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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ford Cobra Kit Car

(For politics, please scroll down)

Posted by Warren

This is a replica (kit car) of the original Shelby Ford Cobra, a show car. It belongs to a friend of mine and I did the body work and painted it for him.





That means that you get the unfinished body, with some parts for the exterior, sent to you and you provide everything else including all the labor involved in the process. It took the owner twelve years to complete only working on it as time allowed.





I finished the rough body, removed and repaired the imperfections and fitted the doors, bonnet and boot lid. I also prepped and painted the car.

More pictures and commentary below the fold.




I don't have pictures of the entire process. I had no interest in documenting it at the time but I do have pictures taken at the end of the painting process.



The top photo shows the doors and boot cover (trunk lid), the bottom is the bonnet (hood).

The fit of the original doors was terrible and new doors were required which still required modification for an exact fit. We also acquired a different boot cover because of imperfections in the fiberglass (there were large areas of delamination). The air scoop on the bonnet was malformed and had to have reinforcement added to the inside and material added on the outside for esthetic reasons.



The upper photo is a picture of the front of the painted body. The lower picture is the completed car for comparison.



Rear of the painted body.


The racing stripes were laid out with the use of a laser transit before painting the mid-coat. The stripes are actually 3/8" narrower at the front and back of the car than at the dashboard because of an optical illusion that would make them appear wider if they weren't.  That is, that the stripes would appear wider at the rear and front than at the middle of the car.





What does it take to get a paint job like this?

First you select the color you want. This is a variant of Candy Apple Red, it's known in the trade as a tri-color paint job.

The owner had me paint several different test panels involving different base coats and mid-coats in several different colors. Originally I suggested Candy Apple Red with a Brickyard Red base-coat. He had me try about six different mid coats and opted to use Argent Silver as a base-coat. (The base-coat contains the metallic element.)


Next the primer, I opted for a light gray urethane primer/surfacer, two coats. Next, hand wet sanding to remove tiny imperfections in the body and insure an even paint flow without mottling of the metallic base-coat. Wait a day, wash the body, make sure no water remains and you're ready for your base-coat.

Two full coats of Argent Silver base-coat.  Wait for it to dry and in this case, laying out the racing stripes and covering them.

Next, four coats of evenly sprayed Sunset Red tinted clear urethane mid-coat. wait between coats for drying time or the paint will run or look cloudy and never have that yards deep shine or highlights of the metallic base coat. If the racing strips would have been a different color than the base-coat

Four coats of clear urethane top coat, waiting between coats again. Wait 24 hours and the polishing process begins.

Hand wet sand again to remove any orange-peel and prepare the surface for machine buffing. Then buff using finer grades of buffing compound and finally use a super fine buffing compound called machine glaze with a foam pad on the buffer. The whole time care must be taken not to buff through your top-coat. This could ruin your whole paint job. All edges and the areas around body openings must be hand buffed and glazed because a buffer can eat right through the paint on an edge.

Careful assembly of the body and one final hand glazing.





One Cobra kit car is done. If you look you can see the reflection of my friend when he took the picture.

Questions or comments?

65 comments:

  1. All that work!

    Love, love, love the color.

    For years, I had a 1985 Chrysler Fifth Avenue. The red color looked very much like this Cobra kit car's Candy Apple Red. HERE is a Google search photo of a 1986 Chrysler much like mine, which I sold in 1999 to buy the 1996 Crown Victoria police interceptor I still have. My Crown Victoria is a boring color, though. I sold my Chrysler because nobody was able to fix the air conditioning system. WTH?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If memory serves me, that was a tri-color know as Viper Red. Very similar to Candy Apple.

      Delete
    2. Warren,
      I can't tell the difference between Viper Red and Candy Apple Red.

      In 1995. I had the Chrysler painted by Maaco because the hood was peeling big time. Maaco said that the color was a factory color, and they very closely matched it. An excellent paint job by Maaco because of the wonderful "brush man" at that particular Maaco! Not a flaw showing in 1999, when I sold the car.

      Delete
  2. Extremely cool pictures; I didn't realize how much work goes into an exceptional paint job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mustang,
      It's grueling work, and one needs a place to do the work as well. Therefore, Mr. AOW never did body work.

      Delete
    2. I left out a lot just to keep from getting boring.

      For instance, after the body work I painted it with a light coat of cheap glossy black paint so That large gradual imperfections could be removed which would have shown in the extremely polished final job. Then I sanded all of it off by hand (the black).

