Cobra Car Club of Victoria

Feature Car!
CCCV has over one hundred active members, here is some detail on a selection of our rides

Owner: Jason
Joined CCCV: 1995
Lives in: Beaconsfield
Buy or Build: 2.5 year build
Year: 1997
First Registered: Feb 1999
Kit: RC Sports Car
Motor: 408Ci Ford Cleveland (LPG)
Gearbox: C10 Auto - Stage 3 Shift Kit
Exhaust: Twin 2 ˝”
Front Suspension: Bilstein Coilovers
Rear Suspension: QA1
Wheels: Polished B45 Simmons 16" Front 17" Rear
Chassis Steel ladder frame, Jag rear Torana front
Body: Fibreglass
Paint: Body - Dodge Viper Blue, Stripes - Dodge Candy Apple Red
Interior: Faux red leather (VH Commodore), Boyds hot-rod gauges, Red carpet, Cobra Monaco Race seats with Sabelt 3 point harnesses, Hurst shifter, custom XD console, Isotta Evoluzone steering wheel.

Driving down Keysborough road in April 1997 I see a light blue Cobra body on the side of the road with a for sale sign on it. Caught up with the owner David Tucker of RC Sports Cars at his factory in Dandenong later that day; the deal was done with $1000 bucks down on the light blue body and custom Jag / Torana chassis.

I was working shift work back in those days, so I was able to utilise Dave’s workshop to build the car during the day (with his help) while I worked at night to accumulate the funds needed. I was hoping to get it rolling for about $12K, with about 750 hours of my time included.

I worked at Repco Information Services, so the Repco trade account got a big working over. The price point I got as an employee was a great help in keeping the price down.

A friendship was formed with Marty at Kenmer late 97 to help out with a lot of the tricky stuff, and later in the build Andrew at (then) Cranbourne Tyre and Mechanical services was my local go-to man.

I had the car ready for rego towards the end of 1998, at a cost of around $28000. It was a bit rough at the time, but all I wanted was the rego sticker on the window screen before new ADR rules were introduced in 1999. I drove it for about 2 months on a Vic Roads permit before getting through engineering and then Registration in Feb 1999.

The first big trip away was a week in Tassie with the Cobra Club. It was an awesome trip with great friendships made, although the LPG stations were a bit sparse in Tassie back then, but the car ran like a dream.

The REPTYL was a daily driver back before the kids came along, and I quickly raked up 40,000Ks on the clock in the first 3 years.

Judy picked up a few Queen Cobra trophies in the early years at the Cobra Nationals; but the biggest surprise was the day she took the Cobra to Heathcote Park raceway on her own while I was working a 12 hour shift one Saturday afternoon. She dropped in on the way home and told me I had to come out and see the car. I thought she must have broken it, but instead there was a massive trophy in the passenger seat for coming outright runners up for the day’s event.

Jude had a prang while helping out at a Kids with Cancer fun day in 2002 and this marked the start of a new era for the REPTYL. Doug Pearce helped me take the car off the road for a few months to finally get it finished; this included a number of mods that I wanted to add to the car.

The floor was cut out and lowered three inches to fit new FIA race seats and harnesses. The foot wells were extended 4 inches both sides, we formed up a mould for a custom hood scoop and also modified the oil cooler intake, making it wider and shallower to increase road to body height. The rear cabin wall was moved back 5 inches at the base to allow for storage and the seats hinged for easy access. We put new bright-work on the boot and bonnet and trimmed out the interior and boot.

I had a couple of years in the baby blue beast which gave me plenty of time to ponder colours. Originally I was looking at a deep blue/black with stipes the same colour but with pearl added. I’d seen one at the 2000 Cobra Nationals painted in a similar way and that tarnished the idea a little for me. Doug also painted a cobra bonnet in a very dark blue as a tester and it really didn’t do it for me. I wanted mine to be like none before it, and I knew I had to be brave with the colour choice to achieve that. The colours had to be in stark contrast, but from the same colour pallet. It came down to 3 options; 1998 Ford Torus blue; 1996 MGF Tahiti; 2002 Viper Blue.

