Journal: November 1999


Choose Your Month



  Monday 11/2/99, I took advantage of a couple of beautiful warm Fall days this weekend to paint my frame. I decided to go with Plasti-kote's Rebuilders Cast Finish Gray No.285. It's a spray on lacquer that dries to a rugged silver/gray finish. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and happy I got it done before the weather turned. The temperature dropped 40 degrees today and it's Snowing!
The original factory finish left a lot to be desired in that it was very thin in some places and it was applied over surface rust on several 2"x2" frame members. I smoothed out the finish with 240 grit abrasive paper and primed any bare metal with Plasti-kote's black primer. The finish went on nicely,but did require some additional sanding due to overspray settling on unpainted frame members. I know that most of the frame wont be visible once the body is on, but I'll know what's under there and I want it to look nice.
A WORD ABOUT THE FRAME: This thing is beautiful! It's well designed and cleanly fabricated with very high quality welds. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with this quality of work. On the other hand, my only complaint on the entire kit has been the rust that was painted over on the 2x2 frame members. Without additional paint, this would have turned ugly very quickly. Not a show stopper, but kind of tacky on someone's part.
Painting the frame gave me a nice break from refinishing my wheels, but I'll have to get back to them soon so I can get my tires mounted. The plan for this week calls for finishing the wheels and buying new tires this weekend.
I also ordered motor mounts and a Helms wiring diagram today. If you plan on doing your own wiring, the Helms manual is a "must have"

Sunday 11/7/99, Nothing to report this weekend. There is more to life than Cobra's and unfortunately some of it involves raking tons of leaves and trimming hedges. Didn't get the wheels done, so no tires yet. I did get the wiring diagram from Helms this week and it is as promised a work of art. Get one if you're building a FFR kit!

Sunday 11/14/99, I've been stripping the finish off my wheels AGAIN. This time around I'm removing all the clear coating, not just the stuff on the outer rim. I have to admit that this part of the project has not been much fun, but once they're done it should be worth it. For a break from the wheels, I cleaned up my steering rack and I might start working on my front control arms and spindles today. The aluminum on the rack cleaned up real nice. When I get the control arms done, I'll be ready to assemble the front end of the Cobra!

Sunday 11/21/99, I haven't had much time to work on the beast this week, but what time I have had has been spent cleaning and painting donor parts. I've been degreasing and wire brushing the front spindle and control arm assemblies as well as the rear end. The spindles are heavily rusted and aren't cleaning up as well as I'd like. I'm going to try and find someone to sandblast all of the donor suspension parts this week so I can get on with the build.
My son Cody (web boy ) has been working on the Cobra color picker this weekend. It's looking great but has required lots of brain churning to get it to work. He's doing it with Javascript and Flash for those who care. He is still trying to find the perfect picture to use, so if anyone has a high resolution cobra picture with lots of detail, e-mail it to him. You could see your cobra in 1000 different colors!

Sunday 11/28/99, OK, we're moving now. Well sort of. I cut out of work early on Wednesday to get the front control arms, rearend, wheels and other miscellaneous parts sand blasted. Unfortunately the two sand blasting shops I went to both closed early for the Thanksgiving holiday. So I've been driving around with all this stuff clinking around in the back of my van until I can drop it off. Since the sandblasters were closed, I made a trip to the junkyard and picked up an upper steering column from an 87 Mustang with a non-tilting steering wheel.
As for work on the car, I installed the battery and steering rack this weekend. This is not the recommended assembly order for the steering rack, but hopefully I'll be able to install the rest of the front end components with the rack in place. The rack is a very tight fit, but with some help from my son we were able to get the mounting bolts aligned.
I also prepared some more donor parts this weekend. These included the new steering shaft and gas tank. The gas tank has been a real disappointment. I spent about three hours cleaning it and the plastic tank cover and they look beautiful. Unfortunately when I tipped the tank up on its edge I noticed some gas oozing through what looks like a minor rust spot. ARGHH!! When I removed the fuel pump and fuel level float, I noticed that a baffle inside the tank is also loose. So, unless the welder has some ideas, I may be getting a new tank. That's all for now. Hope all of you US visitors had a great Thanksgiving.

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