The Over-Riders bolt up to the quickjack mounts with the same  bolt spacing, but the back of the overrider is angle and the back of the quickjack is straight up and down. Takes a little tweaking of the mounting hardware to get all the pieces to line up. The angle of the back matches the angle of the nose opening.

If you plan to mount the chrome hoop, to get it to match the the overriders, the angle of the back MUST match the angle of the nose. Different bodies are on different angles and typically, none of them match the angle of the commonly found Factory Five hoop and over-riders.

Be prepared for a lot of ADULT words and beverages to get them to lineup properly. It can be done.

The overrider’s had a tapped hole in the plate which was perpendicular to the plate. When I lined up the angles, the bolt’s woudn’t come close to working. I cut tapered anchors and slotted the holes so the pieces could be assembled and tightened down.



I have often commented, “the most difficult part of building is selecting a color” The choice is often a spur-of-the-moment inspiration. For my second build, that inspiration came at a car show years ago when I ran across a Saleen 302 painted a bright red called “Lizstick Red”. Named after Steve’s wife Liz, the color is a bright red metallic tri-coat, similar to Candy Apple Red. 

I searched the internet for years, looking for the formula for the paint or a place to buy it. Saleen is very protective of the formula, produced for them by BASF.  A little bit of blind luck, I found a connection to an owner on FaceBook and was able to come up with the formula. It is not easy to apply and it is NOT in-expensive. 

I think it turned out well – anxious to see it finished with all the appointments


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.

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Little details in the nose

Build 2 - HM2023

It really helped to have done this once before. And having done it, there were just a few more features to add. The original details are below this update.

  1. I moved the outboard lower floor to more resemble the original builds
  2. If you’ve ever tried to change the oil and drain an oil cooler, you’ll appreciate the addition of a drain bung to the bottom of the oil cooler
  3. Having scraped the nose more than once, I added a chin guard of Stainless Steel. Not visible but it might reduce some scrapes.

Build 1 - HM1078

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.
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Shroud details Lower shroud The side ears direct air flow thru the cooler core Shroud cover
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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.
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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
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basic components fan motor fan / spacer motor mount
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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.

Grinning owner

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

But it doesn't end here !

I have always had an affinity towards red cars. I loved the Red/White/Blue scheme, but at a car show, I ran into a Saleen Mustang painted “LizStick Red”. WOW!

Chip Saleen’s wife is named Elizabeth, and an earlier color for his cars was a proprietary Candy Apple red he named after her, thus; LizStick

I tried to obtain the color code to duplicate this paint but to no avail. Oh, well, tuck it away in the deep recesses of my brain.

While working on my second build and trying to pick a color for it, this popped up again. Ten years after my first build, we now have a little gimmick called ‘social media’. I posted a note on the Saleen FaceBook group and got a hit. Thru a very lucky connection, I learned the formula for the paint. An owner of a Saleen LizStick red car needed body repair and didn’t want to pay the price they wanted for paint. He was able to have his paint supplier duplicate the color and shared the formula. Is it exact – I don’t know. Is it stunning – every much so as the true color.

Once color sanded and finished, the color is just stunning. It is amazing, the number of comments I get on the brilliant color and the ghost stripes

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.

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