The car was painted in a modified Dodge Viper blue colour with fine metallic and a bit of red added to give it a deep purple hue. I spent many hours with 4 rolls of differing width tape, masking out what I wanted the stripes to look like. At that time it seemed that ever second car in the club was painted blue with two white stripes. So I went for three custom stripes, and for something a little bit different; painted them Dodge Candy Apple Red baby!

No regrets at all and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The car looked great, it was very reliable until then and for many years to follow. A few mods were made in the early 2000s: Upgrading the single pot HQ front callipers to BMW E35s and slotted and drilled rear discs.

Around 2010 we fitted electronic power steering and a RTS K-frame with modified ball joint positioning. This was the biggest handling improvement the car has ever had. Until then, the old Torana front-end could not be shimmed for anymore camber without losing caster.

2012 I broke a diff mount at Shelby fest and took it to Marty to fix. We also took this opportunity to replace the standard Jag twin rear shocks with single QA1 adjustable. I got Marty to take the top of the old 351 to check out an overheating issue I had that year at ShelbyFest, once done we found that it was too tired to warrant putting back together.

The old donk came out and Don from Welco had to work his magic. There were numbers thrown around like 377, 383 and 393. But all I wanted was the biggest I could get (regardless of what made the best HP or sense). So 408 it was. By the time I also upgraded all the engine accessories and got a new race radiator, the bloody job cost a small fortune. But all was fresh and new and well again. The battery had been moved to the boot and the engine bay also had a refresh.

The last couple of years family have taken priority over drives in the Cobra, but with the kids getting older we should be able to get out a bit more in the coming years. The odometer is edging towards 80K now, and I have a list of things that need a bit of fixing up on the old girl.

The paint needs a bit of care in a few areas, and there is a small rip in the fibreglass at the oil cooler. The interior needs to be re-trimmed and the seats re-upholstered, I’d like to change the hold-downs for the tonneau cover and also reposition the windscreen. I might put gates in the exhaust in the coming years and hook the side pipes up again. The side pipes will need a clean-up and re-chrome and the wheels need to be machine polished again. I want to add faux diffusers to the outer corners at the back of the car to clean up the look from the rear and adjust the angle of the drop tank. Could add some quick-jack over riders to the front of the car and might add a removable front spoiler to match the rear when it is in race trim (but not a priority now that ShelbyFest has been killed off) Ed: ShelbyFest lives on when we go to Philip Island this year!.

Cobra Highlights:
Trips (excluding 100’s of day trips): Tassie 1999, Mount Gambier X2, Buller 2003, 5 Deca weekends, Mangalore weekends at Avenel, The Great Ocean road X3, Bendigo 2004, Murray River 2005, Dunkeld 2011, Rusty Springs 2013-14 and most importantly the “Drive across the roof of Victoria” in 2003, precursor to the following 13 Alpine runs.

Events: Mangalore run and Gun 99-00, Deca 01-06, Cobra day at Calder Park 2002, 13 Cobra Nationals, All ShelbyFests, Haunted Hills Hill climb, lots of Heathcote Park events, Winton 6 hour.

Memorable Drives:
The Otway ranges, Alpine rd up to Hotham then down to Omeo, East coast of Tassie, through the canola fields heading up to West Wyalong, Mt Bulla, Taton-Tolmie rd in the thick fog (very scary), trying to keep up with Garret and Bill through the Wilaura farm district, quick fang up Arthurs Seat, cruising back to Melbourne from Hamilton at 2am in the morning after a breakdown.

If people want to know what I think Cobra ownership is all about; just look back on the years that Tony Cram and myself ran the ShelbyFest event. After many years as President of the Victorian Cobra Club I wanted to put a weekend event together that encapsulated the essence of being part of the Cobra family. I loved the excitement and build up to the weekend that started months out. The drive up to Wang’, mates getting together for a drink and talking shit, a beautiful dinner and a bit of track time as an added bonus; some of us were lucky enough to have our loved ones there to share the fun and games.

