HI55 Rebuild (RMC Chassis 001)

The New Arrival

I purchased the car on November 16th 2019, it was from a deceased estate.  The lady was selling her late fathers car.  She’d tried multiple times before, but had changed her mind at the last minute on each occasion, she just couldn’t bear to part with it.  However, almost 10 years after she first put it up for sale she let it go and I was the lucky recipient.  That car y this time and been standing for over 20 years with only the occasional start to ensure it didn’t seize up.

On the previous attempt to sell it, they noticed that Rats had been in and eaten most of the seats and carpet, so they had it all retrimmed (that was 2 years before I bought it).

I knew it would need a bit of work before it could be re-registered and driven on the roads , so I had it delivered directly to my mechanic.  He replaced all the fuel and brake lines ,the hoses, the water pump, the radiator and had the carby refurbished to new.

After I got it home, it was only when I was registering it that I found out it was RMC’s first chassis, ACC001 and it was built in house by the RMC team in Perth.  Being Chassis number one makes it that little bit more special, after all, you never get another one with Chassis number one.  The ‘first’ and the ‘last’ ones will always have that little bit more value to the collector.  The car was first registered in 1988  and couple of months before my first son was born.

PWR Radiator

As I was replacing the radiator anyway, and a V8 in small place can get a bit hot here in Qld. I decided to put the best one in I could afford, a PWR alloy one.

PWR are a local company based in Yatala and produce the best radiators, so good in fact that most of the race cars use them.   Excellent build quality, although you do have to wait a few weeks if you want one custom built.  Well worth the wait I say!


New Wheels

The next thing on the list was to replace those very unmatched Nissan wheels with something more in keeping with an AC Cobra.  I put a message on the club forum to see if anyone had any 15 inch wheels that they’d be willing to part with.  Luckily for me, someone had taken a set off another RMC and agreed to sell them to me.  Only downside, they had been painted peppermint green to match the car (they were taken off).  Ummm, oh well, I found a work around.  I got a local guy in to repaint them.  Score!  The car now looks a whole lot better, just by putting the right wheels on.

I had the spinners (fakes) polished up and I had new Cobra badges printed and stuck on to make it look a little more period.

Gas Struts

One of my pet hates is holding up the bonnet or boot when I’m trying to do something, and those stays that never seem to quite work…  So I gave my mate Luke from  Gas Struts Gold Coast a call to come and fit Stainless Steel gas struts to the boot and bonnet

New Mirror Stainless Fuel Tank

Whilst the old  petrol tank did it’s job, it also took up most of the boot space and only held 55 litres of petrol.  I got Scott Hampson of Venom Cobra’s to make me a new Polished Stainless Steel drop tank,  75 Litres in total, and move the filler cap from the  centre of the boot to the rear drivers side wheel arch.  Moving the filler also makes it easier to fit the new softtop.  Most of the beautiful new shiny tank is hidden under the carpet and under the car but, you can still see the lower portion of it if you stand back from the car.

New Dash

The existing dash was quite traditional, apart from the oversize stereo when the glovebox should be, but I didn’t like the layout.  I wanted a 300KPH reverse sweep speedo and a bigger rev counter anyway, so I updated the layout and made a new panel from aluminium sandwich board which got covered in black PVC to match.  I also replace and reorganised the switches and warning lights.  I’m extremely happy with the new dash and want to thank Warren Boylan for the inspiration (taken from his Silver Harrison with the LS7 engine).  The Bakelite switch labels came from a small company in the UK, very cool (well, cool in my opinion, not necessarily anyone else’s).

I had my Snake head logo transferred to the Speedo and rev counter (made by Speedhut), just for a bit of fun.  

Full Rewire

When I pulled the dash off  it was obvious that the 30+ year old wiring was in need of some love.  The wires had become brittle and the glass fuses (all thee of them) are getting harder to find.  Not only that, but all the individual components were attached via crimped terminals, not conducive  to removing and reinstalling the dash.  Deep breath and make the call.  It went off to one of our club members who is an absolute wizard with wires  for a new complete nose to tail rewire. 

To  say the harness is good is such a massive understatement its like  saying the known and unknown galaxies have a bit of space!    Each part of the harness is bound and braded.  All the connections are soldered and for things like the dashboard instrument, there are four waterproof plugs to undo, these 4 plugs disconnect the entire dash so it can be quickly and easily lifted out, and you can’t make a mistake re-connecting it.  All the relays are mounted on a single backplane, all the fuses labelled in a  modern fuse box.  Modern brakers protect things like the Fuel Injection and ignition computers.  

