Peter and Kristin's Build Log

Maybe our Final Color Scheme?

Peter with seats & pipes 

[Photo pending]

Louis & Kristin takes their first roll along the driveway.

Starting to look like a car....

It fits!

Kristin carefully installs the engine and transmission.

After 4 months, the "rolling chassis" is ready for power.

Going for broke - we bought a brand new engine!

New Years day, 2001 with the local Cobra Club

Kristin's breaking down her donor engine!

On a dolly, before removing the body...  

She finally arrives, a body and  27 boxes of car!

Build school: This is much easier with all pre-fit parts!

The house is finally ready for visitors!

The donor engine, extracted.  It needs some cleaning!

Not much work gets done during sailing season....

We've come a long way, baby!

The "Donor Car", and the garage before upgrades:

Step 1: Our two car garage with detached house:

September 5, 2008

The first go-cart drive around the neighborhood finally happened.  What a rush!  The car is running well and sounds great.  Fortunately, not too many neighbors came out to see what was making the noise.  A few mechanical adjustments to make, but it's really time to begin work on the interior.  Bodywork is a long way off... but we're starting to think about colors now....  Maybe gunmetal grey with black stripes?

August 26, 2008

A long-overdue post - seems this happened last summer as well - but this one is worth the wait as we've crossed a major milestone:  First Start!

 We’ve had to  learn our way through every step of the process, obviously relying heavily on the web Forum.  The hardest part so far was some time in April, having to re-mount the rear axles after learning the brake brackets were on the wrong sides.  Re-installing the axles caused the differential gears to creep out of alignment.  Correcting it would require pulling the s-spring out of the spider gear.  With the mere idea of pulling the spring and having to re-install the gear from beneath the car, I seriously considered abandoning the project.  Kristin talked me through my frustration; the Capital Area Cobra Club came through with the necessary magic tool where many others had failed me:  hose clamps!  The differential went back together and the sun was shining again.

But April also saw the completion of wiring.  By the start of May, the car was looking ready for a first start.  Except waiting for new FFR headers being re-designed by a new company.  Also, sailing season had started.  And then we got a puppy.  Very little progress over the summer. 

Christmas came early when the headers arrived August 12.  (I think they were the first parts of the build that I managed to install correctly on the first try!)  With headers and pipes a perfect fit, we launched our build party invitation. 

(Here’s the thread …. )

First start was August 24.  Kristin prepared a BBQ feast in case anyone actually showed up.   And show up they did: a dozen or so guys came by to pitch in; they were invaluable.   In getting it started, a few minor issues were uncovered – coolant leak at the fill neck plug, fuel line leak under the drivers seat, minor (I hope) oil leak at the oil pan gasket.  To my amazement, the electrical seemed intact.  It started with a big fireball.  Then a bit of adjusting to the carburetor and engine timing.…  Success! 

The neighbors didn’t seem to be too annoyed by all the noise; their kids all thought the cars parked on the street  were pretty cool.  What a fun day.  Now, we’re hoping to go cart within the week.  We’re avoiding any talk about schedules to complete the build, but we’ve crossed a major milestone.

March 26, 2008

The dashboard has been built and test-fit, and we've begun working on the wiring.  A real spaghetti bowl, although with all new harnesses, it's nothing compared to the donor wiring that so many folks use in these builds.  Some of the connections are fairly straightforward and others are more of a mystery, but one circuit at a time is the only way to go.

A bit more aluminum fabrication has been required to gain access in the future to the pedal box and to the fuel tank connections once the body is in place.  It's also time to make decisions on the heater installation and routing of engine wires through the firewall.  

Still waiting for new headers to be produced and shipped, but I understand the design is now being tested, so I'm hopeful that they arrive during May. 

March 10, 2008

After losing almost the entire month of February to travel, we're back home for a while and working on the car once again.  I have to admit, I missed it.  Now that spring is teasing, the idea of working with the garage door open is wonderful.

It's starting to look like a car!  The engine peripherals are nearly all in place, including the carburetor, starter, fuel pump and lines, distributor and coil.  Still have to install some sensors and emissions ports.

The expanded trunk is complete, and with the fuel line run, we've got the fuel tank in place also.  So now, the task for March is to get the wiring underway.  The goal for a first start is Memorial Day, and we're on track!

February 10, 2008

The weather held this afternoon, just long enough to open the garage, roll the chassis into position, and drop the engine.  So now the engine is in, just before our calendar anniversary.  We feel pretty accomplished at this point!

February 9, 2008

One week ago today we celebrated our 1 year anniversary back in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.  What fun to revisit familiar sites from the big event.

Yet more progress.  The wiring has been secured through the transmission tunnel and Cobra Earl's expanded trunk has been installed.  So have the engine mounts and the transmission is also bolted to the engine.  The next step is dropping the engine into the chassis.  More on this to follow!

