December 2000 - Cobra Journal

As mentioned in the introduction, our Cobra project is a father/son project to learn more about cars and engines and build something that will be a blast to drive. It was just after Thanksgiving that we decided to embark on this project. I spent the next several weeks surfing the internet looking for information. I had no idea there were so many kit car companies that built Cobras and so many choices to make. 

I quickly find the Cobra Country website which led me to Curt Scott's "The Complete Guide to Cobra Replicas" booklet. This wasn't quite as useful as I had hoped, but still definitely worth picking up if you're serious about buying a Cobra replica kit. I also found out about Jim Coleman's "Bitten by the Snake" video from this site. This video was a lot of fun and got us really psyched about our impending project, even if it wasn't particularly useful in helping us make our decision.

I also ordered a bunch of books from Amazon to learn more about cars and engines. The ones I found the most useful are:

The Car Builder's Handbook by Doug McCleary - very useful and informative.

Ford Windsor Small Block Performance by Isaac Martin - covers the major bolt-on components. 

Desktop Dynos by Larry Atherton - very useful in understanding how engines work.

I did most of my research by surfing the web and found a few manufacturer's web sites that were truly useful. I was particularly impressed with ERA's and JBL's websites and they quickly moved to the top of our list (not just because they had cool websites, but this didn't hurt).

We liked the ERA 427 because it seems to have a great reputation (from all the positive posts I read on various newsgroups), is well engineered, has an excellent assembly manual, and seems to have excellent resale value. But the JBL Roadster was also very enticing. The sophistication and performance of the chassis seems to be a notch above other Cobras, and after living with a couple "modern" roadsters that just don't have quite enough leg room for me, the stretched wheel base and added leg room was particularly appealing.

By the end of the month, we had pretty much decided on the JBL. But before making the final call, we decided to visit the factory and talk to the principals to make sure we felt comfortable dealing with them.

Next Month - visit to JBL, choosing a vendor, engine investigation