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Thread: Take me for granted . . . and I will kill you!

  1. #1

    Take me for granted . . . and I will kill you!

    With our roadster is reaching the finish date at FFR this week, we are looking forward to a great winter with lots of new experiences and skills to be learned and mastered, yet it is the thoughts of next summer that has me starting to grin. However, the comment in the title of this thread, which I plagiarized from one of the permanent threads, stuck with me. While I'm not afraid of driving this car, I do feel a level of respect is warranted and want to make sure my skills and judgement are up to the challenge of safely driving our new roadster and enjoying all the performance, sights, sounds and smells.

    What recommendations does the owners group have for a new owner to learn the limitations of his/her skills, as well as the cars performance characteristics (and live to tell about it)? I'm assuming that doing some auto crosses would be wise, but how many? In addition, would it be wise to plan a track day? Are there certain tracks that are more forgiving than others or ones that should not be attempted until a certain level of accomplishment has been achieved? Are there driving schools some of you have taken that you found to be beneficial?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your sage advice.
    Vince

  2. #2
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    Autocross as much as you possibly can. While track days are not wheel to wheel racing, I think this old saying still applies; only race it/track it if you can afford to total it. Screwing up in an 80 mph turn is a whole different thing than screwing up a 30 mph turn in the middle of a large lot.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

  3. #3
    Out Drivin' Gumball's Avatar
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    Vince,

    You're on the right track (sorry for the bad pun) with your thinking - these aren't just cars you jump in and go, especially if you're mind isn't on the task at hand. There are lots of ways to get acquainted with your new car, and it begins when you have the chassis done and are able to go-kart. If you have a safe area - large parking lot, private road, etc.... - you'll be able to put quite a few familiarization miles on it during construction. That will be good for both you and the car, as it hones your skills while at the same time giving you a chance to check for leaks and work out bugs.

    Once the car is done, there is no substitute for miles. My car has been on the road three summers and now has 10,000 miles - it still feels like a new experience every time I climb down into the cockpit and I'm always aware of your title on this thread.

    Once you have some level of comfort with the ergonomics and handling capabilities at reasonable street speeds, explore autocrossing and track-days (driver's school versions) in your area. The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) puts on great driver's school weekends all across the country, so there should be one near you. I've been an instructor with them since 2009 and have been racing since the early '90s and can't say enough about the quality of their schools. You'll get up to two hours per day on-track, but will only be able to have an instructor in the car if you have a full width rollhoop or two bars.

    These cars are the four-wheeled equivalent of a motorcycle or vintage fighter plane - you strap them on and have to be careful.... always mindful that a lapse in judgement or skill can have repercussions. Keep that in mind, put miles under your wheels, and always keep it within your limits and those of the car and you'll do just fine.

    All that said, here's what you have to look forward to.......

    Later,
    Chris

    "There are no more monsters to fear, and so, we have to build our own."
    Mk3.1 #7074

  4. #4
    Obviously you want to be respectful of the power on tap but I have to say after 2500 miles I find all the warnings I read prior to operating the vehicle to be a little over the top. I was almost scared of the car based on threads like this when I started driving it. The reality is for street driving it is hard to even be close to the limits of the car. Being a moron in any car can kill you and that rule still applies here. Just use a little common sense and you will be fine on the streets. My number one rule is be pointing in a straight line when you get on the gas hard.
    With that being said the above advice about drivers education and track days is still good solid advice. If you plan on tracking the car is is certainly worthwhile to be very familiar with the limits of the car.
    The intent of my reply is not to downgrade others advice. It is simply to point out don't let this thing psych you out. All the talk did that for me and I have now found it was a little over the top. My car is very easy and stable to drive. I have a coyote and IRS so maybe that is an easier configuration than others. Just reporting on my experience alone.
    MK4 #8900 - complete kit - Coyote, TKO600, IRS - Delivered 6/28/16 First Start 10/6/16 Go cart - 10/16/16 Build completed - 4/26/17 - 302 days to build my 302 CI Coyote Cobra - Registered and street legal 5/17/17
    Build Thread http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...e-build-thread
    PHIL 4:13 INSTAGRAM - @scottscobra