We also added a push-to-start button linked directly to the Immobiliser system with a proximity key fob, so you just  walk up to the car with the key and it disarms.  To start the car, it’s a couple of pushes of the button (provided the key is in range).  Walk away and it locks and arms itself.   There is also a hidden GPS tracker that takes power from the car as well as it’s own battery that sends me messages and location of the car each time it starts and stops, or I can ping it anytime from my phone to find out where it is. The tracker is so well hidden I struggled to find it, and I was told exactly where it is hidden. 

The Re-wire also included fitting a new MSD ignition system with a Coil per plug and  Holley Snipper fuel injection system (the one that just looks like a normal Holley carby).  Trouble with cold starts and the smell of unburnt petrol pouring out the exhaust is a thing of the past.

We also replaced the globes with LED and added a new fuel pump and inline filters for the fuel injection system.

My sincerest thanks go to Mr Chunky for the amazing amout of detailed worked involved in rewiring this car.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

New drop Floors

The AC Ace, from which the AC Cobra is derived was first envisioned in the late 1940’s  back then the average height of your average bloke was about 162 Cm  (5 feet 4 inches in old money) and about 50-60kg.  roll on to the 2020’s and I’m 185cm and 120kg. just a little larger than the planned drivers of the original cars.  

When I sat in the drivers seat, apart from my knees hitting the dash and the steering wheel rubbing on my stomach, my view was straight in line with the top of the  windscreen surround.  Driving meant ducking or stretching my neck to see through or over the windscreen.  Not the best.

Off to Scott at Venom Cobras to have the floor modified.  He cut out the old floor and made a new folded floor and mounted it so that it was level with the bottom of the chassis and just above the height of the crossmember.  It was further reenforced with a couple of new steel braces and some sandwich plate to make it solid and strong enough for me to stand on without fear of it bending.  It is about 3 inches lower on both side and I look through the middle of the screen now.

Engine Modifications

The Engine in the car was a 1950’s Windsor with flat tappets and a 4 barrel Holley carby (600 CFM) and had a 4 speed top loader gearbox.  Perfectly adequate , but just that.  I had the opportunity to upgrade to a Tickford Windsor 302 with GT40 heads and roller cams, so I jumped at the chance.  I also added an electric water pump transferred over the Holley Sniper (adding a new polished Edlebrock performance inlet manifold too)  and MSD ignition I’d previously had installed. 

While the engine was out we (well Scott at Venom Cobras) upgraded the clutch to a new heavy duty one (Exceed) and fitted a concentric clutch slave (to make it lighter and better feel) from Mal Woods Engineering. The old Top loader 4 speed gear box was a little under geared and a bit temperamental about changing gears too, so I replaced that with a T5 (5 speed manual) an altogether much more enjoyable experience when changing gear.  A repaint and an new high performance polished Alternator completing the updage.

New Bow kit

In readiness for a new soft top I’ve had Scott at Venom Cobras make me anew bow kit from one I’d inherited.  Scott had to modify the  header rails that fit the windscreen and make some more bows (Scott’s bit is all in Stainless steel) he also made the glassfibre reinforcement for the rear that the trimmer will sew in to the hood.

Engine Bay Dress Up

One of the thigs I really wanted to do, was get the engine bay tidied up.  The original alloy inner guards were corroded and impossible to clean let alone make them shine.   Scott from Venom Cobras came up with the perfect solution.  Replace it all with mirror quality polished stainless.

With the engine out all the existing alloy inner guards were taken out and used for templates.  However, Scott being the perfectionist said we should go one better and  do the rest of the engine bay too.  Far be it for me to argue. So the bulk head was done, the transmission tunnel, the footwells,  the chassis cross member,, her also make covers to hide the washer motor.  A whole day was spend hammering out the round shape to cover the end of the wiper motor before it got welded in to the rest of the cover.

A cover was made to hide the brake and clutch reservoirs, he even made a one to go in the wheel arch on the driver’s side complete with quick release mechanism, the level of detail and workmanship is next level.  Of course with the engine now fully lined the Header tank and overflow tank looked a bit ordinary, so Scott went about fabricating new ones out a of a flat panel of polished stainless steel, I think you’ll agree that the results are amazing!

In some of the photos you’ll see the protective film still in place protecting the mirror finish.  The Wiper motor cover was made in three pieces, as I mentioned above the endplate (circle) took all day to hammer out on the anvil from a flat piece of steel.  Once the three pieces were all welded together it was then several hours on the polishing wheel to give it that mirror polish to match the rest of the car.

