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Thread: Build vs Buy

  1. #1
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    Build vs Buy

    I am in the early stages of planning a build where we have acquired a donor and will spend the next two years refining it before ordering and starting the kit. You can get the rough idea here: Intro.

    I was reading through a recent thread about budget (Link) and it got me thinking if building a FFR Roadster is the smartest choice. There are lots of finished Roadsters selling in the $30-35k range and most have much higher spec than what I am planning with my budget build. I wouldn't be too surprised if some cost over $50k to build and are still selling in the $30s. I have guesstimated a budget for my build between $20-30k depending on options and using this excellent cost list as a rough guideline: John's Build Cost.

    I realize this is not purely a financial decision and I am not trying to make money from my project. I love to build things and this would be a great project with my son resulting in one of my dream cars, neither of which can be quantified. However, if I am going to spend at least a year of my life building, I don't want to end up regretting it on completion.

    I fully expect this is a biased group, but I am very interested in your opinions, especially in hindsight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member frankb's Avatar
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    Snowdave: You are going to spend your money on some form of entertainment whether it is a Cobra or skydiving, or whatever. It all comes down to being your personal choice. FFR8317 was my second big project, the first being a 1970 Mach1 restoration, and I did neither with the goal of making money. Working with your son sounds like a great way to spend money if you ask me! And you can drive the results!
    FFR MK4 #8317, 393 Cleveland, Lunati VooDoo solid roller, CHI 3V heads and intake, TKO 600, Std roadster seats, 8.8 3.55 diff, 17" Halibrand replica wheels, Ford "Magnetic Metallic", silver ghost stripe.

  3. #3
    Seasoned Citizen NAZ's Avatar
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    Build or buy, you'll spend plenty of time working on it after it's complete as they are never really finished.

    Buy one and save money / time and you still get pride of ownership.

    Build one and create magical memories but whatever you think it will cost and however long you think it will take -- double that number.
    33 Hot Rod Super Pro Drag Racer
    33 HR NHRA Cert Roll Cage Build

  4. #4
    Senior Member cgundermann's Avatar
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    The personal pride in “built not bought” and the time with your son are priceless! And when you build your own, you tailor it exactly to your specifications and needs. You more than likely will save money buying one already built, but the time and money doing a hobby build is worth it IMO.

    Chris
    MK4 Basic Kit #7404, 347 EFI - Pro M Racing ECM, 30# injectors, 70 mm throttle body, 80 mm MAF, Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads & RPM II intake, all new G-Force T5, 3:55 gears, Pro 5.0 shifter, 3-link, carbon fiber dash/custom Speedhut gauges and paint by Da Bat.

  5. #5

    Steve >> aka: GoDadGo
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    Welcome Aboard & Either Option Can Be A Good Path!

    Like Naz stated if you build one then you will create magical memories, but it will likely cost you more and life may get in the way of your build which it has for me on several occasions.

    I looked at two Factory Five's before taking on my project. The first was a nice donor build MK-3 powered by a 302 with a T-5 while the second was an over the top supercharged MK-4 that was sporting a pumped up engine out of an early 2000 Mustang Cobra. Both were fine cars, but the owner of the second suggested strongly that I build my own car since I knew so much about Factory Five. He refused to sell me his car because he would be doing me a disservice since he understood the joy of the build shortly after I took on the task.

    Either path you take will be a good path; however, if you buy a car you will miss the ups and downs of the build.

    Finally, I'm a banker by trade so money spent on these wonderful machines are not dollars well invested, but often times are dollars that were well spent.

    Please Keep Us Posted!

    Unconventional Cobra:
    https://youtu.be/_wnHDNgnNqs

    What It Pretty Much Looks Like Today:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOID7yvBRPU&t=1s

    Steve
    Last edited by GoDadGo; 01-12-2019 at 06:45 AM.

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  7. #6

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    I was BUILD all the way. My interest was more about learning and actually building a car by myself. I've worked on cars in the past in a minimal capacity, but wanted to REALLY learn about cars. The fact that it was a Cobra made it extra cool for me, and continued to feed my interest in getting it done. You may be able to find an already purchased but unstarted build in the classifieds one day. That's how I was able to obtain mine. Best of luck. Dave
    Last edited by DadofThree; 01-03-2019 at 09:00 AM.
    Dave
    Mk 3.1 - #6882 - 5.0L 302 - FiTech EFI - 3-Link - 3.08 Ratio - 15" Wheels
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  8. #7

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    It all comes down to your personal goals. I believe you need to ask yourself these questions: If you buy, a year or so down the road, will you regret your decision and wish you had built? Or if you build, would you say to yourself a year into the project "This is too much work - why didn't I just buy a finished car?" I think the answers to those questions will help you set your path.

