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Old 02-02-2008, 11:51 AM   #1
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Default Building a '66 AC Cobra..the hard way.

Just thought I would share the photos of my project. It will be years before it is complete (I hope) but even the tallest tree springs from the tiny seed...so here we go.

The idea has been kicking around in my head for years, I want to build the automotive version of the rice rocket bikes I've ridden and raced. I also like the look of the 60'* British sports cars with their minimalist aproach to creature comforts. A fair amount of research lead me to two possible concepts: A Triumph Spitfire converted to run a small block chevy, or an AC Cobra clone. The former would be a lot more technically challenging, the latter would probably be easier to accomplish. (There was a 3rd canidate..a Corvette Stingray..but it got axed due to simple math. No way am I spending $50,000 making a "copy" of a classic car !!)

The budget is pretty straight-forward. Set aside $600 per month just like making a car payment. Over 36 months, thats more than enough to cover the entire car, and cheaper than buying a new car. In 24 months, the bulk of the car will be paid for and assembled, leaving the last years worth of payments on extras and finishing work. It'* important to see progress advance on a regular basis, yet it can't become all consuming and most definitly cannot involving buying anything on credit.

With that said, the December 07, January 08 budget covered the induction system:



Pretty easy stuff. Holley 4160 600cfm carb, 1/2" spacer, aircleaner, and manifold for a 302 Ford V8. That left some money which got spent on a 1990 Ford 302W that was hiding in a Lincoln MkIV sedan (For a whopping $75) along with a new flywheel required to balance the rotating assembly. The block is over at Fas-Track machine shop in Holly Hill getting it'* requisite overhaul. When the short block work is done, I'll have burned up Feb and March 08 budget dollars and will have to pause for a little while before I do the cylinder heads and final assembly of the motor.

If I stay on track, April and May will allow for one aluminum cylinder head each, June/July for a Borg-Warner T-5 transmission or Tremec TKO. By August, I should have a running engine & transmission ready to test fire.

After that, we'll see where it goes.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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Idle hands are the tools of the devil, eh?

At the rate you're going, you will NEVER drop that L67 in that svelte white 4 door of yours
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandrock
Idle hands are the tools of the devil, eh?

At the rate you're going, you will NEVER drop that L67 in that svelte white 4 door of yours
That'* what I'll be doing in Feb/March while waiting on cylinder heads

Actually part of today'* project list involves fabricating the adapter to mount a '94 throttle body to a '98 blower. Plate of 3/4" aluminum is already sitting on the kitchen table (though I will not get to it till later this evening to start marking out the layout lines for machining it.) That'* the last piece of fabricating I'll need before the motor can go in.
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:40 AM   #4
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I love those cars, though i'd like to see a 427 in there

But really, sounds like an awesome project. Can;t wait to see some more progress with it
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:43 AM   #5
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don't you usually buy the car first?

$600/month is a HUGE budget IMO... I guess I am to young to understand why you don't just go take out a 5 year loan and buy the $30k in parts you need up front.

either way, what you have so far looks great
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Old 02-03-2008, 08:16 AM   #6
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Economics and time, Haro.

Why pay 8% interest on a 30k loan for a car and parts that more than likely won't even be remotely ready to drive until the loan term is almost over? Also, with a loan, it HAS to be paid monthly. Going this route, he is in total control of exactly how much money per month can go to this car, and not have to worry about late fees or missed payments because something else came along that took precedence.
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harofreak00
don't you usually buy the car first?
The thought had occured to me. Including such wild notions of buying a Pontiac Solstice off the showroom floor, gutting the driveline out of it, and installing an LS2.

But, this again involves taking on debt, which is one area I wish to avoid. The premiss of the car is that it is for fun, not daily transportation, So the money for it comes out of the disposable funds after the bills are paid. Plus any aditional wind-falls along the way (selling off a Garand or two, bonus checks from work, etc.) The budget of $600 per month over 36 months is pretty sound. From the people I've talked to, most of these cars come in at around $20,000 to $26,000 finished. Using as many recycled parts as I dare in the driveline should put that under $20,000...minimum of $16,000.

Also, I know the relative speed in which I work, which isn't an aggressive schedule at all when it comes to playing around with cars. So, buying an entire kit of parts for the car, up-front will not get it assembled any quicker.

The selection of driveline is also wrapped up in the budget. This is one of the main reasons the motor selected is a 5.0 Ford small bock. A 427 big block would be accurate for the body style (though, the first AC Cobras were powered by the 289). But with the big block comes the extra weight and a big jump in expense, both initial and long term maintenance. You also don't get a lot of extra bang for those bucks. With good aluminum heads and induction, a 302 small block can beat the big block in power output.

Last though on engine selection. Power to weight ratio:

Suzuki SV650 (70hp, 560 lbs of motorcycle and rider) = 8 lbs per hp
AC Cobra with a modified 302 (300hp, 2300 lbs of car and driver ) = 7.7lbs per hp
87 Camaro with 420 (380hp, 3600 lbs) = 9.5 lbs per hp

and for laughs,

1990 Bonneville with LN3 (165hp, 3760 lbs) = 22.7 lbs per hp

Even using the 302, the car has the potential to be the quickest in the garage, just edging out the Suzuki in power to weight ratio (Though, I would venture a guess that the motorcycle has a bit less loss through the drive line and better traction than any of the cars...so it is a little misleading.)
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:41 PM   #8
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Dude, you are my hero! Ive been wanting to do something like that for a long time.
Hope it works out for you, & keep us posted on how it goes. So I can lern from your mistakes for when my time comes.
But seriously that monthly budget idea is great. I just hope the time comes when I can put $600 aside every month.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:21 AM   #9
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Next chunk of the project is home from the machine shop... picked it up Friday and brought it home in the trunk of the Bonnie...





Your basic 302 Roller Cam V8. Bored 0.030" over and fitted with new pistons.

Here'* it flipped over showing the crank and rod ends...

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:17 AM   #10
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Do mod motors fit under the hoods of moste replicas? That thing will be a beast, you'll definitely enjoy it once it'* done!

The solstice is pretty fun on it'* own though, GXP'* are pretty much where it'* at..
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