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Thread: Cobra History - Real and Replica

  1. #41
    hawk289 is offline Mechanic
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Steve,

    Excellent another early Aceca, you can tell the early Aceca's they have a square corner for the front windscreen, so this is a pre-1956/57. Also it is one like mine, a rare RHD old style. They are great cars, so simple to work on. Yep three straight sixes to pickup. The problem is cost and power, the following may be of interest

    1) Ac Straight Six (old BMW Zeppelin engine) long stroke, not much power. The most I have every heard of is 110BHP.

    2) Bristol Straight Six; great engine very hard to work on, costs a lot. The cost for a non-cracked engine can be between £12,000-18,000 today. Very rare engine, my Ace had a Bristol, but the risk to brake during racing the next was the best choice. Max power would be around 177BHP for this engine, when you think it is a 50's engine and a 2lt excellent power. Also the engine has low torque and nearly makes the Ace 50/50 in weight distribution.

    3) Ford Zephyr; now the heavy engine, except when you have a ruddspeed conversion and play with the engine (cosworth pistons), mays head and 45's Webers. Well the power is amazing. My Ac Aceca has a Zephyr with cast heads, triple Reces Fish produces around 180 BHP at about 5,000RPM. The Ace that I plan to race next year has a very special engine, which is a Race Mays Head, gasflow, large values, one-off concrods, crank, etc. With triple 45's we would be expecting at 5,500 RPM around 235-245BHP at the flywheel which is just so much power in a car that ways less than 900Kilo's.

    So my choice was decided based on cost and power, option 1 and 2 would be great but big money, option 3 cheaper (until the last few years, Zephyr parts are getting rare). Anyway, I count myself luck to have two lovely cars (well when finished). Anyway back to the garage, yep when finished will bring to one of the Cobra events.

    John.

    Ps, I have attached two pictures that show my body and chassis before restoration. I was not expecting them to cut through the body, that is why you only allow the guys who worked on them in the old days restore.

  2. #42
    runt's Avatar
    runt is offline Chief Engineer
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    John, incredible the potential in that Z - Car engine.. lucky my old Consul 375 didn't have one fitted; dodgy vacuum wipers/steering would have made things..exciting?
    The Aceca chassis looks pretty good BEFORE resto.. lube from engine!:thumb:
    Must be very inspiring bringing a classic back to original condition, great stuff.
    BTW, moderators appologies for digressing from thread but hope all are agreed, fascinating car.

    Paul/runt.
    DB REPLICAS DAX number 106 in
    'John Woolfe Black' . . SOLD.
    New alluminum DB 427S/C number 002 ordered

  3. #43
    Purple AK's Avatar
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Where is the digression? Cobra History as far as I can see And a VERY fortunate John :thumb:
    Chris
    AK427 351Cleveland T5WC

  4. #44
    runt's Avatar
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Quote Originally Posted by Purple AK
    Where is the digression? Cobra History as far as I can see And a VERY fortunate John :thumb:
    Nice one Chris :thumb: Yep, makes you rethink your dream stable (should 6 numbers come up)!

    Paul/runt.
    DB REPLICAS DAX number 106 in
    'John Woolfe Black' . . SOLD.
    New alluminum DB 427S/C number 002 ordered

  5. #45
    runt's Avatar
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Lovingly studying a large full-colour shot of GTM700F, the 427s/c of the late John Woolf, now resident at Beauliu, struck me how the screen is raked back at quite an angle compared to many replicas?
    This was his racer, has a large filler cap on offside front wing dry sump system?
    Is this an actual race 427, or s/c? Any info much appreciated.:thumb:

    Paul/runt.
    DB REPLICAS DAX number 106 in
    'John Woolfe Black' . . SOLD.
    New alluminum DB 427S/C number 002 ordered

  6. #46
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    It's a pity that an otherwise seemingly informative article can be spoilt by the careless inclusion of vague or even totally incorrect statements in the absence of the contributor's knowledge of events as they actually were.