    It's taking me way longer than I ever expected, but I relish every minute of the project and have no regrets whatsoever. I know every bolt on my car. Just sayin'
    Mk IV Roadster - #8650 - delivered 7-17-2015 - first start 7-28-2018 - first go-kart 10-13-2018: a work in (slow) progress
    Complete kit / 2015 Coyote / TKO600 / IRS / Wilwood brakes / Mid-Shift mod / Power Steering / Heater and Seat Heaters / RT turn signal / Breeze radiator shroud and mount

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    Great responses/insight so far, please keep them coming. You have already given me three specific points that help articulate my concern.

    First, the comment regarding doubling time & money for the build. With my guesstimates at 1 year and $20-30k, doubling it puts me at 2 years and $40-60k. Sadly, this level of disparity between cost and eventual selling price pushes me heavily into the buy camp.

    Second, my son and I are very different when it comes to projects. I am very slow and methodical and my projects usually reach 90%, which is often good enough for my standards. My son on the other hand is a great idea-guy, but usually lacks motivation and only occasionally contributes on the physical work for short periods of time. I/we have built four motorcycles, an electric scooter and are currently working on a go-kart and this difference in approach has almost always meant I do most of the work and he mostly contributed with ideas and troubleshooting.

    Finally, all of our projects so far have been under $1k. The idea of jumping into the deep end with a much bigger, costlier project is certainly intimidating.
    Last edited by snowdave; 01-03-2019 at 10:35 AM.

  10. #9
    KDubU's Avatar
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    Building is a lot of fun. Yes there will be times of frustration and confusion but this community will help you through those. As others have mentioned, building your own car is an incredible feat and something that you will not regret. Now saying this, one also have to consider that it will take a lot of your time and yes it will cost more than you will ever sell it for (remember your labor is free). You also get to make it your own from paint color to various mods you may take on. Now can you buy a finished one and be driving in a few days, sure and that is a great option too as you will find some nice builds out there.

    It comes down to your priorities and I know personally that if I could build one with my son or had built mine with my Dad (that was the original plan but he passed suddenly), then I would build.
    Last edited by KDubU; 01-03-2019 at 09:22 AM.
    Kyle

    Complete Kit pickup 09/05/2015, 351w, QF680, 3.55, 3-Link, 15" Halibrands with MT's, Painted Viking blue with Wimbledon white stripes on 03/15/2017.

  11. #10

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    Financially speaking, it never pays well to build your own. When you sell your pet project, you'll be lucky to get 75% of your parts cost. You're almost always better buying someone else's headache/project.

    BUT... it may not be exactly what you're dreaming about; color, interior appointments, engine choice, even camshaft choice. Some of those things can easily be changed, and some not. I wanted a car with a Coyote engine and 6 speed auto. I'v never seen one built, much less seen one for sale. So building was the only option.

    Building has it's own rewards, as said above. But you need the time, patience, and ability to do that. Building your can easily take 2 years, and 3 is common. If you want to drive the car this spring, buy a built car.
    .boB "Iron Man"
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    FFR MII: Dart 427W, Momar 8 stack EFI, Tremeac TKO, IRS, Red with Ghost Flames, 600'ish HP.
    -- Gone, but never forgotten
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  12. #11


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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdave View Post
    I realize this is not purely a financial decision and I am not trying to make money from my project. I love to build things and this would be a great project with my son resulting in one of my dream cars, neither of which can be quantified. However, if I am going to spend at least a year of my life building, I don't want to end up regretting it on completion.
    If you are not looking at it as a financial decision what kind of regrets do you suppose you might have upon completion?

    Going at it with a good, well known and rehabbed Fox donor is a great way to do the project on a budget. Lots of guys fall into the "It has to be all new", "It has to be upgraded", "It costs more so it has to be better" trap. That's all fine if that is what they want but it is not the only way. I've built &/or painted FFRs for customers who were banging on the door to 6 figures and done others that were sub 30K. The guys on the low end are having just as much fun and enjoying their cars as much, sometimes more, than the guys on the high end! I don't think you'll be experiencing any regrets in the end and if you build and shop wisely you can hit your targeted budget One comment regarding that---John's build cost list is comprehensive but it is nearly 20 years old so expect some upward price changes on many items, but on the flip side there are now more choices for better components than there were back in the Mk1 days when John built his car.Some of those can save both time and money!

    Good luck!

    Jeff

    EDIT:
    You added your second reply #8 after I began composing mine. You brought up "level of disparity between cost and eventual selling price" which doesn't seem to mesh with your earlier statement of "not trying to make money on the project". You need to be honest with yourself which of these two statements are where you're really at. Fact is that in todays market a well done donor build that cost a little under 30 will sell for pretty much exactly that. With few exceptions and special circumstances a 70K build will not recoup the build cost. Not something that a lot of guys want to hear but how I've seen it go for nearly 2 decades...

