The following articles document my Factory Five Cobra Build. Much of what I did was learned from the Factory Five online community and then put into practice. At other times I wasn't satisfied with the available solutions and figured out my own thing. I'm writing all this down hoping that others might find it useful and also as a reference for myself as I'm very likely to start forgetting details. It will take me some time to complete things here but I'll keep steadily at it.

Before you order your Factory Five Roadster you’ll want to spend some time on the forums and learn what your options are. They are http://www.ffcars.com and http://www.thefactoryfiveforum.com. Also check out http://www.clubcobra.com. It’s not Factory Five specific but it’s good to see how other Cobras do things.

Sign up on the forums and start reading. Find builds you like and talk to the owner about them. They’re usually happy to tell you all about their cars. As you become more familiar with the options you’ll form specific questions. Try using the search feature on the forum before posting your questions. It’s likely someone has asked the question already and sometimes forum members will get testy at the repeat.

Factory Five Roadster - Last Kit on the Truck :-(

Once you’ve ordered you’re going to spend a lot of time waiting. Factory Five has to build the kit and the the shipping company (Stewart Transport in my case) waits until there are enough deliveries across the country to justify the trip. Then if you’re like me you get to watch them bop around the country delivering everyone else's’ kit saving yours for the last delivery. 

This is a good time to prepare your work area and resources. You’ll need space to do your inventory and store a bunch of large boxes. Depending on your build schedule you might be storing stuff a long time.  Take this time to get the needed tools and supplies.  I'll detail some of stuff I use in following articles.

Factory Five Roadster - Body BuckThis will be a good time to figure out how you’re going to store the body while you’re working on the chassis. Most folks build a body buck based on the following plans posted on ffcars.com. Might as well do it while you're waiting.  The first plans below are for the older pre-MKIV body style. They work ok for the MKIV but it works better if you use Stan’s revised body buck for the rear portion. Here are ffcars.com pages on building a pre-MKIV body buck.  

The build manual has a basic list of tools but it can be expanded upon. No point in duplicating that list here but I’ll talk about modifications or additions to that list. I’ll also include a description of my use for the tool. You can get by without a lot of this stuff but it defintely made it easier to get nice results. 

Wire strippers/Crimpers
I don’t like combo stripper/crimper tools as they’re usually not very good at either job. I used a couple Klein wire strippers. One is 10-20 gauge and the other is 20-30 gauge. For crimping, the tool I like the most is my Accel ratcheting crimper. They actually sell it as a spark plug wire crimper (which it does well) but it also comes with a few other dies that let you crimp all sizes of wire connectors. BTW, I really dislike automatic strippers. I’ve seen em shred the insulator and conductor too often. For crimping my #4 and larger wires I used one of IWISS Cable Lug Crimper Crimping Tool.  It’s not that expensive and in my opinion does a much nicer job than the myriad of whack it with a hammer tools that aren’t that much cheaper and mash up your terminal. It crimps a nice hex into your lug that’ll last the life of your car.

Factory Five Roadster - Kit ArrivalYou've been patient and the day is finally here.  The semi truck is parked in front of your house and a slightly grumpy driver is almost as anxious as you to get your kit off his truck.  Have your shop ready and keep things business like.  If you're like me you'll be like a little kid dancing around on Christmas morning anxious to open every package.  Don't do it.  That comes later.

Factory Five Roadster - Kit Arrival

Consider having a couple friends in attendance in case you need help. If you're like me and want pictures to document the occasion have one of those friends do it. You'll be busy helping the driver and he ain't gonna appreciate your selfie duck face anyway.

The driver will have manifest sheets that you'll want to check as he unloads boxes.  This isn't a detailed inventory of the contents.  Each box is numbered and you're just making sure you get every box on the manifest.  This is important so have some writing utensils on hand.  If a box is missing the driver will confirm it and you'll use the manifest to call Factory Five and let them know.