1999 Ford Mustang Cobra - 10-Second Weekend
This Cobra Was Supposed To Be A Nice Weekend Car-It's Much More Now
From the February, 2009 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
By Michael Johnson
Photography by Michael Johnson
Horse Sense: When we photographed Dave's Cobra at the '04 Superstallions Fall Nationals at Cecil County, we were also shooting Ryan Hecox's ATI-ProCharged Cobra at the same time. That event is when the nitrous started cutting out, and Ryan is the one who recommended Dave check the window switch. Sure enough, that was the issue.
We've all been where Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania's Dave Dur was when he purchased the '99 Cobra seen here. During lunch at the office, Editor Turner was able to pry former Senior Tech Editor Houlahan away from his frozen dinner and Chocodile lunch to install new OZ 18-inch wheels on his SVT Focus, which Turner said was going to remain stock. So far, the car has a cold air kit, SCT tuning, a carbon-fiber dash overlay kit, and now the wheels. Editor Turner's '98 Cobra was also supposed to remain as-is when he purchased it from Paxton a couple years back. So much for that plan.
Seeing Dave Dur's Rio red...
Seeing Dave Dur's Rio red New Edge really gives us a case of Cobra envy. Dave's example benefits from a Cervini's '00 Cobra R hood, a Mach 1 chin spoiler, '01 tinted headlights, a stock rear wing (moved back 3 inches), and chrome Autumn Fleet Sales '03 Cobra wheels for the street. Not pictured are the Bogarts Dave uses while running high 10s on the juice.
We don't have enough space to chronicle the changes Dave Dur's Cobra has gone through-and that's just up until now. But that's the trap we fall into with our Mustangs. We tell ourselves, Well, if I add this or that, the car will be done. Yeah right-the words "Mustang" and "done" rarely are in the same sentence. As Mustang enthusiasts, it's in our blood to change/upgrade even if the modification is not necessary. We can't leave well enough alone, and the car will never be fast enough.
"I bought the Cobra because I wanted a nice car to drive on weekends," Dave says. "Initially it was supposed to remain stock." Yes, we've heard this way too many times before. But Dave had no reason to modify the car since he already had an '87 LX with a 393 stroker under the hood. The LX easily provided the speed fix Dave sought, and we're sure the Cobra served to attract members of the fairer sex. "All my friends said I couldn't leave it alone," Dave says, "but I was good for a year by adding only an after-cat and window tint."
Right before the '02 Superstallions of the Net Fall Nats, however, the 393 had itself for dinner, which meant the Cobra would be making passes down legendary Cecil County Dragway's 1,320-foot playground. "I had raced the Cobra once up to that point, and it had run 13.30s bone-stock," Dave says. At the Nats, with just drag radials, an H-pipe, and an after-cat, Dave's Cobra ran a 12.78 at 106 mph, but he grenaded the factory T45 in the process. "Since money was a little short at the time, the only replacement option was to 'borrow' the TTC-Tremec TKO from my '87 LX," he says. "Well, that was the end of leaving it stock."
The interior of Dave's Cobra...
The interior of Dave's Cobra screams comfort and safety at the same time. The comfort comes in the form of Cobra Daytona seats, while safety is covered by an exquisite Rhodes Custom Auto eight-point chrome-moly rollbar with swingouts. An SLP Line-Loc makes burnouts child's play and a D&D Motorsports shifter makes gear bangin' a breeze-which Dave performs well, thanks to a lot of talent and an '03 Cobra clutch disk with a McLeod pressure plate.
With no engine or tranny, Dave ended up parting out the LX so he could concentrate on the Cobra. It didn't help that he met and became good friends with fellow Superstallions of the Net member Bill Tumas. Bill had (and still has) a pretty wicked Cobra himself, and after reading about Bob Cosby's NMRA exploits with his own '99 Cobra, Dave was motivated to take his Cobra to the next level.
"I decided to start chasing 11s in naturally aspirated form," Dave says. He added a UPR intake tube, a Pro-M 80mm mass air meter, Steeda underdrive pulleys, BBK long-tube headers, and he swapped in a solid axle from a friend's '98 Cobra. "I ran as quick as 12.40 before I broke the TKO," he says. He had the stock T45 rebuilt and headed back to the track, only to snap the transmission's input shaft on the third pass. With this being a common occurrence, Dave did some research and many people recommended adding an aluminum flywheel, which is reportedly gentler on launch. "Bob Cosby sent me a spare input shaft he had lying around, and I was back in business," Dave says. In that trim his best time was a 12.01 at 113 mph-oh so close, but not close enough.
"I never did get into the 11s naturally aspirated because the horsepower bug bit again," Dave says. "I wanted 10s, and bad." To that end, Dave added a Nitrous Express 125hp nitrous kit and set out to skip the 11s and go right for the 10s. With a Kauffman's Performance-optimized Superchips tune in the stock computer, he hit the track. "I ran an 11.32 at 119 mph the first time out at Atco Raceway, but I also got kicked off the track for lack of safety equipment." To make sure that never happened again, he took the Cobra to Rhodes Custom Auto (where our boy Spence Hart works) for an eight-point chrome-moly rollcage.