  5. #5
    Senior Member edwardb's Avatar
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    X2 to everything that Scott said. I too read all the warnings before driving my first build and my first times out I was terrified it was going to somehow jump off the road and drive me into a tree. I was pleasantly surprised then how well the car drove (a Mk3) and am impressed every time since. My current build, a Mk4 with a Coyote and IRS similar to Scott's, is an absolute blast to drive. With power steering and those big Wilwood brakes along with everything else, it's amazing. Rock solid and kept within reasonable limits is not hard or scary to drive. Having said that, I respect the car for what it is, and drive it that way. If you use common sense there's no reason to drive scared IMO. I've known several that have gotten into bad accidents (FF and otherwise) and in each case they were doing something that wasn't too smart. So yes, it will bite. Agree completely that a controlled environment like a track or autocross is a great way to find the limits. And your abilities.
    Last edited by edwardb; 10-10-2017 at 08:58 AM.
    Build 1: Mk3 Roadster #5125. Sold 11/08/2014.
    Build 2: Mk4 Roadster #7750. Sold 04/10/2017. #7750 Build Thread
    Build 3: Mk4 Roadster 20th Anniversary #8674. 03 of 20. Deliv: 08/05/2015. 2015 crate Coyote, 2015 IRS. Legal 04/18/2017. Red/white club for the third time. #8674 Build Thread

  6. #6
    Out Drivin' Gumball's Avatar
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    I concur with Scott and edwardb - I often refer to my car as "docile" and a "dream to drive." And, that's with manual steering and manual brakes. But, just below that veneer lurks a monster - see the line in my signature, which I stole from a recent Dodge SRT commercial. So long as you know what you're doing and keep everything within your limits, you can have a blast with this car without scaring yourself or anyone nearby.
    Later,
    Chris

    "There are no more monsters to fear, and so, we have to build our own."
    Mk3.1 #7074

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CraigS View Post
    Autocross as much as you possibly can. While track days are not wheel to wheel racing, I think this old saying still applies; only race it/track it if you can afford to total it. Screwing up in an 80 mph turn is a whole different thing than screwing up a 30 mph turn in the middle of a large lot.
    I agree with Craig 100%. You will learn what you and the car can and can't do by autocrossing. If it is not your thing, I still would recommend doing three. If you haven't spun the car, you haven't done everything you need to do. You can go 10/10ths autocrossing.

    I also agree that if you cannot afford to write the car off, don't put it on the track. Unless you purchase special track day insurance, you are uninsured (you are at autocross too BTW). I know someone that tracks his Cobra several times a year. He was able to reuse the frame after he rolled it on a track day. Everything else went in the trash. He didn't know about arm restraints. That cost him three years of therapy. Know your safety equipment for an open top car. Listen to Gumball if you are going that way. Get an instructor, and never go 10/10ths.

    The BIG thing for when you first go out, is that you cannot treat the gas pedal like you do in anything else you have driven. Smooth on AND OFF the throttle is important. Until you learn the car, don't even think about getting on it unless you are pointed completely straight. If it breaks loose, back off to neutral throttle, don't completely lift, which is the natural reaction. You can see people on Youtube doing that all day long.

  8. #8
    Steve >> aka: GoDadGo GoDadGo's Avatar
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    Having only driven 35 Go-Kart miles before my engine issue makes me honestly appreciate this thread.
    These cars, even with minimal horsepower, are faster than most of what Detroit is offering today.
    Respect The Car And Respect That Right Pedal Or Bad Things Can And/Or Will Happen!

    Engine Issue Thread:

    http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...lock-Gentlemen!

    Last Documented Drive Prior To The Dreaded Uggggg Thread:
    https://youtu.be/yL4UmpII9ek

    PS: My new block should be in this week!
    Last edited by GoDadGo; 10-10-2017 at 11:22 AM.

  9. #9
    Average Moderator Garry Bopp's Avatar
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    Here's another thought ... attend the London Cobra Show that is organized by the Ohio Cobra Club. The club rents the Mid-Ohio race track for 2 days, in conjunction with the Show. The drivers are divided into 3 groups ... novice, intermediate and advanced. They have excellent classroom and track time instruction. Unlike other "track day"events, this one is limited to Cobras and Mustangs. I've been attending the last 5 years and it is a blast! I will be there again next year!

    Garry
    I sure miss my coupe!

    F5R1004503SP 2004 Challenge Car, 331 Stroker

    Coupe # 031, 422" Windsor stroker by Southern Automotive (Dash autographed by Peter Brock)***SOLD***
    Unique 427 Roadster, 482" Aluminum FE by Southern Automotive***SOLD***

  10. #10
    This is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, thank you. I've done autocross a couple of times and have loved it, backing in the hot summer sun, not so much. I reached out to our local Cobra Club (MACC in KC) president and he mirrored some of the comments here about doing several autocross's and then working up to a driving school (first in their car and then in a Cobra). Here is a link he provide with some schools that I thought others might also benefit from. http://autoweek.com/article/car-life...complete-guide

    Cheers,
    Vince

  11. #11
    That link is very helpful; thanks Vince!