  13. #12
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    And don't forget that if you decide to build and at some point in the future you need help / get frustrated / run out of time or motivation - there are talented people who can come help you out. (Shout out to Mark Dougherty AKA the traveling builder)

    It was amazing watching him work. I spent more time reading the instructions and finding the parts than he took to install them!

    Greg Hevron

  14. #13
    Senior Member phileas_fogg's Avatar
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    I'm surprised nobody has suggested the Build School yet. Attending Build School with your son will give you both an idea of how much effort it takes to build one of these cars. The school does a base-line build, so any modifications you do just add to that base. Build School is a blast!

    After Build School, you may determine that buying a car is best for you and your son. But you'll still have tasted what it takes to build a car.


    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

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  16. #14
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    Still great insight. As to cost, my goal is to simply not lose my shirt on the build. Breaking even or losing a few grand on the sale is fine.

    I looked into the build school and the minimum age is 12, which my boy will turn in May. It is just the other side of Lake Michigan, so we are definitely considering it.

  17. #15

    Steve >> aka: GoDadGo
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    Check out Edwardb's Build Threads and the Factory Five assembly videos in the meantime.
    Also, consider ordering the assembly manual and read that sucker a couple of times.
    You'll make a more informed decision the more information you take in.

    Good Luck From The Dark-Dart Side!
    Last edited by GoDadGo; 01-03-2019 at 11:01 AM.

  18. #16
    Out Drivin' Gumball's Avatar
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    Snowdave -

    There are lots of guys out there who want (or think they want) to own and drive a Cobra replica, and the market is filled with cars at every price-point and quality.... from budget build FFRs to Kirkham and Shelby continuation cars. Often, those guys dip their toe in the water, drive it a bit for a summer or two, and then move on to a Corvette or something more civilized. I'm sure that's an over-generalization and that some who buy their cars already built go on to long-term love affairs, but I'd bet that's the minority of those who bought a completed car.

    On the other hand, builders also fall into two camps - those who love the process and build, then sell, more than one car and others who labor for years (or some fortunate and skilled souls who build in just months) and then afterward revel in the enjoyment on the road... continuing to build memories.

    Superformance owners will often talk about how their car is "factory built" and that it's a consistent quality.... no "backyard builds" for them. For some, that's a great way to go, but for someone who wants to build and have the pride of putting their own stamp on the car, a carefully built FFR can far exceed the quality of many of the "factory built" cars. While I'm sure the Superformance guy has pride in his car, as does the person who bought a nice finished FFR, there is really no comparison to having put your hands on every single nut, bolt, and component of your car.

    Ultimately, only you can decide what type of potential Cobra owner you really are..... and whether a Cobra is really the car for you. Best of luck in your choice and let us know if there's anything we can do to help.

    P.S. Noticed you mentioned that the build school is just across the lake, so I'm guessing you're in WI or IL. Lots of builders from those states here, including me (about an hour west of Chicago) who would be happy to let you see their cars - either finished or in some stage of construction. PM me if you're interested.
    Later,
    Chris

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

  19. #17
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    Lots of great responses that I can't add much to. But based on what you've said, your comments about being concerned that in the end it won't be worth what you put into it (labor being free of course) then I personally would probably recommend against building. And there's no getting around these things are a lot of work and require a significant investment of your time. Not just money. If you're really not committed to the build, it might not be for you. Lots of stalled builds out there for that very reason. And those get sold for an even greater loss typically. Most of us that enjoy building (count me as one) see that as one of the major points and frankly kind of feel disappointed when it's done. Yes, they're a blast to own and drive. But getting there is a blast too. If that isn't you, maybe you should consider shopping for one that's already built. But having said that, and I'll be careful here, not all builds are created equal. Some are simply stunning, others are OK, others I wouldn't feel safe driving in. The engine, options, color, condition, etc. are factors when shopping for one that's already built. But so is build quality.
    Build 1: Mk3 Roadster #5125. Sold 11/08/2014.
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    Build 4: Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe #59. Gen 3 crate Coyote. Delivered 12/2/2017. #59 Coupe Build Thread

  20. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdave View Post
    First, the comment regarding doubling time & money for the build. With my guesstimates at 1 year and $20-30k, doubling it puts me at 2 years and $40-60k. Sadly, this level of disparity between cost and eventual selling price pushes me heavily into the buy camp.
    But this is a very valid point that was made: I told my wife it would take 2 years to build, because I wanted to add a 6-8 month buffer to the 1.5year that I thought it would take me. It took me longer than my max estimated at 2 years 8 months to get it on the road safely, how I wanted it, and legally. And it's still not painted. AND, with my donor engine (which I spent money and time to rebuild), transmission, rear end; I'm more than $10,000 over my very conservative budget. (again, before paint)