      Delete
    3. Warren,
      There must have been a lot of sanding. At every step?

      What you did with that Cobra Kit Care ain't no Maaco job!

      Of course, I never expected more than 5 good years after a Maaco job -- never mind how good "the brush man" is at our local Maaco. He worked at a very high end body shop for years, then the shop had to close because the gentrifying liberals in that corner of my world objected to the presence of a body shop. Our local Maaco snapped him up, and they pay him a helluva wage.

      Look at how cute the body shop was! But it didn't suit the liberals. The lot is now a vacant lot -- full of weeks. Yeah, that's an improvement! Not!

      Delete
    4. There wasn't a single place on the outside of that body that wasn't sanded several times.
      Body shops are always targeted by zoning commissions and State and local EPAs.

      Delete
  3. Warren,

    Your hands are gifted - a gift from God. Congratulations on a job well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Truly, we all have God given gifts if only we choose to use them. Thank you. :^)

      Delete
  4. My wife worked for a doctor that had an original. I only remember that he would let anyone touch it, as it "dented" very easily...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knew a guy in college who had one.
      It got "dented".

      Delete
    2. Thus spake the Duck whose pet vice
      Is to never say anything nice.
      In his brain he will squirm
      Like a tormented worm
      'Cause his thoughts are infested with lice!


      ~ Lime Rickey

      Delete
    3. @ FJ, yes they did dent very easily.

      Delete
    4. @ Lime Rickey, actually that was a fair statement.

      The bodies of the original Shelby Cobras were made of very thin aluminum. They were so fragile that even a mechanic leaning on a front fender to service the car would dent it.

      Delete
    5. "The bodies of the original Shelby Cobras were made of very thin aluminum. They were so fragile that even a mechanic leaning on a front fender to service the car would dent it."

      Sort of OT but I've heard that the new FORD F 150 truck beds are made of aluminum. I've wondered how well that will stand-up even with a liner-just asking?

      Delete
    6. Jon,
      I learned about those fragile bodies at various car shows and cruise-ins. Don't lean up against the merchandise!

      Delete
    7. @ JonBerg.
      Professionally and personally, knowing what I know about the characteristics of aluminium and aluminum used in the automotive and truck industries. They won't last especially in areas that treat their roads with salt or chemicals in the winter. Also areas on the vehicle where steel and aluminum come together, galvanic corrosion will eat away the aluminum and every piece of equipment made from aluminum, will fatigue and stress crack over time. I'll give them three to five years before it starts showing up.

      Delete
    8. I'm a Ford guy, but watch the Chevy commercial that shows concrete blocks dropped in the bed.

      http://tinyurl.com/yb6h6eva

      Delete
    9. The best car I've ever owned is my 1996 Ford Crown Victoria (police interceptor). Definitely not a money pit, and I got it for a steal ($7000, when the book value was $14,000).

      Delete
    10. Someine Who Notices said

      Very commendable the way you all responded so politely to that bird, and ignored Lime Rickey's taunts. I don't think the bird would have done the same if the situation was reversed, but that don't matter. You all handled it the right way.

      Delete
  5. Thank you, Warren, for showing us the high degree of patience, skill, great care, –– and I think DEVOTION –– that goes into the production of anything worthwhile.

    What you do shoudn't be called good workmanship, fine workmanship or even great workmanship. You, sir, are a true ARTISAN.

    May I suggest that you try to persuade public and private SCHOOLS in your part of the country to invite you to present ASSEMBLY PROGRAMS with all the illustrations you have here enlarged for all to see while you describe what you had to do to achieve these beautiful results just as you have here?

    I see a crying need for learning how to appreciate the REAL as opposed to the merely TECHNOLOGICAL or THEORETICAL.


    People like you who can really DO things –– make worthwhile things happen –– are the true heroes who keep the machinery of Civilization working smoothly, despite the contant efforts of Academic Theoreticians and vain, short-sighted Politicians –– busybodies all –– to gum up the works with nonsensical, deceptive, self-aggrandizing, cost-raising proposals.

    Most people take everythihg they see for granted and never stop to think how much knowledge, effort, skill, determnation, self-discipline –– and mastery of logisitics –– it takes to make Vision, Ideas, and Desires become reality .

    It would be great for the country to develop a heightened awareness of, greater appreciation and respect for the fruits of practical, hands-on labor. There is nothing "common" about it, when it's done beautifully and wholeheartedly.

