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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Christchurch, NZ

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    I bought a bodyshell off "Chuzzy", quite good as far as I can remember, and much cheaper than a Dax at the time. In the end I realised that it would be much easier to buy a body/chassis package so I sold it on and bought a RAM. I never saw the 'stainless steel' chassis, probably lucky, I might have been had in those days!

    Some of the UK replicas have quite assymetric wheel arches when viewed from the front, did that come from the Arntz copy?

    Myles D-W

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Very intresting reading and did you know they made 30 289 in automatic and 2 427 autos.wot about the gravetti or GE engineering dont they get a mention.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Perpignan, France.

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Shame Adrian Cocking could not us his initials to start the company!!!

  4. #14

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Really good article, some of the information reminds me when myself and my brother built our first Cobra (Pilgrim Sumo Mk1 4 or 5th Chassis). Talking to Den a few years ago, he felt it was one of the oldest around. I may have moved onto Slabside and FIA 289's, but I still have the Pilgrim in Gel goat looking a bit old now.

    Reference the Dragonsnake, I have some information that I will scan in when I get a chance. Some interesting pictures.


    Ps, Keep information coming, the replica Market has some great stories about Cobra's

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Well of course Adrian Cocking COULD have used his initials - but what would have been the point in alienating the "powers" any more at that particular time? During one of my meetings with CS negotiating the Shelby Endorsement of the RAM SC, we did in fact have a real laugh about that exact possibility - the irony was not lost on Shelby, as you may recall the "Shelby - AC wars" were still at their peak at that time. At one stage the French wanted to use the "AC" connection for the Bardahl series Race cars, but good sense prevailed and they were simply known as "Trophy" cars. One French company DID call their Cobra replica a "McLaren Cobra" after one of the partners' Mother's maiden name. A bit too tenuous, even for the French and it was soon renamed.


  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Walsall, Cultural Centre of the Universe

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Mention has been made of Gerry Hawkridge and his involvement with the BRA 427.
    BRA must have been fairly early in the UK market place with their 289. My kit was purchased in 1985 and is car no 56 (although I don't know if they started at 01). At the time (in 1985) I saw several completed cars that must have been a couple of years or so older.
    I have some old BRA owners newsletters at home, will look them out.
    David Large
    Bald Surfer with a BRA 289

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    In response to an earlier posting by Myles -D-W - YES, the original Steve Arnztcar had many "inexactitudes" - that subsequently appeared on replicas that "had been taken from a real car" [ of COURSE they had ].

    I put the original imported kits onto an alignment jig to take photos / obtain datums ready for "splashing" [ I'll own up, even if nobody else will ] - the chassis' [ ha. ha, joke ] we put one straight in the skip and sold the other on - quickly ]. Those with long emmories will no doubt recall the "Standard" replica at the time feature Jag IRS and MGB front - only the MGB rack survived the various incarnations [ to this day? ].

    I still have those original notes - ALL wheel arches were different proportions and different w/base left to right. The scuttle was 1.5" further back on the UK drivers' side, and the N/S [ uk ] headlamp plinth pointed at the ground some 3' in front of the car and the wing [fender ] on that side was 2" lower - in fact, it looked like the whole car was "lozenged" in the plan view, and then twisted in the verticle view. A likely result of the "original" being warped or if taken "from a real car" - it had been in one hell of an accident! That car WAS eventually used as a buck [ courtesy of Vic Rollings ] - moulded, and then the body chassis sold on to a guy in Birmingham [ 1978 ]. The other, as stated previously ended up in Harlow - or thereabouts - as did my original "Mongoose" Track T moulds. Hmmm. Check out the adverts of 1980/81 to see what was on offer and by whom?

    I also know EVERY inch of the Sheldonhurst cars - and of course all of their subsequent splashes, AND where all of the moulds ended up. Ahhh. Historical FACT - you can't knock it.

    Gerry's car was ALWAYS well respected amongst the trade [ even if a bit grudgingly by some ], and was ALWAYS acknowledged as being a very well executed car by a fine engineer - something else somewhat lacking in some "replicas".

  8. #18

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Well, it's a shame that this very entertaining discussion is dead. Any news or interesting ols tales?

