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  1. #21
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    May 2004
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    STOKE ON TRENT, U.K.
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    What a brilliant thread this has turned out to be.
    Thanks for gracing us with your presence "Beachcomber" and "Original Painter Man".
    Keep the info coming, I'm buzzing on it all.
    ​Pro Cobra Builder
    DB427SC

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  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Chesterfield, Derbyshire
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    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Heres an article from the 'ATC' site:

    viper story


    The Most Contravertial Cobra



    The Viper marque was probably the most controversial, most talked about, difficult to build Cobra kits on the market. I think the storey begins in late 1984 moving into 1985 when Sheldonhurst a new company based in Birmingham launched their Ford Granada V6 based car.

    The Ram prototype appeared on Christmas day 1984 and took its body shape from Dax, latter on it appears the Ram body shape was ripped off and given wide front arches and the Sheldonhurst was born early 1985.

    The Brightwheel Viper was then born in 1985 (Granada based as before) out of the defunct Sheldonhurst Company. In 1986 a Jaguar based Viper was designed and brought onto the market. Brightwheel so I understand were originally agents for Sheldonhurst, then a company was registered Brightwheel Replicas Ltd. By 1986/7 not only Ford stopped every body using the name “Cobra” but the kit options re this mark were endless for the D.I.Y. enthusiast. A new investor (American venture capitalist) appeared in 1987 who at that time who insisted the company was called BRL Ltd, and all three companies were run by Ken Cook. The body shape remained the same except in this era a raised section behind the cockpit appeared following the hood shape when fitted, the idea was to keep the water from entering the cockpit, it was latter dropped. In 1989 the Cortina Viper 4 was added to the range and was an instant success. By the end of 1989 the original owner now manager (Ken Cook) was dissatisfied with the way the company was being run and resigned, shortly after that the company Brightwheel was closed down. Allegedly all assets, jigs and moulds disappeared to Switzerland.

    Once again as the story goes, the original owner Ken Cook moved to Switzerland in 1990 then to Germany had new jigs and moulds made and supplied the same kits as previously supplied by the now collapsed Brightwheel and appointed Cobretti who had been the original London agents to market the kit range. Allegedly this agreement was broken in 1991 when Cobretti copied the Jaguar based kit and used the trade name of Viper. This resulted in High Court action over copy right infringement and for a long period of time there were two Vipers on the market.

    Bob and Martin Busbridge started Cobretti Engineering in 1988 and as agents for Brightwheel they believed basically there was nothing wrong with the mark it was well engineered, nicely finished and worked well. When Brightwheel finally went bust in autumn 1989 Cobretti maintain they were owed monies and it was agreed they were given the trade right to the name Viper in lieu of monies owed to them from Brightwheel, Cobretti copying the Viper raised a few eyebrows at the time and even Ford made attempts to try and stop them using the name Cobretti as it sounded like Cobra which Ford owned the right to that name. Around 1990/1 Martin who had been disenchanted with things generally parted from Bob and left the company and by all accounts when walk-a-bout’s, the country at that time was is deep recession and nothing was selling let alone Cobras Kits. Bob Busbridge struggled on but the end was near and the SW London factory came to a close. After some period of time Busbridge picked himself up and began again at his home address workshop in Malden Surrey. Bob Busbridge is still trading today 2006 and as it transpired after several legal battles which also involve Chrysler is now the only one allowed to use & trade with the name Viper re Cobra Kits.

    Cobretti, Mark Philips and DMS (Dorset Motor Services) in the absents of Brightwheel were able to fill the gap in the market. These three companies all made copies of the Brightwheel product and the mechanical specifications were all to the Brightwheel specification which did not use Sierra parts. The Mark Phillips only made a couple of dozen kits and his version was Granada both ends. 1989 DMS/Classic Replicas this situation was a little complex. DMS had simply copied the Cortina version of the Brightwheel (Viper 4) calling it the Venom. In mid 1992 DMS was in new hands, a deal was done with the new owner Tony Barrass to market the Jaguar based Viper along with the Venom, which was re-named back to the Viper 4.The reputation of DMS was terrible with stories of chassis having to be cut in half and re-welded to straighten them! Tony Barrass disappeared off the scene never to be seen again. In January 1994 DMS was re-named Classic Replicas owned solely by none other than Ken Cook.

    Come 1996/97 it was impossible to sell Cortina based anything so Ken Cook of now Classic Replicas (again) set about improving all the range replacing the Cortina version with Sierra suspension with custom made wishbones. Even latter chassis had metal floors instead of fibreglass, space frame foot wells and transmission tunnel clad with steel. Accuracy to fit left a lot to be desired making it one of the most difficult kits to assemble, although possibly the strongest chassis still on the market today.

    Ken Cook retired around 1989/90 and moved to Spain, only to return some time latter with ill health. Before moving he sold the company to Caddini Sports in the Bournemouth area where Cook had previously been trading. It became apparent around this time that there were no jigs or moulds sold with the company just its name and good will. As far as I am aware Caddini never attempted to complete a kit, just finished off one only dissatisfied customer’s car.

    Subsequently Caddini sold the project to Adrian Percival which I believe was called Cheshire Kit Cars. Adrian did a lot of ground work asking questions with at leased a dozen Viper builders as to the build problems with the mark. His intentions were to bring the kit into the year 2000, updating it with the addition of a super light weight stainless steel chassis. It all sounded too good to be true relegation for all the adverse comments over the years.

