Cobra Blog

Picking up the Body and Other Goodies


Saturday 16th December 2018. I hired a Luton Van, making sure it had the correct internal dimensions (to carry a 1.9m x 3.9m MK4 body) and was assured it had just under 4m length and about 2.2m width. Phew!

I arranged with my brother in-law Peter to accompany me up to Grantham on the 4 hour trip and act as muscle and moral support.

Here is my first parts list:

BBF01A Catches/Locks/Handles/Bolts
BBF01A2 CNC machined Bonnet/Boot hinges+plates/pair
BBF01BS GD427 Mk4 Bolt-on Reproduction Bonnet Scoop
BBF01C Body Metal work (Hinges & Intrusion Beams in Bare Metal)
BBF01E MK4 Boot striker
BBF01MK4 GD427 Mk4 body
BBF02 Optional Pre-Fit Body Panels
BBF02A Optional Pre-Cut Body Holes
BBF02D Optional Undersealing bodyshell
BBF03 Body Gelcoat Colour Finish – Ral 9019 Pure White
BBF03A Optional Body Compound & Full Polish (including engine bay)
BBF03B Moulded-in colour gelcoat stripes – Ral 5010 Genetian Blue
DFU01 Fabricated stainless steel Fuel Tank – 12 gallon
DFU02D SVA Aston Filler Cap (to sell with DFU02E)
DFU02E SVA fuel cap flange – to suit DFUO2D
DFU08A Gates – Rubber fuel filler hose
FME08 Mk4 Steering column support frame
FME08A MK4 Dash support frame
FME13 Handbrake Lever – GDEuro
FME14 Handbrake Bracket
IEL01 Wiring/Body Loom, Relays & Fusebox
IEL04 Front and Rear Light Pack with P700 headlights
IEL04A S.V.A. Side Repeaters + Chrome trim (pair)
IEL04B Round Fog/Reverse Lights (pair)
IEL04C IVA Reflectors (pair)
IEL05 Heater & Demister Kit
IEL06 Wiper Motor Drive & Wheel Box
IEL06A Wiper Arms & Blades/pair
IEL06B Washer Bottle Kit
IEL12 GD MK4 Dash Loom
JBF02 Clamp-On Rear View Mirror
JBF03 SVA Door Mirrors/pair
JBF05A W/Screen Lower Pillar Cover Plates/pair
JBF05C MK4 – Under dash covers (3)
LTR01 Bonnet, Boot & Door Seals
Note: Indicator with amber lenses
LTR04C GRP Dash Panel – FLAT
LTR04J MK4 GRP moulded Glove Box Not Available!

Andy at GD had arranged to be in the factory for me and was there working away on other matters and the CNC machine was thrumming away. Andy, as ever, was a charming and helpful and together with one of his guys helped us load and secure the body, even wiping down a few underseal dabs that we had left on the car after lifting under the wheel arches. You can’t fault the service given.

The body is manageable with three blokes of average strength (one on the lighter front) but a fourth is really a sensible option, the body is in the region of 150kg, maybe a tad more with the bonnet and boot in place. The main problem is that the body fits quite snugly in the Luton with only a few inches outside the wheel arches so room for handling is at a premium.

Andy gave us some polystyrene packaging to protect the nose and the wheel arches and we then drew the body up to the front of the van with cargo straps between the door hinges and onto the packing rails at the side of the van. The body could not move back and forth and sideways movement was stopped with polystyrene wedged at the side of the rear arches and taped in place.

I also took a full copy of all the Build Manual files that are usually read on the DVD as I have no DVD or CD readers on any of my PC or Mac kit any more and prefer to play content direct from files I keep on my Dropbox account. I can open the web interface using the HTML link.

The drive home was another four hours, burger en-route, and then lots of grief trying to manoeuvre the long wheel base van into my drive, including a minor scrape on the gate posts.

At home I had arranged for my chum Andy to pitch up to help me and Peter unload the body and parts. Andy and Peter were not only a great help in providing lifting power but also made very useful directions in the way in which we unloaded and transferred to the trolley. Only three blokes, in the dark, and we performed the unload and positioning in the garage without too much drama and no damage. My sincere thanks to Peter and Andy who made this exercise possible and even stayed to watch me leave through the gate posts to take the van back.

Safe and sound ready for the build to commence

So Many Choices… Specifications

(Whilst preparing for the readiness of my gel coat coloured body shell I have made a couple more decisions and confirmed the body colours (not the leather yet) as the clock is ticking. The body is due in early November 2017, and I have stuck with the original idea.


Body: RAL 9010 Pure White

Stripes: RAL 5010 Gentian Blue.

The picture at the top is pretty much as I want the car but the side pipes will be stainless and I may not fit any overriders.

When I asked my daughter she suggested that Yellow was a good colour and even though she is right, I have a bit of a thing about white cars.


I was going to have the wide-spaced underslung exhausts. After telling friend that I was about to build a Cobra they all said one thing, “Great! that iconic look with those side-pipes”. I then spent some time thinking about the practicalities of me getting in the car over hot pipes and realised, this build is NOT about practical matters. This is about fun and Cobras do look ‘right’ with side pipes. If there are any problems with noise (really Nigel?) then I can always wear ear plugs which I believe may be a good idea if I drive it down through France or any other long tour. As I understand it the main problem is wind noise.

I am not going to let the ‘originality’ thing dictate my choices but those side pipes do look good!

