Starter Motor

17 November 2012

Not a big job but a bit fiddly.

The starter motor simply bolts in place but there is a dust protector that fits between the gear box and the engine which has a slot that needs opening up to allow the starter motor drive to pass through.

This wasn't easy to cut with the dremmel as the plate is really tough but managed it in the end. Not the prettiest hole in the world but will work and noone will see it!!

Exhaust System

17 November 2012

Made a start on fitting the exhaust system today

First it was on with the manifold

Stainless Manifold

Then started working backwards - this was a relatively straightforward task but needed some twisting and turning to get the alignment just right.

Used the standard U clamps supplied by GD but don't really like these so will replace later with some Mikalor stainless clamps like Rob has done on his build.

Cant fit the rear section until the body is on so thats about it on the exhaust for now.


Where on Earth Have I Been???

My last blog post was in March and that started by saying "Wow, its been two months since I last updated my blog". Well this time its been 6 months so what, if anything, has been happening...

Well... not a fat lot to be honest, although some more work has been done on the bulkhead and most excitingly the engine has been finished and fitted into the EURO chassis at GD :)

So what's the reason for the delay... I've been very busy at work through the summer months, I've gone through a separation and moved house (not Cobra related) and more recently I dislocated my shoulder so have been out of action for over a month :(

But, at long last, some 12 months after the bodyshell was first collected the build is back on and I am targeting the spring for completion.

I have some photos of the bulkhead progress and also some of the engine and chassis build to upload shortly and I will do my best to put these back into the blog in chronological order.

Also, I have secured a great number plate for the car 'AC 62 COB' the 62 relates to the year of manufacture and interestingly next year from March (when the 13 plate comes in) you will still have the option to register new cars on 62 plates due to concerns in the industry about superstitious buyers being put off the 13 plate!!! The other significance of 62 is that this is the year the Cobra was launched - I will leave you to decide the significance of AC and COB

Back at Base

18 August 2012

Right, the rolling chassis is safely back at base.

Next jobs to be completed are..

1. Fit starter motors and dust shield
2. Fit manifolds and exhaust system
3. Cooling system - fit twin fans to radiator, fit radiator, fit header tank and connect all hoses
4. Attach engine loom to reverse and speedo connectors

Engine and Gearbox Installation

18 August 2012

Today is another big day in the build of my Cobra. The engine and gearbox are to be put together and fitted into the rolling chassis up at GD.

So another early start, another sunny summer morning, a Range Rover with a trailer and two excited car builders in it and its off to GD to we head.

On arrival, Andy had already fitted the clutch. So we set to work attaching the gearbox.
Clutch Fitted
Pairing Engine & Gearbox
Paired and Ready to Install

Fitting into the chassis was fiddly but not overly troublesome. Some bits and bobs had to be removed off the chassis and with some jiggery pokery we got it in place. The engine mounting bolts look a little on the short side to me and I plan to fit longer bolts there at some point.

Left a bit, right a bit!!!
And in she goes

The gearbox mounting plate needed drilling so we also took advantage of Andy's workshop facilities to do this.

Once everything was in place and bolted securely we loaded the rolling chassis on to my trailer for the long journey home.


5 August 2012

Started installing the main body loom what seems like a lifetime ago now but only really fitted the rear section and didnt get around to finishing off the terminations.

So time to set about making some progress here...

First things first the connections to the rear lights were terminated

It wasn't clear how the wiring for the reverse and fog lights was meant to work out so we did some testing and established that there is a common earth. The outer casing of the loom was slit open and the relevant live feeds were pulled through in the correct positions rather than having to have them run back and forth inside the boot. The earth wires were also put in place and the whole loom was then taped back up.

These terminations will be covered in shrink-wrap once the car is built but until the whole system is tested I don't want to do this.

Heater Ducting

5 August 2012

Having fitted the heater matrix, I decided it was time to make a start on sorting out the ducting for the screen and footwell ventilation.

Had a look at other build blogs and went with the standard practice of buying plastic kitchen waste pipe and making two 'Y' shaped connectors to split the airflow between left and right hand side of car.

