Ad Radar
Car Craft
Click here to find out more!

2008 Cobra Jet Mustang - For Sundays Only

The '08 Cobra Jet Mustang

Photography by , Ford Racing,

In 1967, Ford set out to dominate the SS/E class of NHRA drag racing with the introduction of the '68 Cobra Jet Mustang. It was a simple body in white with a slightly better version of the 428-inch FE, a four-speed, and some factory-installed drag racing goodies like dual-electric fuel pumps and a trunk-mounted battery. In the Apr. '68 issue of Car Craft, Managing Editor John Raffa brought one out to Pomona for some photographs and drag testing. With Don Nicholson at the wheel, the car ran a best time of 11.67 at 119 mph--not bad for an iron-headed FE. Now Ford is at it again.

The idea for another Cobra Jet Mustang was hatched after the introduction of the FR500C, which was built by Ford Racing to compete in the Grand Am Cup. Both the success of the road racing Grand Am car and the popularity of the street-based Mustang made the drag racing version of the car the next logical step. At the time, the Lightning truck and the '03 to '04 Cobra already had supercharged engines, so the guys at Ford Racing were looking toward a similar engine. They also knew about the impending '07 GT500 street car and its supercharged 5.4L, so they waited for a derivative of that engine to become available.

Between the hatching of the idea in 2005 and the introduction of the GT500 in 2007, there was a lot of buzz about the 40th anniversary of the Cobra Jet in 2008. Ford Racing committed to the Mustang drag car build, and the name Cobra Jet was a perfect fit.

Amazingly, in April 2008, the Cobra Jet plan became a reality at Ford Racing headquarters, and by December of that year, Ford Racing was delivering cars.

The initial build number was set at 50 to fit the NHRA minimum and to keep the car exclusive. To assemble the car, the body, fascia, instrument panel, and major subassemblies from Automotive Alliance Industries (AAI) in Flat Rock, Michigan, were shipped to the Ford Racing assembly facility in Livonia, Michigan. The engine was assembled separately at the Romeo Engine Plant in Romeo, Michigan, and also shipped to the assembly facility. In Livonia, the rollcage and engine compartment block-off plates were welded in place, then the body was repainted and sent back into a special assembly line composed of four assembly areas to complete the car.

The car was built specifically for the NHRA Stock Eliminator class and cannot be used on the street since it doesn't have a VIN. The horsepower-to-weight rating of 425 hp to 3,240 pounds makes the car fit into the AA/S class. The 50 cars were sold out within three days of the June 2008 official announcement. Because they are off-road only, they were sold through the Ford dealers' parts departments. To get the cars, the dealer had to sign a contract to get them delivered and then sell them individually for $69,995.

At this time, all 50 Cobra Jets are in customer hands and at least four will be at the Winternationals in Pomona, California, for racing. By the end of this year, the plan is to have a Cobra Jet compete in all seven divisions of the NHRA. Check one out in person if you can.

Want To Clone One?
Why don't you buy a Mustang GT and build one yourself? We've seen '05 Mustang GTs for as little as $12,500 on eBay. Let's say you got a car loan for $11K with $1,000 down. That would be about $250 to $300 per month for 60 months. Then you could buy a supercharger from Ford Racing, seat covers, a shifter, and one of those Cobra rear medallions and have your own 550hp Cobra replica for a fraction of the cost of the new stuff--and it would be street legal as well. Ford Racing offers all the parts to get it done, and it's cheaper than building a '66 Chevelle. Just a thought.

The Cobra Jet powerplant is essentially a detuned GT500 engine giving racers the hardware they need to make the car competitive. It features an iron-block 5.4L with four-valve heads built at Ford's Romeo engine plant. The engine has an SFI crankshaft damper, an A/C delete, all the heat-vent air conditioning (HVAC) outlets removed, and 1 7/8 long-tube headers added. The 5.4 also has a billet throttle body with two 62.5mm blades, a larger 123mm mass air meter with an open-element air filter, a set of 80 lb/hr injectors, and instead of an Eaton three-lobe 122ci blower like the street Cobra, it has an Eaton TVS four-lobe blower that displaces 140 ci. The cylinder heads and intake castings are identical to what you would find on a stock GT500 with Ford Racing valve covers and billet coil-pack covers.

At the Ford Racing assembly facility, the factory seats are disassembled and sewn with the Cobra Jet emblems and block letters. The six-point rollbar is built to NHRA specs to go as fast as 10.0 in the quarter-mile. The five-point harnesses are included.

In the rear, the car also uses base brakes and a custom wheel that measures 15x10 inches with 30x9-inch Goodyear slicks. Under the rear is a 9-inch instead of the standard 8.8 V-8 Mustang axle. You can, however, buy one from Ford Racing and bolt it into any '05-and-later Mustang. The Cobra Jet has a 4.11:1 gear ratio and a full spool. The suspension uses Ford Racing adjustable dampers and Mustang GT front springs with Mustang V-6 rear springs. The car has a factory three-link but adds an adjustable upper and tubular lower control arms. It also has a unique narrowed antiroll bar that was necessary to clear the tires and helps with the launch.

You can order the car with one of two standard or optional graphics packages. This is the optional package that comes with the snake graphics on the side (minus the John Force stencil). Only the optional graphics cars arrive with the blacked-out rear valance. For the record, there were 17 optional graphics packages applied by Ford racing. The rear medallion is also unique to the Cobra Jet. Instead of GT or Shelby, it just has a snake and Ford cast into it.

Ford Racing developed this hoodscoop out of stamped aluminum specifically for this car to look like a Boss 429. This hood is also legal if you want to run a carburetor in SS/GT or another class that allows cold air. The front end has a grille from the Bullet Mustang matched with the California Special front fascia. The mirrors are deleted for weight savings and aerodynamics. The plates are available from Ford Racing.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article
Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
0 comments
Car Craft