My Cobra story

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simonjrwinter
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Location: Upminster, Essex.

My Cobra story

Post by simonjrwinter » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:59 pm

I’ve always loved cars and in the past 25 years have owned and built several Cobra and GT40 replicas. However, it wasn’t until 2018 when I bought my first Hawk. It was a part started Hawk ace kit and try though I might to love the shape of the Ace, I really hankered after a 289 or preferably even a 289 FIA.

In November 2019 I was given the opportunity to buy a hawk 289 FIA from an English gentleman now living in France who built and registered the car in 2009. The only problem was that he lived 600 miles away in France. I asked my pal Paul to accompany me and we made our way via le shuttle to France. At the end of January 2019, we drove down to just south of Angouleme to collect the car.
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The previous owner had relocated to France in 2011 and had taken the car with him via trailer and stored it in his barn. The car was a Hawk FIA, Ford 302, T5 ‘box, with all the right bits but had done less than 200 miles since being registered. Jeff (the PO and builder) and his wife put us up for the night, and in the morning we started the 600 mile trip home.
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The car had not run for about 5 years, but after putting on a new battery and fresh fuel (and a bit of churning to get the oil pressure up) it started and ran like a champ.
I removed the hardtop from the car and de-raked the windscreen to give me a bit more headroom and I’ve been slowly turning it into “my” car for the past year.
The car has run superbly apart from an interesting trip to Carfest south where a 1-1/2 hr journey turned into a 6 hour slog….turns out the fuel pressure was set too low and every time we got into a queue, it spluttered to a stop. My son in law and I got pretty good at hopping out and pushing it to the side of the road! A wait of 10 mins with the bonnet up would allow us to progress to the back of the next queue.
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The car has recently been superbly painted by Nige in Cardiff, a fair trot from Essex, but I think you’ll agree, well worth it.
Last edited by simonjrwinter on Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
TR6 (V8) Hawk 289 FIA (V8) GD MK3 (V8) Doing my bit for global warming.

simonjrwinter
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:25 pm
Location: Upminster, Essex.

Re: My Cobra story

Post by simonjrwinter » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:59 pm

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TR6 (V8) Hawk 289 FIA (V8) GD MK3 (V8) Doing my bit for global warming.

simonjrwinter
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:25 pm
Location: Upminster, Essex.

Re: My Cobra story

Post by simonjrwinter » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:09 pm

Ok chaps, anyone else prepared to tell us the story of their car?
TR6 (V8) Hawk 289 FIA (V8) GD MK3 (V8) Doing my bit for global warming.

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StewbieC
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Re: My Cobra story

Post by StewbieC » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:45 am

Great story Simon!
My build is covered on the Building a 289 section. I still fettle with it now, last jobs are to fit some more original Black Girling reservoirs and re-do the glove box as I'm still not entirely happy with it. :D
________________________________________________
Stu
Hawk 289, maximum smiles per mile..

simonjrwinter
Posts: 625
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:25 pm
Location: Upminster, Essex.

Re: My Cobra story

Post by simonjrwinter » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:42 am

The odd thing was that the PO lived and built the car less than 20 miles from where I live.
Simon
TR6 (V8) Hawk 289 FIA (V8) GD MK3 (V8) Doing my bit for global warming.

peterc
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Re: My Cobra story

Post by peterc » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:53 pm

I’m not sure when my Cobra attraction started. I remember quite vividly spectating on the 1972 Scottish rally and at the start of one of the stages the Clerk of the Course rolled up in a Range Rover. Walking past the start line a Scandinavian guy turned round to me and said ‘Ah you can tell zis is a V8 because of the ze woofel.’ I loved his explanation - simple and to the point. This is probably when my attraction for a V8 was cemented although I had always loved the Lola T70’s racing at Brands.
A neighbour of a friend had a Sunbeam Tiger and related stories of upsetting drivers of quite fast cars on his holidays to Switzerland. The initial looks was just another small insignificant British sports car until he had the opportunity to blast past and disappear into the distance. The Tiger didn’t look like a V8 style car and that attracted me. Yes, I liked the idea of a discrete but big engined car but at that stage did not consider building one. My actual car at the time was a rather a poor substitute, namely a 1500GT engined Ford Anglia with which I used to compete in club rallies and autotests.