January 23, 2008

Peter had a web software problem preventing updates, but it's working again. With just over a week until we celebrate our anniversary back in New Orleans over Mardi Gras, there has been lots of progress on the car....

Happy Belated New Year!  We spent that day with the local club cruising around Washington DC in their cars.  About 25 cobras showed up on a a picture perfect day.  It's only gotten us more fired up to get on the road.  

New Engine!  We bought a new Ford Racing crate engine and transmission.  It's basically a 302 that's been bumped to 340 HP (The stock Mustang 5.0 is 225.)  It's in the garage beneath the engine hoist, waiting to be installed.

Old Engine? It's still being worked on, but no longer is it critical path.  Last weekend Kristin tore into the bottom end and pulled out the crank shaft.  Everything was very dirty, but sound, other than that one bad cylinder. We still want to build this up ourselves.

Brakes are installed and have been bled.  New tires came in and have been mounted on the rims.  The primary aluminum panels are drilled and installation has begun. Steering rack is in.  Wiring is also underway, and together with the engine installation, will lead us to the "first start."  Absent too many complications, or any big ones, we should be able to drive a "go cart" around the neighborhood before summer!


November 13, 2007

Busy couple of weeks, but still working on engine and suspension.  Kristin's got the valve covers, cylinder heads and oil pan pulled apart.  No evidence of a prior rebuild but a big gash in the no. 7 cylinder ... the source of our compression leak.  But we've got plenty of steel to bore and stroke 'er.  Peter's got the front end together and axles installed in the rear end, but awaiting a replacement bracket for finishing the suspension after breaking a weld last weekend.  We also got the larger footbox and other aluminum accessories from FFMetal - good stuff!  Drilling hundreds (thousands?) of rivet holes.  At Cobra breakfast this weekend, maybe we'll find a lead for a machine shop to help us rebuild the engine!

October 25, 2007

Lots of travel over the past few weeks, but we've managed to get the body off the frame and on a buck.  The aluminum panels have been marked and removed so the frame is completely bare.  Backordered parts have all arrived and the inventory is nearly complete. We've also pulled the transmission off of the engine which is nearly ready to attach to the engine stand for a rebuild.  And for the past few nights, we've been reading more about the engine rebuilding process.  This weekend, Kristin hopes to begin tearing down the engine while I begin to assemble the front suspension.  We plan to celebrate every accomplishment and enjoy the process.  This really is cool!

October 6, 2007

Our car was due to deliver a week ago, but missed the truck, so we still don't have it.  And that's okay because the Annapolis Sailboat Show is taking place and so we went to look at a bunch of sailboats and listen to some live-aboard cruisers talk about their experiences, because of course, Kristin and I will be doing some extended cruising once the car is complete.  After lunch, Stewart Transport calls and can be at the house that afternoon.  We made the snap decision: boats will be floating next year - let's meet the car!  So hopped back on the motorcycle and off we went for the hour ride back home.

We arrive in time to finish building a giant body caster to support the entire car and roll it around the garage before it arrived.  And then it showed up: the body and frame, complete with 16 or so boxes filled with parts and an endless inventory list of parts.  In the time it's taking to write this entry, the driver arrived, unloaded the kit, got it into our garage, freshly painted with black and white checkered flag I must add, and off he went.  Wow!  It's here.

September 14, 2007

Factory Five just introduced a new program, and we've adapted.  Two weeks ago they announced a "complete kit" which includes entirely new parts, except for the engine and transmission, fuel pump, and paint.  Without any regrets from the donor car disassembly, where we learned a lot, we've decided that this option makes a lot of sense for us in terms of bang for the buck, and economically, it's about a wash given the parts we planned to replace or modify anyway!

It's just one week and one day before our complete kit ships from Massachusetts to our home in Virginia, 5 months and 29 days since we've been in our home!  We will be spending this weekend finishing installation of insulation and painting the garage to prevent stains from the inevitable spillage of grease and oil.  We're settling in on colors, along the lines of grey/silver and black, and we're making sure our choices along the way complement the theme.

Incidentally, we really enjoyed having Jay and Jodi as our first house guests, and we're ready for the next round of visitors, over the Thanksgiving holidays if not sooner.  All of our friends are welcome to come by,... but you might be made to turn a wrench! 

August 22, 2007

Has it been two months since an update has been posted?  Time flies during the summer sailing season!  

It's been a long time since we pulled the engine.  The process couldn't have gone more smoothly.  Collin came by to help, but it was out before he even got there.  The key was to push the car out from the engine, rather than pull the loaded hoist away from the car.  We've begun cleaning the key parts, but lots still to do.

The donor is completely apart and after a couple of false starts, we're ready to sell.  Build school was a fantastic experience and we're both much more comfortable with the scope of what we're getting into. The car ships a month from today!

