When you drive a MK4 Roadster, you’re a rockstar. People instantly recognize the Cobra’s low stance, bulging rear fenders and hulking tires, as if it came straight out of the ’60s. A true sports car will capture your heart, and Carroll Shelby’s race-winning design stole the hearts of Americans nationwide.
The Cobra is a dream sports car, literally. Carroll Shelby kept a pencil and paper by his bed in hopes to capture late-night ideas that he would otherwise forget. One morning he woke and found he’d written the word “Cobra”. Today, the original Cobra 427s are one of the most desirable and expensive classic cars. Only 348 examples were built from 1965-’67, 260 of those being street-driven. Perfect examples are rare and cost well over one-million dollars. It is one of the most legendary American cars, and the folks at Factory Five agree that there is no better way to honor a legacy than to continue it.
Factory Five Racing (FFR) designed the Mk4 Roadster to accurately reproduce the looks of the legendary 427 Cobra, keeping its essence intact, while using modern technology, parts and materials to improve performance, reliability, and comfort. You could elect to have a shop build the car, but many enthusiasts prefer the full experience that comes with assembling it themselves. Factory Five states that most customers who have an average knowledge of automotive systems and parts and have an average set of tools will take about 300 Hours to assemble the kit. Of course, this number varies depending on the individual, tool accessibility, number of people building the kit, and if you wish to customize the kit in any way.
Some folks may look down on kits or replicas, but for many that is the only way to own the car of their dreams. Mark Houlahan built his roadster between 2006 and 2008. “Factory Five Racing is constantly updating and engineering improved products; they don’t just sit on one dated design,” he explained. “They are also very customer friendly with their own forum and Facebook groups so you can get help easily from fellow builders.”
Elaine, a Tucson, AZ. car and motorcycle nut, wrenches on motorcycles with her husband and has raced several bikes. A MK4 Roadster was her first solo project. “My husband and I have shared many projects together, but the Mk4 Roadster is one that I want to build myself,” she said. “I’ll use him for quality control and helping to lift things like the body and the engine into place where everyone needs more than two hands, but I told him he’s not allowed to turn any wrenches on it unless I specifically ask. This is one thing that I want to build and say that I did it.”
Mechanic and fabricator Damian Britton assembled a number of kits over the years and states that Factory Five has the best fitting bodies and the most comprehensive manual, even considering the kit’s customizability.
For starters, buyers can elect to use your own powerplant or order a brand-new dyno-tested and ready-to-run BluePrint engine (with warranty) from Factory Five. BluePrint will even sell the running gear needed to finish the car. The Factory Five kits will accept about any combination of drivetrain, brakes and suspension, but as with any custom car, depending on the selected combination of parts, there may be challenges along the way. That is when the Factory Five community forums come into play, and when your first post is made, expect to become a member of an extended family.
“For me, driving a MK3 brings out the inner child that remembers playing Mario Kart,” Frank Pereny commented on the forums. “You will have so much fun building it and meet many great people. These cars truly perform, and FFR builders are car people to the core. They don’t care if you put a 302, 351, 427, or even a 350 Chevy under the hood! FFR hosts a community that enjoys cars and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Not only that, but you will have a car that is truly a world-class performer, and you can say you built it yourself.”
The Factory Five kits aren’t limited to just their current Mk4 Roadster. For example, the GTM is their flagship supercar, while the 65 Coupe captures the stunning look and feel of the original GT cars. Their ‘35 Truck and ‘33 Hot Rod redefine how well modern hot rod builds can handle and perform. “I loved my ‘33 Hot Rod from Factory Five. It was faster than hell, and everywhere was a car show,” Rob Kinnan exclaimed. Then there’s Factory Five’s newest kit, the 818, which redefines fun driving with the most advanced performance technologies. Click here to learn more.