Separating the Body and Frame

After inventory, the first step in the build is to separate the body and frame. I did my best to document the arrangement of all the body hardware as I removed it. My neighbor and I were able to easily lift the body off the frame and place it on a body buck that I built in the morning.

Quinn and Emmy with the Body

With the body free, I hoisted it to the roof of my garage. I didn’t set up any mechanical advantage in the pulley system but was able to easily raise it, one corner at a time, by myself.

With the body on the ceiling, I started removing and inventorying the aluminum panels. I made sure to label their orientation, fitment, and part numbers using a sharpie. When they were all clear of the frame, I wrapped them in packing paper and stored them away.

Prepping the Differential

Before the kit arrived, I purchased an iron 3.55 ratio differential from a wrecked 2018 Mustang with 17k miles. Since I am using the Mustang’s independent rear suspension, this is the required differential. I could have purchased new, but these things are tanks and I saved a few hundred bucks. Becuase it is used (the only used part I will use), I elected to pull and replace the axle seals. With a puller it wasn’t a difficult task.

Before replacing the seals, I prepped the housing for a coating of POR-15 with their Cleaner and Metal Prep products. The POR-15 went on easy with a brush. Wear a mask with this stuff!

Quick tip for POR-15 users: After opening POR-15 it can be hard to reseal and this stuff can rapidly cure in the can during storage. To avoid that, consider never “opening” the can! Use some self tapping roofing screws with the rubber washers to create pour and vent holes. Replace immediatly after filling your paint cup.


My wife Monica’s surgery was successful and she is recoverying well. Over the last few nights, I’ve inventoried all the boxes. I was quite worried that given the high demand for Factory Five products and the status of world supply chains, that I would be short a lot of items. I heard a lot of horror stories this year about back ordered parts. Fortunately, my Part on Order List (POL) wasn’t too lengthy. In fact, I got a bonus box that contained half of the POL! I guess between kit completion and pickup, some of my parts came in. The only significant things I am missing right now are the Wilwood pedal box and the rivets.

I read a lot on the Factory Five Forums about how to best tackle the inventory. I ended up ticking items off my inventory lists and then putting them all back into their boxes. I then attached the inventory sheet to the box. With all the sheets scanned, I will be able to quickly search for the parts I need by number or name. When all was said and done, I was missing about 12 items. All were small pieces of hardware. I sent that list off to Factory Five and had a Missing in Kit order in the system the next day. I was also sent the incorrect driveshaft, but Factory Five sent me a shipping label so I could exchange it.

My boxes are now all neatly organized and accessible. There are a few larger boxes that I won’t use for some time that aren’t pictured (seats, carpet, windshield, etc). I put them in the attic and gym.

The Kit Arrives

Ten months and 4 days after placing my order with Factory Five Racing, my MK4 Roadster kit has finally arrived. What a pleasure it was seeing Stewart Transport’s Factory Five branded truck roll into the cul-de-sac!

Stewart Transport’s driver Mark was awesome and efficient. He helped me make quick work of moving all the boxes and the car into the garage. I’m glad I had a frame dolly ready. We were able to use the truck’s crane to lower it right onto my dolly.

I’m itching to get started on the inventory, but my wonderful wife is having surgery tomorrow. She’ll be out of commission for quite some time. Although I did take two weeks off work to focus on the kids and her recovery, I don’t think I’ll have time to get started until February.

The Journey Begins

I first discovered the Shelby Cobra as a teen. My father, a big fan and restorer of vintage cars, took the family to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. I saw many Cobras and I am sure most were replicas. But given the prominence of the event, I’m pretty sure there was a least one genuine Cobra present. I thought it was the most beautiful car there, and from that moment I knew I wanted one. Not being wealthy, I quickly found myself exploring the Cobra kit car market. By all accounts, Factory Five Racing seemed to produce the most respected, complete, and attainable kit.

Quinn on the plane

Fast forward a couple decades and I finally found myself in a position to purchase one. Before I made that purchase decision, I planned a visit to Factory Five Racing in Wareham, MA. I had a Coast Guard colleague that was retiring at the nearby Cape Cod Air Station in March 2022, so I made the trip with my daughter, Quinn. It was our first daddy/daughter vacation.

A couple days after returning home, I placed my order on 13 March 2022. Factory Five Racing reached out that week to confirm my options and provided a 31 December 2022 completion date. It is going to be a long 9+ month wait!


This blog details the build of the Wiest family’s Factory Five MK4 Roadster, a Shelby Cobra replica. It sometimes features life events that happen along the way. Thanks for visiting!