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ea_sport
ea_sport Reader
7/16/21 2:08 p.m.

Hi all, I know I posted my question about comparing C6 Z06 and C7 Z51 but today my wife and I saw a Shelby Cobra (presumably either Factory Five or Superformance) on the road and she asked why I don't get one of those instead. Well, I actually have been thinking/considering the Shelby Cobra (replica/kit car) and since my wife encouraged me to get one I am obligated to at least investigate my options.

I don't know much about it and there isn't a lot of discussions on this forum about this so I was wondering if anyone can help me answer the following questions:

1. What is a good source of information to do more research around the Shelby Cobra replica/kit car?

2. What to look for when looking at one of these? presumably it'll depend on who build it but I was wondering if there is any specific areas that can show the quality of the build

3. How are these kit cars to drive on the track and for autocross? Does it depend on the donor car, suspension set up, which engine used, etc.?

4. If you have around $45K would you get a Shelby Cobra Factory Five or Superformance, well built C6 Z06 or a C7 Z51?

5. How is their resale value?  

6. What do I need to know when looking at/considering one of these Shelby Cobra replica/kit car?

Thanks guys.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
7/16/21 2:12 p.m.

You can buy one hell of a complete FFR or Backdraft for 45K built and ready to go. Which is how I would do it. 

 

FFRowners club is a good place to start, they have just about everything you could ever want to know condensed into a single place. 

 

Resale value when you buy it second hand from the first owner is where you save the most cash. After that they hold value amazingly. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/16/21 3:12 p.m.

It's the most common kit car in the US by far. They can be built to almost any level of performance and capability.

Fundamentally, they are based on a very old car so they won't perform like a Z06. But they look and sound awesome doing it. Take weather protection into account, because Cobras don't really have any.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/16/21 3:55 p.m.

I would definitely buy a well-put-together finished one unless you want a real project.

Friends who have run a race shop for more than 40 years, and who used to be a Caterham dealer (ie final assembler), are building a Daytona Coupe from the FFR kit.  Although it is indeed a solid kit, It's taking an astounding quantity of massaging to get it together nicely.

 

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
7/16/21 4:15 p.m.

The Daytona Coupe kit is the direction I would go.  A little bit rarer than the Cobra, and a roof and being able to use A/C has it’s advantages.  Of course, for as little as you plan to drive, the Cobra would probably be fine.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
7/16/21 4:42 p.m.

There are 3 backdraft ones on hemmings right now, at $46k. Pick a color and be done with it. Backdraft ones are very nice, well built, and hold value pretty well

BrewCity20
BrewCity20 New Reader
7/16/21 5:41 p.m.
ea_sport said:

Hi all, I know I posted my question about comparing C6 Z06 and C7 Z51 but today my wife and I saw a Shelby Cobra (presumably either Factory Five or Superformance) on the road and she asked why I don't get one of those instead. Well, I actually have been thinking/considering the Shelby Cobra (replica/kit car) and since my wife encouraged me to get one I am obligated to at least investigate my options.

I don't know much about it and there isn't a lot of discussions on this forum about this so I was wondering if anyone can help me answer the following questions:

1. What is a good source of information to do more research around the Shelby Cobra replica/kit car?

2. What to look for when looking at one of these? presumably it'll depend on who build it but I was wondering if there is any specific areas that can show the quality of the build

3. How are these kit cars to drive on the track and for autocross? Does it depend on the donor car, suspension set up, which engine used, etc.?

4. If you have around $45K would you get a Shelby Cobra Factory Five or Superformance, well built C6 Z06 or a C7 Z51?

5. How is their resale value?  

6. What do I need to know when looking at/considering one of these Shelby Cobra replica/kit car?

Thanks guys.

I'm in the process of building a Factory Five MKIV roadster - so take my comments with a bit of bias.

1) TheFactoryFiveForum.com and FFcars.com are invaluable when it comes to information on these things. There is a great community there, build threads if you are trying to determine what is involved in a build, and the like.  You can basically find an answer to any question there.

2) If you are looking at a Superformance or Backdraft the build quality is kind of a wash as they are all built in-house. If you are looking to purchase a pre-built Factory Five (or another one of the kit companies) there is more variance as you are reliant on the guy who built it so quality can vary drastically. 

3) Good question - I'm actually building my Cobra for track duty (IRS, 427W engine, Tremec 5-speed, Wilwood brakes with front/back bias adjustment, etc.). That said, the Factory Five suspension components are completely adjustable on all four corners and the chassis is track proven so you certainly have plenty of levers to mess with. General thing I've been told on what to look for (on the Factory five front) for a track build is IRS and a small-block (either Coyote or SBF).

4) This question is a bit too late for me - my decision was made - Cobra all the way! But it really depends what you want out of your car. Cobra certainly rougher around the edges than a Z06.