With our first real house guests arriving in a week, we've been scrambling to finish the house for guests.  We've installed a guest bed and have gotten our sofa for the basement "entertainment room."  This weekend will be completing installation of bookshelves I made for the basement so we can unload the remaining boxes.

Next before the car arrives, paint the garage floor, insulate for cold winter months, sell the donor, and finish part prep: cleaning; new gears in the rear end; minor engine work; and a fairly involved "dupont overhaul" (e.g. paint old parts).  We're reeeeealy excited to get going!

June 22, 2007

Kristin's been helping out in the garage, under the car, tools in hand.  So it's official - both of us are engaged in the project.  So much so that it's nearly time to pull out the engine.  Tomorrow we'll have breakfast with the Capital City Cobra Club and hopefully meet some great folks who could be good resources on our build!

We've also actually scheduled production of our kit! We've got a completion date of September 22nd, and I've just arranged for delivery before October.  No longer is this just an idea... The commitment grows deeper.  Despite the learning curve that we'll be on for a number of months, this is an exciting project that we want to share with our friends.  So come on by the house and turn a wrench... We'll always have cold drinks and pizza for volunteers!

June 1, 2007

Weekends in May haven't allowed any time at all for working on the car ... But thankfully, several weeknights have been more accommodating.  The garage electrical system is ready for a hard wire connection, and in the meantime, the garage door opener is fully operational - a huge improvement in convenience!  The car is on jack stands and parts are coming out.  The wheels and battery, radiator, brake master cylinder, and gauge cluster have been salvaged.  Seats and dash are also out with the wiring and steering linkage coming apart.  I have to admit, this is pretty interesting!  I'm counting on Kristin getting started on the project this weekend, beginning with a wrench to take off the hood, and to get her hands dirty pulling more of the wiring.

Oh, and did I mention that we're now enrolled in build school?  August 3-5, so that gives us two full months to make progress with the donor! 

May 8, 2007

Since the cookout, it's been a tough couple of weeks.  A dead refrigerator led to a host of other challenges at the house, and we're still working hard to complete the garage electrical installation.  Weekends are filling up with summertime antics planned and that's requiring discipline to stick to the project at hand.   Peter's pushing hard to have the garage electrical system ready to connect to the main breaker by the end of the month, despite a long weekend in Jamaica for Neeraj's "surprise" 40th birthday party, Part II.   We'd like to at least run out the fuel, disconnect the battery, and take a first wrench to the 5.0 before heading to Texas and then California in June for our West Coast reception - the "final stage" of our wedding celebratory events!

April 28, 2007

Today is the eve of our 1-year anniversary since the two of us met on Marshall's J-35, Abientot II.  So, we marked it with a celebration of our new home.  An open house for 30 or so friends, complete with chocolate fountain, marshmallow gun, tiki torches and burgers on the grill, I think everyone had a pretty good time.  It was very special to have the sailing group all with us who were around to see our courtship unfold.  What a landmark occasion after one remarkable year for Peter and Kristin!

April 14, 2007

We drove to North Carolina to pick up our '89 5.0 Mustang.  As promised, our seller was there in a mall parking lot to do the deal.  The car started right up.  I ran it to a local garage for a look under the hood and it seemed in mechanically sound shape for a car this age.  The biggest problem for the day was an exhaust leak into the cabin requiring the windows to stay open for the 4-hour drive back to D.C.  That would have been fine were it not for the threatening rain storms.  Fortunately, we made it home with an hour to spare.  That night was some of the worst weather in years and our basement even took a *small* amount of water.  With roots in New Orleans, we don't like water in the house!  Has it been almost a month already that we've been here? 

April 9, 2007

WE GOT THE CAR!  Amazing, this electronic auction thing.  I could even feel my heart palpatating as the final minutes drew to a close.  I had a few hundred dollars between my current "high bid" and my "maximum bid", but still the tension was building.  With less than 30 seconds to go, the bid price spiraled upward.  But - we won the bid nonetheles with $50- to spare!  Next weekend we drive to North Carolina to pick it up!

April 8, 2007

Have you ever used eBay?  Well I haven't, and like so many steps in this project, I've been forced to learn.  With the garage electrical underway and a newfound zeal to get the build started with real car parts, I opened an eBay account, found what looked to be an ideal car located in North Carolina for the right price (solid powertrain and some exterior problems - perfect for a donor!), and even spoke to the seller.  Now, to place a bid....

April 7, 2007

After a loooong night in Home Depot procuring electrical parts, and a book on home electrical installations, today we began wiring the garage.  Much was completed, but still no sub panel and I understand that the garage door opener could be a difficult installation.  Still ,we've had a great start!  p.s.  And our new BBQ grill works like a champ!

March 23, 2007

We own our home!  And we're thrilled with it.  Of course, the garage will be perfect for our build, but the home also happens to be perfect for us.  We'll have a grill before the weather warms up and a BBQ for everyone who can make it the last Saturday in April.  Can't wait!