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Thread: A few reminders to all owners & a good read for soon to be's

  1. #1
    Member freddiehebert's Avatar
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    A few reminders to all owners & a good read for soon to be's

    PART 1 A reminder to all owners & a good read for soon to be's

    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 hand made 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 oversteer. 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."
    Last edited by David Hodgkins; 05-02-2013 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Combining threads, changing title... :)

  2. #2
    Member freddiehebert's Avatar
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    PART 2 A reminder to all owners & a good read for soon to be's

    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. Its 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 its 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 S*^T!!" faster then 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."
    __________________

  3. #3
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    Excellent and so true!

  4. #4
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    This made me smile, then laugh, then shake my head..

  5. #5
    Administrator David Hodgkins's Avatar
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    Good, required reading for all gonna-be Cobra Replica owners!


    FFR 5369 Pin Drive, IRS, Trigos, Torsen, Wilwoods, FMS BOSS 302 "B" cam , Mass-flo. CA SB100 (SPCN) Registered
    Delivered 4/23/06. "Finished" 4/2012 (still not done!)


  6. #6
    Member wesmantoothAZ's Avatar
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    You pretty much summed up exactly why I'm going to have one someday

    In a twisted kind of way, anyone who wants to enter this world needs to be a little crazy, highly passionate about these cars, and very patient through the planning, building, and owndership process.
    Wes McCalley

  7. #7
    Senior Member tcoon's Avatar
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    Kudos! Well said. In four seasons of Challenge series racing I have spun mine MANY times, and can tell you it happens unexpectedly and in the blink of an eye. And that's with an "experienced" racing trained driver! Unless you're John George or Scott mcKay you need to tread lightly...and yes they spin too!
    Coyote powered Daytona Coupe Competition Racecar #21
    Challenge series #21
    FFR 33 Hot Rod
    2009 3rd place NorCal series
    2010 3rd place West Coast series
    2011 2nd place NorCal, 2nd place West Coast Series, 3rd place WERC class E1

  8. #8
    Senior Member shinn497's Avatar
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    Good advice!

    I'm sure this will apply especially to many of FFR's other models. Especially I think the 818 will should not be trifled with.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LuckyWinner's Avatar
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    Thats why all of us here on this forum, building or driving, get along so well. Most of us have never met face to face, but we are all brothers.... We all have that strange desire to tame the beast. We are all Snake Charmers.
    Owner MK4 7642RD, 393 stroker, Gordon Levy Super Alloy T5, HDX Clutch, Moser 3.31 3-link with disc brakes, 17" Bullit wheels, NT05's, Seat heaters donated by WarmSeats.com, door panels donated by Herbs Door panels.

  10. #10
    Administrator David Hodgkins's Avatar
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    I combined the two threads. Good reminders for those new to our hobby!


    FFR 5369 Pin Drive, IRS, Trigos, Torsen, Wilwoods, FMS BOSS 302 "B" cam , Mass-flo. CA SB100 (SPCN) Registered
    Delivered 4/23/06. "Finished" 4/2012 (still not done!)


  11. #11

    Carl
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    Fred,

    As a newbie to this world being at the start of my build, I very much appreciate your words of wisdom and advice.

    As one in the building phase of ownership, these words also emphasize the need for quality in our construction of these beasts. I dare say that for many of us this is a first time experience and following the manuals, good practices, and the advice of those that have gone before us is also important.

    I am not a racer or track experienced driver, but I have owned several high performance cars over my life. Modern sport cars are wonderful engineering marvels, but these vehicles also have ABS and dynamic traction control systems that keep us out of trouble (in most circumstances) but also give us a false sense of security when it comes to these replicars without them.

    Again, thank you for the reality check! It will make us all safer!
    Mk 4 Roadster
    October 25, 2012 - Kit Arrives
    April 8, 2013 - Build Starts
    August 23, 2015 - Rolling Chassis/Engine & Transmission Installed
    March 26, 2016 - Go Cart

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    Bravo!! Well said!!

