Time for Color

Always amazed at how much a little bodywork makes. She’s as flat as possible (How does a curved car get flat?) Time to start applying color

A few of my own touches:

  • Eyebrows adjusted to match headlight rim diameter
  • All cockpit edges rolled 100%, including drops to door latch
  • Rear ’round taillight’ area removed for proper fit of rectangular tail lights
  • Full perimeter exhaust outlet.
  • All wheel arches rolled to simulate aluminum wired edge.
  • Oil Cooler lines reworked to align to front end
  • Wiper holes and defogger holes 
  • Tee nuts installed for hood stops and defogger trim
  • Front and rear quickjack holes configured for ‘sliding’ fit.
  • Drain hole added to fuel cap recess
  • Period-correct hood latches added

Hood Mod

Hood Tube Frame

Hood Tube Frame Mod

One of the first things you notice on a replica is the underside of the hood. Original cars had a 3/4″ tube frame with an aluminum skin attached to it. Replicas – not so much.

I obtained the upper skin of the Hurricane fiberglass and then mounted it to a tube frame I built. Considering the hood is bent in two directions and has four rounded corners, it tested my skills as a fabricator. I’m anxious to see it painted…

Coming Out!

HUGE DAY! Took her out in public for the first time. Photos here. It is absolutely amazing how these things will draw a crowd.

Three years, three months, three days. Sometimes it feels like it took forever, other times, it was just yesterday I was pulling her home from Lees Summit

Let the fun begin


Almost there

Finishing up all the little details. Car essentially done, appointment made for State Police inspection

Sill molding
Different designs offer different methods of placing a trim piece. The trick is how do you transition from painted metal(fiberglass) to carpet and cover the raw edge. I learned from some buddy’s of an aluminum extrusion, traditionally used for edging on tile counters. M-D Products part number A-813 gives a smooth aluminum extruded finish with a small lip to cover the edge of the carpet and screwholes to attach to the body. The molding is easily formed to the shape of the door opening.

IMG_5563 IMG_5562

Little details in the nose

Oil Cooler
I chose to add an oil cooler to go along with the period correct look. A few issues surfaced.

Oil Cooler: The original used a six row Mocal cooler. Those are still available today. I chose to use an Earl’s brand, based solely on price and availability.

Shrouding: The cooler is encased in an aluminum shroud to direct airflow thru the cooler. These may still be available from Cobra Restorers or Finishline. I made mine from .040 aluminum.

The originals slanted to the rear some amount. When you first set the cooler into position, it rest vertically ( and easily) on the lower edge of the molded scoop. My first pattern was done with the cooler setting vertical. But as I finished it, the look it presented just didn’t meet the rest of the build. It would have been functional and most persons would have never noticed.  But I put my thinking cap on and started cutting more posterboard patterns. The tilt of the cooler is only barely noticeable thru the opening. But the path of the oil lines is very apparent.

IMG_5519 IMG_5520 IMG_5522 IMG_5523
Shroud details Lower shroud The side ears direct air flow thru the cooler core Shroud cover
IMG_5524 IMG_5525

I ended up making a shroud that slips under the front lip of the nose scoop. It runs horizontally back towards the radiator about 5″. It then angles down about 15 degrees, to provide the area for the cooler. The upper cover then angles about another thirty degrees, down towards the lower edge of the radiator.

Looking at the pictures, you’ll notice a screen cover on the radiator. This is a 1/4″ Stainless Steel mesh, to keep some of the larger chunks out of the radiator. Just in the shop, I found it very prone to damage. Those aluminum fins are really fragile.

You’ll see a small filler panel on each side of the cooler shroud, to close off the nose opening on the bottom. Again, trying to replicate the originals as best as possible. Due to the cowl framing and fiberglass body, this isn’t an exact duplicate but it does present the more open cavity of the original CSX cars.

Cooler Thermostat: one of the issues of the oil cooler is in typical street use, it is too effective. The oil never comes to a proper operating temperature. I installed a PermaCool Oil Thermostat as part of the lines. It is tucked up under the front cowl tube. It uses a thermal wax to move a shuttle, similar to how a coolant thermostat works. When the bypassing oil is hot enough to expand the wax, the shuttle moves and directs the oil thru the cooler. Until then, it bypasses the cooler and goes on to do its job. You’ll find larger and more costly units from various suppliers. This seemed to be the most logical approach for me.

