This blog is intended to document the build of my Gardner Douglas Mk4 Cobra; partly as IVA evidence, bit primarily to help others learn from my mistakes and/or successes.

I will endeavour to post as often as possible, with a view to entering a single post for a particular element of the build process, however inevitably some things may not be completed in one go. All posts will be tagged so it should be easy enough to find the information you seek.

Please subscribe to receive emailed updates and feel free to post any comments or questions which I will make my best efforts to respond to.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Side Repeaters

I had been putting off the side repeaters as I couldn't decide which ones to fit until seeing some LED ones on the GD stand at Stoneleigh. They come with a black rubber grommet and optional chrome surround and I managed to pick them up at the show from CBS.

Fitting these is very straightforward once you've decided where you want them. Some people place them towards the rear above the louvres but I chose to put mine further forward.

I placed 25mm wide masking tape along the top and forward edges of the louvre opening, then another strip above and one behind. Where the tapes overlap creates a diamond shape above and inline with the forward edge of the opening.

Drawing a cross to join the opposing corners of this diamond gave me a centre point to drill a 20mm hole. Once the edges are cleaning up the side repeater just pushes in. I've order some two pin Econoseal plugs which I'll install later.

Repeat for the other side, all in about 20 mins work.

Taped up and centre point marked

Side repeater fitted

Stop switch

I had forgotten to install the brake light switch when I installed the pedal box, so that was removed again. Not an easy job on your own unless you have 'go go gadget arms'!

As I'm using the Lexus engine and intend to utilise the cruise control, I kept the swith from the donor. This switch has 4 wires, two for the brake lights and the other two for the cruise control.

I created a small bracket out of 25mm x 2mm flat aluminium bar with a slight bend in the middle to position the switch at the correct angle. I then drilled and tapped the pedal box and bolted it on with M5 button heads and spring washers.

I've also installed a second switch on the clutch pedal which will stop the starter operating unless the clutch is depressed, thus never accidentally starting it in gear.

1 of 2 brackets made

Clutch switch fitted 

Clutch and brake switches fitted

Needed a clean!

My wife and I have recently had a baby so the last few months have seen little progress, however this weekend they both went away which gave me a chance to reacquaint myself with the car.

It had gathered a lot of dust and grime over time so the first order of the day was to give it a good clean.

I forgot how good it looks in sunlight. 

Windscreen Reassembly

I've had the windscreen frame back from the powder coaters for months now, but have been putting of reassembling it, until now.

The glass has been shifted around the garage wrapped in an old duvet and it's only a matter of time before it gets broken, so I decided it was about time to refit it in the frame.

This was not a task I was looking forward to, and that trepidation was for good reason. Unfortunately; due to my intense concentration, I forgot to take any pictures of the process but the general idea is this:

1. Refit the lower frame first
2. Start in the centre and work outwards gradually 
3. Use washing up liquid liberally between the seal and frame
4. Take your time. I ended up doing it three or four times before getting it right
5. Find something soft to work on. I used an old foam mattress

There are two main challenges, the first being the fact that the frame and glass aren't exactly the same shape so careful manipulation is necessary.

The second; and most frustrating, is that the seal isn't a 'U' shape buy instead it is flat. This means that you need to simultaneously fold it over the glass, press it in to the frame and stretch is slightly so the corners meet. All this whilst trying not to break the glass and being covered in washing up liquid!

Ideally a second pair of hands would be useful, however after much cursing and nervous sweating I eventually managed to piece it all together without major incident.

I think it looks great along with all the other matte black 'chrome'

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


I've actually had two Cobra builds underway, one a GD and the other a lesser known Fujimi RS-5 427.  The latter is generally a quicker build and only took a couple of months!

Engine Update 5

Now that the engine and gearbox have been coupled together it was time to deliver it to GD, they need it in order to fabricate the mounts for the chassis.

The 20th May was the GD open day at their new premises in Grantham so I seized the opportunity and loaded the powertrain in to a borrowed trailer and headed up.

It was a great turnout and fabulous day despite the heavy downpours and the engine was unloaded without issue. I was pleasantly surprised to find most people very interested in my choices rather than the shunning I was expecting for not using an American V8!

I still have to reconnect the loom to the various ECU plugs but that can be done when I get it back along with the chassis, hopefully in a couple of months.

It was also great to meet a few new people, some of which I had already chatted with online but great to put a face to a name. 

Engine & Gearbox loaded up in an old trailer tent

And below a few of the cars at the open day

Stunning car finished with LS7,  black chrome and lovely interior 

The GD racer

Nice to see another orange beast and the best use of a fishing umbrella I can think of. This is added to my shopping list

Friday, 10 March 2017

Engine Update 4

So I finally received my adapter plate & pilot bearing reducing sleeve (SWR Motorsport) and clutch & flywheel (TTV Racing) so I could bolt the two together.

I had trouble getting accurate readings while clocking the bellhousing however the gearbox did slide on easily. Even though, I've ordered another DTI so will likely do it again just to be sure.

There's a lot of bolt on, bolt off activity to set this all up but I got there eventually. The bearing sleeve was used as the TKO pilot bush was too small for the 1UZ crankshaft, it's a tight fit so was put in the freezer the night before and then fitted with a dab of Loctite 272 in to the end of the crank. The pilot bush just slots inside this.

Next the flywheel was bolted on with new ARP bolts and torqued up as per ARPs instructions. The clutch pressure plate, bell housing and adapter plate were temporarily installed so I could measure the distance from the gearbox mating face to the pressure plate fingers. This measurement was then used to set the adjustment of the Tilton hydraulic release bearing.

Next the bellhousing came of, pressure plate removed and bellhousing refitted complete with adapter so I could clock it in. The opening in the adapter is quite small so I struggled to get the DTI lined up properly so I will probably have to repeat this step once I get a different DTI.

With the bellhousing back off again I could assemble and align the clutch. My alignment tool needed a few wraps of tape to get the right fit but was pretty straightforward.

The bellhousing was then bolted to the gearbox and the clutch release was slid over the input shaft bearing retainer. This release bearing requires one of the bearing retainer bolts to be replaced with a pin which stop the bearing from spinning. The release bearing position can be adjust by screwing it in or out on its own sleeve. There are two hoses which need to exit the bellhousing so holes were drilled foe these, although they may have ended up too close to the exhaust!

With a bit of graphite grease applied to the splines, I could now mate the engine and gearbox together. The engine was on the hoist and the gearbox on its stand (old office chair) so a sexond pair of hands was needed to keep everything steady but it all slid together remarkably easily.

I will be taking the assembly up to GD at the beginning of April so they can make up the engine mounts with a view to hopefully picking up the chassis at the GD open day on 20th May, fingers crossed. 

Shiny adapter plate and bearing sleeve 

Sleeve and bearing partially installed 

Sleeve and bearing pushed home

Flywheel installed

Clutch assembled 

Release bearing installed