

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That's what scares me about buying a used one. I wouldn't want to get to crazy but a good power train would be key. Wouldn't want to regret not having more power later.

When you say the kits are reasonable do you mean price wise or ease of ensemble wise?

A complete kit will run 20k. You just need a motor, trans, rear end, wheel, tires, paint. I figure with new nice stuff not crazy expensive it could be done for around 40-45k total

How much do you think a hot rod shop in Camarillo would put one together for? ;) Ballpark.
have heard from people who have owned a few with different power plants, that it is very easy to overwhelm this chassis with too much project. They have said that a healthy small block ~400hp is about the perfect setup.
 

Flatsix66

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I built one probably 20+ years ago, was a ton of fun. I built it to be an open track car but also plated for the street with IRS, Koni coilovers, Tremec 5-speed,blade adjustable sway bars, Willwood 6p brakes.... 351W to 410 stroker with 8 stack intake and AEM EFI system, made around 500 RWHP, fun for a 2200lb 90" wheel base car. The hard part was all the sheet metal riveting and body work. Handling was great in terms of balance, it does suffer from a high roll center because of the period correct 4" tube frame, so all Cobras will have the same issue, so if your used to late model Vette or Porsche handling you will be disappointed.
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SKIDMARC

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I built one probably 20+ years ago, was a ton of fun. I built it to be an open track car but also plated for the street with IRS, Koni coilovers, Tremec 5-speed,blade adjustable sway bars, Willwood 6p brakes.... 351W to 410 stroker with 8 stack intake and AEM EFI system, made around 500 RWHP, fun for a 2200lb 90" wheel base car. The hard part was all the sheet metal riveting and body work. Handling was great in terms of balance, it does suffer from a high roll center because of the period correct 4" tube frame, so all Cobras will have the same issue, so if your used to late model Vette or Porsche handling you will be disappointed. View attachment 913219 View attachment 913220
That thing is sweet!
 

jesco

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I came VERY close to building a '33. Did a lot of research, all of their kits seem pretty straight forward for anybody with some mechanical ability. I still would like to build one... one of these days. My friends dad built the cobra, BADASS car!!! Took him a few years but he didnt work on it regularly. He ended up finding a guy on the FF Forums that he paid to come do the final assembly and help him button up the stuff that was above his pay grade. The guy goes all over the US helping people build them, I met him at the FF show in HB, really good dude. Once complete he sent it to a painter in Murrieta/Temecula that is "the guy" in SoCal for these cars. Ill try and get more pics, this is the only one I could find, this was when it was at painter.

IMG_0674.JPG
 

Streetmoto

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I haven't built one yet but I definitely will one day! 4-5yrs ago I got close to buying one and did a ton of research at that time, including talking to quite a few people that had built them in their garage. The feedback seemed to be very consistent in that it was very easy to put together, no custom fabrication or anything like that, just bolting parts together. I already had an aluminum 4.6 4v Cobra motor/trans and planned on narrowing an Explorer 8.8 from a junkyard so for me the biggest expense was going to be paint and body. The fiberglass body is ok from the factory but if you want a really nice paint job/body lines etc it's going to cost a lot in labor. I'm a big fan of these and will either have a Cobra or the 33 from Factory Five at some point in my life.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I’d learn all you can about them and buy a good used example, or one that needs help for cheap and go through it.

Building new will be the most expensive and longest timeline.

This is coming from someone that built a car with an entire drivetrain swap in their garage.

If you just want a fun car that is fast and handles well, buy a C5 corvette and put another $6-8k into it to make it the way you want it. It will be an absolute riot for ~ $20k and will run circles around the Factory Five Cobra.
 

spectras only

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Worst part is the fitment, unless Factory 5 improved their product. There's a reason why Kirkham is the best.;)
If you ever decide to track it, it's worse than a Viper that hasn't been set up for track use.I suggest try finding one on the cheap and thinker with it to your taste later.
 

SKIDMARC

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I’d learn all you can about them and buy a good used example, or one that needs help for cheap and go through it.