    But the car fits me like I want it, and I LOVE driving it with just the right features that I wanted.
    Last edited by DadofThree; 01-03-2019 at 01:05 PM.
    Dave
    Mk 3.1 - #6882 - 5.0L 302 - FiTech EFI - 3-Link - 3.08 Ratio - 15" Wheels
    Greenhorn and doing the best I can
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  21. #19

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    "I love to build things and this would be a great project with my son resulting in one of my dream cars …" This tells me all I need to know to suggest building. That you have a good tool collection and experience maintaining racing motorcycles, as stated in your earlier post linked above, makes it even easier to suggest building.

    For what it's worth: As I embark on my 8th year of building, I occasionally wonder whether a used Porsche 911 or the like would've been wiser, especially now, with a good marriage, multiple other hobbies and a career/small business demanding a lot of my time. But ultimately, I have never regretted a dollar or a minute spent on the project, and this is (among other reasons) why: despite 20 years of maintaining my own motorcycles, bikes, cars, etc., the education has been tremendous - especially with the electrical, suspension and fluid systems, which I never had a real reason to dig into before.

    My sense is that many regret these projects when they don't fully appreciate how much time is required, or don't appreciate how much it costs to get from having the kit in your garage to a completed car rolling down the road, or don't appreciate the limits of their own skills, patience, time, etc. A very candid and sobering account of these troubles can be found by Google-searching for "fail, fail, fail, Type 65." With great honesty, the author addresses a different topic - getting in over his head in terms of the skills and time involved in building - but it is still good reading for anyone with multiple obligations competing for his or her time.

    Good luck and let us know what you do!

  22. #20
    EFI Rules and Carbs Drool Arrowhead's Avatar
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    The problem I have with something already built is there are always things that I don't like and end up spending more money and time redoing someone else's work. Heck, even when I built it I'm not happy and spend more time and money changing it.
    Arrowhead's '33 Hot Rod Build Site:
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  23. #21

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    I went with all new parts for my build and it helps me to think about the price of a new car in the range of the project budget.
    Let's say instead of my kit, I bought a new base Corvette at $55k, that car may be worth $35-$40k today and still headed down in value.

    Two bad financial decisions does not make them right, but it helps me to rationalize the fun I've had with the build and the enjoyment of driving it.

  24. #22
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    The first question is, do you want the experience of building or not? If the answer is no, then buy one. You'll be driving immediately rather than waiting a year or more. If the answer is yes, then build. If you're on the fence, then give it some more thought. Building is not for the faint of heart. It will take over your garage or work space (or at least a portion thereof) for a while. However, you will learn a great deal and it's a fun experience. I was a Jaguar mechanic in college and have done almost all of my own wrench turning since on my ground based vehicles, and some on airplanes as well so while I've never built a car before I have enough of an idea of projects to understand the scope.

    For me I decided that while I wanted to have a car like this, I wanted the building experience. My wife and kids were all interested in the build as well and specifically in a Cobra. I visited the FFR booth at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh WI when I had to fly up there one day for work and sat in one. I was surprised at how well the ergonomics worked for me, and ordered a base kit a couple of days later. It arrived October 1st and I've been working on it as time allows. The goal from the beginning was for it to be a family project and that's part of what slows it down. My kids love clecos, although clecoing the panels goes beyond their attention span. They also love painting the aluminum panels, although their technique... leaves a bit to be desired. At the end of it, they'll all be able to say "Dad and I built that" and you can't put a price on that and the memories you make. I'll be able to drive them to school and pick them up (one at a time, obviously) and have fun with it.

    How to go about it? It all depends on how much you want to spend. There are a lot of design decisions to be made and lots of ways to go about it. Personally I did the base kit and the donor car route. I've been keeping track of my spending and am still at under $20k including shipping from Stewart and a decent number of options from FFR. I'm tracking towards total cost in the $25-30k range and aiming for 400 HP. I've bought two donor cars (included in that under $20k number) and they're providing most of the parts I need thus far. I'm on the lookout for a third parts car that has some of the remaining parts. I'm buying some parts new that I want and going with some used, just looking at what makes sense for what I'm trying to build.

    If you do build, do it the way you want and don't worry about overcomplicating things or "keeping up with" anyone else and their build (or expense). There are a lot of ways to skin the cat and a lot of ways to answer each design decision that comes up. Do the research to figure out what makes sense for what your goals and limitations are with the build and do it that way.

