Too Fast, Too Loud, Impractical and Dangerous.
In other words, perfect.
My FIA Cobra is the only one ever built by ERA Replica Automobiles to be powered by the 281ci DOHC SVT Cobra motor, aka the "mod motor' or modular motor. It is much larger in size than the 289 that usually powers FIA Cobras and is also fuel injected. Hence it's quite a departure from a traditional replica. I have room for just one sports car and it's time to experience a GT car, perhaps something with A/C and power windows. The Cobra project was a great chapter in my life... it taught me a lot and helped forge friendships that will last a lifetime.
Building this car was complex with a goal of turning a Cobra replica into a modern reliable Cobra. Carol Shelby might have considered this power plant for the Series One, but his relationship with Ford was on the rocks. The Series One certainly would have sold better with Ford power. It couldn't have sold much worse. SVT motors share similarities with the Cosworth motors that ran at Indy. Furthermore, Mario Andretti was a big fan of the SVT motor, and I am a big fan of his. Each motor is hand assembled and signed by the builders on a niche assembly. This would clearly be a very custom project.
|Wiring and coolant have both been rerouted for cleaner appearance|
They pulled chassis # ERA2031 off the “line” and began fabrication italian style. Italian style means they drop the engine into the chassis, measure, fabricate and repeat. Bob Putnam explained: this was more efficient for one-off applications. Since no blueprints were created, I was pleased... I wanted to be the only one with such a car.
|The leather FIA seats have great side support and are comfortable for long drives|
When the car arrived from Connecticut there was still lots of work to be done. While I had managed to get the OEM Ford wiring to work, it proved to be imperfect for such a simple car. The wiring weighed over 25lbs and most of it was OBD-II related stuff and various accessories that were irrelevant. As the only shop around with an eddy current type dynamometer, Blood Enterprises was the clear choice for the tuning portion of the project. Blood Enterprises advised me that, as the only person in the country with this motor (at the time) we had a unique opportunity. So we made some calls and used the SVT motor to develop two different EFI systems in collaboration with the manufacturers F.A.S.T and Accel DFI Gen-7. The cost of developing such systems would have been prohibitive without such an opportunity. After the R+D for both systems was complete I chose to keep the Accel DFI system for the car. Blood's installed two discrete lights to add to the dash panel, a programmable shift light and a service engine light. For you people who like to modify and tune the DFI has various levels of user programming, so you experiment with fuel mixture and timing without screwing up too much.
All the testing, dyno runs, driving and wiring was done before painting. This made it much easier to work without fear of scratching the car. But now it was off to the painter, where the car languished forever (or at least, it felt that way). This gave me time to collaborate with Blood Enterprises to rebuild an engine for more aggressive use.
Red line is currently set to 8,000, valve springs or shims could take you to 9,000rpm if that interests you. The rings were gaped with enough extra clearance to allow for boost of any sort. The 320hp has proven plenty fast for me so the subject of nitrous, turbos or a blower has never come up. It is built to handle about 600hp easily, so give it a shot if you’re brave enough. The car is fast with 320hp, but not completely insane. The transmissions' been enhanced and the gear ratio changed since the magazine article in 2001, so it's a bit faster. It can do the ¼ mile in the lower 12’s and perhaps 11’s if you can find the right tires. 0-60 in the 4 second range, but again, it could do better with more serious rubber. Torque is not the same as a big block car, and they have walked away from me if I’m not in the right gear. But that only happens once. It produces 295ft/lbs which is respectable for a 281ci engine. The RPM range is broad even with my 3.73 gear ratio, so you’ve got to shift down to get to that 4,000-5,500 power sweet-spot. If you’re in 4th or 5th gear it’s pretty quiet and can be quite civilized, but don’t get too comfortable in the first 3 gears or you’ll kill yourself. Things happen quickly with a fast revving motor like this. If you're in doubt, read my blog post about just such an instance, when I almost killed myself and magazine author Eric English, quite embarrassing.
|I hate car shows, but it helps when you win.|
By 1999 Blood enterprises had tested and tuned many of these motors in Mustang Cobras. They knew the Cobra would pass emissions with or without the catalytic converters. So we yanked them out and welded up new improved headers with more modern collectors and better airflow. It’s important to note that I do not need to pass emissions, but simply wanted to be compliant for the sake of the environment. As expected the emissions didn’t worsen after removing the catalysts. I’m sure it runs “dirty” during idling, during warm up and under acceleration, but the 25mph emissions were great. So that was enough for my conscience. Now in California, I believe they expect to visually confirm emissions equipment like EGR valves, ECM and whatever. So that would have been tougher. CA always is with any car. I considered moving to California in 2001 and worked up the cost of full CA compliance. It looked like about $3,000 and maybe 10hp too using today’s high flow compact catalysts. Frankly, I wouldn't sell to anybody in California unless they were really sure about the registration process. There is only one man to prep a car like this in California, Mark Sanchez of AEW.
|To Idaho and Back, a week long trip. Must bring sunscreen next time.|
Well, that about sums it up. The wife doesn't want me to sell (she's one in a million, I'm sure you'll agree). But I'm ready to move on to a Porsche 911 Turbo or RS America maybe. This is a very specific car for a very specific customer, I expect the Cobra for a while before the right guy comes along. I've also got some plans if keeping it becomes the plan (or if a bigger garage comes along) like a Lemans hard top, Shelby 2011 GT500 motor perhaps. Also stroking it to 289 inches and adding webbers has been brought up..... Only time will tell... Please check the blog if you want to see what happens.
|You'll make lots of friends|
|Blood Enterprises custom EFI wiring harness, elegant.|
|ZR-1 32 valve|
Bernard Earll <email@example.com> wrote: