Snake Fever!

What manufacturer makes the best Cobra Kit?  Find out here!  Research manufacturers and kit cost more easily and systematically as you discover the most cost effective way for you to own the Cobra you've always wanted!  Just plug your nose and enjoy my stinking opinion!                                                                          ~Milton Epstein

COBRA LINKS GALORE!
MORE ROADSTER/COUPE/GT40 LINKS THAN YOU CAN SHAKE YOUR STICK AT!

 1st Racing Cobra, Riverside, CA, 1962.

 1st trounced Corvette Stingray, Riverside, CA, 1962


Last Update:  10 Jun 2007
Hit Counter visitors since 2 Jan 2007
 

 KEY                                 
Link Category
Link to manufacturer or target info
Preferred product, or under close study
Info about a product without a web site
BAD report: *You may have to log in at www.ClubCobra.com to read post.
GOOD report: *You may have to log in at www.ClubCobra.com to read post.

Cobra Replica Manufacturers
A.C. Autos Cobras
Alan Christian Motorcars
Americar
B and B Manufacturing (NEW site)
Backdraft Racing
Backflow
CJE Motorsports
Classic Roadsters II
Cobra Restorers Ltd.
Cobra Sports Cars
Cobras N Vettes
DAX Cars
DRB GT40
Emerson Motorsports
ERA
Everett-Morrison Motorcars
Factory Five
Gardner - Douglas Sports Cars
Gessford Machine
Group Five Ltd. Cobrette
G&K Classics
Harrison
Hawk Cars
HDR Coupe
Hunter's Cobra Kit Cars
Hurricane Motorsports
JBL
JODECO Auto Body
Kirkham Motorsports
LK Motorsports
Lone Star Classics
Madgwick Cars Ltd.
Midstates Classic Cars and Parts
Pacific Roadster
Pegasus Performance
Pigeon Performance
Power Performance Motor Cars
Premier Motorsports
Renegade Roadster
R U Carcrafters Inc.
Shamrock Autocraft
Shelby 427 Engine Parts
Shelby Automobiles Inc.
Shell Valley
S&S Automotive
SStarting Line (FFR, GA)
Sterling Replicars
Superformance
Superformance Canada
SPF CA/AZ (Hillbank Motor Corp)
SPF Ohio (Dynamic Motorsports)
SPF NC (Olthoff Racing Inc.)
SPF NJ (Stan's Garage LLC)
SPF NY (Snakepit)
Streetbeast
Superformance Owner's Group
T-3 Cobra
Thunder Carriages
Turn Ten Racing
Unique Motorsports
Unique Motorsports Forum
Vintage Motorsports (Backdraft dealer)
West Coast Inc.
XK's Unlimited (Shelby dealer)
York Sports Cars, Inc

Good and Bad Reports
Club Cobra's Consumer Watch
Streetbeast: 5th post by 1bad66
West Coast Cobra: 7th post by Arntzguy

West Coast Cobra: whole thread
West Coast Cobra: whole thread

Cobra Parts Manufacturers
2G Motorsports
American Racing (wheels)
America's Pride Shop Equipment
Anthem Motors
Branda Shelby & Mustang Parts
British Classic Car Parts
Cobra Country
Cobra Engines
Cobra Spares
Coolflex hoses
David Kee Toploaders
Engine Factory
Erson Cams and Rockers
FE Specialties
Fiberjet 90" Wheelbase Bodies
Halibrand
Inglese Induction Systems Ltd.
Johnex
Keith Craft Inc. Engines
Kress Motorsports
McMaster-Carr rivets, sound damper
Operations Plus Vinal

OSH
Nisonger Automotive
Pro Systems Carbs
PS Engineering
Rohach Motorsports
Roush Performance
Roush FFR Cobra Engines
Southern Automotive Engines
Team III Wheels
Total Performance
Trigo Knock-off Wheels
Vintage Wheels