IMG_5532 IMG_5531 IMG_5534 IMG_5530
Thermostat, clamped to cowl frame tube Lower fitting at cooler Hose path Finished look

Twin radiator fans
Most S/C cars were equipped with twin fans ahead of the radiator. Very visible and obvious when viewing the car. Although the kit is equipped with a more effective puller type fan (technology has changed considerably since the 60’s), I added the twin pushers for the visual impact.

The two motors are fan motors from 60’s era Ford vehicles. A well placed search on eBay will often return these. I found three NOS motors, but they had the later vent slots in the end of them. No big deal – a little sheet metal cutting and some MIG work and the end caps are closed and sealed to the weather. Just like the originals.

The fans came from W.W. Grainger. I made spacer bushings to space the fan past the mounting structure. A 1/4″ bolt holds the fan to the end of the spacer. Twin set screws keep the spacer on the shaft and a third screw serves as a lock to the fan mounting bolt.

The crossframe and mounting brackets were fabricated in the shop. All was painted frame black before mounting. The assembly is positioned in front of my radiator protection screen and bolted to the side tubes of the cowl frame.

Not completed but on the list is a switch control to turn them on or off. Right now, they are strictly visual

IMG_3933 IMG_3936 IMG_4121 IMG_4125
basic components fan motor fan / spacer motor mount
IMG_4115 IMG_5535 IMG_5540 IMG_5541
finished components installed


Finished Look

The Hardest Part

I’ve been asked numerous times, what I felt was the hardest part about building a car. Undoubtedly, the most difficult part of building a replica car is selecting the color. I’ve always driven red cars, but red is for Ferrari’s. Yellow – Corvette.  Blue? Almost every Cobra is Blue with White stripes – I don’t want to be like everyone else. (The original racing colors were to be white with blue, but Ole Shel’ had some issues with the establishment, so he chose blue with white)


Racing Beat Miata
Racing Beat Miata

My wife has always preferred white cars, she drove a white Miata. Without her, this project would have never been possible. I had always admired the Racing Beat Miata  . My choice was made: White with Red/Blue stripes. The initial pages of this website included a retouched photo with this selection.

 But with the Cobra sitting next to the Miata, the proportions are entirely different, even though both are 90” wheelbase. The red/white stripes just didn’t fit right.

One day I say a photo of a 66’ GT350, White w/ Blue but this one had a bright red pit stripe on the left fender. (sometimes erroneously referred to as “rookie stripes”, they served to identify which car of a multi-car team was coming into the pit)


The die was cast. My final choice was 2009 Ford Performance White (HP) with 1996 Ford Royal Blue Metallic (KM) stripes and 1999 Ford Performance Red (ES) pit stripes.


Like everyone else? There aren’t many white cobras. Of the original 343 CSX3000 series, there were only 24 white

Rear done, move to the interior

Sound and Heat Proofing
We road-trip in an air conditioned Miata – and the footbox on it gets warm. I am paranoid about footbox heat and I don’t think this puppy is going to play nice. To counter the heat, I have gone overboard. I am optimistic it will do the trick.

The exposed portion of the firewall is aluminum. Below it is a layer of Frost King Duct Insulation. (3/16″ dense adhesive foam with a few mil aluminum cover. Next is a layer of heat barrier film that came with the kit. Finally we get to the 3/16″ fiberglass foot tub. On the inside of the tub, I used a sheet of Second Skin Thermal Block. This is a 3/16″ mat covered with a textured aluminum. Claims it will block 1200 degrees. Further back on the transmission tunnel, I used Second Skin Heat Wave, a 3/8″ jute style insulation with an aluminum foil surface. Floors and rear wheel wells were covered in Frost King foam.  All this was sealed with aluminum tape prior to mounting the carpet.
IMG_5303 This photo shows the Thermal Block, installed inside the footbox. The pedal mounting plate goes over the top of this.

Rear wall covering
I really liked the finish of Jim Reiss’ rear wall on his rebuild of HM1006. He put aluminum sheet down and then covered with vinyl. Since I wasn’t as far along as he, I was able to finish the fiberglass surface of the cockpit tub with a little Bondo. It looks as smooth as the aluminum would have. To give it a little resilience, I then installed a 1/16″ thick vinyl drawer liner. Over that I glued the same vinly material as used on the dash and seats.

