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						Aluminum Alloy Bodies 10

Aluminum Alloy Bodies

By Steve Temple

Photos By Steve Temple, Harold Pace, and Joe Greeves

While the majority of Cobra replicas today have a fiberglass body, that wasn’t the case with the original. In a sort of a “Back to the Future” scenario, Ingo Poth of Alloycars proves that there’s more than one way to skin a Cobra. With aluminum, that is.

Poth’s company started in 1996 in Brazil making aluminum bodies for the fiberglass Cobra manufacturer Americar Veiculos, which he says made the best Cobra you could get in South America. Later on he built complete aluminum-bodied cars (including the chassis) for customers in both South America and Europe, about 150 units total. But he admits that initially the slightly wider body and the chassis were not close enough to an original setup to offer them to U.S. customers. And he also sold aluminum bodies to other manufacturers, which is why he didn’t really start promoting his company Alloycars until 2008.

Noting the craftsmanship of aluminum-body fabricators in other countries, but unable to afford Brazil’s 160 percent import tax, he decided to train his own metal shapers, passing on his knowledge that he acquired in Europe from older craftsmen who were building aluminum war planes. “Today it is impossible to find such guys anymore,” he admits. But he also needed an edge to get into the U.S. market, after moving, his company to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“Our competition is making very expensive versions of Cobras,” he adds. “I knew that we could offer our MK5 Roadster for a lot less with the right setup. If I tell you that we can build a full body in one week only with one team, nobody believes it,” he say. “But it is possible and we tested it already.”

Alloycars actually has three teams of craftsmen now, so you can imagine how many bodies the company can produce. “But making the body only, doesn’t make a full car,” he points out. “So we are actually setting up to do the rest here in our shop.” He’s using the proven and popular chassis design from Factory Five Racing (FFR), but modified to support an aluminum body, which requires an additional subframe.

“We have chosen an FFR setup as everything is professionally made. And the way they are making it, and the fact that they race the own cars, makes me very comfortable.

Actually Alloy Cars offers five different options for sale, so there’s something for everybody: a basic kit ($50K), a roller ($70K), and three different stages of complete MK5s, from Standard to Performance (with prices ranging from $85K to $99K).  

In addition to these five options, Alloy Cars is offering an aluminum rebody for all FFR roadsters, with an estimated price in the $20K range (which includes the body, subframe and mounting).

The body is made from 1/16th-inch aluminum 3003 series, TIG-welded (flame welding heats up all nearby areas too much, Ingo notes). “Also you can see the fusion between the metals much better.”

How can he make them so fast? “The production method is a little secret, as we found out how to produce those bodies extremely quickly,” he says. “One thing I can tell is is that pure manpower is required, so if someone wants to do some muscle training, here is the right place.”

Alloycars also hammers out other aluminum bodies for exotic cars, such as replicas of the Ferrari P4, Mercedes SLR,  and Porsche 550, but due to increased demand and production efficiency, Poth is focusing more of his time on the aluminum Cobra market.

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Alloycars Cobra