So there you have it: a complete description of the tools all men need, and occasionally use correctly.
MY COBRA MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE
THIS SCHEDULE IS FOR PEAK PEFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY
CHECK TIRE CONDITION AND PSI – 10 PSI PER 1000# IS A GOOD RULE OF THUMB.
I LIKE 26 PSI F&R.
LIGHT BULB CHECK.
IS THERE ANYTHING LOOSE? DOOR, TRUNK, HOOD HARDWARE. SIDE PIPES.
CHANGE OIL - PREFERABLY AT THE END OF THE SEASON SO THE ENGINE DOES NOT SIT ALL WINTER WITH ACIDIC OR WATERED DOWN OIL.
REPLACE OR CLEAN THE AIR FILTER. K&N TYPE FILTERS CAN BE CLEANED. IF YOU RUN A MASS AIR EFI DO NOT OIL THE FILTER. IT WILL FOUL AND SKEW THE MASS AIR SENSOR.
REPLACE THE FUEL FILTER.
INSPECT AND GREASE SUSPENSION AND STEERING CONPONETS. LIFT THE CAR UP BY THE LOWER CONTROL ARM AND SHAKE THE WHEEL.DO THIS TO ALL 4 WHEELS. - LOOK FOR ANYTHING LOOSE.
INSPECT THE BELTS.
TEST BATTERY AND CHARGING SYSTEM. DO A PROPER TEST, NOT JUST VOLTAGE. IT SEEMS TO ME MOST BATTERY’S NOT USED IN DAILY SERVICE BECOME UNRELIABLE AT AROUND 5 YEARS OLD.
INSPECT THE U-JOINTS. LOOK FOR ANY ROTATIONAL PLAY OR STICKING.
INSPECT THE COOLING SYSTEM AND HOSES. CLEAN THE RADIATOR AND STRAIGHTEN ANY BENT FINS. TEST THE ANTIFREEZE PROTECTION LEVEL.
INSPECT THE WIPER SYSTEM. A COMMON POINT OF TROUBLE IS THE WHEEL BOX MOUNT TO THE BODY. “THE BIG NUT JUST BELOW THE WIPER ARM” MAKE SURE THIS IS TIGHT.
IT IS ALSO A GOOD PRACTICE TO LOG AND MAKE NOTE OF YOUR OIL PSI. AT IDLE AND 2000 RPM WITH THE ENGINE AT OPERATING TEMP. THIS INFORMATION CAN HELP WITH DIAGNOSING PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE.
EVERY OTHER YEAR
REPLACE SPARK PLUGS, DISTRIBUTOR CAP AND ROTOR. SET TIMING.
YOU SHOULD RUN COPPER PLUGS. NOT THE FANCY IRRIDIUM OR PLATINUM PLUGS AS THEY ARE PRIMARILIY DESIGNED FOR HIGH MILEAGE AND COST 10X MORE.
REPLACE THE BELTS - ALTERNATOR / WATERPUMP/SUPERCHARGER
EVERY 4TH YEAR
CHANGE PLUG WIRES
REPACK WHEEL BEARINGS
TIRES HAVE A 10 YEAR LIFE SPAN. THE DATE IS CODED IN TO THE DOT #. LOOK IT UP ONLINE OR GOOGLE IT.
IF YOUR TIRES ARE OVER 10 YEARS OLD OR ARE SHOWING SIGNS OF WEATHER CRACKING IN THE SIDEWALLS THEY SHOULD BE REPLACED.
TIRES ARE EXPENSIVE BUT, YOU HAVE A FAST CAR AND YOUR LIFE IS WORTH IT.
ANYTIME A WHEEL IS REMOVED. YOU SHOULD HAND TORQUE THE LUG NUTS. AFTER 50-75 MILES THEY SHOULD BE RETORQUED. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT IF YOU HAVE ALUMINUM WHEELS.
