Phil's AK40 build log

Hi All,

I have started this tread to document the build of my GT40. Since I was 10 years old I always wanted to build a Cobra, but in recent years have started looking at a GT40.

The day after lockdown started, March 2020, I was due to have my single garage extended to the full width of my plot, approx 5m. This was finished in late summer, and I spent the autumn/winter doing the final fit out – electrics, lights, level the floor, paint, 8.5 metres of bench top space under Ikea kitchen cabinets. I now have somewhere to build a car so full steam ahead.

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I visited Neil at AK Sportscars last weekend and he let me test drive his Southern GT 40 before the heavens opened. Wow! What an eye opener. The gearbox was awkward, the clutch was heavy and the brakes were useless. Needless to say it took two whole days to decide to go ahead, and I am slated for chassis #6 at the end of May.

I bought a Ford 302 off eBay just before Christmas and have spent the last few moths stripping and cleaning it. To my untrained eye it looks good. The bearings are a bit worn but there is no scratching, and I can still see the honing in the cylinder bores. I am going to take it to an engine shop to get it checked and if everything looks good, I will keep it at 5.0 and reuse what I can. If it needs some work, I will stroke it to 347 and just keep the block.

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I now need to decide what gearbox to use for the final spec of the chassis. Renault UN1: rare, affordable, can handle 5.0 power, I want to strip and rebuild it myself. Quaife ZF DS-25/2: can buy from AK Sportscars, can handle more power than I need, more refined gear change, extends the whole project 18 months due to cost.

This is probably going to be a 10 year project based on cost. I need to save a bit, buy a bit, build a bit, so updates may be slow. But it is a start, so wish me luck.
 

Chris Kouba

Supporter
First off, congrats and welcome to the club. It will be an exciting adventure, and as you've seen, you get to meet lots of people from all over the world.

...The gearbox was awkward, the clutch was heavy and the brakes were useless...
Yeah, the cable shifters can be a bit awkward, but the clutch and brakes can be sorted. I've only driven mine and one other RCR, but both clutches were very reasonable (even modest) efforts to activate and I see no need to boost the brakes. Piston sizes can tune this for you.

I've read about people fitting up power steering as well. I just can't see the need. These cars have so little weight on the front axle (and overall as well). I have a very small steering wheel and it's not an issue, even when parking.

What I am trying to say is don't be discouraged- you should be able to make the car exactly what you want... And they are a RIOT!!
 

Mike Pass

Supporter
I trust you know the emissions requirements for the IVA are related to the engine block age. I see the spider for the roller tappets in the pic so probably a post 1975 block. Maybe check the block age and the emissions level for IVA.
Cheers
Mike
 
Thanks all for the encouragement and information. I would like to clarify a few points I made.

Neil's GT40 if a fantastic bit of kit, and my comments are in no way meant to call in to question AK Sportscars ability to produce an excellent car. I know a lot of people had a great relationship with Mike at Southern GT and I know he is on hand to help AK. AK have years of experience building Cobras and have no doubt this will continue with the AK40 - that is precisely why I choose them.

Neil's GT40 is set up for him, and although we are a similar height, I do like to be close to the pedals and have a weird way of using the clutch – I push down with the ball of my foot using my leg, but then lock my heel and slide the pedal under my foot to release. It is also the first time I have used a right hand shift and dog leg pattern. I was trying to drive it like a road car by slowing with the brakes and dipping the clutch just before stall, instead if going up and down the 'box like a race car.

But it is all good experience and have no doubt can modify to suit my style.

you might consider an audi gearbox I have one behind a 351 windsor stock from the mid 80s
Jamie, I have been looking at Audi 'boxes, 01E, 01X, and Graziano built box for the R8 / Lamboghini Gallardo, but understand the diff' is mounted higher than the Renault or Quaife units. This either means raising the engine and gearbox and therefore centre of gravity, mounting the engine at an angle and compromising oil flow, or mounting the driveshafts at an angle that is not ideal.

