GD427 in action

GD427 in action

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Been a bit busy !

Haven't posted for a while as I've been a bit busy, here's what I've been up to :-

Found a site all about car polishing, so set to work on the company car. Sad I know but strangely satisfying.

A refection along the side !

Did a bit of work on the house and installed a new Kitchen

Got some carpet tiles down in the garage, I know they don't match, I couldn't get enough (gratis) of the same colour but don't worry I'm working on it

I got a new car and polished that !

Yep, That's a reflection !

And last but not least, I made another one of these !

Sunday, 27 April 2008

More Flashlines

OK, this will probably be my last "flashline" post for a while I promise, unless I find something else of interest! I started work on the front of the car today which being towards the front of the garage and nearer daylight allowed me to give the 3M paper a proper review. I started by taking the high spots off with a file and began wet sanding with 600 grit before moving onto 1200 and then 2000 grit. I originally planned to go to 2500 but looking at the results I've had so far I can't see the need. These are the results and whilst the camera probably doesn't show it, the surface is very smooth and uniform and just looks dusty and dull rather than sanded. The white streaks are from the soap I used which helps lubricate the paper, stops it clogging and breaks down the surface tension of the water.

Then just for fun and because my patience got the better of me again, I decided to see what 5 minutes work with farecla G6 would do. This was literally 5 minutes as I timed myself...

And then 5 minutes with G3...

And for the final 5 minutes, a quick wipe over with some polish. This won't be the final finish as I intend to go over the whole car with an electric polisher but it just goes to show what can be accomplished by hand with a little time and effort.

Mmmmm.... shiny

Flashlines 3

I bought some 3M Wet n Dry paper from a seller on ebay and the difference is like night and day. The finish after the using the 3M, 600 grit and then 1200, is just a duller finish, still as smooth and flat as the original panel but just without the deep colour and shine. No scratches or gouges, it's obviously been sanded but it's a smooth as the proverbial baby's bottom. The other paper bought from a well known on line screw retailer left a lot of small scratches. Don't get me wrong, it still did the job but will require an awful lot more work to bring the finish back to a reasonable level.

The 3M paper is more expensive, quite a bit more actually but considering the time, money and effort going into this project it's a small price to pay. One downside is that because it's essentially a trade product it's a little hard to find and when you do, it's not available in small quantities coming in either packs of 25 for the courser grains or 50 for the finer. I found a seller on ebay willing to split some packs for me so I got a few different grades for the price of one. Having said all that and having seen the difference I wouldn't hesitate in springing for a full pack next time around. The 3M website gives a list of suppliers if you get stuck.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Flashlines 2

My lack of patience got the better of me and whilst pottering about in the garage I thought I'd just take 20 minutes or so out and see what the sanded flashline area polished up like. I've bought some Farecla rubbing compound and beginning with the courser G6 grade then moving onto the finer G3 I spent about 20 minutes working on a small section of the nearside rear quarter. Here's what 20 minutes gets you. I'm quite impressed with the finish. My efforts have shown that there is still some more work to do in this area as you can still faintly make out the flashline and even after 20 minutes work with the rubbing compound theres still quite a lot of faint scratches. You have to look hard but they are there ! The little bits of white you can see are bits of fluff that came off the stockingette I was using to apply the Farecla. It was quite labour intensive as you have to rub quite hard. I'm going to look for an electric polisher to make this job a bit easier which should also help to produce a better finish. I also took the opportunity to try out the hole saw I bought to cut the holes for the rear lights and indicators. It did exactly what it said on the tin and errr... drilled a hole. Perfect ! The only problem now is that if I need to do some more wet sanding on this area, it's all going to end up in the boot. Not a big problem but I was using the boot to store some other parts which will now have to be moved. Still a bit of work needed on the patience then !

UPDATE. Some of the scratches I referred to are a bit deeper than I would have expected given the grade of paper I've been using. This suggested that either the paper was not the greatest quality or I've introduced some dirt or grit somewhere along the line. A bit of research suggests that better grade paper may help so I'm going to get some 3M paper which is supposedly more consistent in the grade of abrasive used and what the professional body shops use.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


Probably the most laborious job of the whole build will be removing the flashlines from the body. These are small ridges of gelcoat left over from when the body was made in the mould. The GD body has a single flashline that runs right around the outside edge of the whole car. Removing the flashline involves reducing the small lip as much as possible before rubbing down with wet 'n' dry paper. I used a small file to remove the high spots. To prevent or at least reduce the chance of scratching the body I wrapped the file in masking tape to leave just small section exposed. By running the file sideways and concentrating the small expsoed area on the flashline, any other part of the file coming into contact with the body was wrapped in tape and should prevent any unwanted scratches.

