Richard Siegfried's Shell Valley Cobra 427 SC - Kandy Apple Cobra
"Sweet As A Kandy Apple Faster Than Its Prey"
March 07, 2008
By Arvid Svendsen
Photography by Eric Geisert
The way to really enjoy building the kit car of your dreams is to make sure to embed your own personality into the vehicle-at least Richard and Patty Siegfried would make that case. Their Cobra simultaneously keeps and breaks tradition with its unique look. "When you build your own car, you put your own personality into it," Richard says. "We put the American Torq-Thrust IIs on the car, a small-block Ford stroker motor for power, one-off parts, and the Kandy Apple Red paint ... that's all about building your car to reflect your personality." There's no doubt about that; this Cobra has personality, blending traditional features with contemporary sparkle.
Back in the '60s, when the newly introduced Shelby Cobras were dominating roadracing, young Richard Siegfried developed a passion to purchase his very own Cobra. That day arrived some seven years ago. Evaluating all the options, Richard wisely concluded that the best avenue to obtain the Cobra of his childhood dreams would be to build a kit car. The Siegfrieds wanted to drive their Cobra, not stuff it away in a museum. Their mission was to find the right Cobra kit car that would be closest to the original in both performance and appearance.
Though he originally intended...
Though he originally intended to build a big-block Ford 427ci V-8 for the Cobra, Richard's son talked him into a Ford Racing 392ci/430hp stroker small-block.
Richard explains, "I went to the kit car show in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which is a wonderful place to research a car. I ended up narrowing down my search to Shell Valley, and I got to know Rich Anderson, the owner. Rich is a super guy, and I soon discovered that all the Shell Valley people were the kind of people with whom I wanted to do business. Of course, the quality of their cars was excellent."
The original June 2000 order with the Shell Valley folks indicated Richard would be running a big-block Ford 427 motor. Shell Valley had no problem promising to supply the necessary mounts, headers, and smaller items required for the 427. But during the rest of the summer, Richard began to lean toward a small-block stroker. "My son and I drove out to Shell Valley in January 2001 to pick up the car. I had ordered it to be set up for the 427 big-block. During the wait to pick up the Cobra, I talked to a lot of guys. Many of them pointed out that handling would be better with the small-block. My son, who is a GM guy, had just built a stroker 383. The horsepower and torque he got out of it had him telling me, 'Dad, you've got to look into these stroker motors.' So on my way out to Shell Valley, convinced by my son, I decided to go with a small-block stroker motor."
The Moto-Lita three-spoke...
The Moto-Lita three-spoke steering wheel, machine-knurled dash plate, Auto Meter instrumentation, and Ford OEM-style reversed shifter create a '60s throwback ambiance in the cockpit.
True to form, the Shell Valley people were more than willing to accommodate the change in plans. They swapped the big-block motor mounts, headers, and parts for those necessary to properly install the small-block. Making the trip to Shell Valley even more pleasant was Richard's first sighting of his Cobra. The Shell Valley crew had already done a significant amount of work on the car.
Richard was already aware that the frame would be powdercoated from the factory, but he did not know a number of items would already be installed on the chassis, "One of the things I always thought after ordering the car is that I would take home all the parts and have to start putting the whole thing together. When I arrived at Shell Valley, the front A-arms were on, the rearend housing was installed, the body was squared on the frame ... there were at least 40 hours of assembly work already done on the car. I asked Rich why it was already partially assembled, and he replied, 'We're better mechanics than we are shippers.' In other words, putting the parts on the car was the best way to ship them."
Once home, Richard added some of his own touches to the car. For example, he fabricated stainless steel panels around the foot wells. The Ford 9-inch rear was assembled with Richmond 3.70 gears and a Detroit Locker Truetrac. The Mustang II front suspension and triangulated four-link rear suspension remained on the frame as it had been installed by Shell Valley. Richard installed the Wilwood four-piston Dynalite calipers with 12-inch rotors at all four corners. The aforementioned polished Americans were ordered with a slight stagger, 15x8-inch fronts and 15x10-inch rears mounting Goodyear Eagle II rubber.