    To the reader who knows the facts, it could bring the credibilty of the rest of the article into question. Hopefully, the Obscenely Huge Member won't be offended by this Small Member's (Little Prick's?) differing recollection of events, which are based on the fact that I was there and involved, whilst the writer at that time was aged about 16 and definitely not there.

    I refer to Rich's "Viper Story - The Most Contravertial (Controversial) Cobra".

    Based on what or whose information was the Brightwheel Viper (Sheldonhurst "Cobra") deemed "difficult to build" I wonder? We (Sheldonhurst) did not supply a build manual to customers, instead, as all major components could be taken from a single donor car, we simply advised our customers to use a Granada workshop manual. To back this up, most customers took a few photos at the factory and scribbled a few notes. Modified items that may well have posed problems to the home builder, such as the shortened prop-shaft*, steering column* and made to measure handbrake cables were supplied with the kits. (*on an exchange basis).

    Those wanting to use the Smiths intrument pack, including factory-calibrated speedo, were also supplied with a complete professionally-produced wiring loom. Custom built exhaust headers (with or without "sidewinders") were an option. We advised how to modify a Mini heater, if required, and which gearing to use in the windscreen wiper wheelboxes - these items when requested could also be supplied by us. Other than that, "... if you hit a snag, pick up the phone...". I only ONCE needed to go out to lend a hand to a customer.

    How is "difficult to build" defined? It's a subjective topic to say the least. I s'pose you could lie a set of step-ladders down, screw a wheel on each corner and say, "There, that was easy enuff. Give us a hand wiv the body, will ya?". I HAVE seen more than one chassis that wasn't much better than that - including suspension components bolted directly to fibre-glass! Maybe easy to build, but would you want to drive it?.

    Then again, a kit COULD consist of everything down to the last washer, with a full set of step by step instructions with photos, but if the builder's toolkit comprises of a set of rusty Whitworth spanners, (the biggest of which is a bit less rusty than the others 'cos that's the one that usually gets used as a substitute hammer) he's gonna struggle.

    We took great pleasure from the fact that customers who had no connection to the motor trade would repeatedly and proudly turn up at Kit Car Shows to show off the fruits of their labours. It was probably not the EASIEST car to build, but it was a PROPER, safe car, testimony to which was John Eales (J.E. Motors, Coventry) race car, which after a 150+mph crash required only the replacement of a front wheel, one front chassis leg, a front body quarter and a sacked driver!

    Next. "Ripped off" is a term that I guess could be pretty accurately applied to EVERY "Cobra" kit out there. However, (Fact #1) although Sheldonhurst weren't at the top of the "family tree", the lineage can be pretty accurately traced back to the Arntz shells that Beachcomber (who I was a partner to at Sheldonhurst) imported from the States back in the 70s, so I could tongue in cheek claim that the Sheldonhurst was a rip-off of the first rip-off to enter the U.K.!

    In any event, (Fact #2, and here's where I may not be 100% accurate - but I'm sure that Beachcomber will correct any minor historical discrepancies). At the instigation of Beachcomber, Sheldonhurst were in discussions with DJ Sports Cars in late '83 - early '84 for the supply of shells for Porsche Speedsters and Mongoose Track T Roadsters, both from our moulds, and Cobra bodies from theirs. (DJ Sports Cars were soon to evolve into Dax, headed by Brian Johns, and LR Roadsters (Ram) with Adrian Cocking at the helm.

    It was Adrian who continued to supply us with the aforementioned bodies until, with his full knowledge and co-operation, we could set up our own body production in Birmingham.

    Prior to this happening however, as is widely acknowledged, we wanted to modify (and at last make symetrical) the Cobra wheelarches so that they would comply with U.K. Vehicle Regs. and more importantly, being our largest customer base via MöhrSport, those of German T.U.V. in order that the standard Granada wheel track with chosen wheels and tyres could legally be used. Whilst we were at it, getting rid of the original (Arntz) imperfections would take place.

