About Russ Thompson

Russ with his cars

Russ Thompson's expertise has evolved from his two loves, hang gliders and cars. Russ is co-owner of Manta Wings in Oakland, California, where he started building and flying hang gliders in 1973. Manta has gone on to produce world-class hang gliders, ultralight airplanes, land sailors, and their components.

Russ' proudest achievement was his participation in the building of four of the first ultralight airplanes to fly from coast to coast in the US. One of these is now displayed in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport in Virginia.

Russ' love of cars originates from his growing up in the southern California car culture of the 1960s. In 1998, he realized his childhood dream of building a 1965 Cobra and purchased a kit from leading kit car manufacturer Factory Five Racing (FFR). In the process of building his MK1 Roadster kit, Russ discovered he was often designing and creating custom parts making his Cobra unique. He enjoyed the experience so much he then built the (FFR) Type 65 Coupe. Russ' cars have won numerous awards including the prestigious Association of Handcrafted Automobiles (AHA) 2007 Best in Show, Knott's Berry Farm and frequently appear in national periodicals such as Kit Car Magazine and Kit Car Builder. Building the coupe led to expanding his line of custom parts to include coupe parts fashioned to mirror those used on the original cars.

When fellow enthusiasts saw Russ' custom parts their interest in them led to Russ' garage, and RT's Custom Cobra Car Parts. Russ also serves as a contributing on-line moderator to the Factory Five Racing Owners' Group.