    John
    MK IV Roadster #8631
    Ford 302, Holley Terminator EFI, T5z, 3.55 Rear End, IRS, 17” Halibrand Replicas (9” front, 10.5” rear), Nitto 555 G2’s (275/40ZR17 front, 315/35ZR17 rear), Fast Freddie’s Power Steering, F5 Wilwood Brakes, FFMetal’s Firewall Forward, Forte’s Hydraulic Clutch & Throttle Linkage

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    X3 what Scott said. Ive said the same in a number of past posts. 95% of Cobra owners will never come close to releasing the full potential of their cars. Myself included. And that's fine. Its a good idea though to understand where the edge is. Wheels straight....generally no issue. Find a parking lot and from a stop turn your steering wheel a 1/2 turn. A little on the go pedal and hold on. Remember not to do that as you exit the gas pumps or Walmart. If you don't end up in the tag alders, you'll be pointIng in the opposite direction you wanted to go with major egg on your face.

    The nice thing about the Coyote powered Cobras is the engine develops its power between 3,000-3,500 rpm to redline. So, as a new driver on the street, puttzing around town you won't hit the big power. Easy peazy. In fact my GF learned how to drive stick on my 500 HP Cobra this summer. HAHA. Be respectful but don't instill fear in new drivers.

  13. #13
    Our engine will be a 4.6 4v, that served us well in a '96 Cobra we drove to over 200k miles. It has been rebuilt with all forged internals and fuel system to handle up to 1k hp. Although we are only going to take it up to about 450rwhp by setting up the boost to achieve that. I suspect that under 3,500 rpm it will be well mannered and then start to get progressively stronger on the way up to 7,000 rpm. So, as has been mentioned, throttle control will be criticle to vehicle control.

  14. #14
    Also. If you have a lot of power, having the wheels straight is not a get out of jail free card. When an engine hits its power band, especially with boost, all hell can break loose.
    I am normally aspirated, have pretty sticky tires, and have had it let go at over 70mph. My engine really kicks in at 3700rpm.

  15. #15
    Agree my car comes up on the cams very quickly at 3,000/3,200RPM mark. One nice thing about the BOSS intake is it pulls torque out of the bottom end & slides the power band further up the rev range. Makes for a nice street drive & better throttle control on a fast launch.

    Found out with an OH! S**T! moment with too a quick 1st to 2nd gear change when it was cold out that even in a straight line you need to keep engaged. Tires will tend to go away under 40* F. I think what the saying means is the car will give you zero warning its going to bite you. So its both sudden & violent.

    I also believe its just respect for what the car is & taking time to learn it. If you are driving scared or fearful you need to be driving something else. People who drive afraid make mistakes & bad decisions.
    Kevin
    MKIV #8234
    Coyote '13/TKO-600
    Delivered 2/7/14 - Plate "COYOTE NC1965" 3/25/15

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Ray's Avatar
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    From my files and I have no idea where most of this came from:

    Driving a Cobra Replica

    "If you want to just gas and go, and never have to worry about replacing an alternator, or snuggling down the header bolts, or getting a wet leg driving in a rainstorm, or learning how to set your carb float level, or driving in traffic on a warm winter day
    with "winter gas" in the tank, get a Corvette. "

    With a Cobra Replica you have to remind yourself that you are driving a handmade race car on the street. There is no compromise for anything other than pure speed. These cars are brutal and unforgiving, with all the refinement of a medieval battle ax. Like being in a relationship with an exotic dancer, you can never take anything for granted. These cars don't have millions of miles of testing refinement before you get yours. For any trip longer than an hour, you need earplugs, and goggles, and carry Advil and eye drops. You will need to learn to "read" the clouds for rain in your path, and have experience in un-wrapping your frozen fingers from the MotoLita. You will experience lady passengers "wetting" the passenger seat when you merge into traffic from an on ramp, and then nearly burn their calf getting out of the car.

    You will have all the invisibility of a burning Hindenburg, and flee from underground parking lots when uncountable car alarms are screaming your departure. When you shop, you will remind yourself that these cars get more attention than a dead body in a parking lot.