    This is the bit where the casual use of the term "ripped off" got up my nose. (Fact #3) I spent a couple of lengthy sessions at LR Roadsters (Ram, if you like) premises using my hard-earned pattern-making skills to complete the desired alterations. This took place under the watchful and sometimes quizzical eye of it's proprietor, Adrian Cocking. I might add that at no time whilst I was there did I get the faintest impression from him that he might have felt he was being ripped off - even though he was supplying all the tea, sugar and milk!

    Finally, (I DO go on when I get going, don't I) I don't know what became of Brightwheel's chassis jigs or body moulds, which I can only assume were both produced using the Sheldonhurst body and chassis as patterns, but I know EXACTLY where the Sheldonhurst ones are, including an "insurance" body laid up in the mould for it's protection, but that's a whole 'nuther story...

    So, here endeth my little re-alignment of history (subject of course to any further tweeks deemed necessary by Beachcomber).

    Regards to all,
    The Original Painterman

  7. #47
    dingocooke's Avatar
    dingocooke is offline Driving God
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    I think you only have to take a look at the Viper forum on here

    http://www.cobraclub.com/forum/original-cobras/

    to realise that they are not an easy car to build.
    Define easy in this context? Compared to other kits depicting the same car.

    I dont want to get embroiled in a debate about a car I know very little about, but I think even the staunchest of Viper builders would agree its a car that challenges the builder in a way that a GD, DAX, Pilgrim etc would not.

    Funny article though, hey and why the 'original' tag; is somebody building replicas?

    Have a nice evening..

    Steve
    Regards Steve

  8. #48
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Hi Steve. (I still don't really know how these forum thingies work... am I addressing an individual? A group? Or am I just talking to myself?).

    Anyway, responding to what I've just read. No, I couldn't be bothered to get embroiled in a deeper debate myself. Truth be known, spotting what I perceived as one or two historical inaccuracies presented me with an opportunity to add a few of my own memories from, and of my involvement in what has become a motoring enigma that shows no signs of abating any time soon, i.e., the Cobra/Cobra replica movement - plus I've now got something in print that I can refer back to if and when my memory starts fallin' apart.....

    Had to chuckle at the "replica" reference to my Orginal Painterman handle as it's not too wide of the mark. Back in the late 70s ('bout the same time as the Arntz bodies were imported) Beachcomber started "importing" AM CB rigs - there might have even been one or two in the Arntz packing cases! (There you go, I've just started a new urban myth). I became the proud owner of one of the first 5 to hit Brum. As I was a car sprayer and into customizing back then, I chose the handle "Painterman".

    As more and more CB users came "on air", inevitably so did more and more (replica) Paintermen, but around here for certain, I was always The Original Painterman.

    I did also make three attempts at breeding replica Paintermen, but sadly at around the age of 14 or 15 they morphed into replica Kevins - the Harry Enfield variety I regret to add.

    All the best, Vic, The One & Only Original Painterman

  9. #49
    tonym's Avatar
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Ah, CB radios.......the late '70s...............that takes me back.............(sigh) life was so much simpler then
    BIG TONE


    AK Cobra 383 Stroker with ITB'S and EFI. There are some people who think poor spelling and grammar have a place in a Cobra forum.


  10. #50
    dingocooke's Avatar
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Hi Vic,
    Nice story, especially about your handle, made me laugh!!

    I also had a CB radio in '79, and by all accounts people are still using am CB (maybe luddites??)

    I think CB radio was the realisation of many boyhood fantasies of having a proper 'walkie talkie' that worked over a distance; I can remeber dx'ing as we called it with a guy in Farnce at least three times, never did get how d'xing worked mind!

    Of course now the walkie talkie has truly arrived big time thanks to the likes of nokia and motorola, but i think Ive tstrayed way off topic so Ill conclude!!

    Never seen a CB in a cob tho......
    Regards Steve

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