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Copyright 2013 by
Randy Pflanzer
Technology Professionals Consortium
All rights reserved

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   What's New?
 
  02/01/13 - Reformatted web page.

 

At this stage, we have a good idea of what we want.  The next step is to figure out where to get it, and obviously, it starts with the kit supplier.

Based upon your build specification, look for vendors who can provide you with a quality kit that matches your needs.  A good place to start is to buy the book that is available on the Cobra Country web site.  This book is updated periodically and is a good starting reference point.  You should also look through the Club Cobra forum and see what others are talking about.  From there you can ask questions on the forum and limit your selection down to a handful.  If you are really scientific about it, you can even schedule visits to go see the factories for yourself.

I selected the Lone Star kit for a couple of reasons.  Remember, these reasons worked for me, they might not work for you.  I don't endorse any specific vendor because each has their strong points.  Here's my reasons:

  • When you call Lone Star, you talk to the owner.  Brian has a track record of fixing things when it's needed and most of the other builders confirmed his customer service record.  Reputation is my single most important factor.
  • The body is 4" longer in the cockpit area than the original cobra.  Have you ever sat in one?  It's nice to have the extra space and since I'm not interested in duplicating the original, I'm okay with this fact.
  • The quality of the fiberglass work on the Lone Star is pretty good.  The body is not light-weight by any means and it comes with a lot of the inner body panels already bonded in.
  • The kit is pretty complete and is priced competitively.  There are others who are cheaper and those who are more expensive, but I think Lone Star is a good balance between the two.  I like the fact that the only things I need to come up with are the engine, transmission, wheels and tires.  I think I can handle that.
  • I think business longevity is important too, but to be honest, I don't know how you judge this.  There are a number of cobra vendors who are no longer on the scene.  Unfortunately, there are some snakes on the Internet and you have to be careful who you send your money to.  Check for and speak to satisfied customers before sending ANYONE your hard earned bucks.

Before sending in my order, I spent about a month pouring over the forums to find nuggets of experience from previous builders on what parts they replaced on their builds and why.  From that, I went over the detailed parts list from Lone Star and began excluding the initial purchase of parts I knew I was going to replace.  This saved a little money that went towards the purchase of different (and usually more expensive) parts.  Look at my Build Specification and you'll see all the items I replaced and had dropped from my original order.

Speaking of joining the Club Cobra forum and learning about who's in the business, that's where I found a guy who is an expert in clutch and transmissions.  I saw some of his posts where he was very generous with his expertise and knowledge.  I contacted him and he helped me put together the right tranny/clutch/bell housing combination for my engine.  It was a little scary sending him a big check, but it all worked out and his prices were less than anyone else.

On the engine front, I went with a complete turnkey engine.  I don't know squat about engines and that's one area where I'd rather spend dollars than learn to do it myself.  I shopped around on the Internet and I narrowed my choices to a local shop and a national shop who specializes in Ford Cobra engines for replicas.  In the end I went with the national shop because they knew exactly what to build and had worked with Lone Star in the past.  They weren't the cheapest, but the engine looks great and they customized it specifically at my request.  It arrived on-time and looks fabulous.  I'll tell you how it runs in about 6 months.

For the remaining odds and ends, I usually check with folks on the Lone Star forum for a source or do a web search.  Summit Racing is close by as is Earl's Speed shop.  I can usually find what I need at these places.

On the Internet Resources page, I list every vendor I use and what I buy from them to help you out.  Feel free to use them or find vendors that work better for you.

I should probably re-name this section to kit pick-up because my wife and I drove 2,000 miles round trip to Fort Worth to pick up the kit.  When I ordered the kit, I paid a small down payment and Brian gave me a delivery date.  It was about 6-8 weeks from the deposit date.  When we got closer to the date, we nailed it down to December 19, 2009.

Prior to that date, I talked to other builders about how they go their kits home and decided to pick it up rather have have it shipped.  In the end, it probably cost me about the same amount of money but at least I know it was shipped properly.  I have access to a covered 7' X 14' trailer and I have a large pick-up truck capable of hauling it so it was a no-brainer for me.  Besides, it was kind of a road-trip vacation for my wife and me.

When it was time to leave, I loaded up the trailer with some spare foam pads, blankets, straps, my electric drill, drywall screws, and some scrap 2'X4" lumber just in case.  We made the round trip from Indianapolis to Fort Worth in about 16 hours each way via St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville.

Loading was completed at Lone Star in about 2 hours and everything fit nicely inside the trailer.  The minimum dimensions of the body are 5'11" wide by 13'3" long.  The rear-end, frame, and then the body go in the trailer, and then the boxes fit in around that.  I had plenty of room.  If you go with an open trailer, be sure to bring a lot of rope and a heavy-duty tarp to lock in all into place.  Because my trailer was covered, I didn't have to pack as carefully.


 
Picture courtesy of Roger Marsh


Picture courtesy of Roger Marsh

Above are a couple of pictures that fellow Lone Star builder Roger Marsh sent me of his trailer.  Like me, he made the long drive down and back.  This will at least give you some idea of what the load looks like.

So the big decisions have been made regarding kit and engine, and we can now start ordering parts and stocking them on our shelves for use when the time comes.  The one remaining item to cover before we start construction is our plan for doing the construction.  I'll cover that in more detail on the next page.