The pictures here really do not do it justice

Roll Hoops

When  the car was built it had a single roll bar that went from  passenger side to driver side, and then at some point it was changed to a single hoop behind the driver.  This hoop however, was mild steel that had been chrome plated and by the time I got it, it the chrome was flaking and peeling off. 

Scott at Venom Cobras fabricated to new hoops both with a third ‘steady’ leg, he made new brackets inside the boot to allow the inner legs of the hoops to be bolted to the chassis rather than just rest on the fiberglass.

New Side Pipes

Another thing on my bucket list was to get the sound of the Cobra how I wanted it,  I really like the sound of the lazy big blocks and that lovely pop-bang-crackle on overrun.  Scott From Venom Cobras came up with the idea of using oversized side pipes to give that lovely deep rumbling sound.

He started off with 1.5mm 50% perforated stainless which he rolled into a 3 inch  (75mm) diameter tube before welding it.  Then it was tightly wound with 1 inch (25mm) of  high grade stainless steel wool before being placed inside a 5 inch (125mm) 1.3mm stainless tube.  He then made 5 inch to 3 inch reducing cones.  Scott also made new Stainless Steel headers and I decided I wanted the collectors inside the engine bay with a single 3 inch pipe coming out through the bodywork.  The headers are almost straight, giving excellent gas flow and the sound… sublime!

The side-pipes are mounted to the body with a sing bolt at the rear, Scott made a ‘C’ bracket that  he welded to the exhaust to support it without cracking, its then secured to the chassis with a rubber mount, the other end is secured to the headers just after the collector with a stainless steel double lipped V-Band.

Mesh Grills

To stop stones going through the radiator, Scott at Venom Cobras, came up with a neat idea.  He had some 2mm  stainless steel mesh and he cut it to size,  folded some mirror grade stainless to cover the edges then made some hidden brackets to hold it in place.   He had enough left over to make grills for the brake ducts and the oil-cooler duct.

Breakfast 7th February 2021

Breakfast at Stanleys Bar - Gold Coast Car Museum

Well what a great roll up we had today!  18 Cobras and over 60 members!  By 8.30am we already had 10 Cobras lined up on the grass.  

The Gold Coast Car Museum and Stanley’s Bar & Restaurant were also hosting the HSV and Corvette car clubs too.  The HSV club were there early and already viewing the cars on show in the purpose built shed.  

The kitchen area is quite small so to enable to get all the breakfasts out together we split up in to 2 groups, one group going to the view the cars whilst the other settled in for some top nosh.

Carl, one of the owners, recently (January) replaced the chefs after a number of false starts in the kitchen.  I’m pleased to say that was a great decision. All the food was excellent and everyone that commented only had good words to say.  On a personal note, I also enjoyed the coffee, it was “most excellent” to quote Bill and Ted.

Whilst we were having brekky and viewing the cars, the two Corvette clubs rolled in with over 50 corvettes ranging from a beautiful red C1 through to a 2019 C7.

All in all a great roll up, some great cars, fantastic friends and lovely food.  A right result !

Cobra Nationals 2018

Christmas Party Dec. 2020 Kooralbyn Valley Resort

Christmas Party 2020 at Kooralbyn Valley Resort

What a Scorcher! The weekend started off hot and kept getting hotter.  In fact it was so hot that the planned extended run had to be cancelled,  About a dozen of us met up at in Beaudesert at the old historic museum.  We had about 8 Cobras and a number of hard tops including Ronnie’s rather nice little red Porker. Paul noticed a rather severe knock / rattle develop in  his Pace 427 Cobra as he neared the Beaudesert meeting place.  After taking a good look at the suspension and all its joints, nothing loose could be found.  But just as Paul was closing up the boot he noticed the latch that holds it closed had come loose, so loose in fact that once he touched it, the whole mechanism came off. 

It turned out to be a simple fix, two M4 nuts had worked loose, the catch was reattached and the nuts attached and tightened – problem fixed.  Well almost.   
Paul, is not the luckiest guy in the world and when he went to start the car, the battery in the immobiliser had decided to pick that exact moment to give up.  Another couple minutes spent changing the  battery.  All fixed.

The bulk of us  drove the shortest route to the resort whilst a couple of others decided to have early lunch in Beaudesert or fill up with fuel first.  Arrival check  in was smooth if not a little slow, but it was nice to be in the air conditioned lobby.

After checking in and dumping gear off at the rooms a number of us took the walk to the tavern.  We learned that the Kooralbyn colloquial ‘Just over there at the end of the  building’ actually means a 10 minute walk across fields dodging  multiple wallabies and iguanas in sauna like temperatures with no shade.  Still, I suppose if you’re using Kooralbyn to Beaudesert as a reference point, just over there it is.