Misc. Cobra Information
Original Cobra Parts List
John's FFR build site
Creeper's Cobra Build Site
Bondurant Driving School
BF Goodrich Cobra Poster
Bitten by the Snake DVD
Cobra Country
Cobra Trader Forum
Club Cobra Forum
ERA's 427 SC Cost Work Sheet
ffcobra.com
Second Strike Gearing Calculator
Karl's Cobra & GT40 Photos
Cobra Reading
The Car Source
Philip Grayston Cobra Art
Mid America Cobra Club
Mile Hi Cobra Club
Snake bite--the real thing!
Super Coupe: 1965 427 Cobra Coupe
UK Cobra Club
Lotsa Cobra Links 

Cobra Videos!
SPF at Kershaw
CSX 3016

Cobra Daytona Coupe Links
BAD British American Daytonas
Daytona Cobra Coupe Book
Daytona Coupe Race Schedules
Factory 5 Type 65 Coupe
Shell Valley
Super Ford - February 1981
The Lost CSX2287 Saga
Chuck's Ultimate Coupe Replica Build
Upstate Super Replicas

GT40 Links
Bailey Edwards Cars
CAV RSA GT40
CJE Motorsports
DRB GT40
DT Ford.com - GT40 link db
ERA GT
Factory 5 GTM
Graham Turner's GT40s
GT40s.com Forum
GT40 Enthusiasts Club, UK
Holman Moody
Kwa Zulu-Natal GT40 Club
Lone Star Classics
Maison Blanche Gulf Cars/link db
MDA USA

MDA UK
MkIV Details
New Ford GT Official Site
New GT: Concept to Reality
Race Car Replicas (Fran Hall)
Roaring 40s AU
Roaring Forties GT40 History
Robin Sundt's GT40 Web Site
Gt40 Mk 1-4 Specifications
T-Jet GT40
Thruxton GT40s
Tornado Sports Cars
Wealden Engineering Development 

Miscellaneous Links
Autograph from Shelby
Automobile Quarterly
Basic 4-stroke Engine Animation
Barrett-Jackson.com
Carol Shelby Official Web Site
Cobra Ferrari Wars
Exoto Model photos (seen below)
Go Motorsports
James Dean
Muscle Car Photos
OMG Classic Muscle Car Photos
Pit Stop Book Shop
Posters
Racing Chassis #s and Race db
Racing schedule: 1966
Rich's Classic Transport
Dirty Harry
Serpent Express
UK Historic GT Racing

Kit Car Review Web Sites
Kit Car Central
Kitcars.com
Kitcar Magazine
Kit Car.com
Mad About Kit Cars
TotalKitCar.com

Special Links
Currency Converter
E-Campus.com
Yahoo Maps
Map Quest
MO Reg and Lic Statute: Replica

Auto Loan Calculator
Kit/Turnkey Loan Company
Zip Codes: Physical Locations

On-line Photo Queries
CobraTrader.com's Ebay search!
Steve DeVaux's photos!
Cobra Photos: Google
Cobra Photos: All-The-Web
Daytona Coupe Photos: Google
Daytona Coupe: All-The-Web
GT40 Photos: Google
GT40 Photos: All-The-Web

Kit Insurance
Classic Automotive Insurance

Contact me at
President@VIAwebDevelopment.com

Milton Epstein Self-proclaimed Cobra aficionado, Milton Epstein, shares his research, impressive deductive logic and keen insight with YOU, fellow bitten brethren!  (Milton Epstein is the author of Superior Rival and is the token graphic representation of a Cobra Obsessive Extraordinaire. All Rights Reserved).
   

1964 Cobra Daytona Coupe, CSX 2287, "The Prototype", Chris Amon, Jochen Neerpasch.
1963 Grand Sport Coupe, Nassau Prototype.
Carroll Shelby Driving School training car.
First Cobra Victory, Riverside, 1963.1963 Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster.
Shelby 260 Soft-Top, Color:  Unpainted aluminum.
Model:  1963 Shelby Cobra 289, Version:  Hard-Top.
The First Painted Car, Pearl yellow
1964 Cobra Daytona Coupe, CSX 2299, "The Le Mans Winner", Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant.
Restored car as owned by Carroll Shelby.
1964 Cobra Daytona Coupe, Winner, Tourist Trophy, Goodwood, Dan Gurney
Chuck's Coupe before paint!
1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, Daytona Winner, Jo Schlesser, Hal Keck.
1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, CSX 2602, "The Filipinetti Coupe", Peter Sutcliffe, Peter Harper
1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, CSX 2601, "The Championship Coupe", Bob Bondurant, Jo Schlesser
1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, CSX 2300, The Ford of France Coupe", Jo Schlesser, Andre Simon
1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, Monza Winner, Bob Bondurant, Allen Grant
1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe, Sebring Winner, Bob Bondurant, Jo Schlesser
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II, Le Mans, Alan Mann Racing #8, John Whitmore, Frank Gardner.
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II, Le Mans, Alan Mann Racing #7, Graham Hill, Brian Muir.
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II, Le Mans, car #6, Mario Andretti, Lucien Bianchi.
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II, Third place, Le Mans, car #5, Ronnie Bucknum, Dick Hutcherson.
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II, Le Mans, car #4, Mark Donohue, Paul Hawkins.
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II, Le Mans, Shelby American #3, Dan Gurney, Allen Grant.
1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV, Le Mans 4th, car #2, Shelby American, Bruce McLaren, Mark Donohue.
1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV, Le Mans Winner, car #1, Shelby American, Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt.
The ONLY Corvette Grand Sport to ever win a race (1964 Nassau): 1964 Grand Sport Coupe, Light-Lightweight Corvette, Roger Penske.
1966 Grand Sport Roadster, Penske Roadster, 1966 Sebring 12 Hours, Dick Guldstrand, Dick Thompson
1964 Nassau Speedweek, Jack Saunders

Have a nice day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Copyright 2004

The bottom line....
Quicklink directly to each manufacturers' online pricing info!!!

     Welcome Cobra Kit Researchers!!!  Stay tuned for one large spreadsheet with ALL PARTICIPATING manufacturer info laid out side-by-side for a more easy comparison.  Until then, here are DIRECT LINKS to these quality Cobra kit manufacturers' PRICING INFO:

B and B Manufacturing (auto-calculating BuildSheets by stage)
Cobras N Vettes (Vette-donor-based kit offered as complete kit or by system)
ERA (offers one complete kit)
Everett-Morrison Motorcars (no pricing info available online!)
Factory Five (Mustang-donor-based kit offered by checking options)

Hunter's Cobra Kit Cars (offers at least two kit stages)
Hurricane Motorsports (offers a complete donorless kit with upgrade options)

JBL (offers both touring and competition roadster in different stages)
Kirkham Motorsports (offers a price worksheet to add options to a base kit)

Lone Star Classics (offers kits with options as well as in stages)
Midstates Classic Cars and Parts (no pricing info available online!)
Premier Motorsports (offers at least two stages)
Renegade Roadster (no pricing info available online!)
R U Carcrafters Inc. (offers several different stages)

Shell Valley (offers several different stages, pricing unavailable without force!)
Turn Ten Racing (offers many different stages and options)
Unique Motorcars (offers several stages)

     Although most all of these manufacturers will vary the parts they sell you in their kits, the PACKAGES they offer will provide you with better savings--and the more complete the kit offered, the more you'll have saved when your Cobra is finished.  Your best bet is to follow these steps:

  • See a wide variety of different manufacturer's finished cars before choosing a particular manufacturer.
  • Research manufacturers online, their cars, and their engineering methods.  Each manufacturer has an approach that's completely different--sometimes radically different--than the others.
  • Visit several manufacturers.  This is a good idea, but I, personally, do not think that it's an absolute necessity.  You can fairly easily detect the reliability of a product through on-line forums such as Club Cobra, even with all of the boisterous personalities out there!
  • Take your time and be systematic in your research, as opposed to allowing yourself to be overcome by Snake Fever!
  • Be realistic and choose a manufacturer whose car you can live with, at the price that's right for you, realizing that you can realistically expect to spend A LOT more for your finished car than what you've got budgeted!  It's not common to spend an additional $10,000 or so (depending on the kit) than what you initially budget.

     The links below are manufacturers who ONLY offer completed cars, less power train (as opposed to buildable kit packages):

     The bottom line in all of this mess is that you simply cannot save a lot of dough by building your own car--unless you're a professional engine builder, car painter, etc.  Even then, unless you're in this primarily for the enjoyment of the build itself, you're making the WRONG decision to BUILD if you think you're going to save money by building (as opposed to buying a used or Turnkey)--you are NOT going to save any money building a Cobra yourself. 

     So, if the build itself isn't a major part of why you want a Cobra, and you've got a budget to stick to, buy one that's used and tweak it to make it exactly the car you want as your budget allows.  Buying a used Cobra is by far and away the most cost effective route to possessing the car you're looking for--and it will appraise much higher than what you've got into it.  Hands down.  Here are some links to finding a nice used Cobra to make your own/tweak:

     *Researchers: Stay tuned for one large spreadsheet or  with ALL PARTICIPATING manufacturer info laid out side-by-side for more easy comparison.  *Superior Rival invites all kit manufacturers to display their pricing information in a structure that's easy for their potential customers to compare with other manufacturers' pricing info--right here on Superior Rival! 

*Manufacturers: Click here to enquire about how to get your specific pricing info posted here!


Welcome to the world's largest list of Cobra Roadster, Coupe and GT40 links on the planet!


   You're reading the memoirs of one Milton Epstein, self-proclaimed Cobra aficionado.  I am on a perpetual quest to learn all there is to know about every Cobra roadster, Daytona Coupe and GT40 replica manufacturer in the world. 
   Join me as I share with you, fellow snake bitten buddy, my impressive deductive logic and keen insight.  I will guide you, fellow fevered friend, into the right Cobra replica/hotrod kit for you, albeit slowly and haphazardly--and with much confusion along the way. 
   You may not know much now about the various manufacturers I refer to here, but once you get through the list of links on the right side of this page, you'll be just as confused as I am, metaphorically speaking, of course. 
   My well-thought-out stories (below..I think) are representative of the thoroughness of my research (sometimes not very), always well written (outright lie), and are sure to provide just the right amount of mistypellings and grammatical errors 2 make you think YOU, too, could be a great writer one day--just like me (break out the waders)!
  If you're still reading this you're a bigger idiot than I thought--please choose a link from the right column of this page or move on to one of my informative Editorial stories below if you can stomach them.
   Almost two score years ago, our fore runners, in order to form a more perfect roadster, establish speed records, and ensure domestic tranquility (even with the wifey doing

 
her thing), began replicating the A.C. Cobra.
   These first aboritions were known as "kits" and greatly tested the patience of many-a-snake-bitten soul.  A few of these poor souls succumbed to the pull of the Bradley GT, after being afflicted for years with snake fever and not having a decent kit to build.  But others continued in their pursuit of a more perfect union of technology and period correctness.   
 

              The good, the bad and the ugly TRUTH --useful info!


   Since then a lot has changed...and you'll find out what if you move on to the links on the right side of this page.
   BE WARNED, however, for before your fever breaks, you may be led astray.  Some folks think they know what they're talking about in these circles but you'll soon see that those with the largest mouths don't necessarily know it all. 
   You're still reading this nonsensical stuff--please move on to the links section in the right column of this page or delight yourself with one of my many superb stories below if your patience is equal to your bravado.
   Peace be with you in your pursuit of the snake!

Dream Garage must be reality, wife says "No Cobra till garage is built!"
Cobraphile creates custom quarters quick!

     Oh whoa is me--Gotta drop thousands before I get mine.  :-( 

     Please help me out, if you can.  What alterations do I need to make to my plans before I contact Benny the banker to begin this bugger? 

Click here to see my garage plans

     Steel or stick construction?  I have contacted a few steel building manufacturers and it appears that a steel building customized to match my house will cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 for the building.  Is there any advantage between steel or wood construction?  I've got 12' ceilings for two stacking service lifts on the lower level.  Comments or suggestions?

     Notice the Cobra stripes, I mean the dual translucent fiberglass exterior wall sections that allow light to come into the shop!  *I knew the wife would object to stripes up the doors--what a cool coincidence that the back of the garage appears to have Cobra stripes!


B&B Manufacturing Gets New Web Site!
Beefed-up web presence reflects hearty B&B products
Do visitors to your web site ask, "Where's the Beef?!"


