Photography By RCH Designs
If you're like me nothing is better than the real thing. There are no knockoffs in my house, I don’t have any plastic surgery and I think reverse engineering is for chumps that can’t engineer. Copies wreck the spirit of innovation and competition becomes nothing more than following. But every now and then, I do get hypocritical but I guess everyone has limits. For example, I really like a handful of the retro designs out there like the Challenger and Camaro but others miss the mark. I guess if designers didn’t explore that, then we might all end up with boxes and cubes forever.
When it comes to the legendary AC Cobra, I have to make an exception there too, it is a classic shape that needs to be prolonged. Demitrios Karabinis owner of ARC Audio in Modesto, CA wanted to add something with a classic feel to his fleet and contacted Factory Five to build him a custom Cobra. Factory Five knows a thing or two about making a dazzling performing Cobra replicat but what they don’t know is how to accommodate for any audio, so Karabinis did what it took to correct all that.
The effort put forth by Karabinis amounted to two years and an untold amount of funds. When he puts and audio install together, no only is it out of the box but consists of the best compenents and materials around. Since the factory Five Cobra did not have any provision for a stereo to be part of the vehicle a compact center console was fabricated from MDF and body filler. The highly functional U-shaped console fits snugly between the bottom of the dashboard and on top of the transmission tunnel seamlessly. Openings were cut for both the head unit and the meter unit. The assembly was then wrapped in matching vinyl that blends with the dash and the carpet.
The headunit is a pure audiophile unit. The McIntosh MX406, playing only CDs with no MP3 capabilities. Any audiophile will balk at the mere mention of compresses music. This deck has no equals and resides in a class with only Denon and Nakamichi for sound fidelity. Underneath the single DIN unit is the trademark McIntosh power meter with the familiar blue glow.
The outgoing signals are processed with an ARC Audio XEQ 7-band EQ with line driver headed to some serious ARC audio gear. The ARC Audio 7-band parametric EQ was chosen for this application for multiple purposes. First, because of the low voltage output of the McIntosh head unit the XEQ was used to boost the signal level into the amplifier as well as offer a minimal amount of tuning of the system to give the best integration to the limited acoustics in the Cobra. The equalizer was mounted to the passenger underside dash area tucked neatly up and out of sight, which still allows ease-of-use but does not get in the way.
With the signal processing out of the way, the tuned signals head to the amplification stage, an area where ARC excels. The master amp is an ARC Audio 4200SE configured front stage in stereo 4 ohms for the front stage drivers compartment speakers and the rear outputs bridge to the dual 8-inch ARC Subwoofers in the trunk. This single amplifier setup was critical for this application for its simplicity and ease of installation. Also by running this single amp configuration it reduces the amount of wiring, labor and overall accessories to install the system into the vehicle, not to mention weight. The 4200SE was installed in the trunk of the vehicle using an offset support system built off of the side sub enclosure. This rack was made from twin metal side bridges attached to the sides of the enclosure and bolted using stainless hardware. The application allowed the amplifier to be removed easily and giving open access to the Cobra’s Halon bottle located in the forward area of the trunk cavity above the rear axle.
The enclosure itself is a work of art. Housing twin ARC Audio 8D2 8-inch subs the physical limitations of space left few options to get the desired bass without sacrificing the entire trunk. “Considering that the trunk had such detailed assembly and overall use of materials such as stainless and polished aluminum, it was extremely important that this look and feel was left intact.” Admits Karabinis “To accomplish this, the subwoofers were incorporated into the rear side cavities of the trunk area by using multiple layers of fiberglass to make a mold of the outer shell of the vehicle and then wood rings were cut and set in place.” He added. The fabric was then coated with Polyester resin and then layered on the back side with additional layers of 2oz fiberglass matting. Then both sealed enclosures totaling .40 cubic feet per sub were sanded down primed and then covered with matching vinyl that accompanied the interior theme of the rest of the vehicle.
For components, the boys at ARC turned to Scandinavian speaker manufacturers Dyn Audio. The MW170s were selected for the midrange and along with a crossover allow for the MW130 tweeters to produce the crystal clear highs. Again this performance based kit Cobra made no accommodations for any audio system. With such narrow cavities in the floor foot well area there was no room to do kick panel enclosures. Karabinis decided the next best location was to do modular housing enclosures on the insides of the door panels. Since the doors on factory five kit are 100% fiberglass with some basic metal reinforcement they would have to get creative. The first step in giving the pods a place to attach to the door was to remove a significant amount of the paint from the inside of the door panel leaving only a 3-inch ring around the outside of the desired area intact. With raw fiberglass exposed strips of MDF was fiberglass’ed to the door. Then with some body filler and sanding the pod was covered in matching vinyl and installed and secured to the door. The net result Karabinis boasts is not only better than anything Factory Five could have attempted but exceeding anything any OEM could offer as well.
The system was lit up with a pair of twin BatCap 400s mounted in the trunk to compliment the main BatCap 2000 under the hood. Stinger provide all of the wiring and fusing and the power is generated with a Power Master 1600 alternator.
With a pounding system in place, this already great 5.0L performer is guaranteed to turn heads. Since it is a custom car, there isn’t anything not modified on it already. It was ordered modified. But for Karabinis when it comes to sound, enough is never enough.
Name: Dimitrios Karabinis
Location: Modest, CA
Vehicle: 2006 Factory Five Cobra
Power: 350whp with 400lb-ft
Engine: Ford Racing 5.0L V8
ENGINE / PERFORMANCE
- Ford Racing 190/160 cams
- K&N Typhoon intake
- MSD Billet distributor
- MSD coil pack
- MSD wires
WHEELS / TIRES / BRAKES
- Team Three alloy wheels - 17x9 (f), 17x10 (r)
- BFGoodrich CompT/A tires - 245/40R17 (f), 275/35R17 (r)
AUDIO / MULTIMEDIA
- McIntosh MX406 AM/FM/CD player
- McIntosh MPM4000 power meter
- ARC Audio XEQ 7-band EQ
- ARC Audio 4200SE 4-channel amplifier
- ARC Audio 8D2 8-inch subwoofer (2)
- Dynaudio MW170 components
- Dynaudio MW130 tweeters
- BatCap 400 battery (2)
- Stinger wiring and fusing
- Power Master 160 amp
- Install by Car Audio Innovations in Roseville, CA