RAM SEC AC Cobra Replica
Unique TVR Inspired Interior & Paintwork
(Featured on 21st January 2012)
Registration: C11 BRA
Sellers original description:
Ram SEC replica Cobra with a difference.
What was the next logical step after building model radio controlled cars & petrol driven go karts as a child? Yep….a kit car. As a 19 year old BMW apprentice I decided that putting my money into a kit car was better than spending it down the pub. Many disagreed & said I would never finish it. And occasionally, I must admit, I had my doubts.
We set about doing the research:
Super 7 style car? No – not taxing enough for me (I have driven once since & enjoyed it, but you do feel a bit of a tw*t).
Midas? You must be joking!!!
Lambo kit? – Wouldn’t fit in the garage!!!
Austin Healy 3000 (Sebring) – Was seriously thinking about this one but couldn’t resist the call of the Cobra.
Ok Cobra……but which one?
The brief was to create a TVR based/feeling/looking version of a Cobra. (Hold the funny comments please, TVR’s do work occasionally)
Under slung exhaust system (as side pipes would not really suit the brief)
Non Chevy option as I wanted a revvy TVR based V8 & sound.
Non Jaguar IRS axle option as I wanted a nimble set up.
No disgusting external hinges & handles.
Pilgrim? Again, you must be joking. Exterior handles & hinges, a chassis made from girders & known as the cheap kit…..no thanks.
GD Gardener Douglas? Was seriously considered as it seemed very modern but I couldn’t fall in love with the backbone chassis & limited side impact protection (but I am sure it was fine.) God I was even thinking safety at 19 years old….what a square!!!!
DAX? Very nearly did it…….but as every one else was building DAX’s I thought that was a little easy. Ok, I may have been a bit of a square but I was still a bit of an idiot. If I had a pound for every time I said “should have bought a DAX” I would probably be rich enough to not have to sell this one. But honestly, I never would have wanted to build a DAX because it really did seem too easy. Full instruction manuals are for girls!!!!!
Ram? Met with Adrian Cocking at the factory & it all fell into place. Slightly qwirky set up, all new Cosworth based SEC model, body signed off by Carol Shelby, a historic race series, space frame chassis…..it was a no brainer.
So we ordered the body/chassis kit in mid 1993, which included all mounting brackets for the engine, gearbox axle etc but no trims or anything really. We then ordered the modified prop shaft, a pair of seats, a fuel tank (special fill position), special steering column & erm……”Adrian, where’s the build manual?” “It’s coming……here’s a RAM SC one for the time being.” 20 odd pages of photo copied paper that bared no resemblance to the chassis in my garage. Thanks, but no thanks……who need a manual? (& never did get one)
We then set about building the engine & running it the bare chassis to test it. All the ECU & wiring set up on a board a bit like the AMG factory DYNO rig……not!!!! (All screwed to a piece of chipboard…..but it worked & fired into life.) I remember that it was very responsive and tried to flip the chassis of it’s axle stands. Seemed like fun at the time.
We then set about making that BESPOKE dash! People would ask….”but I thought Cobra’s just had a flat piece of wood, trimmed in leather”……One word “BORING!”
One afternoon, 5 litres of GRP resin, a few sheets of matting & a roll of chicken wire…was all it took to make a big mess in the garden. A few days of trimming, filling & sanding & we had a dashboard looking thing stuck to my new Cobra body shell. (but I knew it would be ok, honest!) A while later, it went off for trimming & I got on with fitting the body to the chassis. With the car sitting on steel MK2 Escort wheels (fitted inside out to clear the Cosworth brakes) we fitted the body with 3 buddies helping with the job. (Photo available). We then trial fitted all the components & MOT’d the car so we could register the car with Stanmore DVLA before this scary thing called “SVA” was in place. Yipee. The car then went to Lexus to be prepared for painting (I had moved from BMW to Lexus at this point in my career). 3 tins of Monte Carlo Magic (at £500 per litre/tin) were ordered and it was a very exciting day watching the base coat black coming to life in the oven when this Chromaflair top coat was added.