Building new will be the most expensive and longest timeline.

This is coming from someone that built a car with an entire drivetrain swap in their garage.

If you just want a fun car that is fast and handles well, buy a C5 corvette and put another $6-8k into it to make it the way you want it. It will be an absolute riot for ~ $20k and will run circles around the Factory Five Cobra.

Honesty that is my situation. Always loved vetts but you can see there age. The cobra is a timeless design. Will always be cool! Not going to race, just a weekend cruiser. Just another toy!

Buying a used one and making it mine might be the best bet. But I've always wanted to build a car ground up. Dreams coming to reality I guess is my goal with everything.
 

Flying_Lavey

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a family friend bought the 33 and put it together in his garage. He put it all together himself with a couple of friends. Expect for the wiring. He couldnt bend over enough to get under the dash and wire everything. So he asked my Grandpa to help with that. THe car came out gorgeous! No fitment issues that I saw or heard of.

Oh, and btw, the guy that built it in his garage was 70 years old. Granted he had other Road King friends come over to help, but all of them are also just about 70 years old.
 

Flatsix66

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Worst part is the fitment, unless Factory 5 improved their product. There's a reason why Kirkham is the best.;)
If you ever decide to track it, it's worse than a Viper that hasn't been set up for track use.I suggest try finding one on the cheap and thinker with it to your taste later.
Factory Five is not even in the same class as Kirkham or the Shelby continuation cars. The FF philosophy is to use a donor Fox Mustang (maybe SN95 now) to provide much of the parts, so the frame is designed to fit those parts. I used all new parts, not really that much more in cost. Kirkham is a replica, parts will interchange with the Original Shelby Cobras from the day, no junkyard Mustang parts. The good thing about Factory Five is if you stick with their recipe everything will work...very well. Also the body splashes are different among different kits, the Factory five has a weird upturn at the trunk that the Original Cobras didn't have, I think they have fixed that in recent years though.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Honesty that is my situation. Always loved vetts but you can see there age. The cobra is a timeless design. Will always be cool! Not going to race, just a weekend cruiser. Just another toy!

Buying a used one and making it mine might be the best bet. But I've always wanted to build a car ground up. Dreams coming to reality I guess is my goal with everything.
Here is my advice if you are building from the ground up-

Set specific goals and stick to them. If you truly want to drive it you need to keep that in mind. You’ll enjoy driving a car that is 80% the way you want it more than you’ll enjoy making the car 100% perfect and it taking another year or more and thousands more to build. Be willing to make some compromises to get the car on the road.

If you are someone that just wants to build the perfect car, you’ll likely build the car too nice and you won’t want to drive it. You’ll also lose your ass when you sell it but find no one but you cares you put 80 hours into the gauge cluster bezel.

The Cobras are fun for cruising. They don’t handle that well on the track.
 

bonesfab

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That's what scares me about buying a used one. I wouldn't want to get to crazy but a good power train would be key. Wouldn't want to regret not having more power later.

When you say the kits are reasonable do you mean price wise or ease of ensemble wise?

A complete kit will run 20k. You just need a motor, trans, rear end, wheel, tires, paint. I figure with new nice stuff not crazy expensive it could be done for around 40-45k total

How much do you think a hot rod shop in Camarillo would put one together for? ;) Ballpark.
For that money for a crate engine just put a coyote in it. more power and reliability. want more power later if you don't crash it, Bolt a blower on it and hold the fuck on. Depends on the kit and how well it goes together but It would cost every bit of 15k if not more depending on options. I have a customer that wants to do one with Blown coyote and a sequential 6-speed as his grand finale car. We will see if he comes through.
 

Sherpa

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I always wanted to build a "Butler Built Cobra kit"................ sadly they closed their shop..... I always thought their car had the best look..
 