The carpeting is pretty straight forward. There are a few tricks – these are outlined on the carpet detail page. The choice of light tan carpet to compliment my leather seats sounded good. The light color is very unforgiving of any voids or mismatch. Black would have been easier. But I haven’t done “easy” on anything else.

 IMG_5466  IMG_5468 IMG_5470  IMG_5473



Paint is the badge by which your build is judged.  With this in mind, I had painted vehicles before, but I wasn’t about to gamble my project. I don’t have the facilities for a quality final paint job. When you consider the actual paint costs, the cost of the labor for the paintjob was really reasonable.

As detailed on the bodywork page, I chose to do the rough bodywork and fitting of the panels.  I took the car to my painter on Jan 6th and figured I had “done good” when he commented how well I had done.

I chose to use a local source, Murrill Feldman of Washington, MO. My car was the 32 cobra kit painted by Murrill. I think he’s figured out the tricks. Murrill is known to mis-calculate the time it will take. He figured with the time necessary to finish-flatten any spots, he’d be done around March 6th. Works for me. But when you add some of his personal issues with the mis-calc on time, March 6th turned into April 18th. Not bad, only 43 days behind schedule.


checking it out Loaded trailer Body
Verify she’ll run and load to the trailer Dis-assembled and ready to deliver to painter As delivered, ready for his touch.
Color applied Front view Body install
Out of the booth, ready for color sanding Full Frontal Exposure Body back to the frame
Grinning owner Driver in car Door tattoo
Wife says the grin was ear to ear Wanna ride? My buddy Tim volunteered his help and trailer.
I said thanks by “tattooing” the tailgate. Looks like the limited slip is working
Category: Body | LEAVE A COMMENT

She’s home – back to work

Body on, final assembly begins.

Rear Body Mount mod
The Hurricane kit comes with the body “hard-mounted” on the rear. The quickjack mounts and tubes sandwich the fiberglass body to clamp it to position. I was concerned this was a long term failure point. I chose to modify the mounting to incorporate rubber bushings.

Once the hole location was verified, I opened the hole thru the body to 5/8″ diameter. I then fabricated rubber bushings to make up the space between the 3/8″ bolt and this new hole size. The bushing was 1″ diameter on the outside and held into position with stainless washers.

I’ve included some pictures of the completed parts. The new pieces, in sequence are:

1. 5 1/2″ long stainless stud, threaded both ends 2. Hex Nut 3. Flat Washer 4. Vertical mounting bar of frame
5. Flat Washer 6. Spacer with stainless sleeve 7. Flat Washer 8. Rubber bushing
9. Body 10. Rubber bushing with step 11. Flat Washer 12. Spacer with stainless sleeve
13. Flat washer 14. Quick Jack 15. Flat Washer 16. Hex Nut

IMG_5498 IMG_5500

Trunk finish
The original Hurricane kit includes carpeting for the trunk. But I chose to go one step further. I’d seen original cars with their aluminum trunks. Cool. But the aluminum trunk does create a maintenance problem. If you use the car, the trunk will get scratches. I saw how Jim Reiss modified his car during the rebuild and an idea hit. How about aluminum walls with carpet on the floor.

First hiccup was the back wall of the trunk. Remember that note I said about planning your build? Well I didn’t plan far enough ahead since the cockpit tub was mounted and somehow, I had to get aluminum on that vertical surface.  With some judicious grinding, I was able to slip a flat sheet of aluminum between the lip on the cockpit tube and the 2 x 2 frame that anchors the seatbelts. The edges are back behind the vertical frame pieces and not visible. Dodged a bullet there!

The side walls were made from .025 thick aluminum sheet, formed to fit over the fiberglass trunk tub. With proper layout and bending, I was able to glue the panels to the tub with floor tile glue. My bulb seal still slipped down over the walls like was planned.

My painter seals the inside of the body with paint before delivering the car. I had him spray the inside with silver. Now the inner walls of the trunk body match the aluminum pieces I put on. Well, not an exact match but a lot closer than the black would have been.

After the body was on, I started carpeting the floor. My first experience with laying automobile carpet. With the glue they recommended, I looked like a big fuzz ball. My hands were covered with glue and pile.

To help with fitting, I built a pattern from heavy construction paper, all taped together and with the edges touching where I wanted the carpet to stop.