    If you could see your way to doing what I suggest, it might help inspire young people to look toward more rewarding occupations than earning a college degree in Law, Journalism, Civil Rights Activism, Socal Work, Queer Studies, Transgender Studies, Black Studies, Women Studies, Film Studies, –– or even English, History, and Anthrpology when studied from a tendentious, purely LEFTIST, anti-American, anti-Individualist, anti-Libertarian persepctive.

    What you do –– and what you stand for –– deserve the widest possible audience.

    So, thanks again, Warren, for showing us what you do. It's really beautiful, and much too valuable to put a monetary price on it. I hope you get paid well, but I doubt you do this just for the money. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see real LOVE in your fine artisanship –– a wonderful thing that mere money could never buy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FT, thank you for your high praises.
      I will say that the technical must come before the artistry. For the root of the love of your labors make the technical easier to bear.

      Why else would you practice all those scales. ;^)


      In all seriousness, I teach many people many things to improve their lives.

      Everyone in a paint shop wants to paint they just don't want to do the preparation work it takes for an excellent job. It's the attention to detail and practice that makes all the difference. Painting is just one of the many jobs I do.

      I will admit that I was paid well and that I am very proud of that job. Also that it's very hard to talk about yourself without using the personal pronoun I. ;^)

      Delete
    2. You are exactly right, Warren. The same principles apply to learning how to play a musical score as they do to your exquisite artisanship with automobiles. It takes years of disciplined effort to build enough technique to play something like a Beethoven sonata with competence and conviction.

      The old saw about "genius" being one percent inspration and ninety-nine percent perspiration is really true, although true geniuses DO seem to be BORN already knowing things that few "normal" people are ever able to learn even when they try very hard.

      Your accomplishments brought these words to mind –– a favorite quotation from Shaw:

      "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you're thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

      ~ G. B. Shaw (1856-1950)

      "A purpose RECOGNIZED BY YOURSELF as a MIGHTY ONE" is the key phrase there. I take it to mean that it doesn't matter WHAT we choose to do withour lives as long as we do it WHOLEHEARTEDLY and do it as WELL as we possibly CAN.

      I love this phrase too:

      "The great are rarely famous,the famous rarely great."

      Claude Frank, one of my piano teachers, a very great performer, himself, and internationally renowned, told me, "We should never work to become famuse, we should only work to be as good as we can be".

      I think ypu exemplify these sentiments very well, Warren.

      He also said, "We should not think of the music as a 'vehicle' that enables us to showcase our talents. Instead we should do our best to act as a 'vehicle' that conveys the wonder and glory of BEETHOVEN –– or any oter composer we happen to be performing –– to the audience."

      Delete
  6. How close is the kit to the original specs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why ask when you don't really care?
      All you want if foul up the air
      With quack after quack
      Like a tired old hack.
      To impose yourself here's just not fair!


      ~ Lime Rickey

      Delete
    2. Ducky said:
      "How close is the kit to the original specs?"
      Outside of the dimensions of the body, not at all.

      The original body was an Italian design used on a car called the GT40. It was thin aluminum for extra lightness. The doors, bonnet and boot covers fit really crappy and the whole works would only last about two racing seasons before it started to fall apart from stress cracks.

      Carol Shelby's innovation was a Ford drive train using Fords 289 then later the 427. As near as I can tell, practically every thing that body covered was designed by Carol Shelby.

      Note:
      Every Ford dealer that sold one was required to purchase a special ramp-like device that tilted the car enough that the engine could be serviced without leaning on the fenders. (the dent thing)

      IMO, The kit car has a much better body. All re-enforced fiberglass.

      Delete
  7. FT-Yes, Warren IS an artist! I know from experience, a REALLY, REALLY GOOD; mechanic, plumber, ac/heating or electrician...they are worth their weight in gold! There is an intuition that goes along with the expertise. And either you have it or you don't...it can't be taught!

    tmw
    BTW-Warren-Beautiful job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, now, little sis. You're gilding the lily. I also walk dogs. ;^)

      Delete
    2. I've always had the impression there's nothing Warren can't do well ...including writing. RENAISSANCE MAN

      Delete
    3. @ AOW.
      "But can you walk cats?"
      It's impossible to walk a cat. Occasionally you find someone that thinks they are walking a cat but in reality, the cat is showing off a member of their staff to us mere mortals. ;^)

      Delete
    4. @ Z.
      My dear departed Jackie always said that I could do anything but carpentry and would hide my saw. I'm also not worth a crap at cleaning a house. ;^)

      Delete
    5. Warren,
      Occasionally you find someone that thinks they are walking a cat but in reality, the cat is showing off a member of their staff to us mere mortals.

