When you give a car "a quick couple of gears," and suddenly realize you're doing a buck twenty when you thought you might be doing eighty, it's a good sign you're dealing with a fast car.
We've also come to recognize a lightheaded feeling during acceleration. Cars that cause that sensation must be floating your brain backwards in the skull to cause such a feeling, and such cars are fast.
Having both rear tires break loose on dry pavement while simply moving through traffic is another good indication you have more than grocery-getting power.
Likewise, spinning the tires in Third gear when you have the bit between your teeth is a note to the observant that there's something special under the hood.
Having a car power oversteer in a 60 mph corner when you gave it half throttle is a message to the intelligent to be careful because there is real power on tap.
Noting "582" under the "Corrected Rear Wheel Horsepower" column on a chassis dyno readout is an excellent sign you're in horsepower country, and when you're dealing with the red coupe pictured here, you are definitely in musclecar territory. It does all the things listed above, and after a career of sampling fast cars, we say this one qualifies for that rarified level that impresses the power-jaded such as ourselves. The amazing part is you can duplicate this performance using a Mustang Cobra from SVT, the Ford Racing Performance Parts catalog, some tuning help, and a supercharged wallet.
We know this, because this deliciously over-powered Cobra is a joint effort of Ford's Special Vehicle Team, which supplied an extra '03 Cobra it just happened to have handy, and Ford Racing, which you may have noticed has a catalog of go-fast parts for late-model Mustangs in its FRPP catalog. Each party decided it would like to show the world what its stuff was capable of, and so SVT's Cobra was coated in white glue and crashed through FRPP's voluminous warehouse. Just about anything sporty for a Cobra stuck, and we have this rather nifty Ford project car to tell you about.
Make no mistake, this is a technology-parts demonstrator only-pure enthusiast billfold bait. This car doesn't have a chance of production, and was never intended for such. It's here simply to get us excited.
Which, of course, it does well. Once you start reviewing the parts list, it's easy to see why. Let's begin by lifting the hood, as this car is all about the engine. Naturally, the short-block is SVT's killer iron-block unit filled with forged internals, but this one has been topped with FRPP's High-Flow Four-Valve heads, High Lift camshafts, and a Whipple-sourced twin-screw supercharger pullied for 14 pounds of boost. A K&N FIPK kit lets the air in, while FRPP short-tube ceramic-coated headers, a Bassani high-flow cat X-pipe, and FRPP's Borla Cat-Back mufflers let the air out.
Ford Racing did the smart thing when it came to tuning its creation, taking it to an experienced tuning shop-Paul's High Performance-for the company's fuel system upgrade. The upgrade includes 60-lb/hr injectors, injector harnesses, a 90mm mass air meter, high-capacity fuel rails modified to fit the Whipple blower and a line kit, as well as two 190-lph Motorcraft fuel pumps. Somewhere along the line, a Ford Motor Company custom engine management calibration was flashed into the computer.
With this '03 Cobra starting out with a T56 six-speed transmission, there was no need for a gearbox swap. Instead, the shifter was changed to a Hurst unit wearing the stock shifter's handle, and the stock 3.55 rear gears were swapped to acceleration-happy 3.73s.