  25. #23
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    My wife and I purchased a completed Mk III several years ago. Car was very close mechanically to what I would build. 347 stroker, T5, 8.8 staight axle. We have a new car dealership and have worked on several FF roadsters for friends when they encountered technical problems. Remembering half completed model kits stopped me from building one. I knew the component costs of the kit, plus running gear and figured if the car could be bought anywhere close to that number it was a deal, not considering assembly time and painting. Since purchasing, we have changed the complete interior from tan to black including a new dash, leather seats, carpet and door panels. Also changed wheels to knock off hubs and Halibrand type 15" wheels from Vintage Wheels. Have probably invested another $5000.00 in the car but, it got it closer to our specs. And, we have been able to play with it for three years. I admire those that have the ability/patience to build from scratch and would be remiss in not giving all of you a shout out for a good job, but I know my limitations. Forget trying to make lots of $$$'s, the joy of ownership is the looks from everyone when you take these beasts down the road.

  26. #24
    Senior Member rich grsc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdave View Post
    Still great insight. As to cost, my goal is to simply not lose my shirt on the build. Breaking even or losing a few grand on the sale is fine.

    I looked into the build school and the minimum age is 12, which my boy will turn in May. It is just the other side of Lake Michigan, so we are definitely considering it.
    That says it all. Buy one already on the road, you will never break even. Do you even like driving a cobra?

  27. #25
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    I'll throw in my couple of pennies worth... I bought a second hand, NOT STARTED, Mk4. I bought it in Aug 18 and with the exception of paint and some minor final touches, it's ready to gel coat drive it now. So in about 4 months. BUT, I'm single and I chose to treat the build like a part time job... Ie. I worked on it for 4 hours per day weekdays and typically about 15-18 hours on the weekend. I made it my number one priority. ( I have no life ) Now I tell you this because at the time that I bought mine, I could have easily, and in fact looked at buying 3 / 4 others that were completed. I chose to build. I wanted to know that if I had a problem with something not working, I know how I wired it. I know how I fixed the trunk latch. I know how the 3rd brake lights are hooked up. I knew why I chose to put the emergency cut off switch in the passengers foot box... These are all decisions that I made to make the car mine. I also believe that I will not sell this vehicle any time soon. I'm not even considering how much the car with hold or increase or decrease in value. I do plan on showing my car at local and regional type car shows and doing other cruises and such so I'm doing everything I can to make it look top notch but at the same time, I'm not going overboard.

    If I were to sell you my car right now, you would have no idea how I installed my cruise control or if I properly torqued my suspension parts... Did I put the right kind of oil in the rear diff? Things like that you just don't know if you buy a built one from another builder.

    Ask yourself. Do you plan to keep the car after you get it for a very long time or do you think this is just a phase that your going to get tired of in a year and move onto the next fun toy? If if is, Just buy one, enjoy it and sell it..... If your planning to keep it long term, build it... work on it... make it your own... Kind of like a woman... You can date her, and get rid of her or your can date her, build a relationship, court her, marry her, and enjoy a long life with her...

    FWIW, I'm in about $44k... This is current and doesn't include what I'll pay on paint and body as I'm going to have that professionally done. This includes Kit, Tires, Engine/trans and a lot of stainless steel hardware upgrades along the way.

    Just this past weekend I found myself walking around and around my Mk4... Saying to myself.. I like what " I " did there. "what can I do next to make it better, cooler, more fun?" I seriously just stop and stare at it... I promise you, if you don't build it yourself, you won't have that personally feeling.

    Mk4 20th Anniversary #8690 ( #8 of 20 )
    Purchased 8/18/18----Build Started 8/19/18
    First Start 11-1-18
    ---- First GoCart 11-7-18
    BluePrint Engines 347ci / TKO600
    Carb / Heater / Heated Seats / Cruise Control / Drop Trunk & Battery

    Build Thread Click Here Gel Coat Driver 1/12/19

  28. #26
    Junior Mint Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdave View Post
    Breaking even or losing a few grand on the sale is fine.
    You will be very, very, lucky to pull that off. People build them because they want to build them. If you just want to own one to drive and maybe tinker with, buy a finished one. As you've already seen, most of them for sale have a lot more into them than the selling price reflects. Just the way this expensive hobby is. The first one I built I made a few bucks on (not counting my labor and this was back in the early days when the market wasn't flooded with them). The second one I lost money on but I expected that, so that was part of the cost of the fun of building it.

  29. #27
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    I have not driven a FFR Roadster or Cobra yet, but am relatively confident I will love it. A local builder was nice enough to take me for a spin in his anniversary edition coyote powered roadster and it was everything I expected (though I was a bit surprised by the road noise of pebbles hitting the wheel wells). I have also been piling on the miles in the donor and since it is a convertible, I feel like I am getting at least part of the experience I expect with the kit. Finally, I am trying to line up a gawk/ride in a genuine Cobra, but realizing how precious it is, I don't want to be pushy.

