Plant to build Cobra kit car - looking for international distributors

Willem Oosthuizen has partnered with Les Hayden to industrialize Cobra kit car production in South Africa.
Cobra UK export
Cobra UK export
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AC Cobra


Cape Winelands - Western Cape - South Africa


CAPE WINELANDS, South Africa - April 13, 2019 - PRLog -- Hayden started Cobra replica sports car production in South Africa in the 1980s with the Shamrock Cobra. He produced around 500 kits for the local and export markets.
He continued, however, to improve his design, working closely with a local university engineering department to improve the vehicle's chassis stiffness, high-speed handling and road-holding. These improvements led to the production of the Hayden Cobra.

"Our study show that there is a market for South African-made Cobras in the US, the UK, Middle East, Asia and Australia. We have already signed up agents in the Middle East and will be appointing carefully selected agents in each country." says Willem Oosthuizen, a dynamic young Chartered Accountant.

A kit car is a vehicle that is supplied without engine, gearbox and exhaust system. It is up to customers to fit whichever engine they prefer.

Hayden Cobra will offer this so-called "kit-minus", referred to as the Classic 427, as well as the Evo 427 model, which features a more complex multi-tube chassis, electric wind-up side windows and air conditioning.

Both versions offer a low seating position in order to accommodate taller drivers, as well as a more raked-back windscreen, which improve aesthetics and cockpit wind turbulence, says Oosthuizen.

"The Hayden Cobra is an outstanding example of how modern design technology and materials can be applied to one of the most iconic sports-racing cars ever produced," he adds.

"Every part of the chassis and suspension was subjected to critical finite element method stress analysis in order to arrive at optimum stiffness and strength-to-weight ratios.

"The result of this is a classic sports car that has the feel and road-holding qualities of a modern car, which greatly improves the driving experience."

The Hayden Cobra also uses vinyl ester resin for the body, which provides a more stable product and freedom from heat distortion that plagues so many of the cars made of the cheaper general purpose polyester resins, says Oosthuizen.

Extensive use is made of stainless steel for components such as the fuel tank, bumpers and roll bars, he adds.

"This is, however, dependent on the type of car the customer wants," says Oosthuizen.

Hayden says there are a number of companies producing Cobra replicas around the world.

"I have visited many of them and found few to be impressive. Many focus on originality, even when it comes to supplying a crude ladder frame chassis like the original Cobra, which was not a great handler at speed.

"I decided to rather build a more modern structure and use finite element method stress analysis to optimise the chassis and suspension components.

"As a result we now have a chassis that is torsionally far stiffer than that of the original, as well as a very strong suspension."

Hayden was assisted by Dr Andy Yates of the University of Cape Town's mechanical engineering department to design a more sophisticated independent suspension system that provides anti-squat and anti-dive properties without the usual side effects, such as caster-angle variation under braking.

"Our modern chassis and suspension system under the classic styled bodywork provides greatly improved handling and road-holding at high speeds, and feels much safer," he says.

"We don't put used suspension parts from scrap yards on our cars, but manufacture all our own components, such as the uprights and wishbones, to our own design.

"Our brakes are new BMW rotors with specially machined aluminum six pot and four pot callipers made from solid billet.

"We also dealt with complaints from tall drivers by dropping the floor under the seats by 100 mm," notes Hayden.

"Our bodies are laminated using vinyl-ester resin with a higher heat distortion factor and higher impact strength. This is a more costly alternative to the usual polyester general purpose resin, but provides a more stable and stronger body."

More information available on the company's website:

Willem Oosthuizen +27 83 991 6154
Les Hayden +27 21 551 1947
+27 21 551 1947
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Tags:AC Cobra
Location:Cape Winelands - Western Cape - South Africa
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Page Updated Last on: Apr 13, 2019

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