The first snag

Obviously building a car you have to go in a certain order. That said, when your backorder list contains some of the first parts you need you improvise. I was trying to install my rear axle yesterday (I went with the 3 link 8.8 from Moser that FF offers) and I hit a snag. The first thing you do is remove the differential cover and clean off the RTV, which I did. Then I went to remove the 8mm bolt that holds in the retaining pin. It wouldn’t move at all. I put a cheater bar on the wrench, admittedly a tiny wrench to begin with so anything helps, and I felt movement. But when I looked at the bolt it had started to round off a bit.

8mm bolt
Photo from the Factory Five youtube page

I have asked on the forum if I should use penetrating oil or heat, and one guy said if it was put on with thread locker that heat would be best, so that is what I am going to try today. Wish me luck!




Body OFF!

I am still working on the inventory, just two boxes away, but I had a friend who could help me today so I decided to take the body off and set it on the buck. We started by taking off the doors, hood, and trunk. The hood wasn’t attached but the doors and trunk were. The manual says they are attached with 5/8ths buts but mine were 9/16ths. I unbolted them from the chassis and set them aside.

IMG_4342The manual just says to unbolt the quickjacks, but there are other attachments. There were four bolts at the back that were 1/2″ so we took them off next and put them on a board. I have no idea if I will ever need them again or if it will matter which was which, but I did this anyway just in case. Bolts board use

I saw Edd China do this on Wheeler Dealers, my all time favorite show, and so I decided to keep things organized as well. I’m a “better safe than sorry” kind of guy I guess. After taking off all four bolts things started falling out from under the rear bumper. Come to find out there are spacers under there as well. When I looked underneath I saw thisSpacer use

Again, not knowing if I will need these ever again at this point I saved themSpacers stored use

Finally I realized I should look more carefully under the car to make sure ALL of the attachment points are located. Two screws attached each side under the body. 

side screwsIn addition to the quickjacks up front there is a brace attached to the body. 


Not knowing what it was or if I needed it later, but not wanting it to scratch up my powder coating I took it off and labeled it too.  

DS brace labeled

Confident that the body was no longer attached to the frame we went to remove it. The body kind of scoops underneath the frame on the sides and we could get one side off but when we went to lift the front and back the side would drop down and catch under the frame again. We took two clamps and pulled the body away from the frame, clamping the frame so the body couldn’t scoot back underneath and get locked again. 

clamps on frame

We were then able to lift the body and get it on the buck. Body on buck.png

It wasn’t difficult in the whole, but I made it as difficult as possible apparently. Tomorrow I will be by myself again so I can finish the inventory and start marking and labeling the aluminum panels. I have ordered a pair of Cleco pliers and some clecos. Basically they are temporary rivets that can be removed. I will mark and label all the aluminum panels, drill my rivet holes, but use the Clecos to attach the panels so I can remove them as needed. I won’t rivet them in until much further along. I want the brake lines, fuel lines, etc. all run first.

Boxes and Boxes and Boxes

Boxes 6 through 13. We are really getting into some recognizable parts now. The windshield though was what made me happiest I have to say. It’s one of the parts that is going to go on near the end of the build, and it’s like getting a glimpse of your destination when you begin a long journey. Seeing the windshield, and knowing from the forum how difficult it is going to be to install, really made me feel good. I’ve also started a spreadsheet of parts and numbers and locations. It will be easier to find something if I can search a spreadsheet than looking through that manifest included with the kit. Plus I like spreadsheets. 😉

Box 6, aluminum pieces

Box 7, carpet. This was the only box I didn’t inventory. I am going to get my own leather for the interior and won’t be using any of this. I may try to sell it on the forum or give it to a builder in the future who needs it. We shall see.

Box 8, the windshield. I heart this.

Box 9, seats. I went with the basic vinyl, like I said I plan on getting my own leather and having them recovered, so no need to spend money on leather seats from Factory Five.

Box 10, roll bar

Box 11, lower control arms et al

Box 12, headers

Box 13, side exhaust pipes. There is the option of getting them chromed, but according to the guys on the forum the FFR side pipes get really loud after a while. 6 months or so for some, but almost everyone ends up changing them out. I plan on doing the same or seeing if I can pick up a used set of BOIG quietpipes somewhere.

Box 14, power steering option. I heard it time and time again, go with the power steering. The way my friends Scott in California put it: “The first time I drove a Cobra with no power steering I thought How can something so small be so difficult to turn at low speeds?” So power steering it is.

So that brings us to…(insert Jaws theme)…BOX 15, THE WIRING HARNESS!! Gasp!


I am NOT electronically inclined, and the wiring scares the bejeezus out of me. But I have to say I took one look at this Ron Francis harness and my fears just melted away. A bit. It looks like a really well made harness, and it is so EASY to follow. Just looking at the picture above you can see the wiring is already divided up to where it should go and clearly labelled. So after all my worry, and all the guys on the forum telling me it wasn’t nearly as big a deal as I thought, turns out they were right all along. I’m doing this to learn after all, and this is now something I am looking forward to learning.


So here’s the thing, I’m a small business owner, which means everything I do is on spreadsheets. I love spreadsheets. So when the guys on the forum started complaining about inventory I felt weird thinking that I was going to enjoy it. But it really is a fun part of the process. It’s like Christmas with each box. I’m opening the boxes in order before I read on the inventory sheet what is in them. I get to unwrap them, lay them out, mark them off…it’s wonderful. Plus I am learning about the parts and such. I now know the difference in a spring washer and plain washer, or a nylon nut and a plain nut. It’s all part of the learning process.

Here are boxes 1 and 2. I remind myself that I am building a car and that I DON’T WANT TO DIE! So I’m taking my time. If a box has a bag with multiple things I empty it out and line them up. I measure them, use my Thread Checker to check the size and threads, then  put it all back in the bag and box.

IMG_4196Oh there’s one more thing I’m doing. Each part is wrapped in really thick, heavy duty brown paper. One of the guys on the forum mentioned that he kept the paper to make templates for his heat protection sheets. I’m keeping the paper as well to do the same. Standing on the shoulders of giants after all.


She arrives

It’s pretty hard to describe. This is something I have been working towards for ten years. As a bonus my father-in-law was here randomly to see her come in! He is a huge inspiration to me and my love of cars, especially the Cobra. So it meant the world to me that he could be here. The truck showed up, and about two hours later we were done. Word of advice, the unloading is not a quick process, so be prepared for that. Thankfully I had a ton of friends there, and the time to get it done. We lowered in onto my chassis dolly and wheeled it into the garage. Then the boxes got unloaded and placed onto my Body Buck shelf. I am so glad I built it the way I did, the boxes fit perfectly and I only had to put my wheels and seats on the shelf behind the car, as you can see. But she’s here and safe and in the space. Next…INVENTORY!