1966 427 Cobra CSX3282

CSX3282
Brooke Clarke 2000 - 2016



427 Cobra CSX3282 427 Cobra CSX3282 427 Cobra CSX3282 Front 427 Cobra CSX3282
Dash Description Engine ID
Plate
Comments
Front Features Right Features
427 Cobra CSX3282 427 Cobra CSX3282 427 Cobra CSX3282 427 Cobra CSX3282
                Rear
Trunk Features Top of Engine Stuff Remote Oil Filter
&
more cold air box
Rear View
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Gravel eats front of rear fendeers
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Front of Engine
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Carpet

Gravel eats front of rear fenders
Front of Engine
near side windshield pisser
far side air valve for drivers feet
Carpets come unglued
bottom of hood scoop

1999 Photos on day car taken to dealer for sale. 
These are the same images as above, but in higher resolution. 
Taken with Nikon 35mm film camera and negatives processed onto CD-ROM. 
They do not have the dynamic range of the Nikon D300s camera using NEF (raw) files and 14 bits/color channel.
Fig 1
427 Cobra CSX3282 Photos taken 1999
Fig 2
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 3
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 4
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 5
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 6
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 7
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 8
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 9
427 Cobra CSX3282
                Photos taken 1999
Fig 10
427 Cobra
                CSX3282 Photos taken 1999
Fig 11
427 Cobra
                CSX3282 Photos taken 1999
Fig 12
427 Cobra CSX3282 Photos taken 1999
Fig 13
427 Cobra
                CSX3282 Photos taken 1999
Fig 15
427 Cobra
                CSX3282 Photos taken 1999
Fig 16
427 Cobra
                CSX3282 Photos taken 1999



Other Web Pages:
    Dash
    Engine ID Plat3
    Front
    Right
    Trunk
    Top of Engine
    Remote Oil Filter & more cold air box
History
    Engine why 428 vs. 427
    Safety
    Safety vs Environment
 Over Heating Problem
 Bicycle Accident
Street & Racing Weight/Power
Anti-Dive Anti-Squat and Bump-Steer Roll-Steer Suspension
The Cost of Parts
Top Speed & Acceleration
Insurance
Repairs
    Taking Friends on Test Drives = Blown Clutch
    Gas Tank has Slow Leak
    Lifetime Battery
    Armstrong Shock Absorber Rebuild
Carroll Shelby Autographed Photograph
Manual
Movies
Cobra Web Sites

History

When (1963?) the Bristol engine company in England went under the A.C. Car Co. was without an engine (no more A.C. - Bristol).  Carroll Shelby struck a deal with Ford to use their new light weight thin wall cast 260 V-8 engine in the A.C.  Later when the Ford acquisition of Ferrari fell through and there was open factory racing Ford funded an upgrade to the A.C. Cobra to use the 7 liter (427 cubic inch) ford engine so that they would have enough power to compete at Le Mans where there is a 2 mile straight.  So was born the 427 A.C. Cobra.  I had a neighbor who offered me rides in his A.C. Cobra, but I refused because I knew that if I had a ride I would have to buy one right away.  After the 427 was introduced in '66 I ordered a new '67 thinking that they should have the bugs out by then.  When I traded in my '64 Sprite to Hayward Ford they said there would be no '67 427 Cobras because California had just passed some new smog (smoke and fog) and safety rules that the car could not pass.  So I took delivery of a new '66 427 Cobra (CSX3282).  It has been insured and licensed for street use ever since.  Possibly the only original owner 427 Cobra.  Note that this car cost $7,500 new in 1966.  That was so much more than the most expensive Cadalic that the left over money could be used to go on a vacation around the world ....a couple of times.
Sales Literature: Competition  -  Sports Car - as you can see my car was different from the data sheet.

Engine why 428 vs. 427

In order to beat Ferrari in international competition Ford choose the most powerful engine they had and that was the NASCAR 427.  When I ordered my car that was the engine that was supposed to be in it.  But prior to delivery Hayward Ford called and told me that Shelby could not get the 427 engines and had substituted the 428 Police Interceptor engine. 

Maybe that's the real story or maybe it was related to the new problem called "SMOG" which stands for SMoke and fOG.  It was thought that SMOG was just hydrocarbons mixed with fog.  The 428 engine was designed to have low hydrocarbon emissions and so would have met the intent of the California laws.  But a year or so later it was discovered that smog was caused more by the oxides of Nitrogen than the hydrocarbons.  The 428 engine is poor in terms of oxides of Nitrogen.