    With a power to weight ratio better than almost every supercar, you will find your 1/4 mile times traction rather than power limited. On the other hand, when you stage, out of the corner of your helmet's visor you will see almost the entire audience lining up at the fence, most with cameras up. If you track on a road course with a Porsche club, owners of expensive German machines will come to the fence to watch you power out in smoking over-steer. You won't even try to start your engine in the garage, but push it out onto the driveway, else your loyal watch dog will croak from the exhaust fumes. If you idle next to other "sports" cars at a traffic light, by the green, their girlfriend will be coughing green phlegm into her hanky, yelling at her date to just go! When you refuel, you might as well prop the "bonnet" open, because you are going to have to show your motor to just about every other guy there. When you order your wings at Hooters, your waitress will whisper in your ear "take me for a ride." When you stop at the red light, the girl in the convertible next to you will invite you to "take my top off too."

    When you slowly pass a troop of Harley riders, they will look over and give you thumbs up. When you want to ease out into traffic, other cars will immediately pause to let you go ahead of them. When your engine has its hot, crackling, intimidating exhaust side-pipe aimed right at the flank of the GTO, or the Z28, your exhaust pulsation's slowly unscrewing his lug nuts, the other car will remain motionless, as if the slightest quiver of his car will cause your car to stomp it dead. When you leave it open in a parking lot, and come back to find your sunglasses and cell phone still sitting on the tunnel, it is because your car has sullenly warned those who came over to admire it "touch me and I will rise up here and kill you dead."

    When you put that tiny silver key into the ignition, and begin your start countdown, your car will whisper "take me for granted, and I will kill you."

    When other drivers just hop in and snap up their belts while backing out of their parking space, you will still have two more minutes before you even get all the Simpson's properly on and snugged down. Pulling up in a Cobra Replica is like landing an F4U at an ultra-lite convention.

    In summary, very, very few drivers want this kind of attention, or can tolerate all that a formidable Cobra Replica demands. These cars are intolerant mistresses.

    But remember, there will come a day when you have to hang up your car keys for the last time. And perhaps you want to say then "I did it."

    Ray
    I'm not getting gray, I'm adding chrome....

    “Under-steer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car and over-steer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall and torque is how far you take the wall with you.”
    -- Jacques Schnauzee "World Famous Racecar Driver"

    "If you can make black marks on a straight from the time you turn out of a corner until the braking point of the next turn, then you have enough horsepower."--Mark Donohue

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Ray's Avatar
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    Part-2

    Ten Cobra Driving Safety Tips

    1. The two most dangerous words in aviation are, “Watch this.” The same goes for driving a Cobra. Humility is a wonderful personal trait to have for driving a Cobra safely. If you’re not humble now try thinking you’re a hotshot driver in a Cobra for awhile – you will get humbled, as they say down south, “…right quick.”

    2. “You don’t even know what you don’t know”. Huh? Well think about it – if you’re not a professional race car driver, you’re kind of out of your element in a Cobra. I saw a video of a Cobra going out of control and rolling because the driver missed a downshift at speed in a sweeping turn. This caused the rear wheels to momentarily lock up and the rear end to slide out and thus the rollover. I didn’t even consider that as a possibility when I’ve been downshifting all this time, did you? That’s my point; I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. That short wheel base Cobra you’re driving can introduce you to all kinds of nasty things you never thought possible. Be careful out there and learn from others. The problem with learning from the school of hard knocks is that the tuition is too high.

    3. “Know Thyself”, was said by the Greek philosopher Socrates. How true it is when it comes to driving a Cobra safely. I know that for myself I’m unqualified to be driving my Cobra anywhere near its performance limits. I have virtually no racing experience, very little training and I’m in my 50’s so my reactions are not what they used to be. Instead I have the advantage (I hope) of wisdom. It is said, “The superior driver uses his superior judgment so as to not have to use his superior skill.” The most important thing here is recognizing limitations, do you?

    4. I saw a video of a Cobra going out of control when the passenger door was not closed properly and the driver tried to close it while underway. The lean of the body when reaching for the door caused the throttle foot to press on the pedal. Probably not a problem in a regular car but in a Cobra that does 0 to 60 in less than four seconds it’s a recipe for disaster – especially when you only have one hand on the steering wheel! What’s the lesson here? If something falls on the floor or to the side of the passenger seat from g-forces or whatever, wait until you’re stopped (in neutral) before reaching to pick it up.