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    owning a ffr for 14 years, this is the perspective truth of owning and being a part of a roaster of this nature!

    Thanks for reminding us of the fun and dangers of owning a vehicle like this!

  14. #14
    Junior Member Mr. Barry's Avatar
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    Very well said....As a former motorcycle rider, I am always aware of what is going on around me, and consider the fact that other drivers may consider me some kind of target! This either due to wanting a close up, or to see if they can go faster than you can....All of which , as said, is a recipe for disaster.....
    It IS the most fun you can have on four wheels, even after 11 years of driving it.
    Edward

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    I recently bought 5004 MkII, a very nicely built and beautiful roadster and drove it 1200 miles home. From Arizona to SW Washington in two days. The seller never used the side windows in Arizona and hadn't installed the gourmets in the doors to except them. First day was great, 600 miles and we made it to central California.
    Second day started at 5 am pouring down rain which changed finally to showers in central Oregon. Cheap raingear and not much choice about the weather leds me to add one thought to the above cautions: The 2300 lb. curb weight and wide tires that make these cars so much fun to drive also makes an unlimited hydroplane with 4 tires. Don't worry about your precious baby getting wet, worry about it floating out from under you.

  16. #16
    cobra Handler skullandbones's Avatar
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    I've seen part I before and love it everytime I read it. Part II had a more sobering effect on me. After getting registered day before yesterday, I'm actually free to drive it anywhere. Now I have to get used to "the beast". It really feels like I'm mounted on a wild stallion with no saddle. It's like you are more along for the ride than completely in control. I'm sure that will improve with seat time but not yet. I will take my friend's advice and do some handling exercises in a wide open space. Not knowing what you don't know probably sums it up the best.

    With just one drive under my belt, it's still the best time I have ever had in any hotrod or supercar ever!
    FFR MkIII 302 (ATK), EFI 75mm TB with custom box plenum chamber, 24# injectors, 4 tube BBK ceramic, cold air sys, alum flywheel, crane roller rockers, T5, Wilwood pedals, custom five link with Watt's link, 4 rotors, coil overs, power steering with Heidt valve, alum FFR rad, driver's crash bar mod, mini dead pedal mod, quick release steering wheel hub #6046

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    very intriguing, i cant wait i'm saving for mine i have driven what i believed to be fast cars but after reading this i dont think i have

  18. #18
    Senior Member 289FIA_Cobra's Avatar
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    I think Freddie posted this for me and John... nah, must be a coincidence!
    https://hhong43.wixsite.com/snkvnnm-build
    FFR #4883: 347CID|CompCam Magnum 286HR|Vic. Jr. heads|Hurricane Intake | Mighty Demon 650DP|IRS w/Torsen T2 & 3.55 | MSD ignition system | Mallory pump/filter/reg.|Forgestar CF5 18" w/245-45R18 & 295-35R18|Original I-Squared 1+1 System ☺ ☺☺

  19. #19
    Senior Member JL1958's Avatar
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    Excellent read as I sit here pondering my upcoming purchase. Having owned many fast cars, I have never owned such a beast and for all the reasons you posted, I can hardly wait!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member chopthebass's Avatar
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    Lots of truths there. My UK cobra build caught me out a few times when I first started driving it. You can't treat these like a Honda Civic as I found out changing down a gear and caning it to overtake a caravan. Managed to recover it without hitting anything, but was still behind the damned caravan!

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    "take me for granted, and I will kill you." will be on an engraved dash badge over the ignition switch.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddiehebert View Post
    Ten Cobra Driving Safety Tips

    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 S*^T!!" faster then 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."
    __________________
    I will have a (one) drink with a meal and still drive my Cobra but I NEVER give anyone a ride after I've had that one drink (my wife doesn't count in this, she's ridden in it 100's of times).
    FFR4958. IRS, 408W, Loud and fast!