5) If you build you will likely not get your money out of it if you sell - that said good builds will go 50K-ish so its not like you will take a huge bath. How much you put into a build is also very specific to what you want to do. Plenty of ways to spend/save depending on your preferences. That said, if you are buying pre-built, from what I have seen they seem to hold their value pretty well. 

6) If pre-built - can't really go wrong with a Superformance or Backdraft. Gotta do your homework if you are buying something sombody else built. If building your own - FF has a great community so you'll never be stuck on an island by yourself it you have any issues and plenty of guys put their builds on the track.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry Dork
7/16/21 8:27 p.m.

The cobra is not the fastest around a track in that group but it is awesome looking and sounding.  Corvettes get attn too, but more negative than the cobra.  
 

I helped put together a superformance for a friend and it was awesome.  Fun to drive, but my c6z is as well. Feels like I'm driving a supercar.   You can get a well-built z for $30-45 that will shred the track. 
 

not as familiar with the c7.....   

 

if you want a cool car, the cobra might get the nod - especially being a convertible as you get to see and smile at more people.  You are much more hidden in the corvette.  For an introvert like myself, I enjoy my very capable cave. 

ea_sport
ea_sport Reader
7/16/21 8:44 p.m.
Steve_Jones said:

There are 3 backdraft ones on hemmings right now, at $46k. Pick a color and be done with it. Backdraft ones are very nice, well built, and hold value pretty well

Where did you see Backdraft for $46K? The cheapest Backdraft currently on Hemming is around $76K.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/16/21 9:39 p.m.

I think they look awesome.  Always have.  Used to drool over all the different Cobra kits available when reading Kit Car magazine as a kid in the 80s.

Then I drove one, a FF kit with a Ford 302 crate engine.

You have half a barely muffled V8 blatting at your left ear, you could probably touch the ground if you weren't worried about third degree burns on your wrist, and your view through the windshield is almost completely obscured by the reflection of the scuttle on the inside of the glass, because the scuttle is painted body color and just as shiny.  The whole experience went from "this is cool!" to tiring in about three blocks.

My takeaway?

 

I think they look awesome.

The cantilevered shifter feels right in a chunderheaded expedience sort of way.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
7/16/21 10:23 p.m.
ea_sport said:
Steve_Jones said:

There are 3 backdraft ones on hemmings right now, at $46k. Pick a color and be done with it. Backdraft ones are very nice, well built, and hold value pretty well

Where did you see Backdraft for $46K? The cheapest Backdraft currently on Hemming is around $76K.

It's DuPont not Hemmings. Don't know why I typed Hemmings. Digging deeper though, it looks like that's not complete, I just did a quick search earlier and didn't click deeper. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
7/16/21 11:10 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I've never driven one so what do I know, but all of your issues (and they're real, except for the touching the road part) seem pretty fixable.  Run the exhaust out the back with real mufflers and cats and it won't be loud.  It also won't burn your wrist when you touch the road (which you should do because why not).  Putting a semi-gloss black coating or paint down on the dash top should help a lot with the reflection issue.  A wind deflector, Mercedes convertible style, behind the passenger compartment run between rollbar hoops should make it a little less insane inside.  And a remote shifter seems like the correct fix for the goofball shifter setup.

I'm sure there's other issues and I dont' even want one of these things but it's all doable, right?

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
7/17/21 12:34 a.m.

I am not sure a Daytona is a step up.  I have seen a few at C&C and although they are very cool and air seems like an option they appear to give up a LOT of visibility compared to the open Cobra.  They seem like they would be a challenge in traffic.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/17/21 6:43 a.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

For the record, I actually liked the shifter smiley  Not sure how one would do a remote shifter, if you wanted a "traditional" shifter angle then you might be able to build a V8 T5 with a truck case so the shifter comes out a lot more forward.

Third hand knowledge, but I'd avoid Superformance.  I know someone (well, know OF him, now, it's been a couple decades...) who bought a Superformance with track time intent.  It was a very short time before the frame started cracking. When he contacted them, he was told in no uncertain terms, AFTER THE FACT, that Superformance replicas are not meant to be driven hard such as at track days or autocrosses.

IIRC he ended up trying one or two different track time toys before winding up in a Neon.  How's that for bizarre cross-shopping smiley

 

This is why I do have a lot of thumbs up to give for Factory Five.  They're not just cars to stick golf clubs in and look silly, like a Rolla Royce nosed VW Beetle.  They're ready, willing, and able to be properly driven on track.

BrewCity20
BrewCity20 New Reader
7/17/21 11:34 a.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

You can eliminate the strange shifter angle by using a mid-shift kit on a TKO. Many have done it and they look pretty nice. 

jv8
jv8 Reader
7/17/21 11:37 a.m.


I built a FFR cobra but then realized how much money and time is invested in that one piece body... I couldn't bring myself to track it.  I cringe at even a scratch.

So then I built a C5Z track rat which is great but not that special.