      True dat!

      Delete
  8. Beautiful.
    I just finished repainting and striping my boat (a '63 Lone Star) and while a lot of work, nothing compared to this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are very few people I would do this for and I was paid well even at that. I wouldn't even do this for myself! Hell, my friend that owns the car might not do it again if he had known what a pain in the butt it was going to be.

      Delete
    2. Warren,
      I hope that your friend keeps the car garaged. Avoid sun damage and bird droppings!

      Delete
  9. that is one ASTONISHINGLY good paint job, Warren...bravo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My German stepson trained in body work so I sent the link to him, Warren...he was really impressed...said that paint job is tough and lengthy and you'd done an amazing job.

      Delete
    2. Z,tell your stepson that I thank him for his kind words.

      Delete
  10. All that hard work and purdy paint and... it's still a Ford.

    Just kidding ;) - (((TC)))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They just built a Ford that only gets 35mph, but it doesn't burn any gas. It has two nuclear reactors.
      Turning radius is huge!

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    2. ...with a heated tailgate option for those winter breakdowns ;)

      Delete
    3. @ TC, If he heard you talking trash about his beloved Fords he'd call you out!
      :^)
      He's running a race modified 351, fuel injected with turbos, 5 speed and 8 short tuned chromed intake stacks. He was running a supercharger but the extras boost power made the thing undriveable. As it is now, it can't be driven on a wet road.

      Delete
    4. I'll go with my stock answer (mind the pun)... It was built before 1995, so it probably still runs ;)

      Delete
  11. First off Beautiful car and paint job. Just for fun as I was looking at it (Sine my BSA Rocket 3 was the same color) I remembered my friends Norton Combat Commando which was Glass Bead Blue. It might be interesting to do a car in that paint sometime.

    What engine does it have?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ kid, see the comment above this one. Originally he wanted to put a 427 in it but the size/weight to horsepower ratio would have made it a widow maker. The cost would have been unreasonable too. (14 K from a reputable race engine builder)

      Glass Bead Blue, I probably know it by another name. Would that be a medium dark blue with iridescent pearl highlights?

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. AOW, Exactly. The British make such sexy stuff.

      Delete
  13. AOW, Our cats do Exactly what I tell them. When I tell Howard to come to the master closet every morning and get his brush job, that's what he does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How long did it take him to train you to do that?

      :^)

      Delete
    2. Oh, it was mere seconds actually.

      Delete
    3. Kid,
      Your Howard looks a lot like our Sheba -- except that our Sheba had a big bib.

      Delete
    4. Just a note.
      Although I worked as a automotive painter for 10 years, it's not what I do except as a small part of my full time job. My specialty is suspension, wreck repair and frame straightening on large equipment. I carry a master mechanics rating but I also fabricate, weld and do machine work. Weather it's mechanical, hydraulic, electrical or electronic, I work on it. I also design tooling and work part time for a family owned golf cart and ATV sales and service. I also do structural fiberglass repairs on utility equipment.
      My plate is full and I'm not a one-trick pony. :^)

      Delete
    5. A. Fanne said

      You are truly AWESOME, man! A great role model. Tremendous work ethic. But not everyone could do what you have done wth your life.

      Delete
  14. Yes, I saw the 351 after I commented. Color. See AOW's 'this color' link 4 comments from the bottom. That's it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard it called Electric Blue. Different manufactures call very similar colors by very different names. AMC used to call a metallic purple they used "Plum Crazy".

      Delete
  15. I don't know what they called it but damn it was sexy. Especially on the Norton with the upswept pipes.

    This was Mine at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just one questiin I forgot to ask ––and no one else did either:

    What do you do with the Cobra if it RAINS?

    };^)>

    ReplyDelete
  17. Put on it's slicker and wellies. It's hard to find a good raincoat and rubber boots for a Cobra too!
    LOL

    Seriously, Stan has a cover custom made to fit a Cobra.
    it's almost impossible to drive on a wet road. Too much horsepower. It's a show car and very seldom gets driven.

    ReplyDelete

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