Rollbar Strut

The rollbar has a third leg that extends into the trunk, attaching to a frame point to provide triangulation strength. The originals had an adapter socket that bolted to the rear framework.

The Hurricane Motorsports design has a tube welded to the rear frame extension that the strut slides over. It must slide down far enough to let the main rollbar pass by when it is install. The strut is then slid back up and the retainer bolt installed. All smooth and thought out, except on the trunk side.  Their original design relied on the three legged triangle to hold all the pieces in place. No bolts were used to retain the mounts. Just didn’t seem right to me.

Adding bolts on the front legs was pretty simple put the bars in place, cross drill and ad the bolts. Drilling the trunk leg was equally simple, except it left a pretty crude connection and pieces where all this came together.

Using some 1-1/2″ exhaust tubing and some sheet, I fabricated a fairing to simulate the original design and clean up the connection of all the pieces Hopefully, the pictures are self-explanatory.

If you’re building a Hurricane cobra, you’ll see the aesthetics of the joint aren’t the best and this cleans it up. If you’re building another brand, it won’t mean anything to you.




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


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…

Firewall/Tunnel Mods

Sorry, been a little remiss in keeping my progress reports up-to-date. I’ve incorporated a number of modifications to my Gen II Hurricane build, mostly to make it even more period correct. 

Looking at the originals and the ERA builds, I liked the removeable transmission tunnel. The Hurricane comes with a removeable ‘X’ frame for transmission service, but even so, it still isn’t the easiest chore. This makes for a little more access:


Transmission Tunnel & Dash

The dash shown is the Street layout, wanted to validate my use of the glovebox. (S/C’s didn’t have a glovebox). Layout was taken from a local original CSX street car.

Makes access just a little easier

Looking on the other side, I incorporated the angled firewall of the originals, footboxes angled and sized to the originals. Firewall is prepped for the original electrical items to be installed later.


Business side of firewall

2015 IRS Pinion Yoke

When Ford designed the S550 driveline, they chose to use a ‘Guibo’ joint just ahead of the differential. Probably done for Noise/Vibration, it just adds another joint when adapting to our toys. Depending on whether the diff came from a manual or automatic vehicle, the joint was a different size, requiring a different adapter. Created a lot of confusion in the Factory Five world. Ford supplies the cast iron differential to the aftermarket and seems they may have changed the joint (for standardization?) and didn’t tell anyone. There still is a lot of confusion over this.

I came across a post on the FFCars forum (Super 8.8 Info) that seemed to address the issue. Searched all over and couldn’t come up with a confirmation. I finally tracked down Gerry and found out they run it on a GT4 Mustang that is raced on the West Coast. He said they had had issues with the joint not holding up and using an adapter, the bolts kept coming loose. He works in a Ford Service facility and was able to track down this part, a Sterling (Ford) pinion flange for their 10-1/4 / 10-1/2 differential. 

Spoke to the guys at Denny’s and they confirmed the parts interchanged on paper but couldn’t say for sure if it worked. Went ahead and ordered the part and put it in. One more issue solved

Just in case the hyperlinks ever break, the part I used is a Ford #F8TZ-4851-B, from a 99-07 F350 w/ 10.5″ Sterling axle. Denny’s Driveshaft #9870041

Oh, yea, one more thing. This mod eliminates about 20lbs of iron and steel that you don’t need to drag around! And 10 bolts that seem to never stay tightened!

F350 Pinion Flange

2023 UPDATE: The setup and the flange now have over 2500 miles on the system and it works GREAT! Highly recommended modification.

Category: Build Details, Drivetrain | Comments Off on 2015 IRS Pinion Yoke

If you had it to do over . . .

It’s rare that you get a do-over. After driving HM1078 for over 8 years, I still had the hankering to do another build. A little bit of work, some great support and guess what – I get to do it again!

Working with Hurricane Motorsports, I have an opportunity to build the test mule for their new 2015 based IRS.

• Time to incorporate all those little things I wished I’d done different

• A chance to add those little things to make it even more period correct

My plan was to build basically the same car with a few alterations. Having owned one, you learn a few items:

  • Of course, the engine was to be another FE, but this time, going full tilt – for the Side Oiler. I’ve  been very fortunate in finding a Shelby aluminum block that was looking for a new home. It has never been assembled.
  • I’ve been very pleased with the Borla EightStack system and the Performance Electronics injection system, so that will be done again.
  • The Gen II Hurricane build incorporates a number of period correct items, but there are a few others I want to include, primarily to replicate the engine compartment even more.
  • Of course, I never accept things the way they are, I have my own ideas. Larger fuel tank, easier alignment, easier maintenance and reliability.

No longer burdened with an 8-5 grind, I’m able to tackle this in a way most would envy. Let the fun begin. On June 29, 2018, I picked up HM-2023 in Lake City and moved her to her new home.

Thanks to the members of Gateway Cobra Club for their help in unloading.

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