I used my mitre saw to cut the pipe then bonded the pieces together using plumbers adhesive. Like with most other builders, I then sprayed them matt black to make them look nice before cutting down to size. All a little pointless when then are hidden behind the dash but if the car is ever taken to pieces in the future it will look better and I'm a sucker for attention to detail.

Before and after being cut to size

The finished article

 I also decided that i wanted the connectors to be in the centre of the car so the air in theory will travel evenly between both sides, ie as opposed to a short length running to the near side and longer lengths to off side. This meant that there wasn't enough ducting and some more had to be ordered from car builder online

Note the 'Y' piece in centre of car

And a view from the other side

Rolling Chassis

Saturday 21st July

With the van loaded with my shiny new engine it was back on to the A1 for a trip down to GD to drop the engine off and to have a first look at my rolling chassis.

The plan being that we would head back to GD a few week later once the clutch and gearbox arrived and we could assemble everything and fit it into the chassis at GD using their engine hoist.

Rolling Chassis

AP Brake Upgrade

Engine Collection

Saturday 21st July 2012

The day has finally come to collect my engine and to be hinest I'm feeling a little like a kid on Christmas day.

A van is hired and its off to Castleford we go.

Driving to Engine Data Analysis on a bright summer's morning has also added to the air of excitement being shared by Ali and myself. On arrival the engine is already on an engine hoist and is in the entrance to the workshop. My grin is now from ear to ear and Ken is out to greet us with a handshake and a coffee.

Looking at this magnificent looking engine, I'm even more convinced I have done the right thing going down the iron block route as opposed to the supposedly more refined and less thirsty LS fuel injected units that GD like to use. I set out wanting original looks and great performance and I think this fits the bill just nicely.

Rear View

Front View

One thing that I had always liked when looking at original AC Cobra's was the large oval air filter. I had asked Ken if he could source this for me and we quickly changed the standard big round Edelbrock filter for the 'Cobra' filter. I hope you agree the final result looks bang on. As Steve comments in his blog, this might upset a few of the Ford purists but you know what? I don't give a damn - I just love the look of my engine. And the best thing is that it is unique. It has been built to my exact specification and design.
Now with the Oval 'Cobra' air filter

Time now to load the precious cargo into the van...

Leaving EDA
Loaded and ready to roll

Engine Update

Received a call from Ken at EDA to say that the engine was built and ready for me to see it on the Dyno machine.

Ill post a photo here later showing the engine on the Dyno and put all the results up - but suffice to say I was over the moon with the performance figures. In short its about 75 bhp/tonne more than a Porsche 911 GT Turbo!!!

Ken, the perfectionist that he is still wasn't quite happy and suggested a few more tweaks were needed. A couple of days later he had changed some of the Carb settings, worked some more magic, squeezed a few more horse power and a created better torque curve. The engine was now ready for collection... Big smiles all round :)

As promised here is the engine on the Dyno

Max Power - 412Bhp @ 5500rpm
Max Torque - 455lb/ft @ 4100rpm

Bulkhead Update

May 2012

Spent quite a bit of time filling, sanding, re-filling and covering the bulkhead with a few layers of gelcoat. The final result was ok but not perfect and i was constantly exposing the filler when I rubbed the gel coat down - i was also having problems with the gelcoat not hardening - much like I had experienced with the doors, bonnet and boot :( Gelcoat is certainly not my forte and is probably my biggest concern with the build to date.

Following a recent trip back to GD, I had a good look at a few of the cars in the workshop and to be honest I wasn't blown away with the bulkhead finish on any of them, including the factory cars. I mean they looked good but they didn't look perfect and I really want my car to be as perfect as possible.

Back at work a few days later and Stuart, the owner of one of the vehicle bodyshops (Carsmetic near Dudley we use, was in to see me about some jobs we had for him so I asked for his opinion. He suggested that he could fill and spray the bulkhead and inner wings, blending them smoothly into the engine bay if I could get a RAL number for the corresponding paint finish.