Many years later I started looking at what V8 engined cars were available. Morgan probably came first but finding a large chunk of money in one go put me off. My parents had brought me up to avoid having loans. I think I then started getting serious about building something to spread the cost over a period of time. Many options were looked at - NG, GT40, Ultima, and many more but only in magazines.
I then wondered did I have the ability to build a complete car from scratch. Having since got married my other half reluctantly agreed that I could spend some money on building a car having spent several hard years renovating the house. But before I could embark on building a car I needed somewhere clean to build it! So a new double length garage was built complete with a pit. I am occasionally reminded that it was her redundancy money that paid for the garage. A Westfield SEi with independent rear suspension and Ford 1700 crossflow engine mildly tuned to 108 BHP was duly built in a lovely clean garage. White painted walls and green painted floor. We held a party in it before the car parts arrived.

The Westfield required all the internal panels to be riveted on and all the brake lines formed and installed and the one piece ( flimsy) body attached unlike a Caterham which would have come with a pre made tub. I enjoyed the few years of buzzing about in especially through the bends and round-abouts, however my other half hated it. Not so much the speed more the low down nature when sitting along side a lorry. Reluctantly the car had to go.

Thoughts of a Morgan surfaced again but didn’t quite gell in my mind. I liked the idea of a classic and a few more years disappeared before my wife gave in and agreed a to visit to a certain company in Frant. Now remember I wanted an understated sports car not an obviously large bulbous one. At Gerry’s workshop were two 289’s side by side. I loved the chrome wire wheels and slim looks of the standard Mk2. However alongside stood an FIA model which I didn’t know much about let alone that Gerry made that option. Now when spending chunks of money it clearly has to be agreeable to the other half. She didn’t like the small ribs around the wheel arches on the slab side but DID like the colour and smoothness of the arches on the FIA. Note the colour was important. Now far from me wanting to take advantage of the moment but the decision was all but made in her mind she would accept being a car builders widow again. I ordered an FIA from Gerry shortly after the visit.

So during 1998-99 I beavered away for 15 months working most evenings and week ends. I had a deadline of the end of ‘99 as the regulations were to change dramatically. I upset Gerry wanting white footwells as he had already half made a car ready for me. By now I was homing in on authenticity and continued to study numerous photos on how it should look. Of course being fibreglass there were compromises like the carpets to hide what the car was made of. Now I’d admit to two errors when building. One was drilling to close to the corner for the rear wiring loom to pass through. I then learnt it was not that difficult to fill a hole with fibreglass. Just as well as the 2nd error was the slots for the windscreen legs. Despite my belief that I had accounted for the curvature I was around 5 mm out. OK I could have just covered it with the escutcheon plate but me being me I wanted the slot to be the correct size and evenly displaced around the leg.

The car was finished in Sept '99 and was duly MOT’d still in its gellcoat. I felt it important to have some proof the car was roadworthy to drive to the SVA test. In Oct it passed the SVA first time. The tester was initially grumpy but then he realised that is was the type of car that he had practiced on. Gerry had loaned them a car to help them understand how the regs were meant to work and of course advise him if the there were any shortfalls in his offering. I think this definitely worked in my favour as he seemed to know more about the car than I did!
So I was now able to register it as a Hawk and the DVLA then awarded me with historic status. This enabled me to maintain an age related plate albeit I managed to find a cheap ‘64 plate which the DVLA were happy to allocate.
A few months later the car was sprayed. Supposedly Viking Blue but the spray shop chose the nearest which was Atlantic Blue. Initially I was rather upset but actually grew to like it quite quickly.

I have enjoyed my time with the Cob but find that when I have the time to drive it is invariably raining and when the weather is good I’m busy with other tasks. Needless to say there have been quite a few enhancements over the years. Those items I didn't have time for before the urgency of the SVA test. Read the forthcoming editions of the magazine for further info.

Peter C
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SiJackson
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Re: My Cobra story

Post by SiJackson » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:47 am

Lovely looking car Peter. Can you spoil us with a few more photos please?

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Migge
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Re: My Cobra story

Post by Migge » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:36 am

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Silverstone 2018
Special customized BRA289

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clive
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Re: My Cobra story

Post by clive » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:48 pm

Great post Peter. I never realised you were a Boy Racer back in the day! No wonder why Jan hated it! :lol:
Cheers, Clive.

(If I'm not here I'm in my workshop or on the golf course!)

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