The allures of kit car creation and ownership are many. For those of us who aren't millionaires, the notion that you can build exactly what you want for much less than the original car is appealing. Only six original Daytona Coupes were built. They're worth well into the millions of dollars. Depending upon their pedigree, genuine Cobra 427SCs garner from the high-six figure range all the way into the millions. If one is mega affluent, paying such prices is possible. If not, we car nuts can dream our lives away on an automobile we'll never be able to afford. Another alternative is to do some research, decide what kit we'd like to build, take a leap of faith, roll up our sleeves, and get to work. That's exactly the sort of approach both of these Northern California dwellers took.
Russ Thompson has completed two Factory Five Racing cars. His first effort was a mighty nice FFR roadster with a 302ci Ford small-block V-8 that's pumped up with a Powerdyne supercharger. It's no slouch in the looks, performance, or enjoyment departments. To keep the roadster company in the garage, Russ already had an original '65 Ford Mustang 2+2, with a four-speed trans. But, not long after finishing the roadster, he missed the creativity, artistry, engineering effort, and challenging work of envisioning and building a replica.
Given the positive experience he had putting together the FFR roadster, Russ went back to Factory Five and ordered a Type 65 Daytona Coupe replica with all the options available at the time, for $19,900. This price included the IRS option and pin drive PS Engineering wheels all the way around. Four years passed, and with two solid years of build time, Russ had a Type 65 that won Best of Show at Knotts' in '06, and top honors at almost every show where the Coupe competed. Not counting his sweat equity, he spent approximately $50,000. We reckon he has one of the nicest Daytona Coupe replicas in the country, if not the nicest. His money, time, and effort were well spent. According to Russ, a bachelor, his hobby cars are his kids. The only difference is, he might sell one, only to afford buying and building another. That speaks to how much he enjoys the kit car build process.
The Rookie & The Roadster
You could say the enthusiast car gene was lying dormant in Curtis Tung, of Alameda, California. Over 30 years ago his first auto was a most respectable '69 Chevelle SS396 that he yanked the motor from, had rebuilt, and put back. An accountant by profession, Curtis loved old cars. But, being a family man with a wife and two kids, he didn't deem it wise to pursue the car of his dreams, a '65 Cobra 427SC. His reasoning was sound: real Cobras cost every bit as much as his nice Northern California suburban house is worth. If you know what NorCal real estate is going for these days, that's saying something.In 2003, Curtis attended the Hot August Nights car show in Reno, Nevada. At the event, he always seemed to find that several extremely well-constructed Factory Five Racing Cobra roadsters surrounded him. A dark blue 427SC replica, in particular, caught his eye. The roadster's owner was your typical enthusiastic kit car guy. He let Curtis sit in the driver seat, which set the hook. When Curtis returned home from the show, he asked his wife, Mary, for her opinion, which was: "You should do it now while you still have the time and energy."
Given the green light, Curtis researched the roadsters on www.ffcobra.com, a Web forum of Factory Five enthusiasts and owners. Initially, his plan was to build a Cobra with a carbureted Ford small-block V-8 and independent suspension at both ends. The accountant in him calculated he could build such a car for $35,000. Eventually, he determined he wanted stack EFI. In December of '03, the Tungs took delivery of a basic FFR roadster kit.
Desirous of reliable street...
Desirous of reliable street power, Russ opted for a 351W Ford V-8 crate engine. Before adding the Very Cool Parts stack electronic fuel injection, the mills rated at 385 to 400 hp. With the EFI, you can add, at minimum, another 50 horses to the mix.
Russ lined all interior panels...
Russ lined all interior panels with sound and heat insulation. Metalco, in Berkeley, California, clear-anodized the aluminum interior panels and parts.
Glenn "Weendoggy" DiOrio used...
Glenn "Weendoggy" DiOrio used a Painless Performance Products wiring harness for the Type 65. The easy to read instruments are Auto Meter Phantom gauges. To conceal the insulation from view, custom fabricated double-skinned aluminum footboxes were created. Dash-Glove supplied the one-off carpet mats.
The FFR vintage-style fiberglass...
The FFR vintage-style fiberglass racing seats have black vinyl covers. Simpson racing harnesses keep both occupants safely strapped in.