ToMorrow44

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I came VERY close to building a '33. Did a lot of research, all of their kits seem pretty straight forward for anybody with some mechanical ability. I still would like to build one... one of these days. My friends dad built the cobra, BADASS car!!! Took him a few years but he didnt work on it regularly. He ended up finding a guy on the FF Forums that he paid to come do the final assembly and help him button up the stuff that was above his pay grade. The guy goes all over the US helping people build them, I met him at the FF show in HB, really good dude. Once complete he sent it to a painter in Murrieta/Temecula that is "the guy" in SoCal for these cars. Ill try and get more pics, this is the only one I could find, this was when it was at painter.

View attachment 913225
I helped a friend of a friend put one together. He had about zero mechanical ability and took several years to build it as well. He also took it to some dude in Temecula for paint (came out gorgeous) and described him as “the guy” for painting these things, I’m sure it’s the same dude.
 

Cole Trickle

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Skip it.... Seems like a pita all things considered.

Look for a 13/14 Shelby gt 500 or a clean c6 z06 or zr1.

Like mentioned earlier the kit cobras won't do nearly as much on the road as people would hope and i guarantee you will have more fun in a modern 500+ hp car with ac and all the modern day comforts. They are a handful to drive and for a while they were next to impossible to insure....notb sure if that has changed

The cars i mentioned will hold there va;lue and still feel special 10 years from now.

Kit cars can be a pain and most end up under a cover in the garage.
 

BONER

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how sacrilegious would it be to install a Chevy SB2.2 engine in something like this? Asking for a friend.....
Buy the mounting kit for a SBC. I'd get on the phone with them though, and ask if they have any solutions for Headers.

Fun idea though. 9k RPM Motors are always cool. 🤙
 

BONER

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I've worked on a couple. It's definitely tight. I don't remember needing any specialty tools, but I seem to remember stubby gear wrenches coming in handy for obvious reasons. Been awhile though, maybe 10 or 12 years ago.

I also have a very good friend that was Factory Fives "Factory Driver" for awhile. He likes em. Owns one himself. He's also yard sale'd a couple. Didn't get hurt which is surprising, because to me it looks like a death trap.

Never build from the ground up, unless your reasoning is to build a car from the ground up. Otherwise, buy one that's sorted out and make your changes to it. If you want something that's been proven not to burn to the ground, buy a track car. There's nothing harder on equipment than a road course. If it can survive that, then I'd trust it. Getting it street ready will probably be a decent project in itself, so you'll get the "accomplishment" feeling at the end and it'll have your flare.

I've come close to building one of these:

 
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92 cole

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This has always been my favorite car since I was a kid. Next is the 65 shelby . I rode in a 65 ac bristol cobra 289 in the mid 70's original aluminum body and all owned by a friend of my father. If somebody were to read the history of this car they would never rape it with a G.M. drive train. As fair as handling they were far better than the corvettes and the only car that could hold it's own was the 65-66 mustangs. Nobody could afford an original 64-65 A,C. bristol Cobra either the 289 or the 66 427 version. You are in the 7 figure range for an original (well into) All you will get with a kit car is a plastic car but REALLY classic and stylish. MLAO>
 

Wheeler

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This has always been my favorite car since I was a kid. Next is the 65 shelby . I rode in a 65 ac bristol cobra 289 in the mid 70's original aluminum body and all owned by a friend of my father. If somebody were to read the history of this car they would never rape it with a G.M. drive train. As fair as handling they were far better than the corvettes and the only car that could hold it's own was the 65-66 mustangs. Nobody could afford an original 64-65 A,C. bristol Cobra either the 289 or the 66 427 version. You are in the 7 figure range for an original (well into) All you will get with a kit car is a plastic car but REALLY classic and stylish. MLAO>

I was at the track one day and this old guy asked if I wanted a ride. The car was small, noisy and uncomfortable. It was fun though. He claims it to be all original and by looking at it, I believe him.

Willow.Park.jpg
 

Flatsix66

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I was at the track one day and this old guy asked if I wanted a ride. The car was small, noisy and uncomfortable. It was fun though. He claims it to be all original and by looking at it, I believe him.

View attachment 913344
Holy shit, that's Lynn Park on the right, SoCal Cobra royalty. Looks like one of the Cobra Club events at Willow. They have been doing these events for real Cobra owners since way before the 80s when I started going.

