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With 485 horsepower on tap and a curb weight under 2,400 lbs., it took serious concentration, incredible skill, and nerves of steel to drive a Shelby Cobra to its full potential. Today, it’ll also take about $500,000 just to get behind the wheel. The budget friendly alternative is to build yourself a Factory Five Mk4 Roadster like ours. You’ll get all of the thrills at a fraction of the price.

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Tucked underneath the roadster’s flared fenders is a set of Factory Five Halibrand replica wheels (17" x 9" front/17" x 10 1/2" rear) that we added for some vintage style, then we wrapped them in cutting-edge Nitto NT555R Extreme Drag radials for some road-hugging traction. Look close and you’ll spot the gigantic Wilwood disc brakes, providing bite way beyond anything equipped on the original Cobra 427.

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The classic paint scheme comes courtesy of Summit Racing’s latest 2-Stage Paint System. Unlike the original’s aluminum body panels, our Factory Five roadster sports a lightweight CNC-cut fiberglass composite shell. After some light finish work, the Killer Gray Metallic/Viper Red combo turned out “superior to anything that ever came from the factory,” says Rick Sheley, our lead builder at SKJ Customs in St. George, Utah.

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Adjustable Koni coilovers at all four corners provide a modern take on the Cobra’s original independent suspension setup. The mono-tube adjustable shocks can be easily tailored for track days or comfortable cruising. Out back, Factory Five’s optional three-link rear end prevents the rigid roadster chassis from getting too tail happy in tight turns.

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Factory Five’s leather buckets, wood-rimmed steering wheel, and vintage-style gauges add a touch of civility to the roadster’s cozy cabin while Simpson four-point racing harnesses encourage G-force multiplying mischief at every turn.

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Back in 1995, the original Mk1 Factory Five Roadster required a donor drivetrain from a 1987-93 5.0L Mustang. Today, over 50 percent of Mk4 Roadster builds start with new, off-the-shelf parts says Jim Schenck, chief engineer at Factory Five.  

Our snake gets it fangs from performance parts taken straight out of the pages of the Summit Racing catalog, and we’ve made it simple to duplicate the results. Formulated in close collaboration with the engineers at Factory Five, we’ve created several Pro Pack combos that include every part we used on our own roadster. Pick and choose just the parts you need, or order them all and follow our formula for the ultimate ride! Just enter “Factory Five” in the search bar to get started.

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