YOU SHOULD KEEP A LOGBOOK OR A FILE ON YOUR COMPUTER FOR YOUR MAINTENANCE HISTORY. THIS IS ALSO A GREAT PLACE TO MAKE NOTES OF ANY ADJUSTMENTS. ALIGNMENT, PINION ANGLE, IDLE SPEED OR WHATEVER. IF YOU MAKE A NOTE OF WHAT IT WAS SET AT YOU WONT HAVE TO GUESS NEXT TIME YOU MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT.
"If you want to just gas and go, and never have to worry about replacing an alternator, or snuggling down the header bolts, or getting a wet leg driving in a rainstorm, or learning how to set your carb float level, or driving in traffic on a warm winter day with "winter gas" in the tank, get a Corvette. "
With a Cobra Replica you have to remind yourself that you are driving a hand made race car on the street. There is no compromise for anything other than pure speed. These cars are brutal and unforgiving, with all the refinement of a medieval battle ax. Like being in a relationship with an exotic dancer, you can never take anything for granted. These cars don't have millions of miles of testing refinement before you get yours. For any trip longer than an hour, you need earplugs, and goggles, and carry Advil and eye drops. You will need to learn to "read" the clouds for rain in your path, and have experience in unwrapping your frozen fingers from the MotoLita. You will experience lady passengers "wetting" the passenger seat when you merge into traffic from an on ramp, and then nearly burn their calf getting out of the car.
You will have all the invisibility of a burning Hindenburg, and flee from underground parking lots when uncountable car alarms are screaming your departure. When you shop, you will remind yourself that these cars get more attention than a dead body in a parking lot.
With a power to weight ratio better than almost every supercar, you will find your 1/4 mile times traction rather than power limited. On the other hand, when you stage, out of the corner of your helmet's visor you will see almost the entire audience lining up at the fence, most with cameras up. If you track on a road course with a Porsche club, owners of expensive German machines will come to the fence to watch you power out in smoking oversteer. You won't even try to start your engine in the garage, but push it out onto the driveway, else your loyal watch dog will croak from the exhaust fumes. If you idle next to other "sports" cars at a traffic light, by the green, their girlfriend will be coughing green phlegm into her hanky, yelling at her date to just go! When you refuel, you might as well prop the "bonnet" open, because you are going to have to show your motor to just about every other guy there. When you order your wings at Hooters, your waitress will whisper in your ear "take me for a ride." When you stop at the red light, the girl in the convertible next to you will invite you to "take my top off too."
When you slowly pass a troop of Harley riders, they will look over and give you thumbs up. When you want to ease out into traffic, other cars will immediately pause to let you go ahead of them. When your engine has its hot, crackling, intimidating exhaust sidepipe aimed right at the flank of the GTO, or the Z28, your exhaust pulsation's slowly unscrewing his lug nuts, the other car will remain motionless, as if the slightest quiver of his car will cause your car to stomp it dead. When you leave it open in a parking lot, and come back to find your sunglasses and cell phone still sitting on the tunnel, it is because your car has sullenly warned those who came over to admire it "touch me and I will rise up here and kill you dead."
When you put that tiny silver key into the ignition, and begin your start countdown, your car will whisper "take me for granted, and I will kill you."
When other drivers just hop in and snap up their belts while backing out of their parking space, you will still have two more minutes before you even get all the Simpson's properly on and snugged down. Pulling up in a Cobra Replica is like landing an F4U at an ultralite convention.
In summary, very, very few drivers want this kind of attention, or can tolerate all that a formidable Cobra Replica demands. These cars are intolerant mistresses.
But remember, there will come a day when you have to hang up your car keys for the last time. And perhaps you want to say then "I did it."
Rock Hill, SC
"There's nothing nice about a Cobra. It's stripped down to the essentials - a big engine, a small car, and four wide tires trying to keep the whole business on the pavement. It's loud, smells like gasoline, and shakes, shudders and bucks. It makes your arms tired and your feet hot. You nearly crash about once every ten minutes. It's so damn wonderful that you can't believe it."
Road & Track Magazine