How it all started
As a family unit (father and 2 sons) we decided it would be a great project to build a cobra together.
We had a head start with a good mate, Graham, already in the Cobra club of Melbourne and building his Cobra based on a local kit.
And as if to emphasise our individuality his build involved a lot of hand making and finishing, which he thoroughly enjoys, but which we didn’t want to do.
In fact our day job is the manufacture of pretty serious off road campers, caravans and even tactical military trailers, so our emphasis is on design, manufacture and routine assembly of precision components, which don’t need individual, hand finishing of skilled trades to achieve uniformly high quality finished units.
So choice of kit is an individual thing and we are spoiled for choice in Australia with several local manufacturers and access to the world’s manufacturers, through local distributors or personal importation.
We know from Track Trailer’s product development that up front investment in thorough research & planning leads to good decisions and outcomes. We also concluded that building a cobra is a major investment of our time. So it was logical we would tackle the task with the same professional approach as our day jobs.
We started with desk research and had a good look at the cars of club members and talking to owners from all over Australia at events like the national challenge.
This led us to conclude “we weren’t interested in trying to build an authentic 1965 car” with all its 1965 shortcomings. We wanted to build a 2014 car that could be mistaken for the real thing at first glance.
We gathered all the information available from the manufacturers and weighed this against our criteria, which had a strong focus on “ease of build” and the finished result of a “well sorted car.”
Finally our desk study produced a short list that included Superformance, Factory 5 and Gardner Douglas.
We travelled to the USA to check out the first two and even enrolled in the Michigan Mott Community College Cobra Build School where father and son joined 10 other blokes to build a cobra, “from bare chassis to doughnuts in the car park” in a 3 day weekend! This was an invaluable experience. Satisfying in itself, a great fast track learning opportunity, of value irrespective of the kit you choose, it also gave us intimate knowledge of one of our short listed products.
Ultimately we travelled to the UK to visit Gardner Douglas (GD) where we found what we were looking for.
We think our investigation was quite thorough and we are very happy with our decision. Our GD427 will be individual. We have already made decisions about colour, trim, mechanical specification, that “make it ours” and a multitude of future decisions as we build will make ours even more special.
We are also very pleased to be tackling this as a family project at many levels. We are lucky that father and adult sons share the passion and each brings his own skills, experience and circle of friends to the project, so that the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
And if that isn’t enough we have a whole community of cobra club members very willing to share their often hard-won wisdom, contacts and tools.
Finally because we are men and we do consult the manual as last resort, we have GD. The HTML build manual is permanently displayed on the garage tv with about 2000 photos, so you can figure out the answers to most questions for yourself, but Andy and the team at GD are only an email away if needed.
The rest is history. You can follow the build in the blog …… And we are always happy for a chat about our GD427 and if you want one of your own, we can help with procurement and local build support.
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