So to begin, first take your perfectly formed, very shiny and impeccably finished GD body:-

Lightly file along the flashline, sand with 600 grit wet 'n' dry to remove the ridge and then with 1200 grit to remove some of the marks made by the 600 grit and get left with this. Sacrilige !
OK, so there's obviously a bit more work to do, firstly with 2500 grit to remove the marks made by the 1200 grit and then various stages of rubbing compound before polishing to the final finish. Here's a picture of someone elses to give you an idea of what can be achieved with a little elbow grease. This car has not been painted, it's just polished gelcoat!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Collecting the body

I collected by body from GD in January along with most of the components needed to finish this aspect of the build. Rather than take a chance trying to fit it all into a Luton Van I decided to hire a 7.5t lorry with a tail lift. My initial thoughts were that it might be a little over the top but I'd rather have too much room than not enough. In the end I was glad of the extra space as it made walking the body into and out of the back much easier having the extra room along the sides. One of the (many) reasons I chose GD was for the quality of the body finish meaning that I would'nt have to paint the car straight away. In fact many owners choose not to paint at all and simply rub the body work down with a very fine grade of wet 'n' dry and polish to a finish. This is a picture of the finish straight out of the mould and as it was when I picked it up.

Doors on

Doors fitted. I'll probably have to take them off again to finish the edges which need the gelcoat filling in places and then rubbing down but it's nice to see some real progress and have the feeling that I've actually made a start.

Hinge plate fitted to body and hinge arms fitted to plate

Door fitted to hinge arms, you can see the side intrusion bar along the top side of the door aperture

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Doors started

Two weeks in and I've cut all the holes in the doors. These require four holes in the inside panel to bolt onto the hinge arms with a section cut out above in order to mount the door release mechanism. In the end of each door, two holes are drilled to mount the door catch with a slot cut out for the door catch release mechnism to pass through. One thing I have done is moved ahead without taking too many before and after photos so I can only show you what I've done without comparing where I started from. I'll try to remember to take more photos as things progress.

I've also painted the metalwork. This includes the hinge plates, the hinge arms and the side intrusions bars. The side intrusion bars consist of two lengths of square section steel, one of which slides inside the other. This enables the bar to deflect in the event of an impact but also rather handily makes fitting much easier as the two parts can be slid together to fit into the door aperature and once inside extended again before bolting into position. One end bolts through the door onto the hinge arms with the other end supporting the door catch. I've painted the metal work with Hammerite Rust Preventative Primer with a top coat of black Hammerite Smooth. The inside of the square section will be treated with waxoyl. The picture shows the hinge arrangement trial fitted together before fitting to the car.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Made a start

After an initial delay waiting for work on my garage to be finished, I finally plucked up courage to take a drill and a holesaw to the bodywork and began by trial fitting the doors.

The build notes were fairly self explanatory but I still ended up making a few errors. A few holes were drilled in slightly the wrong place meaning they needed to be enlarged slightly more than planned. Not catastrophic but I still felt a little disappointed I didn't take more time to read and fully understand before I started wielding the tools. Oh well, live and learn. In addition to learning how to build a car and how to write a blog, maybe I can try and learn some patience along the way as well !


Not only is the first time I've built a kitcar, this is the first time I've written a blog. Bear with me, there's lots to learn here.

This site will document my progress in building a Cobra replica. I'm not professing to be some kind of "build Guru" and don't intend for these pages to be instructional in any way. All I'm really intending is to provide a record for my own amusement and to let friends and family know that I'm safe and well and living in my garage.

Whether you're a traditional British sportcars enthusiast or a lover of American muscle, there's something about a Cobra that appeals to both camps. There's been lots published over the origins of the car and whether it was created by AC or Shelby, I won't go into that here but if you want further reading, the internet will provide, just don't expect a definitive answer at the end of it!

The manufacturer I've chosen is Gardner Douglas, and I'll be building their MKIV version.

Here's a picture of someone else's:-

And here's a picture of mine:-

So... a fair way to go then !