Unfinished Business: 1965 Cobra Kit Car

It’s not terribly uncommon to see unfinished kit cars show up on craigslist, often for less than what the seller has into the overall build. It’s understandable: many kit car manufacturers pump up the notion that you can do this in your own garage without too much effort, but the reality is life places demands on us that often conflict with our desire to build a Cobra replica with our bare hands. It’s a shame. But perhaps there’s someone out there with more time on their hands than the seller and can snatch this Cobra kit car up for a song. Find it here on craigslist in the Bay Area for $8,500.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat F. for the find. The origins of the kit aren’t disclosed, and there’s usually some tell-tale sign that a kit hails from a particular designer. Kit car fans can likely talk all day about this topic at their annual convention, and what makes one kit rarer or more desirable than another. Some enthusiasts may look at this design and consider it inaccurate when compared to the original model, while others may see a sympathetic tribute vehicle. I can’t claim either side as my own from sitting here on my computer, but I’ll just say this: Cobra replicas look like tons of fun.

This particular kit comes with what looks like a fairly complete chassis, with most, if not all, running gear attached. The engine is a 351 paired to a C6 transmission, and the seller provides plenty of detail on the rest of the setup: the Cobra has a Mustang II front end with rack and pinion steering, as well as a 9″ rear end, front and rear bumpers, holes cut in the dash for gauges, and many spare parts. While the automatic is a matter of personal preference, the seller points out that the beauty of these kits is the range of drivetrains they accept, so you don’t have to stick with the path he chose to build this Cobra replica on.

There’s a few photos of some of the spare parts included with the sale, including the bumpers, dash fascia, and driver’s seat. I suspect there’s still much more needed to finish this Cobra kit off as a driver, such as basic luxuries like carpeting and windows. These are pretty big ticket components that the seller either doesn’t have them or never got around to tracking down. The listing seems to indicate the seller is very much open to offers, which is refreshing in this era of I know what I got pricing. Do you recognize the shop responsible for this particular kit car? Let us know in the comments below.


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  1. Mr. Bond

    Kinda looks like he got kicked out of his garage. With the rust on the engine, I wonder how long it’s been outside. Be a fun project though. And yes, I’d swap out for a manual trans.

    Like 11
  2. Aamodel

    It doesn’t appear he knows what he has, that’s an FE motor, so 332, 352, 360, 361, 390, 391, 427, 428 etc, not a Windsor or modified.

    Like 20
    • Lee Waddington Member

      I think the heads are to wide to be an FE. I think its a Cleveland with 2bbl heads. Its also not a Factory Five Kit, I know because I own one.

      Like 2
    • Harry

      You beat me to it you are dead on not 351 Windsor or modified definitely isn’t Fe motor

      Like 2
      • Brent Olson

        That’s definitely an FE motor. Look at the exhaust “flanges”, and the upper half of the valve cover rail is on the intake, and not present.

        Like 3
    • Neal Jacobson

      It definitely IS a FE series engine. That C-6 behind it is a pick up truck unit with a short tail shaft. Making me think both came from a P/U. Maybe a 352(same bore and stroke as any 351 variant), a 360 or a 390. If he had most of the parts to finish this up maybe $8500 could be OK. But as many noted finding the rest will be painful.

      Like 2
  3. George Mattar

    I retired 3 years ago and said I would build one of these some day. This thing needs a ton of work. Price seems fair. I had a chance to buy a real 427 Cobra in 1976. I was 20 and the guy wanted I think $65,000. Yeah right. He was a Corvette used car dealer in Butler NJ on Rt 23. Turns out he was a crook and had titles to very few of the cars he had. Anyway, today real Cobras are stupid money. Still looking for a kit.

    Like 6
    • Mark Licker

      Glass Car Company on Rt. 23..?? I lived not far from there and would walk there after school and drool over his cars, especially a 67 427 C2 Vette he had there. Couldn’t vouch for his integrity.

    • Lee Waddington Member

      Buy a Factory Five, they are the best for the money. Buy as much of a kit and options as you can afford. In the long run you will be glad you did. Have you thought of buying one already built, they are usually cheaper than to build one and you can start having fun right away.

      Like 7
  4. Buckskin

    Definitely a FE motor. No doors……….I guess they got blown off. Strange chassis……Pinto/Mustang II front and leaf springs in the back. This needs major updates……..maybe coil overs? I’m glad it’s in the Bay area. Wrong side of the country for me.