    I do admit to being a bit jaded as I have owned my dream motorcycle for over 10 years now, a Ducati 996. No matter how awesome the roadster may be, I never expect it to match the Ducati. If it weren't for a recent broken back, I would likely still be shopping for the next 5 motorcycle projects.

    In addition to the Ducati, the Cobra, an original Ford F1 and a Norton Commando round out my bucket list of vehicles. I presume I will have a the Cobra for a few years and then sell it to fund the F1, but that is completely subject to change if I love it even a tenth as much as I have the Ducati.

  30. #28

    Steve >> aka: GoDadGo
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    Snowdave,

    Every time I go out to put a few more test miles on my car I simply cannot wipe the grin off of my face when I return.
    When you drive a quality build Factory Five, you will either love it or hate it.
    There Will Be No Middle Ground!

    Steve

  31. #29
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    Snowdave

    Just a bit on my experiences. Two Superformance cars, both now gone for a variety of reasons, mostly things out of my control. I'd still have the first if it didn't get crashed, not my fault. Mods were not always fun. On this pass I decided to build from scratch and then change most of what I got. My plans, my design, no rules.

    If you are thinking that a purchased car would be modified to your preferences go for it but the path of a new build based on your design may be easier. This is kinda like a big remodel on a house as opposed to just doing what you want the first time.

    As others have indicated building a Cobra for financial gains may lead to a level of disappointment. Do it for the Cheshire Cat grins, makes it all worthwhile. Enjoy your decision, hope your son enjoys the experience.

    Jim

  32. #30
    Itchief's Avatar
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    Snowdave

    I retired a couple of years ago and the roadster was my retirement project I thought it would take me a year or so to get it put together and on the road, started the build in November and six months later I was cruising in gelcoat.

    Completing the car has been one of my best accomplishments but if you love driving the car as others have said I don’t think that you ever stop trying to make the car better.

    Very few vehicles end up being a good financial decision I have lost money on every car I have owned and I fully expect the roadster to be the same.

    But every time I get out one the road and put the hammer down on a curvey two lane road I get a smile on my face you couldn’t wash off with Ajax.

    My recommendation would be to build

    Good luck

    Rick
    #8475 Complete Kit Delivered Nov 2014, started Nov 2015, Street Legal Apr 2016, Paint and Interior Completed Aug 2017, 390 BBF, March accessory kit, MSD Atomic EFI and Ready to run, TKO 500 with MidShift kit, hooker headers, 3 link, track lock with 3.55, sway bars, power steering, wipers, heater

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  34. #31
    Senior Member MPTech's Avatar
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    I never heard a guy that bought his car say "OMG! The first time I started the engine, I was absolutely THRILLED!!"
    There is nothing like that First Start! Second best is the first Go-Kart drive!
    I have never regretted building mine and it is an amazing sense of accomplishment.
    People are in Awe when I tell them I built it myself!
    I wish I had started it earlier, before my son graduated from college and moved away (he wishes I did too!)
    At the age of 29, last summer, I taught him to drive a stick in it and the next day he drove it 50 miles on a cruise with our club. He asks if we can go for a cruise every time he comes home now (knowing I'll let him drive it again).
    Speaking of that, I also recommend finding and joining a local Cobra Club. Our club is great! My wife really enjoys the members and their wives and we've traveled to Arkansas and South Dakota with them, cruising the Ozarks and Black Hills.

    My build was the base kit, I have a couple select "donor" items, but some parts I would HIGHLY recommend buying new: fuel tank & pump, radiator, PS rack & pump, wiring harness, brake master cylinder & booster, gauges. I also had the transmission gone through and the rear-end (IRS) built with all new gears & bearings. These are items you don't want replace on your finished build (these are 25 year old parts!)

    My build took 2 years, from delivery to licensing (would have been 1.5 years if I didn't have to travel to the Philippines 6 months for business (Grrrrr).
    Also, the more mods and diversion from the build manual, the more your budget & timeline will increase!

    Every time I walk in the garage, I'm glad I built it!
    Great Experience, Great Car, and Great People here that are more than willing to help with any issue.
    F5R #7446: MK4, 302, T5 midshift, 3.55 Posi IRS, 17" Halibrands
    Delivered 4/4/11, First start 9/29/12, Licensed 4/24/13, off to PAINT 2/15/14!! Wahoo!

  35. #32
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    I’m finishing up my 3rd roadster. 2 complete kits and 1 donor kit I picked up that was a under construction. All done in a 2 year period. I have a lot of time on my hands. In my case, I could have finished sooner but there was a lot of wait time. Waiting for parts, engine, paint and body fitting. All takes time. I love the build and am hoping to start another this year. But when you stand back and look at what you have created, or you get a lot of thumbs up while driving. There is no better feeling.