Gardner Douglas supplied side pipes

The detail of the Gardner Douglas 4 into 1 and the step-up to the muffler section is very clean.

The removal of the body, if ever needed, does involve dropping the exhaust and the connectors to the headers, not a big issue.






Another matter related to the body work stage is the way in which the boot and bonnet are hinged. There is an option for GD to provide their CNC machined hinges, again they look very smart so that is what I am going to use.

GD CNC Hinges


Model: Gardner Douglas GDEuro (Classic)

Body Shell:

  • Gelcoat (RAL 9010 Pure White)
  • Stripes (RAL 5010 Gentian Blue)
  • No Overrriders
  • Bolted air scoop
  • Aston type fuel filler
  • P700 headlights (has 3 segment glass)
  • Two roll-bars (may require a them little taller than standard due to my back length)

Chassis: Euro Classic (So deep Dish Wheels)



  • Flat bottomed dash’
  • Dials: Smiths Cobra
  • Switches: (TBD)
  • Warning Lights: (TBD)
  • Heater: Old fashioned black Bakelite pull knob type
  • Power & USB outlets: (TBD)
  • Footwell lights (possibly, if so, automatic)
  • Trim Colours:
    • Dashboard – Black Leather
    • Floor Mats – Burgundy (rubber backed)
    • Door Cards – Burgundy Leather
    • Seats – Burgundy (heated)
    • Tunnel – Burgundy Carpet Sides, Burgundy Leather Top
    • Behind the seats – Burgundy Carpet
    • GD ‘Floaty’ head restraints – Burgundy
  • Safety Belts: Willans 5 Point – Red
  • Starter Button: Plain
  • Steering column stalks: Metal stalks as provided by GD


  • Radiator: Aluminium 3 Row radiator
  • Fan: Clova Twin Fan Kit (+ 500 bhp) This may no longer be made so TBD
  • Hoses: Silicone (Colour TBD)
  • Oil Cooler Kit with Thermostat

Differential: BTR Hydratrack speed sensitive limited slip differential (3.07:1)

Engine: LS3 HO rated at 525bhp with custom ground cam and uprated valve springs

Gearbox: Tremec Magnum 6 Speed

  • Gear Ratios:
    1. 2.66 or 2.97
    2. 1.78 or 2.1
    3. 1.30 or 1.46
    4. 1.00
    5. 0.80 or 0.74
    6. 0.63 or 0.50

Header / Expansion Tank: ??? type from GD

Steering Wheel: Moto-Lita 350 mm classic 6 bolt, 9 rivet, 3 spoke, dark stain

Tyres: 245 x 40 x 18″ front, 275 x 40 x 18″ rear. Michelin Pilot Sport/Super Sport.

Wheels: 8.5 x 18” front, 10 x 18” rear. Halibrand GTD5 Classic build (all chrome) with cover plate for 5 stud fitment and spinners


First Choices

Gardner Douglas provides a great number of choices for their cars, all based on their beautiful space frame chassis. These are my early choices.

First of all I knew I was going to build a Cobra and I preferred the look of the MK4 and quickly decided that was what I was going to build. It is just as well I preferred the MK4 as I am 6’3″ and not insubstantial so I wouldn’t really suit the less generously proportioned Mk3.

The next matter was whether to source a number of reconditioned Jaguar suspension and axle parts to create the underpinnings and have a chance of an ‘age related plate’ or go for the Euro option and make the car all new? Again the answer seemed relatively simple to me. I didn’t see any merit in going for an earlier than current registration date, the better and later Jaguar parts would not have given me historical road tax free driving so, apart from the cost of new parts I reasoned that I could build a better car using purpose made and unused parts. If I wanted an older number plate format then DVLA will have no problem with that, I will just have to stump up for road tax. So it is to be a Euro specification chassis and underpinnings.

The image you can see above is another customer’s car that happened to be in the workshop. I was struck by its colour scheme. For a lot of the modern cars I have owned I have specified white, it is much less trouble than any dark colour to keep looking ok if not completely clean. Who enjoys washing and waxing cars more than driving them? I am also happy with the darker blue stripes as it seems to me to be a classic combination.  I may accent the interior with red safety harnesses, we shall see.

It may look a bit like this (I have colour-replaced the blue leather with black):

The next key issue to decide was which engine to go for? There is always the possibility of fitting almost any engine and people seeking to spoof the 427 history will fit a Ford lump. I may not draw attention to the fact that the finished car is not a real Cobra but neither will I make choices based upon historical accuracy if advice or evidence points to better solutions. The engine of the car I was taken out in on my factory visit was a Chevy LS3 and it sounded great (I know that is also an exhaust selection matter). It also pulled smoothly without fuss as you would expect from anything that powerful! Gardner Douglas recommend and work extensively with Chevy crate engines, Andy is far more knowledgeable than most so you have to respect any decision he has made that is such a large part of how his product performs, and ultimately how reliable it is. So for me it was a choice of the two LS3 376 V8s one a stock version at 430HP and another with a purpose ground CompCams cam at 525HP. The 525 unit is not the same as the off-the shelf 525 crate as it has a different cam to get it within IVA specs. I dithered over which motor as both are way beyond what is necessary on the road, I finally came to the conclusion that this project was about appealing to some baser instinct of mine and any possible future purchasers with similar personality defects. I chose the 525HP option.