427 Cobra Build

cobra at shop
From the age of 9 I have always loved and wanted someday to own a Shelby Cobra. Of course with prices being what they are, an original is just not within my means. So, I kept my eye out for a deal on a replica. I was hoping to find someone’s partially built kit and finish it if possible.
Well, that day finally came a few years ago. I found and was able to purchase the components of a complete deluxe FFR 427 Cobra kit. The gentleman was pretty desperate for quick cash and as the saying goes “cash talks”!
After getting it delivered it sat for a while as I had other projects to finish. It came with a disassembled 392 stroker motor but after some thought as to the direction I wanted to take with it I sold the motor and tracked down an original period correct 427 side oiler with dual quads.
There are several Cobras in town and the ones closest to where I live are blue. After seeing Dave Smith’s (owner and founder of Factory Five Racing) red Cobra with no stripes I decided to build mine just like his. Although his is coyote powered, they are pretty much identical.
I’d like to thank the many friends ( Capital Area Mustang club members) who lent a hand during the build. Especially in the weeks just before the Westphalia show as the Cobra was completed and driven to the show it’s first time on the road.
The pictures and captions will further tell the story. It is a great, fun car to drive but you have to give it your undivided attention because it is a manual steering and braking Cobra. At barley 2,300 pounds and well over 400 horses things happen very quickly when taken out for any “spirited” driving.
This is what first caught my eye. Here’s a pic from the ad i answered on eBay. It was purchased from the original owner assembled with all the deluxe kit upgrades available at the time.
It actually took quite a bit of time to get it to this point. I wish I had taken more pictures. I started with a bare chassis that we painted black. Then the 8.8 rear was rebuilt and a FFR 3 link was purchased and installed along with the front suspension. Coil over shocks were used at all 4 corners as well as disk brakes.

Here’s a side shot of the rolling chassis.
I bought the 17” FFR knock off replicas from a guy who had gotten them as a free promotion when he purchased his FFR kit. He was going to run a different style wheel for his build. I think these were perfect for my build.

I purchased a period correct ‘65 427 side oiler with dual quads form a guy who had three of them. It features a 428 crank which combined with the big 427 bore comes out to 450 or so cubic inches.
Although it was a turn key motor, I had it rebuilt and run on an engine stand at the builders shop.

After it was determined the motor would bolt in to the chassis, we took it out and began installing the aluminum firewall and engine compartment panels.
The aluminum panels had sat for quite a while when I purchased to kit.
They had oxidised pretty badly. I had the panels media blasted, primed and painted/clear coated with a special satin silver to look like bare aluminum panels.
Heres another shot of the panels being installed.
I wanted as close as I could get to an original style motor and engine compartment an accessories. I did a lot of research and sourced correct valve covers, air cleaners, oil filter bracket etc.

The 427 Cobra motor is so beautiful it’s almost a shame to cover it up with a body.
There are still a couple items I need to make it totally period correct but as you know Hot Rods are often times works in progress and this one is no exception.

Here’s a closer view of the oil filter mounting bracket and lines. This is the same type of set up on the original 427 Cobras.

This shot shows the dash panel being mocked up and the gauge, steering column and switches layout.
Here is the “GO Cart” with motor and drive train installed. I went with a 5 speed TKO 600 trans for it’s strength and the overdrive 5th gear. The long hoses that are running from front to interior are part of the interior ventilation system.

Here’s another angle “Go Cart” shot. You can see the gauges, glove box door etc. If you look closely you can see two round bars extending down from under the dash. I made special brackets for these and secured them to the transmission tunnel. They were not part of the FFR kit but during my research I had seen them in the original 427 Cobras and liked the authentic touch it gave to the car. I presumed they were for chassis stiffening, securing the cowl to the frame in that location.

I wish this shot wasn’t so blurry but it’s the only one I could find that showed some of the 6 guys it took to lower the Cobra body to the chassis. As you can imagine this was a very exciting moment.
It’s hard not to smile when you sit in a 427 Cobra you have built with your own two hands. And, some help from your buddies of course!

Here she is being prepped for paint at Thompson Auto body. Greg and his crew did an awesome job applying Ford candy apple red.

Back from the paint shop and ready for many hours of final assembly.

We really started hitting it hard a few weeks prior to the Westphalia show. In this shot you can see the separate hood scoop being fitted to the body for final rivet attachment. This was how the original 427 Cobra hoods were built.
And here she is! ready for her first drive to the Westphalia show. I took countless hours to get her to this point but the fun and experience gained in this build, not to mention the enjoyment of driving her, was well worth the effort. Special thanks to all the guys and gals from Capital Area Mustangs who helped along the way!

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