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Unfinished Build: Classic Roadsters Cobra

I imagine this won’t be the last unfinished Cobra kit car emerge from a garage or barn. Think about it: while the overall presentation of these awesome replicas is that most anyone who can turn a wrench can assemble one in their garage, there’s still likely a learning curve to account for. If the builder realizes they are in over their head, or life simply gets too busy, I can see how a project like this 1965 Cobra replica here on eBay could end up sitting for years. The question on my mind is, what is it worth when the project is in pieces and no one knows where the first owner stopped?

In the case of this barn find kit, the price is at least $14,500 – that’s what the seller has listed as the opening bid. What’s unfortunate is that the listing calls it a Factory Five kit while the paperwork in the gallery reveals it to be a different manufacturer entirely: Classic Roadsters out of North Dakota. A quick scan of the message boards shows that while the Classic Roadsters kits are generally acceptable, they look a tad stretched compared to the Factory Five and they are no where close to being track or autocross-ready like the FF kits.

This is problematic as far as how the ad is presented. If someone is looking for a Factory Five kit, they tend to want one for very specific reasons, including it being a sympathetic recreation and a car you can use either on long drives or hustling at track days. In my autocross years, I saw numerous Factory Five cars in attendance, and they were monsters around the cones. While the build quality is considered acceptable on the Classic Roadsters kits, it’s not considered to be in the same league as the original Factory Fives.

So what’s it worth? I think the opening bid here is strong, and given you’re buying a pile of parts, there’s going to be numerous loose ends for the next owner to sort out. Plus, the included drivetrain is nothing special, as it sounds like it’s a 4.6L V8 from a 1991 Lincoln Town Car. If you wanted to upgrade to the modern Mustang’s Coyote V8, that will run a cool $10K (at least) and I’m not even sure the frame rails can handle it. Lots of questions here but also lots of potential.


  1. Avatar photo Rick

    Pfft… for another $5K you could have a brand new roller from Factory Five…

    Like 17
    • Avatar photo Brian Fergusson

      If you want a roller you should check out Kirkham, Shelby, Superformance, ERA and a few others – but FFR doesn’t make rollers.

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Bob S

    No thanks, all you are doing, is buying a bunch of hidden problems, and the fact that you need a better drivetrain, just adds to the overall cost.
    I have a friend that put $60,000 into a Cobra kit car, and the result is a beautiful car with a wicked 427, but the value of the car will never increase. It will always be a kit car.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am not badmouthing kit cars. The builder needs to carefully consider why they want to build a car that will cost a considerable amount of time and money. It takes a lot of determination and more than a little skill to finish a project. I have built enough hotrods to know.

    Like 11
  3. Avatar photo Not Blind

    The motor is obviously not a modular V8 and the front wheels are Mark VII LSC. Therefore, the drivetrain is a high-output 5.0 from a ‘91 LSC. How on earth did the author come up with a 4.6 from a Town Car?

    Like 6
  4. Avatar photo Patrick Kelly

    Well, there were two boxes that said factory five….

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo DVSCapri

    The listing says from 91 Lincoln… That’s a 5.0 in the engine bay, not a 4.6 – judging by the wheels & 5.0, I’d say the donor was a Lincoln Mark 7 (Foxbody) – which are the majority of the donors used for these builds (Foxbody).

    Like 6
  6. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Rusty exhaust system laying on the ground, body in grassy field, nothing clean… Done some dumb things but this would not be one of them. Rick has it. Not worth the gas to go get it.

    Like 6
  7. Avatar photo Joe Machado

    Bring those kit cars to Williow Springs tomorrow, the 11th of April. We rented the track all day. We are bringing 4 1969 Daytonas.
    Try to beat that white Daytona, if you can keep up!
    Hot Rod is filming there also. Come on, dont be shy

    Like 6
  8. Avatar photo Mike

    Does the world really need another Cobra copy on the road? Build your own body and mount it.

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Cobra Steve

    Started on my NAF Cobra replica in 1987 and got it on the road in 1991. Did EVERYTHING myself except I paid others to rebuild the toploader Ford tranny and sourced the traction-lock rear (changed the Lincoln Versailles rear ratio from 2.50 to 3.50–closest I could get to the original cobra 3.54). Bent every brake and fuel line. Custom-fabricated a few brackets. Rebuilt the engine. Upgraded to Granada rotors on the Mustang II spindles. Even squirted the paint myself–took five days of prep and one day painting, including the stripes.

    Ton of work but enjoyed every minute of it. Total cash investment: Less than $23K. Factor in if I was paid $0.05 for every hour I worked on this car, total investment would probably approach $300,000.00. But that’s not the point, rather, real gearheads know the satisfaction of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

    The FF cars are wonderful (and better) cars but we didn’t have many options back in the ’80s. Contemporary, ERA, Unique, Midstates, and NAF. This one being from Classic Roadsters I’d put in the same league as the early Everett Morrison cars…VERY basic which required even more work than mine required. Many kits the body was shipped in 15+ pieces (inner/outer door, inner/outer hood, front & rear clips, etc.) which required 10+ gallons of fiberglass resin to glue it all together. IF I was a player for this car, I’d be reluctant to pay more than $3K.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Mike_B_SVT

      I was thinking something like that too… “Hmm… maybe he’d take $5k.”
      I’d just slap it together and make a driver out of it. Have an awesome summertime commuter and just have fun with it. No paint, or maybe just rattle can it, for appearances sake. Keep a “For Sale” sign in the window and sell it by the end of the summer.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Al

        best practical idea yet for a puzzle in a box or two.

        Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    If the parts had been kept well and not rusted, maybe?

    Still don’t know how complete the whole thing is?

    Someone is dreaming here. Let them sleep.

    Like 6
  11. Avatar photo Brad G

    I’m the owner, and I know what I’ve got :)

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo EJB

    I think I’d rather just have a new kit from FF.

    Like 7
  13. Avatar photo Andrew (Drew) Helgeson

    I think a new kit would be much easier for so many reasons – registering and licensing the finished car is just one of the reasons.

    Like 3
  14. Avatar photo Ben

    no Bueno!

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Sten

    You can get a NEW Factory Five basic kit for less than for this pile of rusty stuff. Just saying…

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Brian Fergusson

    That’s not a Classic Roadsters body – it’s missing the ‘kink’ in the upper front corner of the door that’s distinctive to CR cars. Check out the photo to see what I mean.

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo Dale Watson

    Brad is right , he is the owner and I think he may have room to dicker with someone.

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo Steve S

    A few years ago I went to the auto show that was a half hour from where I live and they had a factory 5 cobra nose to nose with a real all original Shelby built 1967 427 Shelby cobra and they had a sign next to it that said it was the real deal and a sign next to the other 1 that said it was a factory 5 car and if I had a chance to get one of these cars I would trash that 4.6 or 302 and transmission and get a 427 with a 4 speed manual transmission

    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo Joe R.

    That frame and a lot of those parts do not look anything like the Classic Roadsters kit I bought in the early 2000’s. The frame is quite different. Maybe this is an earlier version from the 80’s or something.

    Like 0

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