After a very short Friday night, I left home at 3:00AM Saturday morning with U-Haul trailer in tow, GPS programmed for Factory Five Racing and a mug of tea. Surprisingly there’s not much traffic around at that time of morning and I made good time.
I did have a couple of mishaps on the way though with the trailer, one my fault, one not. The trailer has built in ramps for vehicle loading. It seems that with no weight on the trailer it tends to bounce when driving over rough road. Well, three times a ramp popped out at about 65mph. A very loud bang and look in the mirror to see sparks everywhere behind the car.
The other was my fault – I’d not secured the trailer lighting wiring properly and it had dragged along the ground. By the time I’d noticed it (at the first ramp pop-out as I got into southern Connecticut) it had already worn clean through one wire. I braved the rest of the trip hoping a cop wouldn’t pull me over and programmed the GPS to take me to a Home Depot nearest the factory. A quick stop for a spool of cheap wire, a cheaper knife and some really cheap Scotch connectors, and the trailer was legal again.
At the factory I came face to face with my first GTM. Pictures just don’t do it justice – this is an incredible piece of design. Forgive the quality of the photos – I only had my camera phone with me.
This is the factory test car on which they do a lot of R+D.
I ventured into the factory and saw a rack of roadster chasses waiting for collection. Mine was surely in there somewhere?
Sure enough, a quick search and there it was, in the middle. My Cobra!
Some nifty fork-lift work and she was free – ready to be loaded onto the trailer.
I was fortunate to be given a tour of the factory and a rundown on the history of this car. Owned and privateer raced by the late Dick Smith, this original 427 Cobra won the most races of all the racing Cobras and was officially clocked at 198mph – hence the new racing number. Sadly Dick was killed in a plane crash earlier this year and as a good friend of Dick’s, Dave at the factory was asked to look after the car for a while. It was valued at a cool $3.7m.
With the dreams of throbbing ear drums, I put the Navigator in Drive and headed back to Long Island, 255 miles away. The drive back was uneventful other than the hundreds of people who slowed to see what was on the trailer, pointed at it, then drove alongside me and grinned and gave me the thumbs up. And it’s not even finished yet. This is going to be an attention grabbing car, I see that now!