Author Commentary, Dec 1, 2005

     Here it is--the dramatic unveiling of B&B Manufacturing's new web site at www.BandBroadster.com!  See for yourself what a professionally-designed web site can do for your business.  B&B's robust '66 Roadster and classically-American '34 Coupe hotrods are now stunningly showcased on a web site designed specifically for sense appeal (Feel the Thunder!) as well as cents appeal (check out the new BuildSheets!) --and that's the census at Club Cobra!
     Speak with Bryan Anderson at B&B Manufacturing and tell him what you think about his new web site--and what you'd like to see there in the future!
     What does your business's web presence project about its products, customer service and your overall success?  Does your web site need an overhaul? 
     You can have the web site your business needs for success in today's competitive and changing environment. 

It's time to get on the web.
Better doesn't have to mean more expensive.


*Old news: Changed my mind again but this is still good info
Manufacturer Chosen, Funding Underway
Effective Sales Pitch Discovered, Wife Now Onboard!
B&B offers better deal/faster build than FFR Coupe!


Author Commentary, May 1, 2005

     There's nothing like an endless cycle of sweet-talking, sales pitches and arguments with the wife to make a man wish his new case of springtime snakebite would simply end his life altogether. 
     Nothing new under the sun. This has been the death of many-a-snake-bitten mans' 'obsessionRay Agen's B&B '66 Roadster' since the mid 60's.
     But there is a way to sell the wife--yes.  Oh, yes.  And I've discovered it.  It's now time to put my plan into action... 
     Until recently, I had decided on the FFR Type 65 Coupe as my first...er... 'investment'.  But what the wifey had called 'obsessive' dreaming has now met with the reality of my new plan. It now appears that I'll be driving B&B's top-of-the-line '66 Roadster much sooner instead.
     Actually, several factors influenced the change from the FFR Coupe to the B&B Roadster build; not least of which was the final projected price tag.  But my decision to go with B&B wasn't entirely based on the greenback.
     The top five factors were completion time, B&B's use of ALL new parts, build quality/appraisal dollar value (explained further in the sidebar below), manufacturer location, and finally the almighty dollar.  For well under $30,000 I'll wind up with a partially factory-built B&B roadster much sooner than I would the FFR coupe. 
     After touring B&B Manufacturing's facility in Granby, Missouri, last year, it immediately became evident to me that B&B factory paint was clearly something to plan for--they simply do great paint.  No M. Robert's B&B '66 Roadstermore poor paint quality fears for me!  This was a great relief since I'm the kind of guy who lays awake in bed at night worrying about what to do if I discover a blemish in the completed paint job. And in order to deliver a painted body, they must, of course, cut all holes in the body, fit the hood, doors and trunk to have the gaps correct, and mount the roll bar.  The body then comes back off and gets mounted on a paint cart for more body work, paint, sanding and buffing.
     Meanwhile, in order to physically deliver a painted vehicle, the 9" rear end, tubular front end, 11" disk brakes, coil-over shocks, steering, lights, windshield, and brake lines must be installed.  For safety reasons, as well as convenience, B&B's owner, Bryan Anderson, says it's wise to have him install and wire the power train, as well, before the body goes back on.  Junk wheels and tires will allow it to be pushed onto a car trailer for the two-hour trip home if I haven't gotten my wheels and tires by then. 
     B&B's Stage III Deluxe package provides everything else to finish the vehicle such as headers, side pipes, radiator, latches, all of the interior parts, wiper assembly, La Mans gas cap, molding, etc., for $19,395.  Paint costs an additional $4,200.  Left to purchase are wheels and tires, the drive shaft, hoses and battery.
     As I said, this roadster build is now finally a reality because of my new, creative approach to the wife. We've all tried the, "but it's an investment, Honey!" argument, but if we're honest, our investment plan probably always had holes in it because it was always apparent that it was, indeed, merely a feeble attempt to con the wife into a Cobra...until now.  Read the sidebar below and pay attention, boys...

  FREE Cobra!

