- French surfer Paul LeFevre mixed his board-shaping expertise together with his love of small BMWs and created an all-carbon-fiber, 1800-pound, 210-hp BMW 1602.
- He began with some fender flares and simply did not cease.
- We are saying, “Pends dix mon frère!” (Grasp 10, bro!)
Paul LeFevre grew up on the French coast of Normandy with nice surf proper in entrance of him and the towering Pyrenees proper behind. When he was a ravenous graphic design pupil he couldn’t afford to purchase new surfboards so he began making his personal, shaping the froth cores and laying down the fiberglass mat simply so. As a budding graphic designer, he was additionally mixing up his personal colours for the boards. When he got here to the US, to surf-happy California, he saved it up. His surf store and board-making enterprise in Costa Mesa is named Son of Cobra. Cobra is a board maker primarily based in Thailand, so LeFevre says Son of Cobra is only a title “for enjoyable.” There’s no reference to the Shelby Cobra, both.
However he does like automobiles, and when he wished to make wheel flares for his 1969 BMW 1602, naturally, he determined to do it himself.
“So we principally begin with the lightest chassis doable, which is the 1602. After which I simply wished to make myself a pleasant fender pig cheek flare package that may look fairly first rate, however all yow will discover is race automobile fiberglass, which does not match nicely.”
“Pig cheek” is a time period for the model of fender flare you see right here. The bolt-on fiberglass kits out there on the time simply wouldn’t do. “For a streetcar it is fairly ugly,” he mentioned.
So he ditched the fiberglass and went with carbon fiber. That was all he wished to do—fender flares. At first.
“I created one aspect of the automobile—clay modeling the entire fenders as I wished—after which we 3D-scanned that one aspect of the automobile after which replicated the opposite aspect on a pc to have good symmetry on either side.”
From there, naturally, he made CNC molds of the brand new components. “I used all my surfboard-making expertise to form one aspect of the automobile, after which I had to make use of all my contacts within the trade to create the mould for this aspect. After which from there, since we had the mould, why not do it in carbon fiber to save lots of somewhat little bit of weight?”
Certainly, why not?
“After which why cease there, like, why not do the roof? I had a sunroof automobile and I simply wished to save lots of weight on the roof. So we took off the roof after which constructed the roof and trunk and, anyway, I began from there and I completed by ending up doing the entire automobile—all of the bodywork, entrance and rear fenders, door skins, hood, trunk, roof, in addition to the sprint.”
Sure, the sprint is carbon fiber, too. That is a whole lot of work. “It took me a couple of 12 months to have all of the molds, all of the components, to place the whole lot collectively, all of the bodywork, paint, after which one other 12 months to place the whole lot collectively.”
That was the skin. “After which, since I used to be doing all this weight saving, I additionally wished to have extra energy. After which, the extra it grew to become like a motorsports-inspired automobile, I principally wished to have, like, a race automobile, all of the race automobile spec on the streets to have the ability to drive like a race automobile on daily basis.”
So what did he do? “We ended up placing this S14 motor in, which is a fairly good swap for these automobiles, the S14 2.3. It is the primary (BMW) motorsport motor, and so they share the identical four-cylinder block, just about, very near the M10, so it is a fairly legit-built swap.”
The S14 engine is the one which went into quite a few BMWs, together with the E30 M3. So yeah, legit. “It bolts on proper up on the unique mount of the automobile, it shared the identical sample of the M10… Yeah, it sounds wonderful.”
Discover additionally the PLS wheels, introduced in LeFevre’s baggage when he moved right here from France.
The engine pulls 210 hp on the wheels, LeFevre mentioned, and the entire automobile weighs simply 800 kilograms (1760 kilos). Effective tuning was completed on the observe. A steering rack from a Ford Escort MkI was swapped in, and old-school race bucket seats rounded out the venture.
Is it completed? “I’ll say 99%.” it for a very long time there at Legends of the Autobahn, it’s onerous to think about what the lacking 1% might be.
You possibly can order a carbon-fiber hood on your 2002 for $2220 from sonofcobra.com. A carbon-fiber roof is $1180. A trunk lid is $1880. A Son of Cobra T-shirt is a really cheap 38 bucks. The surfboards, in the meantime, vary from simply over a grand to simply below $1500, however they’re not carbon fiber.
“Clearly carbon fiber is fairly dangerous for a surfboard since you kill all of the flex of the board—the carbon fiber is far too stiff for surfboard, but it surely’s very mild.”
So right here’s what you do: Get the complete 2002 package, then put a surfboard rack on prime. Better of each worlds.