The wiring turned out to be surprisingly straightforward and simple. Why? The Painless Performance Products wiring kit provided by Shell Valley was so well labeled and thorough in its accompanying instructions that its installation in Richard's Cobra was, in fact, painless. Though many fear the wiring aspect of any kit car build, Richard reports that the Painless kit made the electrical work simple. The wiring is such that by disconnecting six connectors, the body can be lifted off the frame.
During the build, wife Patty,...
During the build, wife Patty, sons Robert and Brian, and even brother-in-law Frank Mengel helped put the car together. Not looking quite like everyone else's Cobra, the family built the roadster to reflect their personality.
The paint color was chosen after spending a summer attending street rod shows. Richard and Patty discovered the Kandy Apple Red color on a '41 Willys street rod. That particular color gracefully highlighted the unique bodylines while accentuating the flow of the curves in the fenders. But with all those street rods, you would think someone could be pulled over to the dark side of the street rod world, away from the initial plan to build a kit car Cobra. "No way," Richard says. "The Cobra was the car to have. Every person has to have a red sports car once in his or her life. We wanted a red sports car. When we saw that Kandy Apple Red on the fenders of the Willys, we knew that was it. That Kandy is like a magnet that draws people to the car."
The stroker motor was not available through the local Ford dealer, so Richard started searching out a good source for power. "I began looking around for other suppliers, and I located Snake Bite in Ohio. They not only had the Ford crate 392ci stroker with a 430-horse motor, but they also stocked the Tremec TKO transmission, bellhousing, Centerforce clutch, and pressure plate for the car. The Snake Bite people were very helpful."
Richard's wife, Patty, a skilled...
Richard's wife, Patty, a skilled seamstress, sewed up the interior for the seating, which is nicely adorned with five-point Simpson safety harnesses.
When the motor arrived, the only thing Richard had to add was a carburetor. He removed the factory's Victor Jr. single-plane manifold and replaced it with a Performer RPM Air-Gap dual plane manifold in order to make it more streetable. The driveshaft was ordered locally, which turned out to be a scant 16 inches long. Richard's brother-in-law Frank Mengel fabricated many stainless steel parts, including the front bumper jacks, steering column mechanism, carburetor linkage, and various other small parts.
"We mounted the body and put it on top of the frame. Everything fit; we made a quick adjustment on the coilovers and rolled it back into the garage to create the dashboard. High Performance Machining out of Easton, Pennsylvania, did the burling, that is, the swirl marks. Though it took a machinist eight hours to get that done, it was well worth it, as it recalls the '60s era." Richard then filled the dash with Auto Meter gauges.
Convinced that rollover protection...
Convinced that rollover protection was needed for both the passenger and driver, classic individual rollbars are found on both sides.
"We were at about January 2002, and I received the license plates for the Cobra. With the car running but in primer, we took it for a ride down the streets of freezing cold Pennsylvania. People thought we were crazy, but it was one of those things we had to do." Shortly after that ride, the painter, Harry Zeiv of Scotts Auto Body, called and said he could take the car. Harry had the car for four months, and he returned the Cobra with the spectacular paintwork it now has.
When the car came back from the painter, Richard's wife Patty looked at the instructions for the interior package and said, "I can do this part." So Patty stitched up and installed the Shell Valley interior kit. When the car was completed, Richard took it to PSI Motorsports in Slatenton, Pennsylvania, for one of their infamous dyno tunes. With quarter-mile times in the 10-second range at Island Dragway, New Jersey, let's just say the stroker motor in a lightweight Cobra is an incredible performance machine.
For someone considering building a Cobra, or any kit car, for that matter, Richard comments, "It took me 14 months to build the Cobra, and I took my time. It might be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so go for it-do it. It's enjoyable to work with family and friends, and ask for assistance. Taking it to the Cobra shows is a lot of fun ... getting out and meeting great people; everyone is so friendly and helpful. And I can't say enough about the Shell Valley people-if I had something that I didn't buy from them, they were still equally helpful and did all they could to find answers. That's how good they were."
The Cobra was the first time building a car from the ground up for Richard and Patty, though they have owned a couple of musclecars in the past. "If you ever have a dream in your life, and the dream in your life comes through, that's what it's like to drive this Cobra. Drive the car down the road and everybody's looking at it. It is the ultimate in driving and handling. The power-to-weight ratio is amazing ... it's got so much power; it just takes you for a ride. We have over 10,000 miles on the car in the past five years, so needless to say, we built it to drive it." As the Siegfrieds have inscribed on the visors, it's clear that this Cobra is "Sweet as a Kandy Apple ... Faster Than Its Prey."
