Excitement - Engine & Chassis Ordered

Tuesday 17th January

Well, today proved to be a very exciting day in my Cobra Build program.

After phone calls to various engine builders, a visit was planned to see Ken Coleman at EDA up in Castleford, West Yorkshire. It took three hours to get there after M6 traffic problems but have to say it was well worth the journey.

Met Ken and his two colleagues and they couldn't have been more accommodating with coffee on arrival, a workshop tour and an explanation of their build process. Some two hours later, I had shaken hands on a deal for a 400+bhp 383 Chevy Stroker engine, blueprinted and built to EDA's exacting standards including steel crank, steel conrods and aluminium Edelbrock heads.

Estimated delivery to be end of April 2012. This gives plenty of time to complete all body work tasks without any excuses!

A trip back down the A1 followed calling in at GD to meet with Andy to discuss the Chassis configuration and options.

Another hour later and I've shaken hands on the deal to supply the rolling chassis complete with AP brake upgrade. Still need to give some thought to the radiator though and decide if I go for conventional with single fan or the aluminium rad with twin fans.

So... best part of £30k later and I'm driving back home. Broke but happy and looking forward to the end of April. The engine will be delivered to GD and Andy has agreed that we can help with the installation!!! How exciting!!! And much better than any Easter Egg :)

Body Loom Installation

Friday 13th January 2012

Spent several hours working on the Cobra last night and didn't seem to get very far :( One of those frustrating evening of which I'm sure there will be many more!

First of all we removed the doors and bonnet and associated hinges and brackets and packed them up to be sent away for powder coating in gloss black then we decided to have a look at the Main Body Loom for the first time.

Looking through the GD build notes and a couple of blogs we managed to get a rough idea of where the looms runs through the car and into the boot and bonnet area and we set about cutting the 45mm dia hole in the bulkhead to take the loom through into the bonnet and we attached the fuse box to the slot previously prepared.

Shows 45mm dia hole and fuse box fitted

We then drilled a pilot hole from inside the boot until we came through to the interior which we followed with a 25mm dia hole through the rear bulk head but stopping short of the interior panel. In the interior panel we created a slot approximately equal to the width of the cable to allow the loom to pass smoothly from the boot down into the floor at the rear of the passenger seat.

Wiring loom inside boot

Showing slot in interior panel

I now need to order some 'P' clips to start fixing the loom into place and then work out where all the random cables connect within the boot area - nobody seems to show this clearly in their blog, so once I have figured it out I will add more detail for others to follow.

Main loom and fuse box

Build Costs

Summary of Build Costs

I have been keeping a running total of build costs but thought it might be a good idea to share these...

I will continue to update this post as the build progresses

Running Total - £37132

Timber support frame - £40
Fasteners & Fixings, Adhesives, etc - £200
MK4 Body with twin stripes (including Catches, Locks, Handles, Body Loom, Lighting, etc) - £6,642
Dremel and accessories - £100
Rivnut Tool and Rivnuts - £50
Circa - £20,000
EDA 400+BHP 383 Ci (6.3ltr) Chevy Stroker - £9,600
Speedflow Fittings
For fuel, water and oil systems - £500

Budget Realignment - Engine & Chassis Decisions

Wednesday 11th January

This week I have been talking to engine builders to get some idea of lead time and costs and also been in touch with Andy at GD to get an estimate for the GDEURO rolling chassis - OMG!!! My budget certainly needs realigning.

Engine Builders

Spoken at length with Ian at British American Engines and have a price of c£5.5k + VAT for a 400BHP+ Chevy Stroker.

Then  spoke to Ken Coleman at EDA (as recommended by Andy at GD) and he has quoted £8k + VAT for what on the face of it is a very similar unit. Off to visit him on Tuesday to have a look around his workshop.

Could really do with hearing from some other builders about their experiences.


Andy has sent his quote through for the rolling chassis and this was an even bigger fall of my chair moment - c£18k + VAT

Need to go through the bill of materials in detail and see what, if anything, can be deferred until later in the year without overly delaying my build - a set of temp wheels and tyres would defer best part of £2k!!

Doors, Bonnets, Fasteners and Frustration

Sunday 8th January

Well today was meant to be a day of finishing the test fit of both doors and making a start on the bonnet but despite best laid plans and all that (and a bit of a hangover it has to be said!) the passenger door ended up taking a whole lot longer than expected. Then when moving on to the drivers door, I did something I should have done when my kit arrived, I started to check I had all the right fasteners and guess what??? There were several missing and a few spares ones too...

So with the missing fasteners, it meant I couldn't hang the drivers door :( but on the upside I did manage to transfer all the fixing positions form the passenger door onto cardboard templates so I was able to cut and drill the door ready for hanging when I have sufficient socket cap heads!!

Door Hanging

Friday 6th January

Well here goes with first update on 2012 build activities...

Spent sometime on New Years Eve thinking about how to tackle door hanging and building the hinge assemblies on the workbench and on Thursday night spent a couple of hours trying to put the theory into practice - although with limited success it has to be said!!!

First of all the doors arrived from GD without any markings showing hole positions etc so we decided to do a mock up of the latch and catch assembly and make sure everything worked before cutting holes in the door.

Hinges fixed to car body

Striker post

Hinge, catch and latch fixed in place

View from inside
Ignore the VW Convertible in the background for now(it's a friend's car that needs rebuilding)

So, after a dummy run we marked up the doors with the hole positions and started drilling and cutting...