When the car returned from the paintshop, we re-fitted most of the trim, & set about finishing the car to about 85% there. Got married, bought a house, had a kid, had another kid…..you get the idea. Then in 2007 ish, I moved the project to my next place of work….a Bentley restoration centre. I planned to spend evenings finishing it off with some help from my guys on the tools. Well, it was going to plan until the company decided to close the workshop!!!! Oh nuts. I thought, “If I don’t finish this now, it might never get done!!!! Let’s do it!”
That’s about as brief as I can make the story & that it is how we finished it so I could drive it home (in the dark) in November 2008.
Thanks to: Terry, Scott, Mark, Dad, Victor, Dallas, Clinton & Oscar for the work they put into this project.
However, I had always said that I would NEVER sell it part finished….so….in the summer of 2009, I spent some time fitting other trims & shiny bits I had in stock and plucked up the courage to take it to a show. I booked it in a Knebworth (Fathers day, cars in the park event) & got up early to set off. I had planned a slow route to Kenebworth as it had not really had a shake down. The sun was out, I filled her up with fuel in Potters Bar & headed through the back of Hatfield towards Stevenage. I arrived at Knebworth with such a feeling of completion, I actually considered selling it at the show. It was all worth it.
I took her to Knebworth again this year (2011)....she ran even better & I drove my son back in her as a treat.
The problem is….I’m a bit of a perfectionist & this car will now drive me bananas as I will never be truly happy with it until I have spent a small fortune going over the whole thing again. I know, it’s only done 200 – ish miles but there are things I would start all over again with. I am already thinking of upgrading the engine & EFi as I don't feel I gave it that much attention & I had no history on the block. The paintwork is amazing but there is a shape I can see in the reflection of the boot that most people don't notice but will drive me mad.
So…..here we have it. If you want to finish her off !
Rover 3500cc V8.
Lucas electronic fuel injection.
Upgraded fuel pump & high performance ballast.
Power boost fuel pressure valve.
Performance air filter.
Very high lift cam with modified heads (Real Steel)
Heavy duty rockers.
New timing chain & gears.
New Genuine distributor.
New water pump.
Forward running TVR exhaust manifolds.
Bespoke Y shaped down pipe section.
Modified TVR Chimera exhaust system.
Rover 5 speed gear box with TVR speed sensor.
Bespoke prop shaft (RAM)
New master cylinder (& slave a few years back)
Ford Sierra Cosworth Limited Slip differential unit.
Suspension & brakes:
Rear trailing arm suspension with Cosworth drives hafts & hubs.
Coil over adjustable SPAX strut units.
Adjustable geometry built into chassis.
Cross drilled Cosworth rear discs with rebuilt calipers.
Front Cosworth hubs & track control arms.
Coil over adjustable SPAX strut units.
Bespoke front anti roll bar (RAM)
Cosworth four pot front calipers, rebuilt.
Brembo, grooved, split bell front discs.
New remote servo unit & master cylinder.
Professionally prepared & presented in Standox “Monte Carlo Magic”
Hydraulically assisted bonnet & boot with hidden release system.
Subtle choice of lamps to retain TVR look.
Stainless (rather than the cheaper chrome) front bumper.
Stainless rear bumper.
Stainless single roll bar (to be added)
Original door locks (pre SVA, nicer style)
Modern Aero style fuel filler cap.
Stainless wipers with hidden washer jets.
Side vents to be fitted.
No rivets or external hinges fitted to ruin the body work flow.
Front number plate set into nose intake.
17” Halibrand replica wheels (Image) Split rims.
Spinners x 4 fitted but can be replaced with simple caps.
Bespoke dash board professionally trimmed in Connolly hide.
Matching door panels with integrated air vents & drivers dial.
Integral centre console housing:
Chrome period handbrake lever.
Built in arm rest.
Lift up TVR lever to open bonnet.
New gearshift knob & gaiter.
Inserts trims with black Alcantara.
BMW heater system (3 level)
Keyless, immobilised engine start system.
Microwave remote alarm system & immobiliser.
Low profile classic seats in matching hide.
BMW 3 point inertia seat belts.
Momo steering wheel with removable boss kit.
Full set of cream face TVR instruments.
Boot area fully trimmed in carpet.
Hidden compartments in boot for:
Battery - LH
Tools – floor
Storage - RH