You must be a big wheel if your getting a ride in Lynns car!
 

Wheeler

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Holy shit, that's Lynn Park on the right, SoCal Cobra royalty. Looks like one of the Cobra Club events at Willow. They have been doing these events for real Cobra owners since way before the 80s when I started going.

You must be a big wheel if your getting a ride in Lynns car!
No big wheel here, just in the right place at the right time. It was a ride in the cobra or a mustang. I figure I could always get a ride in a mustang.


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Almost forgot about this photo showing off my RDP shirt. :)

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92 cole

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I was at the track one day and this old guy asked if I wanted a ride. The car was small, noisy and uncomfortable. It was fun though. He claims it to be all original and by looking at it, I believe him.

View attachment 913344
Hate to tell you but thats NOT an original. Still fun. Yes it was a replica and a very good one but not a AC bristol cobra. I know to much about those cars to tell.
 

SKIDMARC

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Hate to tell you but thats NOT an original. Still fun. Yes it was a replica and a very good one but not a AC bristol cobra. I know to much about those cars to tell.
Why do you know too much to tell? Spill the beans man!!
 

ssc

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One of my old mentors was Joe Di Loreto. I vividly remember going for a few spins in his blue ac cobra with the 427.

Cheers, Steve
 

707dog

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they are a killer looking car i don't know much about them but after being in/around and under a kit car there alot of hack ass shit going on to make it work. not sure who built the one i was looking at but im only 5' 8" and sitting sideways to use the pedal assembly is fn bananas definitely not a daily cruiser in my book, and to add brake fluid is another story
 

Wheeler

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Hate to tell you but thats NOT an original. Still fun. Yes it was a replica and a very good one but not a AC bristol cobra. I know to much about those cars to tell.
All I can go by is what the old guy told me. I took a few pix of the car alone and I'll post 'em if I can find 'em.

You might enjoy these pix below. Some I shot while others came off a friends camera or off the net.

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Have had a Superformance since 2006. The car was originally owned by a guy that was in charge of engine development for Roush, and the car was a display car for the first year of its life. Has one of the first Roush prototype motors that would later become their line of Windsor based 427’s. It had 2500 miles on it when I bought it through Superformance in Irvine where it was on consignment. The car has 8000 miles on it now and has been rock solid, and it performs very well with its 600hp motor. Go to Superformance and talk to the owner, Lance. He is very friendly and will answer all your questions. He will also give you a ride in one of their cars.

 

Wheeler

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Looks like one of the Cobra Club events at Willow. They have been doing these events for real Cobra owners since way before the 80s when I started going.
It was a Shelby event celebrating the 50th aniversiary of the first win of a GT-350 along with the "Original Venice Crew" get together/party. Here's a larger photo of the OVC in their group shot.

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Another pic of the 91 car showing the engine compartment.

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spectras only

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Unless one wants to dragrace a Miata on the street, there's no need to have 500 plus HP for track use. I'm in the process turbo my NB Miata for our track use. Pretty sure with a mild [ 10-12 psi ] boost I ccould meet the majority of cars' laptimes there. Won't be able to use the car in the GTU race though with a max 250HP limit. We have a Honda S2000 for that. Monster Miatas were a rage for a while though and put some hurt to V-8 Mustang and Camaro owners ego. :) I'm just going to the Kart track right now to get some real driving in myTony-Kart shifter kart. ;)
That's a cool article you posted,thanks.
 

92562

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My neighbor built the Factory 5 when he retired and I helped him with the finish work and dialing in the engine. They look awesome and drive pretty well. His was not built as a track car, just a toy and he loves it. I hadn't been behind the wheel of one since I was in my 20's (read: thinner) and if you can, drive one before you buy. If 2 guys that are 5'10" and about 210 or so are both in the car, your "outboard" elbow ONLY fits outside the car over the door with your "inboard" shoulders touching. I was very surprised how narrow the interior is. He only drives it by himself or with his 5'2" 95 lb. wife so there is no issue. Happy hunting!
 

monkeyswrench

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@Wheeler , Park fits in to those cars nicely...you and I on the otherhand... 😏

I don't know how FF floors and firewalls are, but the "Old Kits", and even the originals, were not comfortable for me. My big feet found the pedals to be in the wrong places. Ok for cruising around town, but pretty sure it wouldn't have ended well if I were to have tried going Speed Racer.
 

