This is the start of a long wished for opportunity to build my own car
Today I took the plunge and confirmed my wish to build a Gardner Douglas Cobra Mk4 and have paid my deposit (More of my choices for the build below). Andy and Meena, the two people who run Gardner Douglas, have been exceptionally helpful and took good care of me when I recently visited their base in Grantham.
All the good things said about Andy, Meena and their product in various online blogs and commentary are true. If you are interested in a quality product managed by good, helpful folk then look no further than Gardner Douglas. On my visit I was plied with helpful information (with zero flannel or pushy sales) and cups of tea and allowed to poke around and check out the various styles and options available. Even though Andy was obviously in the middle of arranging new CNC facilities and juggling matters rearranging their recently occupied new home he took the time to give me a spirited trip as a passenger in one of their cars. The drive was suitably thrilling and despite some less than perfect rural roads the car performed brilliantly and was remarkably smooth over the lumps. The space-frame chassis, which initially attracted me to Gardner Douglas because of its logical triangulated format and obvious stiffness, with the well set up suspension, kept the car feeling ‘planted’ on the road. The car was well within its capabilities during some bouts of generous acceleration, braking and rapid corners. I am certain that there is a lot more to be explored in terms of performance, but public roads are not the venue, besides there are always other road users and it is amazing how swiftly they appear in front.
So, in short, my research of the key competitors in the market providing Cobra build projects was not too difficult to conclude. I do not feel the need to go through a comparison here of the other manufacturers (of whom Andy at GD does not say a bad word about at all), suffice to say I am now convinced that the GD Mk4 is a worthy modern interpretation of the spirit of the Cobra sensibly, and continuously, upgraded with modern available technology. I wouldn’t mind an original Shelby Cobra, if you want to give me one, but I am sure it would not have the manners of the GD. The models, and components being built, I saw at the factory were all of a high quality finish that I will strive to achieve.
Happy, happy happy!