    Financial speaking in 2007 I bought a new corvette. Got rid of it 2 years later for a decent price but still lost $7000.00. I see no difference with the roadster except no one ever ran up to me and said “Wow. Is that a Corvette?”
    Build the car, you’ll never regret it.

    Scott
    MK4 delivered 2/24/2017. Complete kit #9023,IRS, Power Steering, Leather, heater, 17" wheels, sway bar ft & rr, tremec 600 and Gordon Levy Racing SBF 427. First start and go kart 8/19/2017. Graduated 1/15/2018
    MK4 #9230 complete kit delivered 1/27/2018. IRS, PS, leather, Tremic 600, SBF 427. Graduation 10/15/2018
    MK3 #5253 donor bought unfinished. SBF 331, T5 Trans.

  36. #33
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    I have been looking at/wanting an FFR Roadster since the MKII. I have ordered the info VHS and DVD as well as the build manual 2 or 3 times. I was intrigued with using a Mustang for the build. I’ve lost count of the number of build sites that I have read and reread over the years as well as saving info from many of them. I even bought a donor car about the time we had our daughter. I played with that car for a little bit, but then sold it as adding a child to the mix gave me even less time to try to start something. Then as she grew, I thought about buying a built car and making changes to it to make it more of what I thought I wanted. But it seemed that life continued to get in the way, if I thought I might have time, the funds were needed elsewhere, or we had the funds but no time. Now here I am 16-18 years after I first started this journey with a kid off at college, the funds are there, but still not sure I have the time. So, a couple of months ago we happened to be in Phoenix on our way to CA for a few days and I was able to stop by and talk to Gordon Levy. He is now building me a car for late spring early summer delivery. I still have a 61 Ford PU, a 65 Mustang and a 66 Mustang that I am working on, so I have plenty of “wrenching” to keep me busy. This is in addition to the wife thinking that a 33 would be really cool to have as well, so I may get to “build” an FFR yet. So, do what you feel comfortable with. Don’t let anyone tell you that you must do it a certain way. In the end it’s all about having fun.

  37. #34

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    I started mine last March and had it licensed in late August. I was fortunate to have a member (Stack) right around the corner who helped me through the entire build. Drove it in gelcoat for 6 weeks and had a blast putting 700 miles on the car. I bought all new parts and put in a coyote gen2 with electronic ignition. Currently the body is at Whitby's in Greensboro NC for paint. I don't regret any part of the journey. I've wanted to do this for 40+ years and never had the time or money until now.
    BTW I attended the build school prior to deciding to build and that did it for me. BUILD is the way to go. There is so much enjoyment in the JOURNEY that you will never get if you BUY.

    My 2 cents.

  38. #35
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
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    I bought a very basic build 11 yrs ago. I was working at the time and figured I wouldn't have the patience to build trying to do a few hours here and there. I got to drive and enjoy immediately. I do much better doing upgrades one at a time than a 2 yr project. Fortunately I have the skill and tools to upgrade from 4 link to 3 link to 2015 IRS. The only part that hasn't been out of the car is the TKO500 trans. Engine was a 351 and is now a 408. I have no idea what I have spent on this car but it is a lot. I do what I can afford at the time and every upgrade is thought out to get most bang for the $. But I never keep track of $ spent. If you think about buying get the basics that you want. If I were you I would look for a MkIV(for the best body shape), 2015 IRS, FFR front spindles(best front suspension design), 351W based engine and a TKO, acceptable paint color.
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

  39. #36
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    Thanks again for everyone's experience. I too have been thinking about this a very long time. I had Cobra models on my shelf 30 years ago. My high school friend built a FFR roadster using parts from my wrecked GT (though very few when he got done upgrading). His brother went on to be the head of R&D at FFR. It's always been a little bittersweet since I was the one thinking of Cobras. Now is a good time financially and time-wise to do this. The kids are 11 & 16 and will be leaving soon enough and we have the money and I have the time.

    As to setup; budget, practicality and the donor deal I found are driving the config I expect to end up with. It's just a 302, but the H/C/I bolt-ons combined with 3.73 gears make it pretty quick. I am spending the time now to tune using a wideband and quarterhorse to squeeze the last few ponies out of the existing config. I had a deal on a supercharger that would land me right where I want for HP, but it fell through so I am still looking. The T5 needs new synchros, but that should be easy enough when I have it out. I am planning on sticking with the live axle and doing my best to avoid the 3-link upgrade. This car will just be a driftless area backroad cruiser, so I don't need any fancy race or suspension setup. I do want to run black FR500 wheels and 13" Cobra brakes all around. Then it will be finished in blue with white stripes.