    In order to supplement my Army retirement check, the wife and I have begun collecting rental homes.  We currently have three--one more and we can trade them in for a hotel! 
     In a nutshell, we intend to use every penny of equity we have to purchase rental homes as fast as comfortably possible.  So, instead of saving thousands to put down on each house, I'm buying a Cobra and putting as much extra cash into paying it off as I possibly can.
     If the finished Cobra appraises for $35,000, and I have paid $5000 toward a $25,000 car note, as an example, I wind up with an instant $15,000 in equity!  My bank will allow me to use every penny of the vehicle's equity in place of money down on the purchase of more rental homes.  Each rental is simply financed on its full sale price--and pays for itself in 20 years. 
     After insurance, repairs and taxes on each home, I still always make money each month on each home.  The car I'm left with is a bonus!  I could watch thousands seemingly go away in the form of rental down payments, but if each home is going to pay itself off in 20 years, and I don't need them paid off before then, where's the fun in that?! 
     Instead, that money goes toward paying off the roadster and continually makes more equity available for the purchase of more homes, which in turn pay for themselves.  This is a no-brainer that even the wife couldn't dispute!  Instead of saving thousands to put down on the purchase of these rental homes, I get the same result and have a roadster to boot! 
     *For the skeptics, yes, this does work.  I have an '84 Corvette in the garage right now that I used to purchase two of my rental homes this way last year.  What a racket--I need a bigger garage! 
Restoration Parts
 
 

 


 '84 Cross-fire Injection, 4th generation Corvette.


The Corvette's 4th generation began in '84.
The '84 is also the only 4th generation Corvette with Cross-fire Injection (thank God!).


Me, my post restoration junker, and pre-Army retirement goatee!


Corvette forum, parts and facts



*Old news: below is my pre- B&B decision FFR story...
Phase #1: Fund Building: School of Hard Knocks
Daytona Coupe build officially underway...almost!

     You just can't beat free training coupled with a healthy kit discount. Thanks to the Montgomery GI Bill and Factory Five's kit discount, I'm now several car lengths ahead toward completion--and I haven't even ordered the kit yet!
     The Mott Community College build school in Howell, MI, costs $699, and that, coincidently, happens to be how much the Montgomery GI Bill will pay me to attend.
Travel, hotel bill and food should cost around $400. I, like many others across the country, plan to make the trek to "The Winter Wonderland" later this year--hopefully after the motto no longer reflects the state's actual...state.  
     "With a focus on all aspects of the build, from donor car disassembly to final paint, the instructors at Mott share their multi-faceted automotive experiences while tailoring the seminar to the skills and background of each individual student," according to the Factory Five's web site.
     The school teaches students to organize and manage the process of constructing a replica kit car by actually assembling a car in three days! Students learn automotive concepts and theories such as steering and suspension systems; actual chassis wiring layout, including vehicle instrumentation and lighting; brake systems design and layout; actual fiberglass body finish and paint preparation processes; and safe shop practices.
     With the $500 Factory Five kit discount for build school attendance, after my travel and related expenses, I look at this as actually making $100! The build school is free for me, paid for by the Montgomery GI Bill. I'm now closer to finishing something I haven't even started.
 



Complete Rolling Chassis or Build-Your-Own

Today's forecast calls for continued research and a flurry of email!


