’65 Cobra Replica

The mean green machine

The mean green machine

I don’t even remember how I came to build this car. At the time I had been out of the car hobby for some time—raising children, building my business—and was actually looking at building a Factory Five Daytona Coupe. There was lukewarm support for the idea among my household (spouse, son, and daughter at the time) but things warmed up considerably when I mentioned the Cobra Roadster kit. Apparently the enclosed car was a non-starter but the rag top was okay. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. In no time at all, it was ordered and I began acquiring the parts and pieces need to complete the ride.

My re-entry into cars had rules. A budget was established and money put aside…when it was gone, it was gone and there would be no more. Rule number two was that I could have only one car at a time. No amassing my own private collection like I had done with my road bicycles. Rule number three was to refer to rules number one and two. At the time, I thought the arrangement more than fair but more on that later.

The three most memorable moments in the build were; 1) building up the motor with the help of daughter, Anna; 2) the first time we fired that sucker up and took it for a drive and; 3) the road trip that Anna and I took in it, which you can read about in the Cobra Journal. Of the three, the last one will stay with me always (building the motor was a close second).

It would take a tome to chronicle all of the changes I made to make the Factory Five into a faithful rendition (more or less) of the last of the street Cobras. These cars were never brought into the states but put together in England out of what the factory on hand after the deal with Shelby went south on them. The last few examples were well documented in both of the Cobra books I acquired so I had a very solid guide to help me. Some of the bigger changes like the mid-shift, the undercar exhaust, and the early style dash were challenging to my re-emerging fabrication skills but they came out well. Other things like the Lucas reflectors a the rear and the bumper hoops were just little, bolt-on touches that, I think, really distinguished the car.

So, how the “one car at a time” came back to bite me. I had owned the Cobra about 3 years (not including the build time), putting about 3,000 miles or so on every year. I drove it to work, took it on business trips, drove it in every kind of weather (as evidenced by a few of the pictures), and took it on road trips to Buffalo several times. It was a great ride but, once it was complete, other than waxing it, there really wasn’t much to do it and I got the itch to build something else. You could have hung meat in my house, it was so cold the day I brought up the idea of another car to my “one and only.” The short of it is, a deal is a deal…one car at a time. No exceptions. So, reluctantly, I put the Mean Green Machine, as it had become known, up for sale.

At first I tried to get what it was really worth but eventually settled on at least replenishing my car fund so I could start anew. The fella’ that bought it lives upstate from me and some four years later, still owns it and drives it every chance he gets. Sacrifices have to made and without the Cobra heading to a new owner there would be no ‘B’east.

Bu that’s another story.