2018 London Cobra Show Report

Every year, a small town in Ohio celebrates the annual London Strawberry Festival… and at the same time, the largest gathering of Cobra replicas in the world takes place on Main Street, London, Ohio!

This year was the 17th year of the London Cobra Show. The weather kept a lot of people away as it rained hard on Thursday and Friday, but by showtime on Saturday, it was a beautiful day – mostly sunny and just a brief drizzle that lasted less than a half hour.

Factory Five customer Sten J. drove his 55,000 mile Factory Five Roadster to the event through the rain.

Customer Michael C. rode down with a group that included Sten and about four other FFRs.

People who arrived Friday made it through hours of rain.

The drive in from all parts of the country was mostly wet…

…but by Saturday, the sun was out.

The crew from FormaCars setting up their display on Main Street.

John from BluePrint Engines was on hand to answer questions about their full line of engines.

Factory Five customer Erik Treves brought his Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe to this year’s London Cobra Show. Erik’s twin-turbo monster debuted at last year’s SEMA Show, and did some awesome burnouts during charity rides.

The only thing better than a burnout in an 800 HP twin-turbo Factory Five Type 65 Coupe is doing it over and over giving kids rides for charity. Factory Five customer Erik T. lays down some rubber for a good cause at the 2018 London Cobra Show.

Chris and I with the 2019 Ohio Cobra Club give-a-way car.

Next year's London Cobra Show will be auctioning off this very cool and very modern Factory Five Mk4 Roadster built by Chris and his team at FormaCars.

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Another modern car at the show was Dave Pohli’s carbon fiber dash, Roush intake, bright orange Mk4 Roadster.

Most of the Factory Five Racing crew and cars were at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Northeast show, so I trailered a new Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe out to the show to attend. I asked several customers for help, and ended up with nine cars in the Factory Five display (!) and about fifteen of the best salesmen in the world helping me out all day.

The London Cobra Show is a great place to get ideas for your own build. I loved this car!

The Capitol Area Cobra Club gave me this nice picture of me and Wade Chamberlain from 1999. Wade passed away a few years ago unexpectedly at the young age of 47. He was a great father and husband, and a skilled autocrosser and road racer behind the wheel of his Factory Five. The London Cobra Show re-named the autocross “The Wade Chamberlain Memorial” Autocross Competition.

Customer Jeff Kleiner helped with parking and spent all day talking about Factory Fives with other customers. Jeff was awarded the 2018 Factory Five Legacy Award at the Huntington Beach Cruise-In this year.

One of the coolest things about the London Cobra Show is the morning parade into the town of London. At 9 a.m., cars leave from a truck stop near the highway, and drive about five miles into town parking in front of the London Town Hall for the event.

Huge thanks to all of the Factory Five customers who helped me during the show. My small one car trailer and display was made much bigger by nine other Factory Five cars!

I ended up driving 2,150 miles in three days with my Gen 3 Coupe in the trailer behind my truck.

Double rainbow in Ohio about an hour from Columbus on Friday. Good omen!

The event is actually three days and includes cruises, an autocross, and go-karting.

The “Wade Chamberlain Memorial Autocross” was forecast to be rain, but turned out to be a great day on the track Friday.

The awards dinner Saturday night culminated in the presentation of a check for $104,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation! Over the years, the club has raised over $1.3 million.

The weekend was a really special one for me. Our company (FFR) had to attend the Barrett-Jackson show in Connecticut, so heading out by myself reminded me of the early days of Factory Five Racing and late night drives to races and shows. After driving 15 hours to Columbus from Wareham, I went to visit my brother in Chicago, and picked up a motorcycle I was keeping at his house. Then on Sunday morning, I headed back to Wareham, and arrived 18 hours later at 6:30 am tired and smiling. I love this business of cars and the amazing people who build and drive them.

Special thanks to everyone who has worked so hard over the years to make this event so successful and to donate so much money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Thanks to customer Michael C. for sharing his photos from the London Cobra Show with us. You can check out his build photos on his Instagram page here.

Thanks also to Juan Lopez-Bonilla for ReinCarNation Magazine for the photo of Erik Treves’ Coupe.

Dave Smith