Author Commentary, Feb 13, 2005

     Blazing sunlight crisscrossed the hood as we thundered through twisting, rolling Ozark elevation changes toward a growing grey horizon.  The scent of spring rain evoked a growing sense of imminent soaking ahead but my senses were already drenched in raw horsepower and g-forces.  Then it began to fall--her stinging words rained down on me like an unstoppable torrent, "Honey, don't you think we ought to turn around--there's rain "Cobray" C3 Kit car by Cobras N Vettesahead."
     For once in my life I was a step ahead.  I'd done my research.  I knew what was coming. 
     Confident in my decision, we rocketed around an inclining bend toward apparent disaster...and my mind began to wonder.  I thought about how my research into Cobra kits had saved thousands on paper...and that some guys never do enough research before they buy.  They see what appear to be clear answers about who makes the best pre-assembled rolling chassis for the money and wind up assuming that lesser-priced kits aren't well engineered.
     Build your own or buy a rolling chassis?  Just how much can you save if you build your own?  Who makes the best rolling chassis for the money?  A week or so on a couple of forums, coupled with listening too much to the guy at work with his brand new, shiny-blue Cobra replica can spell disaster.
     I compared four manufacturers whose products caught my eye recently.  First, let me say that I've never seen a Superformance roadster in the flesh...but I HAVE been invited to fly ON THEIR DIME to Dynamic MotorSports, the Superformance dealer in Ohio, to view their product after a particularly flattering and lengthy post I made about a friend's Backdraft at
Club Cobra.
There's nothing more I'd rather do than spend the weekend drooling all over beautiful SPF vehicles...it's just this pesky job I've got--and my family time--that keeps getting in the way.  
     After the Run and Gun in Saint Louis this year I'll have some solid experience to stand on, but until then let's just assume what we've all read, and what most have seen first-hand: Superformance Cobra replicas are top-notch vehicles, up there with the exclusive 3 or 4 in quality and functionality...that the working man really can't afford. 
     Let's also assume that quality and craftsmanship are identically top-notch, or at least close, between Backdraft and Superformance Rolling chassis.  I've seen and drooled over the Backdraft in person, and it truly was a clean work of art...except for the spittle I left all over it.  So, how much more perfect, how much more beautiful can the Superformance roadster be compared to the Backdraft?

