What a weekend…I expected it to be relatively quiet. Ended up finding a potential donor in NJ Saturday morning. I’ve been looking for a donor for months without much luck. Any time I’ve come close it’s been ripped from me at the last moment. I didn’t want to let that happen this time. I called up Jeremy to see if he could go along with me. I ended up screwing up his day…sorry man. The car is rough on the body…real rough…but the engine and transmission seemed to be in good order. It looks like it’s a done deal. I should be hearing from the owner tomorrow to verify there’s no lien, then he’s delivering it to me! Hopefully I’ll have a donor by the end of the week! What I thought would be a two hour trip each way ended up being 3 hours. The whole day was basically shot.

I got home to find out the Jacob had been a real pill and Ang was worn out. So we decided to go for a drive. Partly to get Ang out of the house and partly to get Jacob to finally sleep. We decided to go take a drive through one of the expensive neighborhoods nearby. On our way there I hit a deer with the Blazer. The whole thing is a blur. I remember cresting a small rise and seeing the deer. I hit the brakes hoping it would stay or head the other direction. Of course it had to decide to run right in front of me and that was it. I found the deer in the ditch on the side of the road later. After a bit I went back to look and it was gone, run off into the woods I suppose. The Blazer looks kind of brutalized. We’re going to need a new hood, headlights, radiator and front grill. Probably the right quarter panel too. I couldn’t get the hood up so I’m not sure if there’s more damage in the engine bay. You can see pics here. If that’s all we’ll be pretty lucky. I’m just glad I didn’t catch it on a leap and have it come through the windshield.

Haven’t updated in quite a while.  We had a baby!  Jacob Paul Brooke was born July 22nd.  Check the main page for all of the details.  The fact of the matter is that I have done virtually nothing with the kit in the last couple of months.  I have spent quite a bit of time looking for a donor but that’s about it.  Sometimes it’s difficult walking past it in the garage but I know it’ll get done when it gets done.  There have been more important things keeping me busy! )

Last Tuesday, Sept 11th, terrorists crashed airliners into the World Trade Center buildings in NY and the Pentagon in DC.  I’m sure anyone who is reading this knows the details, the excruciating details, of what happened.  I won’t rehash that here.  Suffice it to say, the incident has weighed heavily on me.  Sometimes feeling helpless to do anything, other times being proud to be an American.  As with most everyone I was riveted to the news.  After a couple of days I’ve found myself having to find other things to do in order to get my mind off of it.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for the people who are directly involved either through loss of a family member or in the ongoing rescue efforts. They don’t have the luxury of turning it off.  I truly hope that the citizens of the US will remember that as they get back to their lives.  For those of us that were not directly affected it will be easy to lose focus on what happened.  As good citizens we cannot allow that to happen.  I’ll be doing everything I can to keep the memory alive.  I hope everyone else can do the same.

On a happier note, the Capital Area Cobra Club is really starting to get active.  We’ve got quite a few people who are showing up at events and being active in the email list.  We had a gathering scheduled for today at Lee and Fritzi Tilton’s house down on the bay.  It was briefly considered that it be cancelled.  I think everyone agrees that it was a good idea to move forward with it.  I took a number of pictures and you can find them under the “Pictures” button on the left.  We started by spending some time at Lee and Fritzi’s house.  We then went to a local seafood joint, where the Tilton’s know the chef, for some delicious Chesapeake Bay crabs.  While we were there a kid, might have been the son of the owner, sang the Star Spangled Banner.  Nearly brought tears to my eyes.

If you are actually bothering to read this stuff, thanks!  Take a moment tonight and tell your family how much you love them.  Then consider doing something to support the real heroes of this country, the firefighters, police and EMS.  Remember that they were the ones that rushed into dangerous buildings and rubble to try to save people while other “heroes” were scared to get on airplanes.  I know I’ve been negligent in that regard.  I will be no longer.

Did better on the lab last week but not good enough.  I’ve struggled quite a bit with whether or not to try again.  I’m not sure of any real value it still has for me, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt.  What I keep coming back to is that I’ll regret it if I don’t finish it.  I think that’s what going to drive me to get it done.  Still, I plan on taking a few months off before getting back to studying.  Gotta do a little thing like take care of bringing a baby into the world first. ;-)   Managed to have two big Cobra related things this weekend.  First was that we went to Wade’s and Beth’s house for a BBQ on Sunday. I’m really fortunate to have a couple of great people who are also Cobra fanatics so close by (ok, nearly 2 hours but still.)  The highlight was getting a ride in Wade’s freshly finished FFR!  I hadn’t sat in the passenger side before and it was fairly tight.  I had no choice but to put my right arm out the side.  Think I minded?  I also see what he means about the foot box being shallow.  I’m going to give some serious thought to dropping the passenger side, although I’ll probably end up leaving it alone.  After cruising along some local streets Wade swung out onto a mini-highway, did a quick peek for any potential problems that might be sitting at the light, and punched it.  He didn’t run it long but at the end I had a giant grin on my face!  Couldn’t help myself.  The second Cobra related thing is…well you’re looking at it.  I spent a couple of hours and finally cleaned up the site.  I wouldn’t say that it’s commercial quality but I’m pretty happy with it.  I think it’ll suit my purposes just fine.  Next on the to-do list is to finish the webcam hookup in the garage.

Worked on cleaning up the frame last weekend.  There were a bunch of areas with a surface dusting of rust.  There were also a couple of areas that looked like they hardly got any paint on them at all.  I went over all of those areas with a wire brush until the majority of rust was gone.  Then I used an epoxy primer.  In the pics you can see those areas as white patches.  Then finished it off with some black textured epoxy paint.  This stuff look like it’ll do the trick but I guess only time will tell.  I also spent some time doing some more organizing.  I now have a laptop out in the garage.  I’ll probably get the network connection terminated next weekend.  I plan on having a webcam as well as an AIM login for chatting with.