I trust you know the emissions requirements for the IVA are related to the engine block age. I see the spider for the roller tappets in the pic so probably a post 1975 block. Maybe check the block age and the emissions level for IVA.
Mike, I had read up a lot on the 302 and was confident I could do a good job rebuilding it myself. To be honest I bought the engine because it was for sale at what I thought was a reasonable price. There was no information on age or mileage but it was a good opportunity to learn. It was only after it arrived that I found out some details.

The block is stamped F1SE with GT40 heads. It does indeed have roller lifters and provision for electronics to make it fuel-injected. From messages on other forums I think it is from a mid-90s Mustang or Explorer. I assume the date stamp means I need to meet 1991 regulations, and also guess this is not impossible.

In a somewhat hypocritical comment, I still want to meet proper emission regulations to have the minimal impact on the planet a 5 litre, 15mpg sportscar can have!
 
I decided to collect my chassis from AK Sportscars instead of having it delivered. It cost me less than half to hire a car transporter than a courier company to deliver.

I booked the day before the double bank holiday, and what a full day's work it was. I left home near Heathrow at 8am, and picked up the transporter from the Gatwick area. Then back round the M25 to South Mimms for lunch and a rain stop and on up to Peterborough. Jo greeted my Dad and I with tea and coffee while the boys got to work loading the chassis and panel kit.

The drive back was slow because of holiday traffic, and the M25 was down to one lane on the other side due to an accident, so everyone had to slow down for a look - please, it's not worth it!

Unloading was fun as the chassis was heavier than expected, and asking a couple of pensioners to help was in hindsight ambitious. But we managed to shuffle it around and leave it in the middle of my garage.

After a quick bite to eat, back round the motorway to drop off the transporter and home by 10pm - a 14 hour day.

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Paul Hendrickx

Supporter
Congratulations!, you are now in the famous 80% rule.... the chassis's 80% of the car done, the finishing will take 80% of your time the next few years...

Paul
 

Davidmgbv8

Supporter
Just curious as to why the brakes on the AK40 were useless? Those big 4 pot AP's all around should have no issue stopping 2000lbs unless the maste cylinder was not the correct size. Just asking as I have SGT70. GT0 Racing has UN1s as well that is where I got mine. The bell housing is getting hard to find. By the time I am finished with mine with ATB, large one piece mainshaft, I will have about $7k in it.
 
@davidmgbv8 , the brake pedal seemed very long and very soft, although Neil did say it is a race car for the road, and it needs to be driven like a race car. Having never driven a race car, I assume this is needed for braking feel. I guess I am used to powered brakes on my Astra, which is not really a fair comparison.
 
With a long weekend and England struggling in the cricket, I thought I would start to place the panels on the chassis. I did not buy the "panel fitting kit" so do not have any riverts yet. This was done on purpose, because I know I will start fixing panels in place before they are ready, and I am still waiting for instructions.

So I have use the next best thing to riverts - masking tape.

It is obvious from this dry fitting (learnt from making much smaller models) that there will need to be some adjustment to the panels.

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Neil

Supporter
Be prepared for those rivets- buy a pneumatic/hydraulic rivet gun and a handfull of #30 (or whatever) split-point drills.
 
Dry fitting your panels with "clecos" is a smart way to do as tape will move always as soon as you add one to another panel
Otherwise using your method is also a good way to understand which panel is better to trim before another and .... it 's as always a lot of fun to play with a new puzzle :D :cool:;)
 

Nick

Supporter
@davidmgbv8 , the brake pedal seemed very long and very soft, although Neil did say it is a race car for the road, and it needs to be driven like a race car. Having never driven a race car, I assume this is needed for braking feel. I guess I am used to powered brakes on my Astra, which is not really a fair comparison.
Hi Phil do you know if AK's car had hard or braided brake lines. In the few miles I did with mine before it required further "alterations" the brake pedal was very soft. When I built it I went for braided bake hoses throughout. I did ask the supplier if that would lead to them feeling soft and he assured me it would be OK as they supplied rally car teams who had the same set up and they were fine. I am now not convinced and once back on the road and still the same I am going to run a hard line from front to back to see.
 
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