An American Car in Paris (Actually, it's The Tale of Mark Slocombe’s Cobra in the South of France)

Updated: May 23


Let’s face it, maintaining a classic car isn’t easy. Finding parts is difficult even for the most common antiques and shipping parts can be very difficult. It’s a challenge for any of us.

So what if you had a classic car and it was a limited production vehicle, like a Cobra replica?

And you’d installed a Chevy 427 c.i.d. engine and a Mitsubishi 3000GT radiator.

Oh, and you live in southern France.

That’s the challenge that Mark Slocombe faced when he needed an expansion tank for his car.

Mark built the Cobra more than ten years ago, but when the original Ford 427 c.i.d. engine gave out, he decided that it would be far easier to source a 454 c.i.d. Chevy engine. And why not? The car was a replica, anyway. Still, Mark wanted to keep it looking as original as possible. To that extent, he chose to keep the brass expansion tank that also came on original Cobras. However, with the Chevy engine and the replacement radiator (for Mitsubishi 3000GTs) had their necks in very different locations than the original parts, so a lot more adaptation was needed to keep these parts.

What do you do at that point when you need to replace your old expansion tank, which no longer even fit? You turn to the Internet and, if you’re lucky, you’ll find Classic Radiator, a company that doesn’t simply sell parts, but cares about getting the right part – or making it, if necessary. Classic Radiator is known for, amongst other things, brass expansion tanks for vintage Ford cars. However, just like nearly everything else on a Cobra replica, the expansion tank for Mark’s car was essentially a one-off part.

The good news was that the tank itself was the same standard size as the others, but due to the Chevy engine and Mitsubishi radiator, the hose connections had to be changed from any known configuration. With shipping costs from New York to France running about $130.00 per trip, it was imperative to get it right the first time.

Bill Carberry, owner of Classic Radiator had his work cut out for him. He would have to make accommodations for brackets, flanges and necks (hose connections) that were in locations never intended when the tank was originally built, but Bill loves a challenge. And he’d have to make them with very exact tolerances. Mark sent him a sketch of how he needed the tank to look when completed. Bill checked to see if the parts that he had would work to fit Mark’s needs and he sent back a sketch of his own. Mark agreed to the drawing and was satisfied with the price.


Thanks to Bill’s speedy and skilled workmanship, combined with quick delivery service by UPS Worldwide, Bill received an email from Mark. The first lines read, “The tank arrived today, amazingly fast delivery! Tank is perfect, great work!” He included this picture, letting Bill Carberry and Classic Radiator see that they performed another excellent job!

Classic Radiator and Classic Heaters literally have customers and suppliers all over the world. When it comes to vintage car parts, your local “parts guy” isn’t always going to be the solution to your dilemma, so keep us in mind if you have a classic car, whether it’s an Opel in San Diego or a Chevy in Saudi Arabia, we are often the best solution to your cooling system and air conditioning needs and we ship anywhere that can be reached by FedEx, UPS or the carrier of your choosing.




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Classic Radiator

Classic Heaters 

994 Fulton Street

Farmingdale, NY 11735

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