Spoke to Andy, got the RAL number and asked Stuart to see what he could do...

The photo below shows the prepared bulkhead, filled and sanded and ready for final painting

Perfectly smooth ready for painting
I must admit I was a little concerned that the paint might not match or you would be able to tell what was painted and what was plain gelcoat but the finish achieved was amazing.

As promised, photo of finished bulkhead and I must say I'm delighted with the result :)

Painted and looking perfect

Another Pedal Box Update

With the pedal box now mounted in a much better position, I attached the brake and clutch cylinders once again and then started to look at how to fit the various hoses and connect to the inner wing.

Brake & clutch cylinders with associated pipes/hoses

Holes prepared for brake & clutch lines

Brake and clutch lines fitted

Fairly pleased with the end result and feels like I have made some reasonable progress here

Pedal Box Update

After fitting the pedal box in the position advised by GD, I was a little disappointed that the pedals seemed too far off the floor of the car. I checked several other builder's blogs and all appear to fit in roughly the same position as advised by GD so I was still quite apprehensive about making any  changes. However, after much thought and deliberation, I decided that what the hell, I was going to lower the pedal box by about 10-15mm.

Showing bottom of Brake Pedal 215mm from floor 

So first things first, I removed the pedal box and set about filling the holes with P38 filler

Filling holes

Added card to back off bulkhead to stop filler falling through
Next step was to remark, drill and fit. This time i aligned the top of the pedal box casting with the bottom of the ledge on the bulkhead.

The final result appears to be much better - a few mm has made a lot of difference.

Engine Update

Having ordered the engine from Ken at Engine Data Analysis, I was a bit disappointed that it was going to be Easter time before he cold get the engine built. I was worried that I would have finished the body and would be sitting around doing nothing waiting... how wrong I was!!!

As it happens the engine build was delayed which didn't matter due to lack of progress with the body (for reasons covered elsewhere in this blog).

Midway through the engine build programme I went up to visit Ken (10th April 2012) and the team with my trusty assistant Ali. Ken showed us some of the many parts that would be going into my engine build.

Moroso Aluminium Sump

Holley Road Avenger Carb

Edelbrock Aluminium Cylinder Head wiht 'D' Shaped Exhaust Ports

GM Chevy 383 Block S/N 3970010

GM Chevy 383 Block S/N 3970010

Pistons & Rings

My theme for the engine was to be a combination of black and silver - so the block was painted gloss black (in fairness against the advice of Ken as he felt the engine detailing would be lost when fitted in car) and all ancillary components would be in aluminium.

I felt the rocker cover was a little too bright and would make the engine appear to 'blingy' so we agree that this would be powder coated in gloss black with the fins remaining in natural aluminuim. The finished version looks great on the engine!!

Aluminium Rocker Cover - to be powder coated


Whilst trying to finish off the remaining bodywork issues before the engine and chassis arrive, I thought it was time to tackle the horrible joint line between the top of the body and the engine bulkhead.

Got to work with some Isopon P38 body filler (not used this since I had to repair my rusty old Vauxhall Viva in 1985) and filled the crack in and then rubbed down with some coarse grade wet n dry paper.

LH Bulkhead (Before Filling)

RH Bulkhead (Before Filling)

Bulkhead (Filled, pre-sanding)
Didn't look too bad but there were some indentations that needed re-filling and where the bulkhead became the inner wing it needed re-filling and shaping to match the body lines. So mixed up some more P38, filled and sanded.

Bulkhead (Fill, part sanded)

Pedal Box

Made a start on fitting the pedal box.

Made a template to match the pedal box bracket and transferred the hole positions to the bulkhead.

Bit of a bind making the holes for the brake and clutch cylinders as I didn't have a hole saw the correct size. Ended up using the nearest I had and opening up with the Dremel.

Having followed the GD fitting instructions, I'm a little disappointed with the final result. The pedals appear to be way too high off the floor pan :( Not quite sure what to do with this yet - do I make a new panel for the bulkhead and reposition or should I make a false floor? Will leave this decision for another day I think