To think automotive craftsmanship, fabrication, and road racing prowess began by buying and autocrossing a Mazda Miata--who could have foreseen it? Who indeed? The Miata is the modern man's answer to an inexpensive, lightweight, responsive drop-top sports car. Designed after the 1960s Lotus Elan and MG B roadster, the introduction of the Miata in 1990 made it possible for automotive enthusiasts to purchase an affordable sports car to race on weekends and economically commute during the workweek in style. James Yale of Cypress, Texas, found his '93 Miata was long on looks and handling, but lacking in the performance department. He did what any gearhead would do first--he pumped up the power with an aftermarket turbocharger. His solo autocrossing improved as much as it could with the four-banger, force-fed DOHC powerplant.
Seeking more power and something he could build in his garage, he purchased a Factory Five Racing Cobra roadster kit. Cobras have the same wheelbase as the Miata, are lighter, and offer right-foot Ford small- or big-block V-8 pushrod fun. As James recounted in the September '06 issue of KIT CAR (pp. 48-51, "A Yale Education"), the FFR roadster he constructed turned out awesome.James built the FFR to show and race at the annual Run 'N' Gun held at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, and other racetracks throughout the Southwest. Premiering his roadster at the '05 event, James showed skill behind the wheel of his well-sorted FFR.
Constructing a first kit car project that turned out so well, many hobbyists would be satisfied to partake in Cobra cruises, hit the local show 'n' shines, and bop down the boulevards on the weekends. James was proud of the work he did, but he wanted to improve his racing talent and create something even better. After much contemplation, he realized he'd need to sell the roadster to build his dream car--a Daytona Coupe replica. Knowing that FFR made top-notch kits, James chose the Type 65 Coupe. Having a racecar with superior aerodynamics, a performance-tuned suspension, and an incredible drivetrain would enable James to improve his racing expertise.
At the '06 Run 'N' Gun, we all got to see his second creation, a Viper Silver striped/Viper Red Type 65 that may well be the most powerful purpose-built Daytona Cobra replica on the planet. Most of the event's participants said he had the nicest car there.
From spending time with James at the Gun, we found his enthusiasm for kit cars, racing, automotive artistry, and craftsmanship are all infectious. We'd go so far as to say that if you're ever in a rut with your replica project, you should talk to Mr. Yale. He'll get you back on track and building something better than you could have ever imagined.
When was the last time you...
When was the last time you saw the underside of a race car's bonnet painted to match the topside?
Simpson racing harnesses keep...
Simpson racing harnesses keep the driver and passenger safely secured to the aluminum Kirkey road race seats.
As with many race cars, the...
As with many race cars, the steering wheel, in this case a Moto-Lita, is removable. Auto Meter Ultralite instruments fill the dashboard, which the owner wired via an American Autowire harness.
Including the doors, James...
Including the doors, James designed and stitched the interior's trim panels.
Keith Craft Racing built the...
Keith Craft Racing built the aluminum 427 Windsor mill that makes 605 horses and 589 lb-ft of torque on the engine dyno.
To house the custom Ron Davis-crafted...
To house the custom Ron Davis-crafted aluminum radiator, the owner modified the chassis' front section to assure the dual fan/radiator assembly would be secure at high speeds.
If you look at the side pipes'...
If you look at the side pipes' shrouds, you'll realize the owner used perforated stainless steel vented covers to match the engine compartment's hole-filled aluminum air outlet vents.
The original six Daytona Coupes...
The original six Daytona Coupes started life with two cut-out air vents in their tails. Shelby American realized these openings created too much turbulence under and around the car while on the racetrack. Back in the day, Shelby put aluminum plates on these openings. James liked the open look, but he wanted proper race aerodynamics. He filled the openings with black vinyl notebook material to back the perforated aluminum panels (the same items used for the hood vents underneath the 427 badges). Even from a foot away, you can't tell the vents aren't open.
Stainless button-head Allen...
Stainless button-head Allen fasteners were used throughout the Type 65's build.
After sunset, the plexiglass-covered...
After sunset, the plexiglass-covered headlights make the Type 65 Coupe's nose a sensuous sight to see.
|James Yale |
|Cypress, Texas |
|Factory Five Racing Type 65 Coupe |
|Frame: ||Tubular steel with aluminum chassis panels |
|Wheelbase: ||95" |
|Rearend: ||Ford 8.8" solid axle with 3:55:1 gears |
|Rear Suspension: ||three-link with Bilstein coilover shocks |
|Rear Brakes: ||12" rotors Ford Cobra Racing discs |
|Front Suspension: ||IFS with Bilstein coilover shocks |
|Front Brakes: ||13" rotors, Ford Cobra Racing discs with aluminum calipers |
|Steering: ||Manual rack-and-pinion |
|Front Wheel Make & Size: ||17X9 black Ford Racing 500 |
|Rear Wheel Make & Size: ||17X10.5 black Ford Racing 500 |
|Front Tire Make & Size: ||Kumho MX 255/40R17 |
|Rear Tire Make & Size: ||Kumho MX 285/40R17 |
|ENGINE & TRANS |
|Make: ||All-aluminum Ford 427 Windsor built by Keith Craft Racing |
|Crankshaft: ||Eagle 4340 forged |
|Pistons: ||JE forged pistons |
|Camshaft: ||COMP Cams hydraulic roller |
|Water Pump: ||Edelbrock Victor Jr. |
|Radiator: ||Custom aluminum by Ron Davis |
|Alternator: ||MSD Billet 130 AMP |
|Heads: ||Air Flow Research 205 |
|Induction: ||Holley 750-cfm four-barrel on Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake |
|Air Cleaner: ||14" K&N Extreme |
|Ignition: ||MSD 6AL |
|Headers: ||Custom |
|Mufflers: ||Factory Five Racing side pipes |
|Transmission: ||Tremec TKO600 road race 5-speed with overdrive |
|Shifter: ||Hurst short throw |
|Trans Mods: ||None |
|Manufacturer: ||Factory Five Racing |
|Body Mods: ||Custom raised cowl hood with lowered side body skirts |
|Bodywork: ||Walter DeCruz, Houston, Texas |
|Paint Type: ||PPG Viper Red/Viper Silver Metallic |
|Painter: ||Walter DeCruz |
|Gauges: ||Auto Meter Ultralite |
|Wiring: ||American Autowire |
|Steering Wheel: ||14" diameter, leather-wrapped Moto-Lita |
|Seating: ||Aluminum Kirkey road race seats |
|Upholsterer: ||Owner |
|Material: ||Custom door panels, wool carpet, four-speaker stereo, Vintage Air A/C |