I'm now prepping an Exocet race chassis which has the raw fun without the expensive body.  I realized I'm not a show car person.

 

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
7/17/21 11:47 a.m.
jv8 said:


I built a FFR cobra but then realized how much money and time is invested in that one piece body... I couldn't bring myself to track it.  I cringe at even a scratch.

So then I built a C5Z track rat which is great but not that special.

I'm now prepping an Exocet race chassis which has the raw fun without the expensive body.  I realized I'm not a show car person.

 

This is why the FFR spec racer was made. I would beat the tar out of mine and scratches and cracks just kind of happened. Same reason I painted the 550 spyder the way I did. 

 

 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
7/17/21 2:27 p.m.

Have a friend who might be wanting to sell his well prepped supercharged ffr. I can put you in touch if you want. Located in Maryland.

 

Raced two cobras and puttered around a Daytona, all ffr. Good cars, very fast,but kinda in a treat it wrong and it will bite kind of way. I wouldn't put an inexperienced driver in one, but it's a fun fast challenge for an experienced driver. Also, not really a quiet or comfortable car. Weather protection is limited or nonexistent. My friends has a soft top and side curtains, so driving in rain he only gets a little wet. It's 1950's British car weather protection.

 

There's very little separating an ffr from a trans am car. Set it up right and you have brutal speed. Set it up poorly and you will have an uncomfortable pig that wants to kill you. Good engine or bad is another part of the recipe.

Cross shopping a Corvette, all the work is done for you and it's comfortable and weather tight. It's not a direct comparison. Do you like sorting your own car to make it work? How important is weather protection and comfort? Those dictate your answer.

jv8
jv8 Reader
7/17/21 2:49 p.m.

I really enjoyed the FFR build process but I ended up over-building a custom car made just for me that I didn't want to beat on.  It was fun though!

 

If I had to do FFR again I would buy a used spec racer like wearymicrobe posted.

 

I agree Corvettes are the easy button and provide weather protection.  But I have a Golf R for bad weather / daily driving... for the race car I want lots of drama even at 30 mph.

 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
7/17/21 3:40 p.m.

Sitting here in the puts at NCM thoroughly enjoying the smile this c7 Grand Sport is putting on my face each and every session. Want a 4 wheel drift, no problem. Turned in too late? Just press the go pedal a little harder. Vented brakes, cooled diff, dry sump, 315/335 NT01s fit, and all with a factory warranty. 

Absolutely incredible way to do driving events. 

No experience with kit cars but after 15 years trying to keep things running all weekend, this seems too good to be true. Was not a fan of the c5 driving experience but these c7s drive balanced as all hell.

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/17/21 8:28 p.m.

I'm a really big fan of the FFRs, I rode in one for about 6 hours one day (to the FFR Open House and back) with a standard 4 link suspension and found the ride to be very comfortable.

JohnLClark
JohnLClark New Reader
7/17/21 8:58 p.m.

I had an idea to just get the complete frame and just build a new body.  

Has anyone ever considered this idea, or done it?

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
7/18/21 9:04 a.m.

There are really too many variables.  Have you ever dealt with a high-horsepower/short wheelbase combo?  There may be a question of life insurance.

There's a story about the one Bill Cosby bought new that pretty much ends with him just saying no after one time behind the wheel . . .

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/18/21 10:21 a.m.

One of the things that can make the Cobra so much more special, is what makes my Super 7 so much fun - it's the "look at me" aspect.

Every trip I take in my 7, includes people recording me as they pass, or pictures taken of it in parking lots, or questions at gas stations "What is it? What's in it? How fast does it go? It this legal?"  I drove it 8 hours round-trip to an autocross event, and I kid you not - the trip there and back was as fun if not more fun than the event itself. It brings smiles to peoples faces seeing something different.

A 'Vette is just a 'Vette. It doesn't have the appeal of the Cobra, unless it's an OLD 'Vette.

The Covette is BY FAR the better car, but I'd bet the Cobra is a whole lot more fun, even just driven normally, to ice cream and back.

Why not get both?  Every vehicle has its purpose.

Trent
Trent PowerDork
7/18/21 11:23 a.m.

I have worked on and driven 3 Backdraft roadsters. All had the Roush 427 motor and were based on BMW suspension components.  Every time I am excited by the prospect of BMWesque handling in a gorgeous retro body with surplus power. Every time I am fatigued by the exhaust volume in less than 10 minutes and never get the chance to have any fun with them.  They make hooligans with unmuffled Harleys seem quiet and reserved.  The only things louder on the streets are lifted diesels. Kids with straight piped VQs bow before the king of annoyingly loud that is a "cobra"

Someone earlier mentioned running a quieter exhaust under the car. There is simply no room under there.

I have lost over 40% of my hearing to decades of work in industrial manufacturing,  I don't have enough left to sacrifice in the name of cars. If a car makes my ears ring I won't drive it, period.  

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