In the not-so-distant past, certain companies who have supplied the replicar industry have not always been "timely" with the delivery of their product after being purchased by an unknowing customer. Rick Bagley, from Sheperdsville, Kentucky, considers himself one of the lucky ones because he got involved with Unique Motorcars in Gadsden, Alabama, and in less than three months from plunking down his hard-earned cash, he had his garage full of enough parts to assemble his dream car: a 427 S/C Cobra kit.
Though the 57-year-old had known about Cobras since he was about 18 (when he spied his first one at Crown Ford in Nashville, Tennessee), he went a different hot rodding route, opting for a customized '55 Crestline equipped with a 406 out of a '62 Ford! But his interest in the lil' racer never waned and, when the opportunity came up a couple of years ago to purchase a Cobra kit, Rick went for it.
His current project actually started back in March of 2002, which is when Rick got going on the car's drivetrain: a 427 sideoiler. Southern Automotive of McDonough, Georgia, did all of the engine's machine work as well as assembly of the big V-8 itself, pulling from a list of performance parts (Reed camshaft, McLeod steel billet flywheel, Canton 8-quart oil pan, Ford LeMans rods, forged TRW pistons, etc.) to build the long-block.
From there, a pair of aluminum ported and polished Edelbrock Performer heads (set up with a 2.19 and 1.72 stainless steel valves, dual springs, and billet aluminum roller rockers) went on, as did an Edelbrock Performer manifold (match-ported to the heads). Up top, a single Holley 3310 carb (780 cfm) feeds the beast, with air getting pulled through a Stelling and Helling air cleaner that is surrounded by an aluminum turkey pan.
One of Rick's buddies is Butch Capps (the two are featured on the cover of the magazine), and Rick turned to him for help on what to run in the way of a transmission. Butch owns Mid South Gear in Knoxville, Tennessee, and he advised Rick to go with a Ford four-speed Top Loader close-ratio trans-which he'd set-up with a McLeod disc and pressure plate and a Hurst Competition Plus bent-lever shifter.
In the meantime, Bagley was busy detailing the chassis, and working with Jim, Mark, and Jimmy Brunner of Gen Fab in Louisville, Kentucky, on making various custom metal pieces to be used throughout Rick's ride. From July of 2002 to November 2003, Rick worked on finishing the chassis-including tightening all the suspension components to the right torque spec, drilling whatever he could for safety wire, and installing the 28-pound McLeod billet steel flywheel as well as the Lakewood scattershield.
The idea was to mount everything he could (from the safety belts and harnesses to fuel lines and from the defroster vents to the driveshaft safety loop) before the car would go to Mark Mahorney, the painter.
Mahorney operates a paint and body shop in Louisville, Kentucky, called, oddly enough, The Shop. There Mark prepped the body before spraying several coats of a Ford Candy Apple Red (from PPG) and following it with twin Ford Performance White racing stripes down the center of the car.
While the body was getting painted, Capps helped Bagley get his engine up and running with the aid of a spare radiator, an electric fan, and a temporary dash with gauges fashioned by Capps. After being able to break the car's motor in by running it (but not abusing it under load), Rick was able to adjust the valves, check and repair any fluid leaks, and correctly torque all of the fasteners.