Welcome to Jyrki's Cobra Site !
To navigate through this site, click on the following links:
To navigate through this site, click on the following links:
I am Jyrki Pykäri, one of the founder members of the Finnish Cobra Replica Owners Club, C.R.O.C., founded in 1998, the same year I finished my car. Most Cobras here are built upon a Pilgrim Sumo kit, which utilizes the European Ford Taunus/Cortina chassis and drivetrain. This is because in Finland we must use a donor car, of which over 50% must remain after rebuild to avoid heavy taxation. It's not the taxation alone, but smog tests, airbags, crash & burn tests and alike required for a new make, that prevent building something radical.
You know, one of my workmates asked me what is this car, and why it has to be so loud? - NO SOUND, NO POWER, I replied. How could you explain to a man not having enough imagination to put his money on anything but a brand new Volvo, being most safe and most boring, that a Cobra is a Cobra, it is supposed to LOOK MEAN, SOUND BAAAD, REEK OF POWER, AND FEEL GOOD - it's supposed to SHAKE, RATTLE AND HUM. For everyday commutation, something more practical would probably work better, but TO FEEL ALIVE, YOU NEED FANGS!
( you see, everytime I fired up my snake at the parking lot, the theft alarm system of his Volvo would go crazy because of "bad vibes", although there were quite a few cars in between...)
Project started January 1996 ->
Registered July 1997 ->
Finished June 1998 ->
Parked since 2004
I had a little different approach than just building a kit like the Sumo. I have never really liked the looks of a Cobra, it looks rather funny than "ballsy" to me. While it may not look ballsy, it's got "hips" for sure, with all the double-curved contours. Very feminine car indeed.
Nevertheless, I've always liked "pioneering", and love the sound and torque of a healthy V-8. I also like roadsters. One day back in 1995 we went to see a movie "Bad Boys" with my girlfriend Tuula, and in this movie there was a nice car chase featuring a Cobra and a Porsche. So Tuula suggested "why don't you get one of those?" Now wait a second - a Cobra could really combine all of my ambitions! I was bitten by a snake, and there was no cure but to get my own Cobra with at least 5 liters worth of V-8 sound & power! Only there was a problem - everyone told me that in Finland, it was not possible to build a Cobra with a V-8. I wasn't ready to accept that as a final truth, and said in my mind "JUST WATCH ME!"
Above: In Finland, exhaust gas is not allowed to exit from passenger side sidepipe, so the sidepipe is plugged at the end, and there's a 2.5" crossover pipe connected to driver's side sidepipe. Update 2003: Thanks to the European Union, passenger side pipe is now legal!
Now I just needed to find a donor car. I started by examining the Standard Catalog for an American production car with all the necessary features, a full frame chassis being the most important. Moreover, the side rail spacing and track width should be fairly narrow. And there it was, the GM G-body, 1978-1987 Malibu, El Camino, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, Grand National. The Chevy Malibu being inexpensive and plentiful in Finland. I checked with authorities if this project was even possible to start with, and basically there were no obstacles. Right after Christmas 1995 I bought a '79 Malibu, tored it down during the spring, and ordered the GRP body from a Finnish manufacturer. I received the permission for "body-swap" by midsummer 1996 (we have to apply for permission beforehand, and the parts to be retained from donor car are either stamped or seal-wired by authorities for future identification).
After thousands of hours I finally had the car registered July 28, 1997, being the first V-8 Cobra in Finland. However, I hadn't had time to rebuild or even check the Malibu engine, which, according to Murphy's law, didn't hold oil pressure when warm. With just tens of miles in the odometer, I shoved the damn thing to the darkest corner of my garage to wait for better days.
Over the winter 1997/98 I then rebuilt the engine completely (had to overbore from std to .060", and machine crank journals from std to the smallest diameter to remove scratches), painted the whole car, and performed some detailing and finishing. The summer 1998 was the coldest and rainiest one in a century, so I drove barely 2000 kilometers. It was the year of the dragon, and in Europe there were floods and other extreme acts of nature.
Also, July 1998 Tuula gave birth to a little girl named Janina, so there was little use for a 2-seater. One of the memorable trips was the 150 km drive in rain, at 10 deg C, with open top. When we got home, I was freezing - couldn't even turn my head. Tuula, with a raincoat, survived a little better. Well, we found out that if you keep your speed above 100 km/h, only your hair will get wet! Oh yes, and the windshield gets wet from the inside! Had to stop by at a gas station and grab a handful of paper towels - Tuula would keep wiping the windshield while I was driving...
During the winter 98/99 I rebuilt the rearend, fabricated new sidepipes, boxed rear control arms, and performed some minor tuning and finishing.
Now we've already passed the millennium, and I'm still lacking time and inspiration to start working on it! Before spring however, I should rebuild & upgrade front suspension and steering components, install rear stabilizer bar, fabricate new headers, the list goes on - there's always something to do.
|Click on the images to check them out full scale. I took these shots at a photo session for V8-MAGAZINE, issue 5/99|
|My father-in-law wanted to have a ride down a narrow, meandering country road. The wheel arc spats really came in handy due to flying gravel. Sidepipes were sandblasted in just seconds. I prefer asphalt.|
|Adjusting idle mixture. The engine had just been fired up the first time spring '98 (after complete rebuild) and I was already late from our first annual Race Day. The paint job was just 1 day old, didn't have time to fix door panels.|
Tel: +358 40 5678924
Copyright © Jyrki Pykäri
Last update March 2009