Sunday, 31 December 2006

Seconds out...... Round Two

Well that’s the rear finished now – all I need is the reconditioned parts back from Wards and I can commence re-assembly. I suppose in theory this is a minor landmark – but it doesn’t feel like it – there still seems plenty to do before I have enough parts to start assembling onto a chassis. I suppose this is no big deal as my chassis won’t be ready until end of February / early March.

I’ve dug out all the parts for the front near-side ready for cleaning and painting – as you can see there doesn’t appear to be as many as for the rear. Some parts are not required such as the steering arm (this is replaced by a Gardner Douglas item as the steering rack is in front of the wheels as opposed to behind as on the Jaguar). The anti-roll bar mounting is not required either as the chassis is being constructed without. Advice from GD was that this is not really needed unless some serious use on track was planned. However it can be retro-fitted at a later date should I feel it’s necessary.

I am re-conditioning the front hubs myself as these are relatively straightforward compared to the fancy preloaded bearing efforts on the rear hubs. Stub axles, inner and outer wheel bearings are being replaced and new powerflex bushes will be fitted to the wishbones. Not sure if I’ll be able to fit these myself or if I’ll have to “borrow” a press?

Here we are at the end of one year and the beginning of another. I wonder how far on the build will be at this time next year? I have always had a rough programme of 2 years but without going into any detail. I have steered clear of having a strict build programme – mainly to avoid disappointment I think! I would hope that this time next year as a minimum I would have a complete rolling chassis with running engine and should be just starting work on fitting the body out. Now this may not seem like much – but I’m trying not to be overenthusiastic whilst remaining realistic with regard to budget.

Friday, 29 December 2006

On the subject of Colour......

Thinking about body colour (again) today. I have already decided to opt for a "gel coat" finish for two reasons:

1) Going to the expense of painting seems unnecessary given the quality of the finish that can be obtained with GD's gel coat - many mistake it for a conventional "paint job" apparently.

2) The "gel coat" has an appreciable thickness which means that stone chips do not tend to reveal primer (as would be the case with a conventional paint job). It's also a lot harder wearing - in fact Andy Burrows recommended "gel coat" if Track Days were to be on the agenda - which I think they may well be!

It has been said that using gel coats limits the number of available colours - obviously you can't have metallic or pearlescent etc - only solid colours. GD can supply a body shell in any RAL colour. Below is a picture of the full spectrum of RAL colours - in my book I wouldn't call it limited!

I have a copy of "COBRA The First 40 Years" by Trevor Legate (excellent book by the way) in it there are some excellent pictures of "39 PH" painted in the Team Willment Colours. I think this is what I'll go for - red gel coat and the stripes can be done with vinyl (but not by me if I want them straight!).

"39PH" is pictured here fitted with it's Le-Mans Hardtop - but you get the idea - haven't made my mind up about the white roundels on the sides yet though? Just need to identify the appropriate shade of red now.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

More Painting

Painted all the remaining components for the rear-nearside today in one go. It gets a bit tricky over coating black on black to ensure complete coverage- especially when the existing coat has quite a high gloss. I had solved this problem with a cheapo LED head torch this shows up the fresh coat you are applying quite nicely.

So that's all the components for the rear refurbished and painted. I'll leave the paint to cure for a couple of days - remove the masking tape, fit new grease nipples and pack away with the parts for the offside. All I need now are the reconditioned and new parts back from Wards and I can start re-assembly. I must remember to ring them next week and find out how they are getting on - they did say at the time that no news would be good news - but no news at all?

I suppose now I need to prepare myself for tackling the front suspension and hubs - I don't think there will be as much prep and painting although there are more, but smaller, parts - probably end up being a bit fiddly. I also need to get all the old grease out of the hubs - nice.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

No Man's Land -

You know the place - that time between Boxing Day and New Year. Thought it was time to crack on with the prep and painting for the other side of the rear. Had already painted the lower wishbone but decided I was gonna paint all the rest in one sitting to save time (and paintbrushes - don't seem able to get them clean so it's new ones each time) Just before Christmas I had stripped all the parts so today it was a matter of final cleaning and degreasing.

I use hot water all the time now - mainly it means that all the parts dry pretty quickly with being warm - it also means that the passivation process from the acid etching doesn't take so long either. But perhaps more importantly - as it's about zero degrees in my garage at the minute it's much more bearable on the hands! Which reminds me - I best leave the prepared parts in the house overnight to warm up ready for painting tomorrow - it's just a little too cold for the paint.

I've also been tinkering with the blog and added some more links (needed to set up my own website as a repository for all the info). I've also added a webcam! not bad for a net-virgin. At the moment it aimlessly stares out of the study window - It will be moved into the garage and the plan is to provide a time-lapse animation of the build. Perhaps a little ambitious? ...... we'll see. It's either going to be a looooong USB cable (which might not work) or a wireless webcam (which might not work either)!

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Dreaming of Engines................