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Romford, Essex

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Quote Originally Posted by MetaJacko
    Hi Robert,

    Interesting, although I don't have a 'fur-lined dashboard' :P

    This was in ST a while back wasn't it?

    Are you going to put this someware permanantly on the site?

    Hi Paul, I'm a newcomer to the Cobra world, although have admired them all from afar for 40 years, excuse my ignorance but have no knowledge of the Metaline car, can't find a website, any info would be appreciated,
    Thanks, Paul.
    DB REPLICAS DAX number 106 in
    'John Woolfe Black' . . SOLD.
    New alluminum DB 427S/C number 002 ordered

  10. #20

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Well, I suppose having stumbled across this very well put together site means that my "spare" time is going to diminish a bit more!

    Going back to the 70s, I was a mate of Beachcomber's, and worked at the bodyshop which was the "delivery address" where that first Cobra body landed. Incidentally, it was around that time that Beachcomber was also responsible for another "first". It resulted in a small select crowd of us owning the first 5 AM CB rigs to come into the Birmingham area, (long before the airwaves became legal and were taken over by ankle-snappers), hence the Beachcomber and Painterman "handles". But I digress...

    I was involved with Beachcomber and the late Bill Cook from the outset at Sheldonhurst, and can well recall us working on getting that Cobra body straight and the arches widened and symmetrical! It was the lack of symmetry that bugged me more than anything. As far as I was concerned, initially anyway, using the Granny running gear was a good excuse for tackling the body's wonkier aspects!

    It did make good sense though. As I'm sure Beachcomber would agree, back then, some of the "kits" that were available were virtually unbuildable without the builder having a degree in engineering, the patience of Job and a vivid imagination.

    In addition to Jurgen Mohr's T.U.V. requirement, (plus crash-testing required by our French agent, as I recall) we thought it might be a novel idea (he sez, carefully avoiding any puns like "breaking the mould") to at least take the afore-mentioned degree in engineering out of the equation. Like the donor vehicle or not, Ford spent more than a few bob developing it, and it was robust, plentiful in supply and easy to work on. If I remember correctly, apart from shortening the prop and steering column (which we used to supply on an exchange basis anyway), the only other change was built into the chassis. This enabled the otherwise unmodified suspension/engine cradle to be tilted back by a degree or so (can't remember exactly) which in turn altered the castor angle and resulted in quicker self-centering of the steering. Simple but effective.

    Naturally, the Granada engine could be ditched in favour of the small-block Ford or omnipresent Rover V8, which John Eales (J.E. Motors, Coventry) used in his light-weight race version to good effect.

    Of course, we used to get a fair bit of flack from the purists - many of whom were armchair critics who, because nobody was able to supply them with the "real thing" (well, not for the 500 quid they were prepared to spend) were never going to build one themselves anyway.

    We were criticized for fitting 3 windscreen wipers, which was done for the same reason that the E-Type Jag had 'em. Height to width ratio of the screen meant 2 wipers couldn't do the job. I wonder if journalists who road-tested the originals, or even owners ever commented on poor visibility in the rain? (I bet someone's going to now). Funnily enough, of any of the minor claims to fame that I might have made towards the production of that car, I clearly recall that sorting out the gearing of those wipers provided me with a disproportionate amount of satisfaction!

    Every so-called "Replica" kit out there was, and still is I guess, just someone's interpretation of a Giant from the past - and even they weren't flawless.

    There's one point I'd like to correct before I bring my ramblings to a close. Contrary to what I read elsewhere, Ken Cooke (Brightwheel) didn't take over Sheldonhurst upon it's demise. He was our Southern U.K. area agent who simply did what almost all of us had done to a greater or lesser degree. He replicated the Sheldonhurst "replica". I personally felt a bit miffed by this at the time, but in fairess, he had to take his opportunity - at least it meant that there would be some more examples of the fruits of my labour....

    Sheldonhurst was broken up at the death, but in case I get a little tickle on the Lottery, I know who now owns our original moulds and chassis jigs.... I never did get to build my own personal version and it would be a nice way to spend a little time.

    I'm now going to see whether I can attach a couple of piccies of the last car that Sheldonhurst built.

    Cheers, hope I didn't send you to sleep.

    PS, by the way Beachcomber, remember, no "g" in Rollins

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