It’s all about driving your Cobra on the open road, wind in your hair with your partner beside you sharing the experience. Getting sunburnt, wind burn, hair in knots, dust in eyes or completely drenched, but never losing that big Cobra grin. It’s about friends, mateship, and life long memories made doing what we love.

May 1997 - Back when long hair, goatees and tucking your windcheater in to you Adidas trackies was cool. This photo makes me itch every time I see it. Took about a week to cut up and re-fibre glass the engine bay and foot boxes to make room for the Cleveland.

Feb 1998 - Car was out of Tuckers workshop and in to my mate’s mechanic shop in Cranbourne. Chassis was powder coated, suspension and brakes fitted. I think this photo was taken the day it had its second engineering inspection done by Werner.

May 1998 - Body about to go one for the last time and then off to the Auto Elecs.

Aug / Sep 1998 - First Drive! No Exhaust, no window and the seats weren't bolted in. Good times.

Nov 1998 - Motor re-built after a blow up on the dyno (long story for another day maybe).

Mid 1999 - First big road trip to Tasmania with the Cobra Car Club. One of the best ever.

1999 - First Cobra Nations in the REPTYL. Photo taken at the Go to Whoa in West Wyalong.

1999 - A very rare photo indeed. Yes the cobra does have a roof, but it's rarely seen these days (I'd rather get wet).

2000 - I think this one was taken at Whiskey bay or Wine Glass bay, not sure where but I love the photo.

2001 DECA. We had 5 great years at Shepparton that were the precursor to the ShelbyFest events that followed in the coming years. Paul Fleming is the passenger on the skid pan at DECA. I don't know how this hulk of a man slipped in to the REPTYL before I dropped the seats and extended the foot wells; but he did. Ex-President Nevil Threader in the background.

2002 - Helping Kids with Cancer Drive day at Caulfield raceway. This photo was taken about 30 minutes before Judy mounted a gutter and took out the Cobras K-Frame. Good thing to, as the car came off the road for a few months to get its final dressing.

2002 - Doug Pearce workshop in Lilydale. The Candy Apple Red goes on and the stripes are masked up ready for the Blue.

2003 - Heathcote park Drags. From memory, the old 351 did a 12.9 at 101mph on street rubber.

2003 - Back at the Kids with Cancer Christmas Party one year on from the 2002 accident and a little bit shinier.

2003 - Last Nationals at West Wyalong. Couldn't resist this photo of 3 snakes in the grass, waiting for their run down the airstrip.

2004 - Team REPTYL ready for their first assault on Wakefield Park Raceway. I think Judy took out Queen Cobra that year while she was pregnant (very early stages) with Jaidyn.

2005 - We had a very wet Friday session with a few offs. Hence the camouflage mud paint job.

2006 - One of my favourite photos ever; it takes me straight back to that moment in time. That run on the hill climb at Wakefield was spectacular, absolute flat-out all the way and sideways everywhere. Ironically my first run which was the "banker lap" done in 3rd all the way was faster :)

2007 - Incredible Weekend at Winton with over 4 hours of track time with practice, qualifying and the race, not to mention the 3 hour drive up and back. The Sunday event seen over 30 cars on the track at one time. Guys doing 2 minute laps in old Cortina’s to ex-Perkins Supercars at what seemed to be going light speed when they passed.

2008 - Alpine Road Trip - Sitting on top of the world, always love this weekend and our friends that share it.

2009 - In Race trim at the Moe Hill Climb track. Loved this blind rise into a hard braking right hander. When I think back to the hard laps I did that day, I'm probably lucky I didn't bend the old girl (or me).

2010 - Showing Grandpa Townsend how the young fellas take the esses at Winton Raceway :)

2013 - I think this one was coming out of turn two at Winton Friday practice.

2014 - ShelbyFest - turn one at Winton, the first time the Reptyl had descent tyres on the front of the car and the best it's ever felt. Unfortunately I had issues with the accelerator cable that year, which took the edge off a little.