    Like 6
  5. Bdabs

    In 1973 I had a chance to buy a 289 Cobra at a Volvo dealer for $3900…yup, 2 zeros. It was clapped out, with a roll bar & crude side pipes, but it was a real Cobra. I was 21 & living at my folks house still, with nowhere to put it, so I had to pass. My stomach just started hurting again…

    Like 16
    • Randy

      … yep, in the early ’70’s real 289’s were selling in the $3-$4k range and the 427’s for $5k or so. Crazy what collectors have done with just about everything since then (Speedsters, Gullwings, etc.) — I was there. Unfortunately my first (3) cars turned to gold AFTER I sold them!

  6. RallyAce

    Main frame is not round tubing so it is not a Factory Five kit. Chances are whomever built the kit is no longer in business and you are on your own trying to figure out how to finish it up. This one is for someone who is in for a real challenge.

    Like 4
  7. charles Flowers

    Agree with RallyAce.

    Having done a kit before, getting all the kit parts and support from the original supplier is WAY easier. I cannot imagine the headache of trying to piece together all the small bits, much less the labor, of getting this thing done.

    $500 tops, and that is generous. Seems more like he ought to pay someone to take it off his hands.

    No offense, but this is just a big pile..

    Whomever buys it best be looking for an ROI from the ‘learning experience’..

    Like 2
    • Bobby Longshot

      $500 is grossly unfair. This actual pile of junk is easily worth $515.

      Like 3
  8. SourPwr Member

    My dream car. I’d sell a real Cobra to buy a completed kit car and keep the change. I’d ride my daily driver past the trailer Queen and smile.

  9. Frank Brauer

    What I could buy with $8500? The entire drivetrain is worthless other than the rear end. If he lost two BIG doors, how many other bits are missing? A machinist or fabricator with a passion for challenges would be the right person for this but again, the price is sooo way off. Maybe $1,000?

    Like 1
  10. JCA

    Seems like a lot of money for a parts car. No mention of a title either, not sure if that’s a problem or not with a kit car. At least you have the block to make it a 427. I guess you have to make it a side oilier for clearance issues?

  11. Steve Feld Member

    A few years ago I had the opportunity to strap into a Cobra kit car with, the owner said, a gently modified Ford 289 power-plant. For the shuttle-launch acceleration, I would say the vehicle actually had an Allison V-12 bolted in place somehow. And one that badly wanted to be airborne again.

    For the customer’s going-sideways skills and the smell of every tire burning going 85 in a 30, I felt safer in the front seat of a ’41 Stearman dive-bombing for fun over the Arizona desert with more g-forces than I have ever felt testing the durability of the seat straps holding me in at 6,500 feet up than worrying about the roll bar holding up okay in that kit car.

    Woo-wee was the car, eh, “responsive” – though not to my need for my getting the heck out of it. Maybe I would have felt more at ease if I was the driver.

    Like 2
    • JCA

      My first car was a ’70 Maverick, also with a mildly modified 289. It was surprisingly quick. Dropping another 600+ lbs of weight like in this Cobra would be perfect. You don’t need more than a 289/302 in this car.

      Like 2
  12. theGasHole

    I remember seeing ads for these kit cars when I was growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s, along with the Corson Fiero, Austin Healey, and of course the Lambo and Testarossa kits. Man did I want one of these! Fast forward 30 years later and it still hasn’t happened, but like most others have said: buy a kit from the manufacturer. Unless you are getting something like this listing for next to nothing, and have a ton of spare time and even more patience, this listing is not the way to go.

  13. corky aeh

    I have a kit car now that i drive and take to car shows and if there is an annual Kit Car Convention , i would love to know details or websites !!!!

    Like 1
  14. TimM

    Definitely not worth the money!!! What’s there needs completely rebuild or scrapped not to mention what’s not there that will nickel and dime you to death!!!

  15. Rob Liebbe

    Way too much money but would make a neat incomplete build/dune buggy style/rat rod beat the heck out of it fun car to have.

  16. Marv

    I built a 66 from Classic Roadsters out of ND in 2003. I actually stumbled upon a 427 side Oiler and modified the frame to fit it in. It was a complete handful to drive, but it sure was a lot of fun.

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