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
Picture courtesy of
Picture courtesy of Roger
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.
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.