Changed the wheels on the body buck.  I quickly learned that having four swiveling wheels is a bad idea.  Went out and got 2 fixed ones.  Jeremy came over and gave me a hand with taking the body off and all that.  Makes a world of difference with the 2 fixed ones on the back side!  Also took off all of the aluminum panels and photographed everything.  I figured all of the aluminum was screwed down but there were a couple of large pieces that were just sitting in there.  Next step is for the aluminum to go to an anodizer to get colored a dark purple.  I’m thinking about leaving the floor of the trunk a clear color.  I have this idea that anyone that helps with the build gets to sign the trunk with a sharpie.  I’ll also be working on finally getting the webcam set up in the garage.  Need to punch down a drop and it should be ready to go.

Spent some time today putting the shelf on the buck.  Also managed to find enough wood for the stands.  The frame is now sitting at a close to specified ride height of 4.75″.  Reorganized the garage.  Managed to get quite a bit more space after moving some boxes around and generally cleaning up.  There’s a lip at the front of the garage which causes some problems with moving the buck in and out.  I’ll make some mini ramps at some point but for now I still haven’t figured out an easy way to do that.  Just shave and sand some small blocks I guess.  Note to future builders:  I would strongly recommend putting at least two non-swiveling casters on the buck.  All of my casters swivel and I’ve noticed that the buck likes to head off in the wrong direction when I start pushing it.  I’m always running from end to end to straighten it out.  Also had the body outside for the first extended period of time today.  I’m sure the neighbors are wondering what the heck I’m doing.  I overheard a mom telling a toddler “it’s just the top of a car” as he started running across the street to what was going on. -)   Next step is to pull off all of the aluminum and take it for anodizing.  Then I have a big decision to make.  Either knuckle down and work on getting money together for a donor or see what I can do to bide the time.  I’ve also considering going to a junkyard and starting to grab pieces as I need them.  We’ll see what happens.

Personal aside; check out the main part of my web site to hear the heartbeat of my (due in 5 months) kid!

As you can see from the pics page, not only did I get the body buck done, everything is tucked nicely into the garage.  It all went together pretty quick with a lot of help from Ang, Jeremy and Amy but now I am sore all over.  I guess I better get used to that feeling. -)

Next weekend I plan on trying to reorganize the garage.  Although everything is in there it’s not really conducive to working on the car.  Also on the list is building a shelf in the body buck and some wedges to act as a ramp into the garage.

A lot has happened over the last several weeks.  I got a call right after New Years from FFR letting me know I could pick up my car January 13th if I was interested.  Of course I was!  Because of the timing I decided to delete all of the options except the body cutouts for the pickup.  I’ll get the other things as I move through the build.  I flew up with my friend Jeremy Saturday morning.  We flew into Providence and picked up a Penske truck there.  On the way to FFR we stopped at another owners house to take a look at his soft top.  I hadn’t actually seen the soft top first hand and I wanted to get a look at how it fit on the car.  This guy’s place was pretty interesting.  He had old cars all over the place that he had been working on.  There was a beautiful Mercury in one garage and a Metropolitan with a small black Chevy in another.  Jeremy snapped some pics of them which I’m sure I’ll be posting up here at some point.  Onward we drove to the factory.  Picking up the car was very easy.  FFR’s been growing and they’ve had to store completed cars in another warehouse down the road.  I understand they’re in the process of building a new warehouse which they’ll be able to run the entire operation out of.  After picking up my docs we drove over to the storage warehouse.  The guys there were pretty comical.  Not Cobra enthusiasts themselves, they talked about how they got tired of looking at these kits all the time.  Can you believe it!  After we left there the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful although long.  I thought I was suffering some kind of allergy attack but it was probably some kind of flu.  My nose was bright red from all the napkins by the time we got back!  We left the factory around noon and arrived in New Market around 8:30PM.  I was lucky enough to have some great friends who could come out that evening to help unload the kit.  With four average size guys we managed to slowly remove it from the van and into the garage.  Despite what other people have told me this thing is freakin heavy!!!  )

Over the last couple of weeks I haven’t touched the car.  It’s been really tough but I was trying to prioritize studying for the CCIE.  I just got back from that this week (unsuccessful unfortunately) and now I’m gearing up to get started.  First order of business is building the body buck and getting the body off.  There’s a small chance I’ll get that done by this weekend.  Then it’s on to the aluminum panels.  I’ll be putting together a schedule for when I need to get what.  With a baby on the way we’re trying to be very careful about how we spend money.  Other items on the to-do list are: punching down the network connection in the garage, setting up the laptop out there, getting the webcam working, working on the web site and getting the garage organized for better clearance around the kit.

I finally placed my order today!  After looking at them for a long time I finally broke down and did it.  Two things made it happen today.  The lawsuit with Shelby and the new article in Car and Driver magazine.  The lawsuit has caused lead times for delivery to really stretch out far.  I was concerned that the new article would make it worse.  Due date is 3rd week of March.  Just last week the due date was 3rd week of February!  I ordered the following options:

Roadster EFI kit
Catalytic Converters
Chrome roll bar
Chrome quick jack
battery cut off switch
rear view mirror
hood hinge
wind wings
soft top

I forgot to take my list to work with me and the web site was misbehaving so I forgot I few options:

body cutouts
wipers

I’ll call them next week and get that taken care of.  I’m a bit nervous as well as excited.  My primary focus over the next several months will be to pass the CCIE in January.  Once I get that behind me I’ll be able to start studying some of the things about building this car that concern me.  I can’t wait!  5 months is a long time.