  23. #23
    Hans944 Hans944's Avatar
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    This should be required reading for all new owners. I've owned my Cobra for about 3 months and have referred to this post many times. I've kept these thoughts in the back of my mind. Many of these scenarios have already played out for me. Like a guy in a Hyundia Genesis with nitrous who tried to race me. I wanted to do it but didn't.

    The Cobra actually reminds me of driving a high performance boat (i.e. Cigarette) on land. It's a little gritty to drive for any amount of time similar to riding a street motorcycle (crotch rocket).

    I like being a good Ambassador for the car. I'm always polite to everyone who approaches me from Doctor's wives to young guys with performance cars. Not one person has ever not liked the car. They are great vehicles and must be respected. They can kill you.

    Well written post!

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    Excellent post!

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    This is why I have my Cobra and not a vette!!!!!

  26. #26
    Member rwantin's Avatar
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    Great read, thanks for this, particularly since I just got my car on Saturday.

    I will, in fact, be adjusting the float levels this evening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freddiehebert View Post

    6. Street racing kills. Its 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.

    __________________
    The problem is most dragstrips won't let our cars run if we're faster than 13.5 seconds in the 1/4 (yet snowmobiles and motorcycles are free to run 9's). I would love to race some Vipers at the strip.

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    I've attended Skip Barber racing school, done 3 Richard Petty driving schools, raced 11 years with the SCCA in improved touring (last race in 96). The Cobra is a different animal, like it's namesake if you don't respect it it will bite you. i love my car but I love my rear end more. You can enjoy your car-just respect it.

  29. #29
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    Great post, can't wait to share this with my friends. I am somewhat trained, know a bit about vehicle dynamics, and work in a group with a bunch of trained drivers. I am in total agreement with all of the suggestions and advice. I haven't even received my kit yet, but I have been thinking about driving something with this power to weight ratio, wheelbase, and no electronic controls.... on public roads. This is something I will approach slowly with great respect. I told my wife yesterday, if I should die suddenly for some reason, my son is not allowed to drive the car without formal training from somewhere like Bondurant, or training from some of my colleagues. I've also seen some You Tube videos that could have been avoided if the advice above was taken.

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    I do believe Hal Copple wrote PART 1.

  31. #31
    Senior Member Tom Veale's Avatar
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    I send the Parts I and II to my good friend and fellow FFR Roadster owner, Terry W, for his review. He's the current owner of The Pumpkin Racer. I originally raced the Pumpkin from around 2003 through 2010 but then passed it on to Terry. He's actually put far more miles on it since and had taken the car all over the country.



    Here's what he replied:

    What a great article and rings true in almost every paragraph. I especially like the phrase,' take me for granted and I'll kill you.' So many times I've taken Pumpkin out either on the track or street, mashed the throttle like a stone vice, and nearly come full circle.

    Those wise phrases; Both feet in when in a spin, touch the peddles like a egg shells, smooth in equals smooth out, and one the most famous from a good friend and mentor (Tom V), "The only thing crazier for non-professional racers than racing in the rain is them practicing in the rain." I have had some good times in Pumpkin and I think some day it will be time to turn over the keys,

    I think some of my best memories of life after the Navy have been those connected with Pumpkin.
    - Breaking down in a small town in Texas and have ex-pro wrestler (huge guy) push-start the Pumpkin
    - Drag racing at Great Lakes Dragway against a Pro Fueler, and receiving my best time because I was afraid of being run over
    - street racing against Ryan Braun, the Brewers player, driving a smart looking Masserati with a hot chick next to him, and having my son next to me as I smoked the tires to the next light.
    - Giving these three migrant workers rides from the Motel Parking Lot in Memphis
    - Being stopped by the cops because they were not sure what I was doing with 3 small children in the front seat driving around Elvis's mansion. At the end they escorted me at a spirited speed back to the motel where we were all staying the night.
    - While driving around with a young woman I was dating, I gave Pumpkin the gas and the next thing you know her halter top flew off on the interstate. We had to find an exit, turn around and find the item (seemed to take for ever ).
    - Driving in a car parade with 100's of the finest roadster and rods on the earth this past spring near Wisconsin Dells at the HRPT
    - driving a race car at Road America, WOW
    - breaking down in the middle of Las Vegas in 8 lanes of traffic, have 3 local squad cars stop traffic and help me tighten a front wheel bearing.
    - going for a ride in Nevada and having two amazing looking women watch Josie, my dog, for the day as I go for a ride. Then later finding out these lovely ladies were Show Girls.
    - and the people I have met with Pumpkin have been amazing. All shyness is erased when I start the engine and their childhood dreams come right out of their mouths.
    - taking my adult son for fast laps around Road America and have him say, "Wow Dad, nice driving!"
    - I'm sure there are more...