Back at the track at the '04 Superstallions of the Net Fall Nats, Dave was ready for the scoreboard to light up a 10, but the rpm window switch went bad, which made the nitrous cut out going down the track. Plus, he broke the transmission once again on the way to a best of 11.05/121 mph. The half-track numbers showed the car should've run in the 10.8 range, but the malfunctioning rpm window switch, along with a broken T45 transmission, meant he would have to wait until the '05 Superstallions Spring Nats.
In preparation for his second quest for a 10, Dave decided to ditch going back to a T45. Instead, he purchased a G-Force T5 helical cut/synchronized gearset, a 9310 upgraded main shaft, and bronze shift forks from Astro Performance, then found a good T5 core and built the tranny himself with a lot of help from his girlfriend, Diana. He had also grown tired of taking out transmissions with the long-tube headers in the way, so he changed to a pair of JBA Shorty headers, a Bassani cross-pipe with cats, and Bassani mufflers. The MagnaFlow tailpipes remain from the previous exhaust combo. Oh, yeah-he also replaced the malfunctioning rpm window switch with a fully operational unit.
At the '05 Superstallions Spring Nats held at Cecil County Dragway, Dave busted the 10-second barrier not once, but twice. His first pass was a 10.95 at 125 mph, then he backed up that run with a 10.89, again at 125 mph. "I was so excited to get in the 10s," he says. But, true to form, he says the nitrous might be coming off because he'd like to have 10-second power all the time.
Before that happens, though, the car's going back to Spence at Rhodes Custom Auto to get a Wild Rides Racecars Battle Box setup to take care of a couple elongated lower-control-arm bolt holes. With Spence on hand to witness the 10-second passes, he knew there was more in it, and with 60-foot times in the 1.60 range, that meant Dave was spinning pretty bad. If anyone can reduce those times, Spence and the Rhodes crew are more than qualified to do so, and drag times should fall accordingly as well. Dave hopes to run 10.70s, maybe 10.60s, before removing the nitrous and deciding what his next power adder will be. What was that about leaving it stock?
It doesn't take much to build a fast 4.6 Cobra, and Dave proves this point easily. The engine is totally stock, even down to the throttle body. What Dave's Cobra does have, however, is a Nitrous Express wet nitrous kit, good for a 125hp boost. But Dave didn't neglect the necessary safety stuff, either. He also added an rpm window switch, a fuel pressure safety switch, and a bottle heater to maintain optimal bottle pressure. Kauffman's Performance tuned the car using an SCT Switch Chip, which enables Dave to switch between a naturally aspirated program and a nitrous tune-up. A built T5 resides in the tunnel, and the factory IRS is long gone, replaced by an 8.8 solid axle featuring 4.10 gears, Superior 31-spline axles, and a Ford truck 31-spline differential. Even though he was stuck in the 11.0s for a while, at the Superstallions Spring Nationals at Cecil County Dragway in Maryland, Dave ran a 10.95, then backed it up with a 10.89 at 125 mph.
|5.0 Tech Specs|
|ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN||SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS|
|Displacement||PA Racing tubular|
|Cylinder Heads||PA Racing tubular|
|Stock Four-Valve ||Springs|
|Camshafts||Strange coilover 175 lb-in|
|Intake Manifold||Strange 10-way adjustable|
|Throttle Body||Autumn Fleet Sales '03 Cobra|
|Stock||chrome 17x9-in (street), Bogart|
|Mass Air Meter||D-10 15x3 1/2-in (track) |
|Pro-M 80mm, UPR Big Mouth||Tires|
|filter||Bridgestone Potenza RE750|
|Power Adder||275/40 (street), Mickey Thompson|
|Nitrous Express wet nitrous kit, ||Front Runner (track)|
|125hp, rpm window switch, fuel-||Brakes|
|pressure safety switch, bottle||Stock|
|heater ||Rear Suspension|
|JBA Shorty headers, Bassani||Eibach, half coil removed|
|cross-pipe with cats, Bassani||Shocks|
|mufflers, MagnaFlow tailpipes||Tokico Illumina five-way|
|Fuel System||adjustable |
|Ford Aviator pumps, stock lines,||Traction Devices|
|rails, and fuel injectors||Metco Motorsports Solutions|
|Transmission||lower control arms, Hotchkis |
|T5, '03 Cobra clutch disk, McLeod||upper control arms|
|pressure plate, D&D Performance||Wheels|
|shifter||Autumn Fleet Sales '03 Cobra |
|Rearend||chrome 17x9 (street), Bogart D-10|
|8.8 solid axle, Ford truck 31-spline||15x10 1/2-inch (track) |
|differential, Superior 31-spline||Tires|
|axles, 4.10 gears||Nitto 555R Extreme Drag radial|
| ||315/35 (Street), Mickey Thompson|
|ELECTRONICS||E/T Street 26x11.5|
|Stock computer, SCT tune-up by||Stock|
|Kauffman's Performance||Chassis Stiffening|
|Ignition||Rhodes Custom Auto eight-point|
|Stock, spark plugs two heat||chrome-moly rollcage|
|ranges colder than stock|| |