PlanB

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^^^ The pedals are at a little bit of a weird angle, but you get used to it. I don’t even think about it when driving, and I have a couple other manuals in the fleet.
 

Cole Trickle

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Unless one wants to dragrace a Miata on the street, there's no need to have 500 plus HP for track use. I'm in the process turbo my NB Miata for our track use. Pretty sure with a mild [ 10-12 psi ] boost I ccould meet the majority of cars' laptimes there. Won't be able to use the car in the GTU race though with a max 250HP limit. We have a Honda S2000 for that. Monster Miatas were a rage for a while though and put some hurt to V-8 Mustang and Camaro owners ego. :) I'm just going to the Kart track right now to get some real driving in myTony-Kart shifter kart. ;)
That's a cool article you posted,thanks.
Miata is evidently always the answer...lol

Check out the new $297 toy i bought from one of my nice lady customers.

1994 - 130k miles one owner with a clean title.

She called me and wanted a quote on a new car and said she was going to trade it in. Told her i would give her whatever they offered knowing that miatas are pretty hot right now and thinking i could make a couple bucks. She calls me 3 days later we add her new car and she says Lexus offered her $300 for the car and i can have it for the price. She smogged it and paid the years registration 3 weeks prior and put new tires on it 6 months ago...haha

Car had good bones but was pretty roached(filthy). Windows didn't work and passenger door wouldn't open and the shifter boot rubber was gone.. All typical miata issues.

While cleaning I found $3 in change under the seats hence the $297 miata

I have rebuilt the shifter with the 5x racing upgrade kit, fixed the windows and door, new plugs and fluid change, new leather seat covers off fb market place a Bluetooth stereo and i'm into this thing less than $700. After a week of cleaning and scrubbing it's actually a really nice little car.

Pretty sure i'm going to keep it and build a autocross car for the wife and kid to play/learn on. 205/15/50 on some 15x8 wheels on some kind of suspension. Hard dog roll bar and probably a turbo set up once i get bored...haha

Whats the hot ticket for these deals?
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LargeOrangeFont

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Miata is evidently always the answer...lol

Check out the new $297 toy i bought from one of my nice lady customers.

1994 - 130k miles one owner with a clean title.

She called me and wanted a quote on a new car and said she was going to trade it in. Told her i would give her whatever they offered knowing that miatas are pretty hot right now and thinking i could make a couple bucks. She calls me 3 days later we add her new car and she says Lexus offered her $300 for the car and i can have it for the price. She smogged it and paid the years registration 3 weeks prior and put new tires on it 6 months ago...haha

Car had good bones but was pretty roached(filthy). Windows didn't work and passenger door wouldn't open and the shifter boot rubber was gone.. All typical miata issues.

While cleaning I found $3 in change under the seats hence the $297 miata

I have rebuilt the shifter with the 5x racing upgrade kit, fixed the windows and door, new plugs and fluid change, new leather seat covers off fb market place a Bluetooth stereo and i'm into this thing less than $700. After a week of cleaning and scrubbing it's actually a really nice little car.

Pretty sure i'm going to keep it and build a autocross car for the wife and kid to play/learn on. 205/15/50 on some 15x8 wheels on some kind of suspension. Hard dog roll bar and probably a turbo set up once i get bored...haha

Whats the hot ticket for these deals? View attachment 913472 View attachment 913473 View attachment 913474 View attachment 913475 View attachment 913476 View attachment 913477 View attachment 913478 View attachment 913479 View attachment 913480
The setup is wheels, tires, good set of coilovers, roll bar, hold throttle to the floor and steer the wheel.

