Update: 6/29/13: Graduation day!
Update: 6/13/13: Final assembly continues.
Update: 5/27/2013: The paint is cut-and-buffed, final assembly begins.
Update: 5/6/13: PAINT!!!!
Update: 4/8/13: The first coats of primer goes on.
Update: 3/26/13: The bottom of the tilt-front cowl is prepared for paint. The glovebox is completed.
Update: 2/24/13: Work continues on the the interior trim, and the body is prepared for paint.
Update: 1/27/13: Work continues on the the interior trim.
Update: 1/14/13: Work continues on the the interior trim.
Update: 12/31/12: Work begins on interior trim.
Hello. My name is Tim Gillespie, and this site chronicles my build of the Factory Five Mark IV Roadster kit. My hope is that this site will provide some enjoyment for those of you who will share in the build process.
This is a project that I have wanted to do for most of my life. As a “car guy”, I love to tinker with cars and I also love to build things. Putting together a quality reproduction kit is a perfect fit. When I decided to build a car, I was pretty sure that I wanted to build a 1965 AC (Shelby) Cobra replica. I have always thought it was one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and it represents the ultimate in open cockpit performance. The good replicas are truly well-designed high performance roadsters, unlike the “kit cars” of years ago that were simply poorly crafted fiberglass shells mounted on a Mustang II or VW frame. After much research, I settled on the Factory Five kit. For more information on this kit, see here.
My goal is to build a “supercar” caliber roadster. I am targeting 400 HP or so, which is an aggressive target for a 2200 lb car. I also have no intention of building a “trailer queen”. My car will be driven, and will frequently be driven hard, as I intend to autocross the car and perhaps take it to the occasional track day. I will leave some of the technical details of the build, such as engine, transmission, brakes and suspension choices, to be discovered by the readers as the build progresses. I will reveal, though, that I intend to use a Ford small block motor (with some profound tweaks). The original Cobras were equipped with either the Ford 260 or 289 Windsor small block motors, or the big, honkin’ 390 or 428 FE big blocks. Given the rarity of the FE blocks, and the huge abundance of the 302 variant of the original 289 Windsor the choice was simple. Additionally, from what I have read, the weight distribution with the small block is somewhat better than with the big FE, though I am sure that there are folks with the big block in their FFR cars that would disagree.
I do intend to do most of the engine work myself. I will build it from the crank up - something I have never done before. Needless to say, I will research the process extensively.
It is worth noting that I have no real interest in building an exact replica. The Factory Five kit is not designed to be a reproduction, but is instead intended to be an evolution of sorts. It retains the classic looks and can be built to very closely resemble the original, but it is definitely an improvement, particularly in terms of chassis rigidity and suspension. There are other manufacturers that attempt to faithfully reproduce the original, but that is not my goal. I will, however, be adding certain touches that I hope will evoke a bit of nostalgia, while still maintaining modern driveability and performance.
I hope to organize this site such that the build is easy to follow. I’m not a web site designer by any means, and I am doing this myself (there’s that “build it yourself” gene expressing itself again) so please bear with me.
Acknowledgments: Well, I only have one acknowledgment to make. I would like to extent my undying thanks and undying love to my beautiful wife Debbie. Without her patience and support, this would never be possible. Thank you, Debbie.