The first couple of coldies slipped down a treat, as did more that followed, however, I do need to work on my accent,  I asked for a Corona and asked what was on tap, the poor girl staring blankly at the fridge replied, only what we have in here, gesturing to the fridge.  I tried again, “what do you have on draft?”  same response.  I changed tack, and pointed at the beer taps and said, what do you have in those?  That worked.

As more members arrived we slotted more tables together until we had almost half the tables in the room joined in to a single row. The drinks and the chat flowed with equal enjoyment until it was time to go and ready ourselves for the main event.

As we sauntered back across the heat soaked fields from ‘just over there’  we noticed that the kind ladies at the resort had decided to give us an extra hour of drinks and nibbles time.  Originally we had been offered the kangaroo – Buggy tour, but due to a golf booking of 120 golfers, they took all the buggies!  so the resorts events coordinator, Crystal gave us an upgraded drinks and nibbles package and took it upon herself to start it an hour earlier at 5pm, which was an excellent idea as there was already a number of members congregating.

The nibbles consisted of a couple of very large platters of hot finger food and a really well stocked cheese platter, and they served beer and wine, Ball Realty shouted a few bottles of bubbles for girls as well as paying for the band.  The club tipped in $400 bucks towards the bar, which meant we had an open bar right up until 10pm.

We took our seats for dinner at about 7pm ish with the band welcoming us with a little number that they use to do a sound check.  The band couldn’t have picked better songs to play.  They really hit the spot for the demographic they were playing for, they were all brilliant and very talented.

They brought out our starters, a beautiful Morton bay bug, Scallops, Oysters and a king prawn on a bed of salad garnish, fresh, succulent and full of flavour.

The band played as we tucked in and we had a photo slideshow projected on to the big screen behind them.  Over a thousand photographs taken over the last 18 months of breakfast meetups and the 2018 Cooma Car run.  It was fun trying to eat and watch the screen to see when your car came up.


Dinner was a selection of various meats, one I’m told was Pork, that looked like Turkey and tasted like chicken and various vegetables, all of which were cooked perfectly (in my humble opinion).

The band played on and the wine and the beer flowed and I had to endure lots of comments: “did I dress myself” and “why are you wearing your Christmas pyjamas?” , I’m not sure what was going on with that.

By the time dessert was served the band had won the hearts of pretty much everyone in the room and soon after the dance floor started to fill.  We have a couple of good dancers in the club, you know who you are!

The band played its last song at about 10.15pm and I got dragged up for a slow dance, as did many of the men folk. We hate it externally, but if we were to be honest we all wished our better halves would do it sooner and not take our feeble excuses as real.  

Don’t tell anyone, but I actually adore my woman more than these words could ever convey.

Lake View Mountain Run

Lakeview Restaurant - Clear View Mountain 8th Nov 2020

We had a great day today and managed to avoid getting rained on.   The skys looked like they were going to drop bucket loads, but, no, they didn’t, phew!

We met up at the Loganholme Maccas at a leisurely 10.30 am with ample time to grab a coffee before setting off up the highway to the Shell Servo at Nudgee where we Met up with Grant Young in the second Cobra.

The run up to Lakeview was a nice easy drive, although I think we had every red light between Nudgee and the Restaurant!

After we parked up at the Restaurant we all had the customary chit chat and I must say, the 56 Corvette is just absolutely stunning!  a real credit to the painstaking amount of work that’s gone in to restoring it. The photos really do not do it justice.

Once up in the restaurant the view outside was well worth the wait.  Even with the overcast sky it still looked good.  If you;re looking to for destination then this place is worth a visit.

November Breakfast – Historic River Mill

Nov 1st 2020 - Breakfast at the Historic River Mill

This months breakfast was really well attended with 17 Cobra’s and 1  Z06 Cobra (Mario’s new toy).  After the storms and massive hail of the previous day, the sky was the most amazing clear blue, not a single cloud and perfect Cobra weather.

The line up looked fantastic and with the Sun hitting the cars it made for a spectacular site ,just take a look at Grant’s car in full sun (the green one at the top of the page) to see how these cars come to life in the limelight (no pun intended)

Grant Young our raffles coordinator has been doing a sterling job and we had an influx of donated prizes this month, most of which have been held over for December and January raffles. Tony Stark Won a new garage shelf unit, donated by Bill Ryan, “Just what I need” Tony said, you can never have enough shelves …
Rob P ((GT40) won a tool kit donated by Bill Ryan (also), and then won the next prize of a digital Vernier Caliper, so he donated the tool kit back to be redrawn.  It was won by Samantha Hampson, now she can help Scotty in the workshop.  The last draw was for a first aid kit, donated by Warren and Jo Boylan and  was won by Dagmar.