Konig has some nice flow formed 15" wheels sized for Miatas that are strong, pretty light, well priced, and look good.

It is going to be slow on the street even if you turbo it, but it will be really fun to AutoX and screw around on the twisty roads.

15X8.5 Hypergrams. They are like 12 lbs.
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LargeOrangeFont

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Unless one wants to dragrace a Miata on the street, there's no need to have 500 plus HP for track use. I'm in the process turbo my NB Miata for our track use. Pretty sure with a mild [ 10-12 psi ] boost I ccould meet the majority of cars' laptimes there. Won't be able to use the car in the GTU race though with a max 250HP limit. We have a Honda S2000 for that. Monster Miatas were a rage for a while though and put some hurt to V-8 Mustang and Camaro owners ego. :) I'm just going to the Kart track right now to get some real driving in myTony-Kart shifter kart. ;)
That's a cool article you posted,thanks.
This. My RX7 has almost too much HP for the track as is.
 

beaverretriever

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Love these threads as 60s Fords/Cobras were my father's way of life for many years. Me too! I get to show off all my father's amazing work and hardware throughout the years. He never had enough money to have more than a few cars at a time, so he was always selling stuff to buy stuff. He has nothing now. Super sad as he had some beautiful cars that he built from the ground up.

My father did a lot of track events with Lynn. Super nice guy with a collection that has to be worth 10 to 25 million!

@SKIDMARC if you ever have any questions about a build always feel free to shoot me a message. My father has done it all in the Shelby world from aluminum race cars to GT350Rs .

@Wheeler Gonna give you a shout in the near future when it gets cooler. We still want to meet Ted! I bet all you guys (old farts) will have some great stories to share.


My father building a 289FIA car (replica) Hi-po 289 machined by Valley Head Service who did most of the high end engine work for Shelby in the 60s. 48 IDA Webers, real Pindrive FIA wheels, toploader 4sp. This was the first and only replica he ever built as he just wasnt a big fan of replica cars. He focused mostly on restoration of 65-66 Shelby Mustangs and vintage Muatang and Falcon race car builds and prep. He was a dealer for Shelby (Kirkham built aluminum cars) for a few years too.
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He turned some fast times at Willow in the 80s and early 90s in his vintage cars

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His GT350R tribute that Shelby American used in a photo shoot.

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Vintage suspension, vintage body roll!
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My father did it all from welding, body work, paint, engines, and suspension. There wasn't one aspect he would farm out except machine work.
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64 Falcon he built for open track. Real 8" wide Mini Lites like the Pan American cars ran.
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Me at about 18 or 19 at Willow Springs in the early 90s. My father's 65 GT350 and an aluminum Shelby he sold and built for a customer. Also his 87 Ford F250 that had over 200,000 miles on it without even ever taking a head off when he sold it.
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Cole Trickle

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The setup is wheels, tires, good set of coilovers, roll bar, hold throttle to the floor and steer the wheel.

It is going to be slow on the street even if you turbo it, but it will be really fun to AutoX and screw around on the twisty roads.
Honestly i was semi surprised by how it felt stock. It's no where near being quick but like you said should be a blast on a tight auto cross track. I feel like 200/200 wheel would make it about perfectly balanced and a hoot to play around with.

I will teach my kid to drive a manual shortly on it and i want a car my wife can throw around that doesn't want to kill her like the other stuff...haha

No way am i spending 5k on a turbo kit on a $300 car so over time i will try and build/piece it together.

Those are the wheels i am looking at. Weight is everything with these.

Coilover recomendations that arent crazy pricey? say sub 1k?

Thoughts on lightened flywheels? I'm going to be putting in a new clutch and i have read that perhaps they don't like aluminum flywheels?
 
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RaceTec

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Just go find a Sunbeam Tiger and be ahead of the curve! These are all fun and you can build anything to the level that you want depending on budget! I say buy something or build something mild and low buck, then have fun and upgrade it as a driver. If you can't drive it it is a waste, having a budget low powered car that drives will motivate you to make more power!
 
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