Scratch-Built Snake



I have been restoring ’65-’68 Mustangs at my house for 41 years. I have done 200 Mustangs and kept only a ’65 Shelby, which took me seven years to put together.

Now at 63 years old, I have decided I would like to build a ‘65 cobra with my son. Please help me with some literature or parts I might need. Thanks.


Assuming you want to build a replica of a ’65 Cobra, there are many choices to consider. The first question of course is how much do you want to spend?

With unlimited funds The Kirkham Cobra is considered the BEST with an aluminum body, stainless frame and accurate details. Although with prices starting at 100k before adding a few options it may be too rich for many enthusiasts. Additionally, it is not really a kit, so it may not satisfy your need to build.

Arguably, many consider the ERA kit to be one of the better fiberglass kits available and have a solid reputation amongst enthusiasts.

Other Cobra kits you should consider include:

Factory Five Racing
Unique Motorcars
Hurricane Motorsports
Backdraft Racing (
Shelby Cars NW “CSX Continuation Series Cobras“

This is just a short list of manufacturers I am aware of that manufacture good quality kits. By no means is this a complete list and would encourage you to do additional research before making a buying decision.

Other things to consider:

  • Make sure you understand what parts you are getting. More complete kits can save a ton in gas just going to get bolts and it all adds up in build time lost.
  • Get a build manual and read it. If the manual is not good, move on.
  • When considering the opinions of others, determine if they were the builder or simply a buyer. Builders will know first-hand of any shortcomings in the kit.
  • Best of luck with your selection and build. Cobras are fun cars to drive and always draw their share of attention when sitting still.

    Wrench safe,

  • (will not be published)

6 Responses to “Scratch-Built Snake”
  1. Judson Shutts
    Judson Shutts

    Ive owned two Factory Five Cars, a GTM supercar and currently a Type 65 Daytona and they are the best bang for the buck and the factory is great in giving support as well as the Forum. Highly recommend FFR….

  2. Tom O'Neill
    Tom O'Neill

    I did the same thing beginning in October of 1998 with my youngest son. We started with what I would say was the best true kit car available at that time, A Classic Roadster’s 427SC. As stated in Mark’s reply, getting as complete a kit as available will save you tons of time and the Classic Roadster was just that, You were given two manuals, a donor car manual showing what you would need to take from a Mustang II or Pinto, and a assembly manual with complete details of how to assemble each segment of the build. As for parts you needed to purchase you were not only given the description but also the part number needed.

    The wiring harness was complete with provisions for A/C, back up lamps, solenoid door latches, Electric fan, Center High Mount Stop lamp and electric fuel pump. All mounting locations for under hood were identified in the body mold to correspond with the harness. You provided the engine, trans, drive shaft, rear axle, shocks, electric cooling fan and seat belts, wheels and tires and the donor car components listed before.

    I only found one mounting hole for the radiator (also provided) that needed to be slightly opened up to accept the bolt on my kit. From start to finish, including paint, we spent nine months during the build and that was while working full time and my son going to high school and he rebuilding the 351 Windsor engine we chose to power our Cobra. I have now been enjoying my Cobra for 24 years and my son will be getting the cars as his soon. Mark is correct that it is a fun car to drive and draws major attention wherever I drive it. Unfortunately, Classic Roadsters is no longer in business but I was never unhappy for choosing them for my CObra Kit.


  3. Edward

    I built and drove a Factory Five roadster for 12 years….IMHO, this is the best DIY kit on the market…
    Certainly the safest and most researched chassis made…Don’t believe the hype, you can plan on at least a year’s hard work, to get it finished…I was working full time when I built my car, and it took two years…Don’t go for the big-block b.s., small blocks, properly set up, will rule in this kingdom. Mine was a supercharged 302, and danced with the big boys handily.

  4. Bud

    My son in law has built several Cobra Kit cars. He researched for about a year, even visiting the manufacturers of a few of the kits. He settled on Factory 5 as the best kit available and has not regretted it. Based on his experience, I would not consider any other kit.

  5. John Johnson
    John Johnson

    Am in the same boat. Have body, engine, trans, etc. Made my own sandblast booth from plywood and window glass. Suspension is being pieced together from Ford vehicles. F series truck control arms, Crown Victoria control arms, Crown Victoria spindle and brakes, etc. these are easily sand blasted, checked for damage, painted, and new bushings installed. Chassis is being scratch built from plans from “Cobra Restorers”. Not all parts will be made from prints since Jaguar parts were initially used. Ford makes an IRS of 8.8″ that I am considering. I have a Ford 9″ that I am considering modifying into an IRS using additional F series and CV control arms. Doing so I will convert drawings and parts to CAD to lay out the chassis to scale. Brackets to mount suspension components are subject to design as required in CAD with metal shop to waterjet, laser, or plasma cut what is needed in quantity. Burning out to printed drawings by Plasma or Oxy- Acetelene is possible. Equipment is available in many shops. Mill and drill are available for machining as required. Welding and painting will be done in my garage.