We’ve been running the show and shine a little bit differently this year, making it a best of three and  with four categories. Well the first set of three was completed this month we announced the winners.
Trevor and Helen Dixon took out two categories with their maroon and cream V8CBRA cobra winning Best Paint Job AND Best Interior.  Trevor stepped up to take the trophy for Best Paint which came with a bottle of Bowdens super gloss wax shine, whilst Helen accepted the trophy for Best Interior which came with a bottle of Bowdens Leather Care.  Their car had 50% more votes than the second place cars.
Paul Gillis won the category for Best Engine Bay with his Cobra VGT40 which came with a set of special microfibre engine detailing clothes .  People really liked the custom polished stainless Steel engine covers that really make engine bay stand out from the other entries.  Paul won with a margin of 6 votes.
Craig Marsh took out the Peoples Choice  trophy for best driven car which came with a cool beanie with a built n light and set of bluetooth speakers.  However, as Craig was at the track helping a mate as part of the pit crew, his father Don Marsh stepped up and accepted the prize on Craig’s behalf.

Paul Gillies happy with to win best engine bay (left) and Don Marsh accepting Peoples Choice on behalf of his son Craig Marsh.

For each voting slip completed you get a chance to win the lucky door prize, so if you vote at all three breakfasts you get three chances to win and this time the prize; a lovely gift hamper donated by Ball Realty was won by Robyn

Glenn Braidwood from Horsepower World joined us for the breakfast.  Glenn’s company is now the distributor for Factory Fave products in Qld as well as being a renowned Engine builder and suppler of performance parts for both Ford and Chevy engines, Glenn’s team can also assist with all the build aspects for your Cobra, or supply / build / complete a Factory Five Cobra for you.

here is a link to their online store 

Broadwater Parklands to Tambourine Picnic run

Picnic Run Bradwater to Tamborine

What a great morning! Thanks to all that came along. We met up at the Parklands Cafe car park. The first lady was ready early this morning, so we arrived ahead of schedule with only Helen and Trevor there already.
Whilst we waited for the others to arrive we moseid over to the cafe for some starter fuel (Coffee).
At departure time we only had 5 out of the 10 cars that booked, with 3 cancellations and 2 no shows.
We left the parkland and made our way down the Smith Street motorway on to the M1 towards Brisbane. We turned off at J57 and headed towards tamborine.
We went straight on at the John Muntz bridge towards Canungra before going on to Lower Beechmont.
We were lucky with the traffic and had a great run. The roads are all in good condition and we were able to stay together as a group.
Some of the views as you go up and over the hills are amazing, especially on days like today when its clear sky’s, you can see all the way to the horizon.
There were a few other clubs out on the roads and it’s nice to get the friendly waves from the bike and car clubs as we pass in opposite directions. We saw a few classic mustangs and a gaggle of yank tanks, a Harley club and several sports bike clubs.
On one of the twisty bits there was a rather quick super motad bike coming the other way, engine on full chat hitting the rev limiter and hanging off the bike as he manhandled it round the bend. It looked and sounded impressive, but maybe behaviour better suited to the race track where you don’t have cars coming the other way, or huge drop off’s if you miss the corner.
With the recent rain, the fields and wooded areas are vibrant shades of green, which, a one point along the trip, we saw a heard of goats happily munching on the lush grass next to the road, near an open gate! Slowly past them, we rumbled, but they didn’t even look up, too busy enjoying a naughty feed before they got rounded up and ushered back in to their paddock.
At another Junction, waiting for a gap in the traffic so we could pull out ad a single group, an older couple pulled up behind us on a Harley, “what are they? She asks loudly to her beau, “Cobras !, AC Cobras, not real ones though, they’re about half a mill, they’re plastic copies with V8’s, they’re ok though” he replied. They pulled out just behind us, but a small squirt of the right pedal left them in a cloud of fuel vapours. Their two wheeled tractor no match match for a bit of plastic…
As we rolled through North Tambourine we had the usual waves and people taking photos that the Cobras always attract, Tina heard one father say to his son, “wow, look at that red one” which goes to show you can have an infinitely better built, newer and higher quality cobra and still the uninitiated judge you on colour and chose the oldest, slowest and cheapest one over yours just because its red!
We arrived to an empty car park, and an empty seating area, so we set up under the lovely cover and enjoyed our cut lunches, some of us brought wine and beers, while others brought their very smick espresso maker.
After a good old chin wag and nosh up, we packed up said our good byes and headed our different ways.
A fabulous morning run!

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