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.