If you've been looking for a starter delay for your 1968½ Ford Cobra Jet application, you have no doubt discovered that they are nearly impossible to find, and if found, they are very expensive. Used ones needing restoration have sold in the low $2,000-range on ebay. It was this frustration in finding one for my own Shelby that prompted me to investigate whether making a reproduction starter delay was a viable undertaking. I wanted a product that was visibly indistinguishable from the original. Nearly one year later, I have fabricated the most visibly and functionally accurate reproduction of the original assembly-line starter delay available anywhere. It is truer to the original assembly-line starter delays than even the later Ford service replacements (more on that later). No corners have been cut in components, materials, fabrication, or functionality.
What is the purpose of the starter delay? Click here to find out.
Background: There are at least 3-variations of starter delays. Original assembly-line units (the ones that came on cars from the factory), over-the-counter Ford service replacements (came in a Ford service box), and a later unit that has been rumored to be a reproduction, but us more likely a later service unit (did not come in Ford packaging). Each variant has differences. Different lid gaskets, grommets, wire leads, electronics, lid screws, tooling marks, and others. The unit offered here is faithful to the original assembly-line-units and retains the characteristics of the starter delays that came on the cars "as delivered" from Ford, not the later service and over-the-counter units.
Reproduction Starter Delay Details
Caps: The caps are dimensionally and physically exactly the same as the original caps and indistinguishable from the original units. They are fabricated with the same deep-drawn process as the originals, right down to the draw marks on the sides.
Gaskets: The gaskets are made of the same black sponge rubber material as the originals. Same thickness and pattern. Exactly the same as the originals. I used an original starter delay gasket as a pattern and had a professional gasket company make the tooling for stamping them out. This is NOT some guy sitting around with a pair of scissors. The cork gaskets on some starter delays were never used on the assembly line units, but were used on some of the over-the-counter Ford service units.
Cap Screws: All original assembly-line starter delays have cap screws with a "C" marking on the head. Screws with this head marking are no longer available, so I had tooling made and screws fabricated to exactly match the original screws.
Lead Wire: The lead wire is made up of 3-components; the elbow, the grommet, and the wire itself. The lead wire used on the original assembly-line starter delays is always a red wire with a single thin dark blue stripe. The lead wire on the service starter delays is red with a much wider light blue stripe in a spiral orientation (not lengthwise like the assembly-line version). I opted to use the assembly-line type of wire with the lengthwise stripe, not the service type with the spiral stripe. No correct wire with the dark blue stripe exists, so I had 25,000-feet of wire made that exactly matches the original wire.
Lead Wire Elbow: No perfect matches to the original elbows are available. The starter delay elbow is slightly different than the elbows used that connect to the starter solenoid and coil. Making a mold of the original starter delay elbow was the only way to guarantee that the reproduction elbows would be exactly the same as the originals.
Lead Wire Grommet: No perfect matches to the original grommet are available. Again, making a mold guaranteed matching the original.
Plating: The cap and "L" bracket are plated the same as the originals. The plating is new now but will age with time.
Cap Stamp and Inspection Stamps: I have never seen any inspection stamps or markings on the cap or "L" bracket of any original assembly-line starter delays. However, markings are visible on many Ford service starter delays. It is possible that any markings that were present on original starter delays have disappeared after 40-years of exposure under the hood. The starter delays offered here have markings patterned after an original service starter delay.
Summary: The starter delays offered here are exact reproductions of the originals are completely functional. No corners have been cut in components, materials, fabrication, or functionality. Every component was custom made to exactly match the original assembly-line starter delays.
Click here for more pictures of original and service replacement starter delays.