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						Army Veteran Ffr Shelby Cobra Replica 1

FFR Shelby Cobra replica

As Told by Jeffrey S. Adams

1LT (ret), ENGR, US ARMY

Every gearhead or grease monkey has that one car that will always be that one love. That one car that when asked, “What is your dream car?” always tends to move to the front of their gray matter. Mine has always been the Shelby Cobra that raced in Le Mans. I can’t tell you if it was the Jessica Rabbit like curves of the car, or if it was the Apollo Rocket type of power that captivated me, but either way, I was hooked from a very young age.

As I grew older, I realized that the likelihood of owning a Cobra was very slim due to their availability, and subsequently their price. One day while procrastinating my engineering school work in college, I came across the Factory Five Racing website. Granted, I was a 23-year-old college student who was in no position to eat meals any fancier than Ramen Noodles or Hot Pockets, much less build a car. Nonetheless, I humored myself and put my info down for Factory Five Racing to send me their promotional DVD.

Once the DVD arrived, I played it over and over, many times coercing my girlfriend (now wife) to watch with me. She loved the idea as much as I did and we both decided that sometime in the future we would take on the challenge of building our own Factory Five Roadster.

Fast forward a few years later to 2004. My Louisiana Army National Guard unit gets the call for deployment to the Middle East. I lost a little more weight than I expected in Baghdad, Iraq. Apparently left legs are more expendable than I realized and I left mine there. I was blessed that I received no additional injuries other than just losing my leg. After my injury, I did my time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and life continued on.

A year later, my girlfriend and I both graduate, get married, and move to another city for work. While unpacking I come across my old Factory Five Racing DVD and decide to watch it. A few minutes into the DVD my wife walks in and sees what I’m watching. She looks at me and asks, “When are you going to build me that Cobra?”

The next few months consisted of budgeting our affairs and getting our finances in order to make sure we could tackle a kit project. Some of the biggest decisions included whether or not to go for the original classic look or an updated, “clean” look. We also had to decide what to do about a transmission. Neither one of us wanted an automatic transmission in our Factory Five Roadster. That’s when I remembered another wounded veteran friend mentioning that an Italian company called Guidosimplex might have something that would interest me: a Duck Clutch.

This Duck Clutch system allows you to control your clutch pedal via a potentiometer that looks like a duckbill located on the shifter knob. It has an on/off switch so my wife can turn off the system and drive it as a normal stick shift as well. The Duck Clutch system is made to be installed aftermarket so things went fairly smoothly. My welding skills were lacking so a friend was kind enough to weld a lever arm to the pedal assembly for the duck clutch to attach to.

The initial issue I ran into is that the servo that pulls the pedal for the Duck Clutch system, which can pull 165 pounds, was not able to fully depress my clutch pedal. My original setup was a 430hp, 392ci Ford crate engine with a TKO 600 and a King Cobra clutch.

After some research, and trying a few options, I finally settled on getting a dual clutch with some custom pieces from Spec Clutch to make it as light as possible. A few North Alabama Cobra Club brethren came over and helped me swap out the old King Cobra clutch with the new dual clutch. That did the trick.

The rest of the Factory Five Roadster build went fairly smoothly, and before I knew it the body was in paint and then we were out on the open road. My wife’s name is on the title and it is her car, I just happen to drive it a little more than she does. There aren’t too many people that get to say they drive around in a Cobra replica they built at the age of 31.

Now, at the age of 35, I can say that of all the experiences leading up to this point with the Factory Five Roadster, the one my wife and I appreciate the most, is getting to know the kit community. From the staff at Factory Five Racing, to the North Alabama Club members, and even to the Forum members and vendors, I have a hard time saying that I can find a better collection of selfless individuals that have the same passion and willingness to aid each other than these wonderful folks.

I’m reminded of the old adage, “It takes a village…..”. In my case, it took an entire community to help me build my dream car.


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Cobra Factory Five