    5. Beware of the club ride. It could be that you will be surrounded by some guys driving bullets (it’s been said you don’t shift a Cobra – you just chamber another round) who are in denial or unaware of their limitations and driving experience. These guys and I’m including myself, have good intentions but are young at heart so the “two teenagers in a car” phenomena is in effect. You know how it goes; they say “This is so cool, let’s do something crazy!” Two teenagers in a car will do things one teenager in a car would never do. This effect can take hold in a club ride. Use caution and don’t get caught up in it. Be a defensive driver knowing someone, because of the above, may do something totally unexpected right in front of you.

    6. Street racing kills. It’s stupid and only the completely self-centered do it. It can kill you, or worse yet it can kill innocent bystanders. So just say “no” and go to a track. When that Viper pulls up next to you at the stoplight and revs his engine, then if you must, yell “Ace Raceway [or whatever your local track is called], this Friday, 6 PM.” You’ve just saved face and saved lives -- and I bet he never shows.

    7. Take command of your Cobra. You can’t be afraid of it or else timidity will prevent you from taking the decisive action necessary to stay out of trouble. Now you must respect your Cobra, but not be afraid of it. Analyze yourself privately deep down and determine if you’re kind of afraid of the car. If you are, then it’s time for some professional training or time to sell the car. This is supposed to be fun and if you’re afraid of the car why deal with it, it will only cause trouble. A Cobra isn’t for everyone and there’s no shame in that.

    8. Don’t let anyone tailgate you – ever. Folks behind you might want to get an “up close and personal” look at a Cobra and end up tailgating you. If you have to brake hard for some reason your car will stop much faster than theirs. You have no head restraints, virtually no crush zone and you’re basically sitting on top of a gas tank. Get the picture? Pull over to the slow lane and slow down if you have to in order to get them off your tail. Attention comes with the territory when driving a Cobra and the distractions can be dangerous.

    9. Do “what if” scenarios in your head. Quickly now, what would you do if you were going down the freeway and your throttle return spring bracket let loose and you went to full throttle with no throttle control. Too late, you’ve already crashed. My answer is instantaneous and simultaneous controlled braking, clutch in, neutral gear then ignition off and coast to side of the road watching out for traffic and then and only then think about what happened. The key word here is “instantaneous”. You can’t do this quickly if you haven’t considered it beforehand. Be graphic and realistic in your scenarios. What would it sound like and feel like if you went to full throttle unexpectedly going down the freeway? How much time would you have? My engine has an electronic RPM limiter so I’m not going to worry about blowing my engine by depressing the clutch at full throttle. And so what if I did blow my engine – my life is at stake here. “What if” scenarios are wonderful because they’re free, they can save your life, and as my dad used to say, they “tickle your brain.”

    10. Don’t go for a drive in your Cobra to clear your head. Clear your head then drive your Cobra. This ain’t the car to be driving when you’re distracted.

    11. A bonus tip: Have fun – safely.

    12. Leave the alcohol for the end of the day (maybe, a single beer with a meal, but no more.) These cars can go from fun to "OH ****!!" faster than just about anything I've driven.


    “There's nothing nice about a Cobra, it's stripped down to the essentials – a big engine, a small car, and four wide tires trying to keep the whole business on the pavement. It's loud, smells like gasoline, and shakes, shudders, and bucks. It makes your arms tired and your feet hot. You nearly crash about once every ten minutes. It's so damn wonderful you can’t believe it


    Cobra heard whispering to the owner: circa 1963

    "When you put that tiny silver key into the ignition, and begin your start countdown, your car will whisper "take me for granted, and I will kill you."


    From “Chasing Classic Cars”

    Barn Find or Bust? (Season 6)
    Wayne uncovers a perfectly preserved 1965 street legal 427 Cobra in a barn. He’s selling the car for a client and would like to leave it as is, but the potential buyers have other ideas. Before selling, Wayne and Roger get it running and Wayne takes it for a special last hurrah.
    Roger, after they fire it up in the garage: “Somewhere an environmentalist has a headache and doesn’t know why.”
    I'm not getting gray, I'm adding chrome....

    “Under-steer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car and over-steer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car. Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall and torque is how far you take the wall with you.”
    -- Jacques Schnauzee "World Famous Racecar Driver"

    "If you can make black marks on a straight from the time you turn out of a corner until the braking point of the next turn, then you have enough horsepower."--Mark Donohue

  18. #18
    Thanks for providing this to read again. Good stuff for the newbie.

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