Safety & Comfort
It would be hard to overstate the amount of safety engineering we've put into our Cobras - much of it initiated from the fatal flaws inherent to original Cobras, and so many tragic kit car builds being marketed. The most minor example is our rollbar - unlike virtually everything you might see on other Cobras, ours are not marked 'cosmetic' or attached to a weak fiberglass body. Our rollbars are quarter-inch thick stainless steel industrial steam-pipe, polished to a chrome shine and welded directly to the frame. "They're good for a quarter mile upside down at two hundred miles per hour," Emerson notes, only half in jest.
Additionally, Emerson Cobras are the only ones on the market with mandatory head rests - a direct result of leading industry crash research, and our own research into fatalities seen in Cobras. "Take a look at the roll bars in other Cobras," says Emerson. "It's pretty common for the occupants to be able to just tilt their head back and make contact. One of the fatal flaws inherent to most Cobras is the ninety-inch wheel base. It typically flips the car around and drives it backwards when control is lost. That easy head contact with the roll bar? Going backward, when that car hits something, those roll bars have killed a lot of good people through head contact. Our headrests eliminate that, as does the positioning of our roll bars. But more importantly, our frames run a ninety-four inch wheel base that helps eliminate that flip tendency, along with genuine mid-engine balance to give a neutral balance in a slide."
One of the first things Emerson Motorsports did during the initial engineering of our Cobras was to address the dangers of a 90-inch wheelbase, by expanding the car. Not stretching, but expanding the overall dimensions. Not only do our cars sit wider and longer, adding substantially more stability inherent in that geometry, it also allows us to retool the undercarriage. Two major safety and performance advantages come from this extra room - our axles, and our driveshafts.
Original Cobras used an independent suspension on their rear axles - each side feeding into the rear gear box mounted to the frame independently. Few are aware that the original Cobras were derived from a British sportscar, the AC Ace. Their British heritage, as stylish as it was, also gave it design parameters that installed this independent rear-end, designed for narrow wheels going over cobblestones comfortably, powered by what has been described as "elderly" 105hp motors. The short driveshafts also caused substantial problems with 'tire chatter', where going into turns the shaft couldn't articulate properly, causing the rear differential to lose its operational geometry - making the rear tires briefly break traction, repeatedly. Under modern power, at modern speeds, on modern roads, this can be very unsafe, often leading to broken rear-end parts, or spun-out cars.
With our extra dimensions and geometry optimization, Emerson Cobras run a drive shaft that is up to 5 inches longer, leading to a solid rear axle of dramatically more strength. One of our clients races an Emerson Cobra pushing over 1300 horsepower, on tight road-race tracks and oval tracks alike. Our drive shaft and rear-axle engineering have proven
bullet-proof for him, just two of many factors providing excellent safety and supreme traction and handling.
One area where we've put in an exceptional amount of safety research is impact energy - frontal, side, and rear. Our cars come with a collapsing steering column. Completely unseen is that the entire frame and body are engineered in an integrated harmony, where impact in one area is transferred and dissipated throughout the rest of the chassis. Frontal impacts, for example, are engineered to transfer a large part of the energy into the engine in an upward direction, while transferring more throughout the frame, doors, and body. The doors alone are special - they're lined with a specially folded steel armor plating. These doors, and their powerful hinges anchored to the frame, will absorb a 55mph (88km/h) direct T-boning side impact, without collapsing into the cockpit.
"Our side pipes were another fun little safety project, that also got us a lot more horsepower and ease of maintenance," says Emerson. "Original Cobras and most kit cars basically weld a cherrybomb muffler to the headers, and chrome it, right? Six months later the muffler and chrome job need replacing, not to mention the fact that after running the car, you've got a six-hundred degree skillet waiting to flash fry your calf. Not so with ours."
Emerson Cobras utilize a custom engineered exhaust system that adds substantial power, along with slashing the surface heat of the exhaust pipes down to 170 degrees (76.7C). Most sports cars, including original Cobras, channel the four exhaust ports of each header right into the muffler. This costs power. Our headers are built with an expansion chamber, allowing the exhaust to equalize before entering the muffler, creating more power by eliminating a substantial source of pressure imbalance. Additionally, our exhaust system is comprised of a highly insulated chromed sleeve, fitting over the muffler, which is easily disassembled for muffler replacement. The sleeve and insulation keeps the temperature to 170 degrees, and while this is at the higher reaches of safe (skin begins to burn at 160), it won't damage bare skin with quick contact, whereas other systems will leave skin right on the pipe.
Our rollbars: 1/4" thick stainless steel industrial steam-pipe, bent and welded to secure you in the worst of situations.
The AC Ace: forerunner to the Cobra, with all the pros and cons of fine English sportscars.
Genuine mid-engine balance: the weight on each of the wheels of our racers is within 6lbs (2.72kg) of each other.
Our side-pipes: safe to touch, with absolute ease of maintenance built into their design.