For more on smog see the car_id web page.

Safety

In 1966 there were no safety rules for motor vehicles.  So for example wood and aluminum steering wheels were sold as after market upgrades and were available for many sports cars.  But because in a crash they are not user friendly they are now banned.  I believe that the safety laws are what stopped the production of the Cobra.  Today all production street cars have to pass a number of safety related tests that are done by destroying a car in a controlled crash. 

Because the engine is set back for balanced weight distribution the flywheel is about in a line with the drivers lower legs.  This is not a good thing if the flywheel exploded.  There are now explosion proof bell housings and on a modern car would be a better choice than the stock housing.  With the 428 engine that can not turn faster than maybe 6500 RPM this may or may not be a concern, but with an engine that can turn faster it gets to be a big concern.

Safety vs Environment

Note that to comply with the safety laws a heavy strong car is best, but to comply with the environmental laws a very light car that does not burn much fuel is best.  These conflicting requirements make it difficult to design a car that passes both.  So from the 1970s through the 1990s cars were not much fun.  In fact there was a time when many GM cars were identical (badge engineering).  During the 1970s, 80s and 90s the 427 Cobra was still extremely fast compared to any new street car.  Starting in the late 1990s the car makers learned how to work these new rules and interesting cars are once again starting to be made.  So the 427 Cobra was built in the golden age when there were no rules and no computers.

 Over Heating Problem

 . 427 Cobra
          CSX3282427 Cobra CSX3282
Top of Engine Stuff    Remote Oil Filter & more cold air box
I had a lot of over heating problems with the 428 police interceptor engine.  It is fitted with the 427AA solid lifter cam and a center pivot 780 CFM Holly 4 barrel carburetor.  This was an improvement on conventional carbs that got lean or rich when making hard corners.  The engine has no mechanical fan, only an electric fan in front of the radiator.  I tried adding the factory oil cooler, but that only slowed the over heating.  By using a multi-sensor temperature meter and measuring the intake (outside) air temperature and the air temperature in the engine compartment as well as recording the instrument panel water and oil temperature gauges it can be seen that what was happening was the outside air, although in the 100 F. range, was a lot cooler that the 212 deg F. under hood temperature.  The 212 degree air was going into the carburetor and leaning the mixture causing the engine to run even hotter.  The answer was to install a cold air box and a hood scoop so that the carb can breathe outside air that has not been heated by the engine.

Bicycle Accident

One day on my way to work a bicycle ran into the front of my car.  He was an adult riding on the wrong side of the road.  He landed on soft aluminum and was not hurt and his bike was OK.  I had to take him to court because he would not pay for repairing the car.  He ended up paying for a hood scoop made to the exact dimensions of the factory racing scoop that I still have NIB.   I also had a carb cold air box made.  The aluminum work was done by Arnie Roberts in San Jose.  Arnie welded the aluminum using an acetylene torch (this takes quite a bit of skill).  The original color was Rangoon red which is a ford pickup color.  The repaint color is a chevrolet color that has a little more blue in it.

Street & Racing Weight/Power

This car has a level of performance that is way beyond what modern cars have.  I have an engine that makes about 500 H.P. but the racing engines can put out well over 1,000 H.P.  My car weighs 2,500 pounds with me in it but a racing car gets down into the 2100 pound range.  At 2 # per H.P the performance is about the same as a Can-Am car of the same vintage.

Anti-Dive Anti-Squat and Bump-Steer Roll-Steer Suspension

Note that the front suspension (manual page 23 888 kB) has anti-dive geometry (manual page 17) so that the nose does not dive when braking.  In front there is also bump steer - roll steer so that when going around a corner the outside tire stays square to the ground.  This is needed with wide flat tires.  Just prior to this the tires were round similar to a motorcycle so that when a car leaned going around a corner there would be tread on the ground.  The rear suspension has anti-squat so that the rear does not squat on acceleration.  The rear suspension is independent with splined half shafts.  Although I have been told that the amount of travel on the splines is very small.  These were the same suspension designs used on Can-Am cars of equal vintage.

I have the factory documents about how to stiffen the A-arms and convert from rubber suspension bushings to bronze bushings.  I also have some of the required parts to make this conversion but never installed them.

