Costs / Budget

When I began the initial investigation into building a replica, I quickly learned the market fell into four tiers;

  1. Entry Level / builds that emulate the cobra appearance
  2. Mid Tier / builds that replicate the original very faithfully
  3. Kirkhams
  4. Shelby Continuation series

And I was given very astute advice – look closely at the prices the various manufacturers display and don’t let the initial web price figure alarm you. Do the math, adding all the accessories to your build and you’ll see the cars within a given tier are very close in price,

Factory FIve is the best marketed kit available. But they have taken some real liberties with their replica. To someone knowledgeable of Shelby’s, it is very evident they only mimic the original cars – and with rare exception, their resell price rarely gets into the middle tier. Other kits in the lower tier (my opinion) are B&B, LoneStar, Shell Valley, etc. All are good kits, but not true to the original cars.

ERA and Unique built the middle tier with their very faithful reproductions. Superformance and Hurricane Motorsports jumped on this bandwagon providing very accurate reproductions. BackDraft is kind of an anomaly as the kit takes a lot of license on the shape of the car, yet the brand fits into the middle tier. I believe it comes from their philosophy of supplying near completed cars that generally are consumed by those not wanting to build but to drive immediately.

Kirkhams. The brand is well known within the hobby and probably the gold standard of replicas. Built in Poland in an aircraft factory, they copied an early car and corrected some of the asymmetry of the originals.

Shelby Continuation Series: Sold as an original, they are in fact, a Kirkham (if you purchase the aluminum body) with Shelby nameplates and documentation (a real testament to the Kirkham brand). Yea, it comes with a Shelby nameplate and fancy dash plaque, and you can answer the question “is it real” but truth be known . . .

So, what’s it gonna cost? Everyone wants to get one for 25 thousand, but in reality, it ins’t going to happen. If you find a used one for sale, for this amount, it’s generally pretty rough. The lower tier is generally going to run from 30 to 40 thousand for a completed car. The more bling, the bigger the motor, etc, will drive the price up.

The middle tier will run you between 40 to 80 thousand. Price is dictated by options (brakes, IRS, special paint, leather) and more importantly, the engine to go into the car. The more “period correct” the build is, the higher the cost and subsequent resale value.

Kirkhams, completed, are going to go over $100,000 and Shelby’s will begin around $150,0000 and go up from there.

  • Some general rules of thumb to assist are:
  • Motor and transmission will add between 10-25 thousand to the build.
  • The originals came with a Ford FE-427. Not small blocks. Side-oilers are the gold standard but the 390 & 428 are also FE’s and unless you are well educated, you can not tell the difference. The heads,manifolds, and parts are all the same. The FE will add substantially to your cost, and if you spec a Side-Oiler, plan on adding $5,000 to the motor cost.
  • Think long and hard about your plans and options. It is much less expensive, in the long run, to order your car with the options you want, even if you go over budget. They don’t offer trade-ins for parts you upgrade at a later date. Buy better brakes with the kit.
  • If you’re looking for originality, handling and highest resale value, go for the IRS (Independent Rear Suspension). The originals were NOT built with a live axle – and if you plan to track the car, you want the best handling options.