Today is the first day of the Christmas Break!! However half of today has been wasted by recovering from the "Christmas do" last night. Didn't feel up to much so I wasted some more time thinking about engines. I haven't even got a full collection of refurbished donor parts yet never mind a chassis so engines are a long way off - but then again - engines are the exciting bit!

From the outset I was always going to use a Chevy 350 (0r 383 as these are 350's with a stroker crank). After the unbelievable test drive in the GD demonstrator (a 400HP LS1) I had again made an instant decision that approx 400 HP was what I wanted. The general motors LS engines have a lot going for them - but at the end of the day they just do not compare to a 350 Chevy on looks - I've said before that this project isn't necessarily about sensible decisions!

So... spent some time on the 'net and came across pro-performance unlimited .... you would not believe what treasures lie await on this site!!. Just to whet your appetites and to give you a feel for why Chevy 350 (383) over GM LS - then have a look at these video clips courtesy of pro-performance unlimited:

PS. Don't forgrt to turn up the sound!

OPTION 1 CHEVY 350 - 420 HP


OPTION 3 - CHEVY 383 - 450 HP

Should have spent some time filling in the blanks to get the blog up to date - but I think you'll agree this was more worthwhile! - However this is a monumentous occaison as it represents my first REAL TIME POST!

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Here we go again.

Now it's time to start all over again with the other side - not wishing to bore everyone with a repeat of the previous side ..... Here's some hot painting action instead!

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

One down.... loads to go.

That's all one side of the rear finished - all packed away ready for building up. Took the opportunity to fit new grease nipples to the lower wishbone. Didn't fit too well - looks to me like it needed a washer but none was present when I tripped it - more vanishing bits? Not to worry I took the old nipples off the universal joints I had junked and cleaned up the alloy domed washers of them - perfect.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

The Beginning ...... After the Event!

This in reality is the first post in this blog. I thought of blogging this project some time after actually starting it! So I’m gonna have to spend the next few days recreating what’s happened so far. I’ve set up a couple of links to a photo gallery and slide show (free hosting at to avoid getting aggravated it’s best to right click on the links and “open in new window” – otherwise you browsers “back button” may wear out!

Saturday, 9 December 2006

More of the Same.

More Cleaning, stripping and painting. That's all the components for the rear offside suspension and drive-train done. Just left them all hanging up for a week whilst the paint fully cures before putting them away to await rebuilding. It's all a little time consuming but well worth it, I'm more than satisfied with the results.

Also phoned Wards today. they aren't going to get the bits back to me before Christmas - no big deal as I've got nothing to bolt them on to! - Although I was looking forward to having some shiny new bits.

Had difficulty getting the remaining nuts off the rear shock shafts - no joy. Tried the nut splitter and eventually got the nut off but the threads on the shaft were goosed - explains why it wouldn't budge. Didn't bother with the other shock shaft as on closer inspection whoever last assembled it seems to have hammered it in and mushroomed one end.! That'll be two new ones then.

Called SNG Barratts but they had none and they had been on back order for a few months. So I called John Gordon's - he didn't have any either but said he could lay his hands on some no problem. Whilst on the phone to SNG I order some miscellaneous washers which appeared to have disappeared some time during the life of my donor?

Having some difficulty lining pictures and text up in the blog - seems like the preview window is just an imaginary concept!

Monday, 4 December 2006

Factory Visit

Went down to GD today - got off to a bad start as the A1 was shut at leeming lane due to an accident - if it wasn't for sat-nav I think I'd have been stuck there all day. Met Andy Burrows and his wife Meena and had a look round the workshop. It was a bit smaller than I expected but crammed full of delights none the less.

The best bit was when Andy took me out in the LS1 powered (400 HP) demonstrator - words fail me. I used to ride supersports bikes but somehow this thing seemed even faster. The acceleration was relentless. There was a story from back in the 60's that reckoned that Carol Shelby used to put a 100 dollar bill on the dashboard and if a prospective customer could reach it whilst he was accelerating they could keep it - I can believe that!


Right click and open in new window

I don't think I needed much more convincing. The only real choice was which body style to go for? GD give you the option of a MKIII or MKIV body. The MKIII was in effect GD's own interpretation of the Cobra shape. The MKIV body has been produced from a plug taken from the Orignial Superblower CRS moulds. The MKIV has slighlty more muscular arches but the main difference is in the position of the scuttle. This is further forward than the MKIII resulting in longer doors, more distance to the dash and more height below the dash - particularly with the more original flat bottom dash panel. I'm nearly 6'4" but there was going to be plenty of room.


Asked a lot more question but mainly in a daze now. Anyways the deal was done and a chassis was duly ordered and the deposit paid. Allowing for Christmas shutdown my chassis should be ready end of February / beginning of March - this should fit in nicely with the refurbishment of the donor parts.

Haven't ordered the body yet as I've not fully made my mind up on my build sequence - plenty of time for that yet

I forgot my camera - Doh! - Sorry.