I did spend a lot of time at a local front end shop working on getting the front and rear suspension alignment much better than how it was when the car was shipped.  There is no factory adjustment for the front camber.  I ended up machining a block with a lip to keep it from rotating and a hole so that it could be inserted between the top upright and the top A-arm.  This corrected the camber.  In the Rear I replaced a fixed position joint with a aircraft type Heim ball joint to add an adjustment.  I never did get around to removing the front springs and doing the bump steer = roll steer fine tuning.
Front Upright to Upper Wishbone Part - Spacer1 - Spacer2 - Front Suspension Layout: Upright, Wheel, Nomenclature1, Nomenclature2,

The Cost of Parts

The universal joints on the rear half shafts tend to wear out with hard driving.  At first I got these directly via air freight form A.C. in England at over $50 each (1969).  Once they were out of stock and to keep my car on the road sent me to my local BMC dealer to get Jaguar joints.  BMC was was out of stock of their $25 joints and sent me to my local American auto parts store to get Ford pickup truck joints.  These I got a less than $5 each.  Note also that there is no water protection of the wheel bearings.  If the car is driven in the rain, the wheel bearings will rust.  I found this out since when I first owned the car it was my daily driver.
Part Numbers -
Ford Universal Joint Label - FMP 85605, Replaces, B6TZ-4635B, Qty 1, Universal Joint, Repair Kit, Ford Truck No. 8MTH 7039-A, Ford 1950-59, FMP 85605, B6TZ-4635B
Parts Order Envelope, Order, Thank You -
Cobra Restorers, 3099 Carter Dr., Kennesaw, GA 30125, (404) 427-0020, (404) 427-8658 FAX - (Tiger and Cobra, Restoration)

Top Speed & Acceleration

It is difficult to find out what the top speed is or could be.  In order to learn more about this I wrote a computer program to analyze a car accelerating in a straight line.  The inputs were torque and RPM information on the engine, the transmission ratios, the rear end ratio, the frontal area and coefficient of friction and the rolling friction of the tires (only important when they are or are about to smoke).  I tested this by talking to friends who were involved in drag racing.  This taught me to also add more information about the wheel width and wheel diameter.  This allowed for "tire growth" to be taken into account.  After that modification the program did a very good job of predicting the acceleration and top speed.  It turned out that the 427 Cobra that I have is RPM limited rather than HP limited.  That is to say that the engine can not turn any faster at about 150 MPH and that limits the top speed, not a lack of HP.  If taller (lower numerical) rear end gears were installed the top speed would be even higher, but the acceleration would be slower.  I have opted to leave the rear end ratio as it is.  I had a friend with a movie camera (no camcorders then) film with a stop watch taped to the instrument panel as I accelerated to 100 MPH and then braked to a stop.  Zero to 60 MPH (in first gear) was less than 4 seconds and the total time to stop was just over 12 seconds.  Even today these are respectable numbers.

The following version is written in Hewlett-Packard Workstation Basic. pg1, pg2, pg3, pg4, pg5, pg6 - Output: Input Data & HP table, Time Table, Graph -

Insurance

I have what's called stated value insurance that will only pay the value I state (backed up by an appraisal).  I have been with American Collectors Insurance for many years.  I have not have any claims.  This type of insurance does not allow any useful use of the car like going to the store.  It also has provisions that amount to not being able to leave the car unattended, like going on a pleasure drive and parking it.  There is also an annual mileage limit.  In return for these restrictions the rate is quite reasonable.

Repairs

For simple things like the battery or an oil change the local auto shops are fine.  For 427 Cobra specific work Entropy Racing, 875D Airport Road, Monterey, CA 93940 is where I take my car.  In July '95 I had the complete brake system rebuilt by Entropy.

Something I've learned is that rubber is a biodegradable material.  It does this when exposed to air.  For more on that see What Goes Wrong.

Taking Friends on Test Drives = Blown Clutch

Now I only drive this car occasionally and it is hard not to do the zero to 100 MPH demo, but this cost loosing the clutch.  I have replaced it with a Centerline Dual Friction unit that is still being broken in.  The clutch can be replaced by removing the seats and transmission tunnel, rear stuby drive shaft and transmission.
Midway Industries, Inc., Centerforce Clutch Div., Prescott, AZ 86301, fax (800) 899-6439 Model DF 559033 clutch, N-1493 throw out bearing, pilot bearing N3058.  Samll parts included:
1 ea. 7/16 x2NF Grade 8 bolt
6 ea. 7/16 x20 68 Hex Nut
Patents: 4425991 Automotive clutch improvements, & 4951793 Clutch assembly with improved dual frictional facings
Front & Back of Brochure that came with clutch

The engine has never been removed from the car and the heads have not been removed.