    Sadly this did not come about, Adrian had delivery problems with chassis suppliers and one of his first customer got fed up with waiting demanding the release of his deposit. Also at this time 2003/4 Cobretti had won sole rights to the name Viper for there kits. Subsequently Adrian’s web site disappeared and one would assume the company was wrapped up.

    To conclude, I can tell you the Viper is one of the most difficult kits to build, I speak from personal experience; OK possibly not the ideal situation in terms of definition of the word “kit” but it is not one for the Lego builder! But when complete with the correct use of engineering expertise and you like the style it is a formidable contender for most kits on the market today.

    Thanks to Eric for this article.

    You know it makes sense
    rich.




    All Things Cobra.Com

    the cobra builders resource

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Romford, Essex
    Posts
    1,743

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Someone at work mentioned recently that during pre-production development, the Jag diff with inboard discs was tried at AC's factory. At risk of sounding anal, just wondered if this is correct?

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

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    20

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Hi there,

    The "someone at work" should simply do a little math - the original AC under prototype / pre-production was in the '50's - IRS from Jaguar was a decade later.

    Ergo - unless you are Jules Verne and have mastered the art of time travel, it's an impossibility.

    Check out "Shelby's Wildlife" for early develoment.
    beachcomber

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    PERTUIS,south-east VAUCLUSE,NEAR AIX-EN-PROVENCE (FRANCE)
    Posts
    268

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    I may be totaly wrong,but,from the few i know,the first proto of the cobra was born quite at the same time the IRS XKE was launched .So,why not a Jag diff on the first ac-cobra?(saying that in terms of period possibility,apart from any historic / technical aspect)
    U.C.R.V. 8 (Unidentified Cobra Replica V 8 )

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Staines Middlesex / Abu Dhabi
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,083

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Quote:
    South Africa has a strong market too, with CAV now producing Shelby’s cars and in Port Elizabeth a company called Hitech Automotive run by Jimmie Price who makes the Superformance replica and sends 35 cars per month to the USA where the car is sold less engine and gearbox and sells for the equivalent of £20,000. Price is a key figure on the world Cobra and general automotive scene now and half owns AC Cars and also manufactures the Noble M12 among other products. Another of his companies Glassport Motors is currently developing GT40 and GSM Delta replicas. Other significant South African players are Shamrock, Hayden Automotive and Performance Cars. Curiously nearly all the products end up being exported with the domestic market virtually non-existent.
    End quote:

    Robert,
    generally a good article but some minor items requiring clarification - I spent two years in South Africa (J'burg) and got involved in the Cobra Club whilst there.
    It is true that the majority of cars get exported - because the build quality is good and more interesting 'cheap' - but I would not say virtually non existant.
    Were you aware that the "Backdraft" advertised cars in USA are primarily built in South Africa ? It was a backdraft car that won the run and gun competition in 2004 driven by Tony Martin (who is a partner in Backdraft) Tony is another old name from Le-Mans racing days who a bit like our old Stirling Moss can still dices with the best of them.
    Most SA cars used to be produced around a Jag donor but since these were limited in numbers the prime donor is now an E36 or E46 BMW series car. As such its possible to get a BMW M3 donored car - handling of which makes the jag versions look pedestrian.
    The domestic market in SA is minimal but there are over 300 hundred active members of the Cobra club ZA ( Google search - CobraClub ZA) who regularily host "breakfast runs" and compete in drags and track days. The joys of a guaranteed sunny day - unlimited track access with open pits - around tracks such as Phakeesa (where the Moto Gp is held) and Swartkops all for around 30.00 pounds - yes THIRTY POUNDS - I departed before I was able to lap Kylami F1 track in anger - but I did get to 'parade' around a little faster than the stewards were happy about - all for free !!
    Currently having a BADaytona replica kit built in SA - but developed around an E46 M3 donor steering/brakes/suspension with Ford V8 stroker - expected later this year.

    All the best
    Chris
    Chris Lutman -427SC Coupe / MG Tojeiro "LOY" replica

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
    Posts
    1,341

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Quote Originally Posted by runt
    Someone at work mentioned recently that during pre-production development, the Jag diff with inboard discs was tried at AC's factory. At risk of sounding anal, just wondered if this is correct?

    Paul/runt.
    Just finished reading Trevor Legates book. Definately inboard discs on prototypes, don't know if they're Jag or not though.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chesterfield, Derbyshire
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    51
    Posts
    2,134

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Quote Originally Posted by tarmacscratcher
    Just finished reading Trevor Legates book. Definately inboard discs on prototypes, don't know if they're Jag or not though.
    yep, the prototype CSX2000 had a salisbury diff [as did later cars] and inbord discs
    You know it makes sense
    rich.




    All Things Cobra.Com

    the cobra builders resource

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Romford, Essex
    Posts
    1,743

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Quote Originally Posted by beachcomber
    Hi there,

    The "someone at work" should simply do a little math - the original AC under prototype / pre-production was in the '50's - IRS from Jaguar was a decade later.

    Ergo - unless you are Jules Verne and have mastered the art of time travel, it's an impossibility.

    Check out "Shelby's Wildlife" for early develoment.
    beachcomber
    No, I meant Cobra, not Ace.

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

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Romford, Essex
    Posts
    1,743

    Re: Cobra History - Real and Replica

    Thanks Denis, Tarmacscratcher, Rich, and yep, the Legate book must be purchased!

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

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