Ever feel the need for speed? Most folks who pick up this magazine have probably had that need at one point in their lives while, for others, they may still continue to. There's nothing like the pure adrenaline rush through your body when you mash the go pedal to the floor and accelerate past the point of when your eyes get big, your heartbeat races and, though a small portion your brain says "Lift!," the rest of you wants even more.
For those who have experienced drag racing, whether it is on the street or at the track, they know that feeling well. And when you start getting serious about it-like building a 7-second, 1,000-horsepower Ford Probe and traveling to every racetrack within 500 miles of your house to compete, then you might say your need for speed is extreme.
Brent Blessinger, from Newburgh, Indiana, falls into the latter category, as he and his dad did just that- raced at track after track (Chandler, Indy, St. Louis, etc...) with a series of cars they had built together after Brent graduated from high school in the '90s. And lucky for Brent, his wife, Susan, also liked drag racing, so it was a major part of the young couples' lives. But each week, after working on the race car for many hours for only a few seconds worth of fun, Brent got bored with it, so he sold the race car, trailer, and everything that went with it and told Susan he wanted to build a Cobra.
She wasn't familiar with what a Cobra was, but Brent, being bred a Ford guy by his father, explained it this way: If you're a Chevy guy then maybe a '63 Vette is the ultimate car for you. But if you're a Ford guy, then you probably desire what many feel is the pinnacle of all Fordom-a Cobra.
Since an original was out of his price range, Brent started collecting brochures and information from as many kit manufacturers as he could find. One night, Brent paused his TV channel surfing while watching the DIY (Do It Yourself) Network, which normally shows how to build your own back patio deck. However, this time it was featuring how to build your own kit car, and it happened to be a Cobra from Unique Motorcars! He TiVo'd the episodes, and nearly wore out the machine replaying the shows again and again, as he was fascinated with how the host walked viewers through the build process, highlighting each aspect of kit car assembly.
The show listed dealers who offered the Unique kit, and Brent called to get more info from the nearest Unique dealer to his house, and soon found himself talking with the TV show's host, Butch Capps. Butch, besides being a well-respected builder of Cobra kits (Capps' own Cobra was featured in the Jul. '04 issue of KIT CAR), he also runs Mid-South Gears in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as being the host of the DIY show. Butch talked with Brent to help him dial in exactly what type of Cobra he wanted and, with that, Brent threw away the other company's brochures and, in January '02, ordered a 427 roadster from Unique Motorcars.
Unique Motorcars, located in Gadsden, Alabama, has developed a strong consumer base over the past 25-or-so years by providing its customers high-quality products combined with a no-pressure, easy-going sales approach (no doubt a result of the company's Southern values and upbringing more than anything else). Run by a pair of brothers, Maurice and Alan, and their mother, Jean, Unique Motorcars has not only created a fine line of vehicles to choose from (they have several of their own versions of Cobra as well as a new '36 Ford cabriolet body), but they have also produced an annual homecoming to which past, present, and future customers gather and have a good time.