    In spite of all that, I continue to be on the fence. I currently see (3) completed roadsters near me for sale around $30k. I would gladly change my vision for the right deal, except for the paint. I can only envision red or blue with stripes, nothing else will do for me.

  40. #37
    Member Race Ratz's Avatar
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    I’ve been interested in these cars for over a decade. I live local to factory five and attended all the open houses for many years dreaming. A year and a half ago I was going to order the complete MKIV kit and have it built by RE. My job had me consumed five days a week with no time to think about building. I was at their last open house walking around getting ideas and taking pictures of all the cool cars, yes, I have pics of edwardb’s car, ready to take advantage of the summer sale. I had a couple of pics of cars for sale and decided to text the owner on one of them, also built by RE. My wife and I made arrangements to see the car, I knew the car and it’s credentials, had to show my wife. The car was local to me, as soon as the garage door opened, my wife was sold. Pulled the car out in the sun, WOW! We purchased the car and was driving it a week later. Even though I missed the build, my dream came true. I am now retired, have plenty of time to enjoy it, cruzing, car shows, etc. The car is a pro build with every option, has some FFR history, check it out on their webpage roadster gallery, customer, RE. Now to convince the wife on the truck build!
    Living a dream, thanks FFR.
    FFR 7644 MK IV. Coyote 5.0, Boss 302 Intake, Tremec TKO600, 8.8 rear 3 link, 3:73, Koni's, Wilwood brakes, 17" Halibrands, Nitto NT555's, SS side-pipes. Velocity Red Mica, Dark Silver stripes. Painted striped dash. Heated Leather seats. Heat, defrosters, wipers. Hidden bluetooth stereo.
    A dream come true.

  41. #38
    DavidW's Avatar
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    Build one, the reward is the process. Anyone can go buy something.....still rewarding but not the same.

  42. #39
    edwardb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdave View Post
    Thanks again for everyone's experience. I too have been thinking about this a very long time. I had Cobra models on my shelf 30 years ago. My high school friend built a FFR roadster using parts from my wrecked GT (though very few when he got done upgrading). His brother went on to be the head of R&D at FFR. It's always been a little bittersweet since I was the one thinking of Cobras. Now is a good time financially and time-wise to do this. The kids are 11 & 16 and will be leaving soon enough and we have the money and I have the time.

    As to setup; budget, practicality and the donor deal I found are driving the config I expect to end up with. It's just a 302, but the H/C/I bolt-ons combined with 3.73 gears make it pretty quick. I am spending the time now to tune using a wideband and quarterhorse to squeeze the last few ponies out of the existing config. I had a deal on a supercharger that would land me right where I want for HP, but it fell through so I am still looking. The T5 needs new synchros, but that should be easy enough when I have it out. I am planning on sticking with the live axle and doing my best to avoid the 3-link upgrade. This car will just be a driftless area backroad cruiser, so I don't need any fancy race or suspension setup. I do want to run black FR500 wheels and 13" Cobra brakes all around. Then it will be finished in blue with white stripes.

    In spite of all that, I continue to be on the fence. I currently see (3) completed roadsters near me for sale around $30k. I would gladly change my vision for the right deal, except for the paint. I can only envision red or blue with stripes, nothing else will do for me.
    Couple comments about this post: (1) A T5 with a 302, stock or mildly upgraded, is up to the task. Add a supercharger and you're probably beyond the power it can handle. Having said that, you talk about it being a street cruiser. It's very quick even without power adders. You might want to rethink the supercharger or the transmission. Maybe not the best combination. (2) "Sticking to live axle and avoid the 3-link upgrade." That suggests 4-link which has it's place for some, but honestly nearly everyone would recommend 3-link for a solid axle. Rides better, handles better, the added cost is very minimal. I'd be willing to bet most already built cars you look at will either be 3-link or IRS.
    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. 2015 crate Coyote, 2015 IRS. Legal 04/18/2017. #8674 Build Thread
    Build 4: Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe #59. Gen 3 crate Coyote. Delivered 12/2/2017. #59 Coupe Build Thread

  43. #40


    Not a waxer
    Jeff Kleiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardb View Post
    ... (2) "Sticking to live axle and avoid the 3-link upgrade." That suggests 4-link which has it's place for some, but honestly nearly everyone would recommend 3-link for a solid axle. Rides better, handles better, the added cost is very minimal. I'd be willing to bet most already built cars you look at will either be 3-link or IRS.
    Yes! Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. If you actually decide to build the car take the money you don't need to spend (at least not now) on that supercharger and use it to put a proper rear suspension under it right from the beginning by opting for the 3 link.

    Jeff

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