Superformance: $36,900.00
Backdraft: $28,900.00

     Can you say, "$8,000 more beautiful"?
     Armed only with that information, I'd have to say that the winds would have me headed directly toward the Backdraft.  Why would anyone spend $8000 more for the Superformance vehicle if the Backdraft is just as nice?  For the name?!
     How about because Superformance uses all new parts. The Backdraft has a used BMW rear end. So knock off a couple hundred bucks--the Backdraft is STILL far-and-away the best deal, right
Backdraft?
     Both vehicles are "race-proven"...whatever that really means.  Bubba's home-made, cobbled-together Cobra can enter and drive in a race!  Then he can trailer his cobbled Cobra home for some additional Bubba engineering. Yes, race-proven vehicles obviously wind up more refined as time goes by--but lots of Cobra replica manufacturers race their vehicles.
     Both come standard with IRS, wind wings, sun visors, and wipers/washers. Many unassembled, build-it-yourself kits don't come with these standard.  No leather, LOTS of used parts, dozens of major headaches and gallons of sweat along the way are to be expected with all base-priced unassembled kits. Imagine trying to remove a COMPLETE wiring harness from an old, beat-up Mustang. Not my idea of a fun-filled afternoon. Then, of course, you have to use that spaghetti mess in the brand NEW kit you may now be regretting you ever purchased.  Soon, the new replacement parts you begin opting for over the used ones really start adding up!  Wait--we're talking about pre-assembled replicas, not kits right now.  You can't really save that much dough building a kit anyway, right?
     The Superformance vehicle comes with a lot of other good stuff too: black soft top & side curtains, black tonneau cover, leather seats, and lots of proprietary engineering, to name some big ones. But are these worth $8000 more to me? 
     If you're asking yourself some of these question too, it's time to start a new spreadsheet and begin comparing the price of the exact vehicle you want with the exact extras you want on it, as built by each of your preferred manufacturers. *While you're at it, start another column for an unassembled roadster kit from Factory Five with independent rear suspension (for comparability sake), and don't forget to add-in the other new parts that come standard in the Superformance and Backdraft packages.  And start a final column for the
Cobras N Vettes
C3/C4 "Cobray" kit--just for good measure.  Stop freaking out--this is just a simple comparison study--and it's MY editorial!
     No, sorry, you can't figure-in the cost of your labor to build the FFR or the CnV kits--that's pure enjoyment anyway, right?  But don't forget to add about $3000-$5000 for great paint unless you enjoy doing that yourself too.
     I've already completed my spreadsheet for my four preferred competitors.  My elusive Cobra replica will cost $25,707 for the Factory Five roadster of my dreams--almost as much as the base-priced
"Cobray" C3 Kit car by Cobras N VettesBackdraft--and I still have to build the FFR!  No soft top with the Backdraft or FFR, either, but I did figure in tonneau covers.  The Backdraft with my extras is $30,195. The basic, nicely-equipped Superformance vehicle costs $36,000.  Don't forget to add in about $10,000 for your favorite small block/transmission package--stay away from those big blocks--they're much too heavy, brother!
     But the thing that really bothers me in all this is that NONE of these manufacturers claims to offer an exact replica. In fact, they all clearly state that they're giving us "period" looks coupled with today's technology to one degree or another.  Even Shelby doesn't offer an exact replica!  Why?  Lots of reasons--and they all boil down to performance.  *Notice also that I didn't even think about comparing Shelby's Cobra "replica" here.  It's perfection is even more expensive than Superformance.  Of course, you DO get 'the name'!
     So, where does all of this leave me?   I'm glad you asked!
     As a working man, my spreadsheet drove my decision making.  TOTAL expected dollars spent should be about $15,000 for a complete Cobras N Vettes kit, including the paint and power train, but minus the tonneau cover and soft top.
     Yes, OF COURSE there's a catch!  I've already got the complete IRS and front suspension systems, power steering, frame, tires, brake system, and cooling system...but you could go out and get
the best handling Corvette ever made (the '84 Z51 Corvette) too for under $3000 these days!  The CnV Corvette C3/C4 kits are made to use any 3rd or 4th generation Corvette chassis you like.  The finished vehicle would handle WAY better than any other cobra "replica" on the market due to its extended 96" (C4) or 98" (C3) wheelbase, according to Cobras N Vettes owner, Jeffrey A. Classic.  Shoot him some email and read the specs.  More research!
     Now, to be fair, the extended wheelbase and width of the CnV kits provoke nothing short of nausea in true Cobra hard-cores.  But CnV's new C4 'Cobray' kit has a 96.2" wheelbase like many other more well-known and accepted Ford-based replica manufacturers.  And if you've done your research you know that this longer wheelbase and a proven, complete Corvette chassis system will perform circles around every other 90" Cobra replica around.  Yes, that's a bold statement. Yes, it's correct. Hands down. Don't take my word for it--check them out at Knotts Berry Farm this year.
     But it doesn't look like a Cobra--it's too big, you say. Check out the JBL and FFR kits--what's up with the different back ends--they don't look 'correct' either!  But what is 'correct'? 
     Isn't eveSuperformancery original CSX roadster different, flavored to each owners' particular taste? Just where do we draw the line?
     If we're going to start changing things from the 'correct' original vehicle--the one that no one really wants to duplicate exactly--and that doesn't really have an exact base from which to duplicate anyway--I say lets do it right!  Heck--I like JBL's "Butcher"--and when I look at it I see a cool Cobra hot rod. I say we draw the line there. If the vehicle is a cool-looking hot rod that's obviously intended to be a Cobra replica, what's wrong with that? Lets do it right--you CAN have it both ways...just stay out of the snake pit with your Chevy if you know what's good for ya! 
     If you can stomach it, do your research and check out CnV's anti-asp C3 and C4 kits. Your further research just may show the CnV Cobray as the vehicle more along the lines of what Shelby first envisioned as "the plan" for turning out his production roadster. You see, Shelby wound up with a Ford power train, but he first intended the British A.C. roadster to have the "Heartbeat of America".  Shelby first approached Chevrolet for a Corvette engine to power his dream Cobra roadster!  I guess the winners really do write the History books--I've never seen that juicy tidbit in any Ford-oriented publication!
     But don't worry, Ford fanatics--you can still order the CnV kit with Ford motor mounts...but why?!  Don't you keep complaining about Cobra replicas not winding up like Shelby originally intended?! 
     Research reveals much. It kept the wife and I dry through the twisting Ozark hills that day in our '84 Corvette (with the top off!)! You see, I knew the storm was moving in the other direction and that the road ahead would turn before we'd get drenched!
     If further research could only help me avoid the wife's incessant deluge of whining. Hmmm...maybe she's really a Ford-lover at heart--she hates my Vette! 

     *The preceding light-hearted humor was not intended to offend.  Extreme brand loyalty can be dangerous!  If you're offended, please accept my apology and lighten up!  Come on, honey--I was just joking!