The grille opening provides...
The grille opening provides cooling to the Griffin radiator. The Mocal oil cooler is run via Russell stainless steel braided lines and AN fittings.
Outstanding paintwork is credited...
Outstanding paintwork is credited to painter Harry Zeiv of Scotts Auto Body.
Shell Valley's commitment...
Shell Valley's commitment to quality, fitment, and originality is seen throughout the vehicle.
Committed to driving the...
Committed to driving the car, those tires have logged over 10,000 miles on their way to shows, drives down some beautiful Pennsylvania roads, and trips to the Carlisle Nationals in Pennsylvania.
Richard & Patty Siegfried
Shell Valley Cobra 427 SC
|Curb Weight ||2,300 lbs. |
|Wheelbase ||90" |
|Fuel Tank Capacity ||18 gal. |
|Built By/ Family ||Ford Racing 351ci Windsor |
|# Cylinders and Type ||V-8 displacement, |
|Engine Type ||"Sportsman" block with 2-bolt mains |
|Crankshaft ||Ford Racing steel stroker |
|Pistons ||9.7:1 compression ratio |
|Oil System ||Mocal Oil Cooler |
|Camshaft ||Ford Racing high performance |
|Cylinder Heads ||Ford Racing GT40 aluminum heads |
|Valves ||Premium stainless steel swirl-polished valves with undercut stems, 1.94" intake valve diameter and 1.54" exhaust valve diameter |
|Carburetion ||Edelbrock RPM Air-Gap, Demon 750 all-mechanical carb |
|Air Cleaner ||K&N 9" with K&N open-top filter |
|Cooling ||Griffin aluminum radiator |
|Exhaust ||Shell Valley, Jet Hot-coated |
|Ignition ||Dura-Spark with Ford Racing 9mm wires |
|BHP @ RPM ||430 hp @ 5,500 rpm |
|Torque @ RPM ||450 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm |
|Transmission ||Tremec TKO five-speed |
|Rear Differential ||Ford 9", Richmond 3.70 gears, Moser axles, Detroit Locker True Track |
|Clutch ||Centerforce dual friction |
|Shifter ||Reversed Ford OEM-style shifter |
|CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION |
|Chassis Type ||2x4" steel rails manufactured by Shell Valley |
|Front ||Wilwood four-piston Dynalite caliper, drilled and slotted 12" rotors |
|Rear ||Wilwood four-piston Dynalite caliper, drilled and slotted 12" rotors |
|Front ||235/60/15 Goodyear Eagle II |
|Rear ||295/50/15 Goodyear Eagle II |
|Front ||American Racing Torq-Thrust II polished, 15x8" |
|Rear ||American Racing Torq-Thrust II polished, 15x10" |
|Steering Type ||Mustang II rack-and-pinion, Flaming River shaft and universal joints |
|Front Suspension ||Mustang II, adjustable QA1 coilover shocks |
|Rear Suspension ||Triangulated NASCAR-style four-link setup, adjustable QA1 coilover shocks |
|Construction ||Shell Valley Cobra replicar, fiberglass with reinforced Kevlar at main points |
|Body Style ||Two-seat roadster |
|Convertible Top ||None |
|Paint ||House of Kolor Kandy Apple Red over Silver base with Pearl White stripes |
|Safety Features ||Individual driver and passenger hoop rollbars |
|Seats ||Shell Valley black vinyl |
|Steering Wheel ||Moto-Lita, three-spoke Rosewood |
|Upholstery ||Patty Siegfried/Shell Valley upholstery |
|Restraint System ||Simpson five-point safety harness |
|Wiring ||Painless Performance Products wiring kit provided through Shell Valley |
|Alternator ||Chrome Pro Form one-wire |
|Battery ||Optima mounted in trunk |
|Instrumentation ||Auto Meter carbon-fiber 2 5/8" gauges, 3 5/8" Auto Meter speedometer |
|Quarter-Mile ||Under 11 seconds at Island Dragway, NJ |