Gas Tank has Slow Leak

The gas tank had a slow leak just after I took delivery.  It was caused by the tank being made from sheet metal with soldered joints!   The normal flexing of the metal causes the joints to develop a hair line crack that allows gas to wick out.  In a few months the tank will be empty.  The dealer replaced the tank with a new one but it also developed a leak.  I tried the white tank liner chemical but alas it too has developed a leak.  I am now looking to see if there is a better replacement tank.  In order to have a tank fabricated I made a drawing of a 427 street model gas tank.  427GAS_T.DWF (you need the free WHIP! plug-in from Autodesk to view this file.)  I was told the tank arrived at House of Cobras, but then disappeared (midnight auto supply?).  I never saw it. On 28 May 2006 I received an email with photos of the tank with CSX3282 engraved on the top.  It apparently is still in Southern California.

Lifetime Battery

Some time ago J C Penny had automotive centers with their stores.  They offered a lifetime car battery that they claimed was made with special technology.  The warranty was only good as long as you owned the car.  I think they just thought that most people would sell their cars before the battery went dead.  I got these batteries for the Cobra and the '34 RR 20/25.  By the time the RR battery had gone dead J C Penny had closed all their automotive operations and I thought that was that for the "lifetime" batteries.  I went to the Sears store on San Antonio Rd in Los Altos to get a replacement battery and they sold me a battery.  Right across the street on San Antonio Rd. is a Firestone dealer that I later learned has picked up the J C Penny car battery warranties.  Later Sears was the defendant in a law suit by the State of California and as I remember pleaded guilty to many charges.

In April '99 my local J C Penny reimbursed my for the replacement for the cobra battery.  Note that to change the battery you need to first remove the electrical cables then raise the car on a lift or jack and take the battery out the bottom.

Armstrong Shock Absorber Rebuild

All the shocks were recently rebuilt by:
DRE Inc./WREP Industries
1529 Burgundy Parkway
Streamwood, IL 60107
tel  630 213-1010
fax 630 213-1770
They also have supplies for racers.

Carroll Shelby Autographed Photograph

427 Cobra
          CSX3282 photoI have been to some dinner - Lecture meetings at The Candy Store at 1021 Burlingame Ave.,  Burlingame, CA, 94010.  This is an old car dealership that is now privately owned and used as an automotive museum where guest speakers are invited and paid to speak on automotive topics.  The dinners are catered and the price includes the fee for the speaker.  This makes for a great evening.  I heard Carroll Shelby talk about what he has been doing and had a 427 Cobra photograph autographed.  The donation for the autograph goes to a fund for Heart research, since Carol has someone else's heart, this is an important topic for him.

Pete Brock, the designer of the 427 Coupe gave a talk at another time.

Manual

427 Cobra CSX3282 Manual
        coverI carried this in the golve box "just in case".

Instead of using book binding to hold the manual toghther they used screw toghther pins.

Movies

Gumball Rally - 1976 - real 427 Cobra
Bad Boys - 1995 -
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle  - 2003 -
Iron Man - 2008

Cobra Web Sites

427 Dreams - 2008 Calander with CSX3282
Cobra Country
Kirkham Engineering & Sales  Kirkham has a Cobra made in a Polish aircraft factory that is an exact copy of the 427 street/competition cars - the parts interchange with real Cobras
AC COBRA Page of Luuk de Boer He has extensive links to Cobra web sites.
The A.C. Home Page - History, Clubs, etc.
Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) National - Northern Claifornia -
There are many companies making Replica Cobras -
Dodge Viper Club - the Dodge Viper is a modern car in the spirit (but not the performance) of the 427 Cobra.  Carrroll Shelby had a hand in it's development.
Web Ring "COBRA Cars - AC and Shelby COBRA's " - Index of sites -
List of Cobra Clubs -
Preformance Comparisons -
Technical Specs -
Article about Cobras -
Grand Prix Classics Inc.-
House of Cobras -
Just Call me Carroll - book by Phil Henny who used to work for Carroll
Nostalgia Motorcars Ltd. - CSX400 series Cobras
Lilliput Motor Company - nice Cobra models
Welcome to our  Garage - more Cobras

Brooke's home page    Brooke's Vehicle page


[an error occurred while processing this directive] page created 19 Jan. 2000.