    For that I owe you a great deal of thanks for introducing me to the Pumpkin Racer and bringing those moments to this old sailor.

    All the best Terry


    Before Terry bought the Pumpkin Racer from me I'd shared it with Edgar B, Peter W, Andy B and Doug McM at various times. I'm sure each of them would have their own stories to add to this discussion.

    Best regards,
    Tom Veale
    Last edited by Tom Veale; 04-28-2015 at 08:02 AM.

  32. #32
    Senior Member chopthebass's Avatar
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    I bet you knew exactly what would happen to the halter top! Bet you asked her to wear one...

  33. #33
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    Fantastic writing. Best thing I've read in a while and something I will consider before I get started down my own path towards owning a Cobra.

  34. #34
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    Glad I read this!! Found all this out for myself. Laughed at first then all the sobering thoughts came up. They are like owning a wild animal. Give them love and lots of respect.

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    Just got an mk2 used, and went for first ride...I went slowly and respected the power of the beast...302 HO with supercharger. My second ride was with my brother in law...he wanted to feel the power......pulled out of my community on A1A shifted from 1st to 2nd, thinking to my self, go easy....well tires screamed, back broke loose like on ice...got off accelerator and straightened back up...all is well...Lesson learned...Cobras power must be respected or you will probably die. Don't let anyone influence you to do something stupid. Only you are the one that knows how a cobra can bite you..defensive driving and safety first...most men are born with a stupid gene....realize that and understand what you are driving. Control your self and you can control your beast. Post should be required reading to all newbies like me.

  36. #36
    Senior Member SSNK4US's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
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    DEFINATELY a good read and some really important things to think about. I've been through two professional driving schools, Skips and Bobs... The picture is a BMW M roadster. ABS, DSC, air bags bla bla bla.... I've had it on a track numerous times. When I first saw the car it reminded me of a cobra.... If you look at the specs on it and an FFR they are almost identical. Except the BMW weighs about a thousand pounds more. HIGH horsepower SHORT wheelbase are a little scary and a little different animals. I've been "stupid" in the car, but in the case of the picture I wasn't at all. True accidents due happen, and lots of ponies in a short wheelbase car can come back to bite you. I broke my neck.....
    Please take heed in the original post and the rules he posted. They all make sense.....
    Enjoy you cars but always keep in mind and they are Cobras, one of the deadliest snakes on the planet.

    Drive safe, and responsible

    Kurt

    image.jpeg

  37. #37
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2011
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    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant

  38. #38
    Senior Member
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    Excellent articles and advice. Probably should be included in the build manuals. Might be good to forward this to a new member as they register on the site. It opened my eyes, even though I have driven a Corvette for over 20 years. Thanks for the post.
    Last edited by Vette1972; 12-06-2016 at 08:30 AM.
    1972 Corvette Stingray 350 c.i. Manual Steering & Brakes
    2003 H-D Softail Deuce 88 c.i. TwinCam
    Gen 3 Coupe Dreamer

  39. #39
    Senior Member
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    North of sacramento Ca.
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    How does driving the 33 compare to the cobra?

  40. #40
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2017
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    And I have a 789hp 514 I plan on putting in the new kit I just purchased!

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