Hinge bracket holes drilled

And after much messing and faffing we got the door hung - still need to do some work on the latch/catch and alignment but it represents a whole evening's work and progress...

Test fitted

Now... more about that Beetle

Having got very annoyed with door hanging, we decided to do some door UN-hanging, with this being the result - much easier to take them off than to put them on!!!!

Progress as at end 2011

Well here are a few photographs to show the progress made in my first two months of building...

Lights and Headlamps fitted - beginning to look like a Cobra now!

Nice rear end - fog and reverse lights still to be fitted

Smooth bodyshell - no more nasty flashlines

Just 3 small images but in my mind, Im delighted with my progress so far...

Tools & Equipment Required / Used

As noted in other blogs, I seem to be making good progress without the use of many tools so far but thought it would be good practice, and of benefit to future builders, to list the tools I've actually used and in the orde rthey were required.

Again this is based on my build programme of working on the body first, then ordering the rolling chassis as is the norm with a Mk IV GDEURO build.

I will endeavour to update this section as the build progresses.

1. Something to Stand the Body

Useful for keeping it off the floor and at a nice hight for working on. Im lucky that I have a big three vehicle workshop so I don't need a moveable stand. What I built was a sturdy timber frame

Note cross braces for rigidity

2. Wet n Dry Paper

This is needed for rubbing down the flashlines. I started with 400 grit and worked progressively to 800, 1200 and 2000. The plan is to use 2500 prior to final polish but I wonder if this is really necessary?

Also essential is a good quality rubber sanding block. I also bought a 'tear drop' sanding block to use on the curved sections as hand pressure isn't sufficient to smooth the flashlines completely

3. Hole Saws

Useful for cutting holes for stop/tail lamps, indicators and side repeaters.

I used the GD recommended 30mm for the stop/tail and indicators but I would recommend using a 32mm if I were to start over.

25mm was used for side repeaters (which are still to be fitted)

Im about to order a 64mm for the sterring column and a 45mm (for something else - but cant recall what at this point!)

4. Rivnut Tool & Rivnuts

Although the GD build notes say its ok to use self tapper in a number of places, reading other blogs I am happier to use rivnuts of varying sizes and have just ordered a  Rivnut Tool and selection of Rivnuts ranging form M4 through to M8.

These will be used to secure a number of components in place such as Heater Unit, Extended Footwell Cover, Wheel Arch Access Covers, etc - more on this later

5. Socket Set

I have just started to fit the doors. A socket set will be most useful in fixing the bolts in place behind the 'A' pillar where it would be hard to reach with a spanner.

6. Dremel

This is essential and is used for cutting holes of varying shapes and sizes as well as being useful for sanding and fettling.

If you buy one go for one with the Circle Cutter attachment no 678-01 - its worth the price to save the aggro cutting the headlamp apertures alone

7. A 90 deg Adaptor for the Drill 

To allow it to get into those hard to access areas

Hole Cutting

Christmas Holidays 2011

Having drilled holes in the rear of the bodyshell for stop/tail light and indicators, I felt I had lost my virginity somewhat and decided that I would take advantage of the extra time available over the Christmas holidays to cut some more serious holes. Namely, headlamp apertures, oil cooler air intake and brake vents.

Now drilling uniform holes is one thing but cutting great big holes in the front of the body is another thing all together and quite scary. I'd like to thank Ryan for his detailed and informative build blog - not sure how I would be able to build this thing without the many blogs out there - on tips for cutting out the oil cooler and brake vent holes.


I've read much about the procedure for cutting headlamp apertures and the generally accepted method id to mark an inner circle 3mm less than the diameter marked by GD then use a drill and join up the holes. However, having invested in my Dremel (complete with accessories package) I did some googling and YouTubeing (link to circle cutter demo video) and found that my circle cutting attachment should be perfectly suited to the job.

With this in mind I set about cutting the 78mm dia hole as per the GD build notes

Using Dremel 678 Circle Cutter

As cut, prior to fettling

At this point I feel I must have a moan about the GD build notes and their recommended hole sizes. The 28mm dia hole for the indicators is too small (the earth tag wont pass through the hole) which was annoying as I had specifically bought a non-standard size hole saw for this task and then had to elongate the hole with the Dremel. Now the headlamp bowls wont fit the 78mm hole and these need enlarging!! Grrhh.

Oil Cooler

Following Ryan's advice, I masked up the area to be cut off and drew a pencil line to give me a clear guide. I then used the Dremel with a cutting disc to slice off the bottom of the 'bowl'

Masked up ready to mark cut line

Cutting bottom off 'bowl' using Dremel

After cutting out the hole for the oil cooler air intake, I repeated the procedure for the brake vents. Once cut I used a file to smooth the edges prior to rubbing down when I do the rest of the internal body edges.

Year End Progress Report

Sunday 1st January 2012

As the Christmas holidays draw to a close, I thought I would write my first blog of 2012 with a look back at what I have achieved so far...

Significant Achievements

1. Decision made to build GD427 Mk4
2. Order placed for white bodyshell with twin black stripes and various other components required for first stage of build
3. Collected bodyshell and components 3rd November 2011 - this is the official day one for my build counter
4. Removed all exterior (and some internal) flashlines ready for polishing
5. Majority of body holes cut - headlamps; indicators; stop/tail lights; oil cooler air intake; brake vents; fuse box; extended footwell
6. All lighting (except for rear fog and reverse light) test fitted
7. Made a start on fitting the doors