"My Cobra is my daily driver...
"My Cobra is my daily driver and represents what a lot of Mustang folks have done or want to do to their cars. I did all the work myself (except for tuning) and every part I installed is 50-state street-legal," says 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords' Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge candidate Ron Cooper. "I drag race the car at Fontana. I've run it on the big track at Willow Springs, and with the T-56 (six-speed transmission) and 3.55 gears, the Cobra has pulled 28 mpg on the freeway while driving at 60 mph with the A/C on."
No, your eyes aren't deceiving...
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you: An OG 5.0-liter engine powers Ron's Cobra, and Vortech's SQ S-Trim supercharger feeds the stock-block bullet 10 psi of boost for extra oomph using a far-from-small 3.33-inch pulley. Ron, a hands-on, do-it-yourself 'Stangbanger, assembled the standard-bore/standard-stroke engine with a stock crankshaft and rods, as well as SRP forged pistons, a Crane 2040 hydraulic-roller camshaft, and AFR 165 cylinder heads. A now-classic Saleen/Vortech intake manifold sits atop the last-gen pushrod engine; modified 30-lb/hr injectors feed the fuel, and MSD's complete ignition system-billet distributor, Blaster coil, and 6A box-sets off spark and timing. This potent combination churns out 433 hp at the rear wheels. We realize this probably won't dominate the power-evaluation segment of the competition, however, from a power-to-weight standpoint, Ron's Cobra's PTW ratio should be comparable with that of other competitors in the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge. When matched with a solid suspension, grippy tires, and good driving, we think it will prove our theory that more horsepower is not really necessary for an all-around competition like the Challenge.
A complete set of progressive-rate...
A complete set of progressive-rate lowering springs give Ron's Cobra its killer profile, which is further complemented by 17-inch, '98 Cobra R-style wheels and 245/45ZR-17 Dunlop tires. With the exception of the hood and front bumper cover, the super-clean Snake's Crystal White finish is original and still beams brightly.
Although most of us really are car enthusiasts on the global scale, we're sure that readers and the staff of 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords stand behind the modern-era (Fox-body to present) Mustang first and foremost whenever the monumental "us-versus-them" divide between Mustangs and Japanese or European import cars is the topic of discussion
While our disdain for imports is understandably viewed as pure hatred by those who don't know the history of the rivalry (which Mustang historians polled agree has existed since the mid-'90s), we gladly accepted the opportunity to spend a few days with import owners, magazine editors, and cars at the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge (www.syntectopcarchallenge.com) in June 2009.
Now before you start thinking your favorite 'Stang mag has gone soft, we agreed to briefly coexist with the Dark Side for reasons that are far from social. Our mission is to enter a 'Stang in the contest and show the import crowd what many of you already know-Mustangs rule when it comes to the across-the-board performance (handling, acceleration, braking, dyno horsepower) of real-world (registered, insured, interiored, accessorized, minimally polluting) street cars
The Crystal White '94 Cobra seen here belongs to longtime Mustang enthusiast Ron Cooper. Ron and his Vortech-supercharged Snake were selected by 5.0&SF editors to take on "the enemy" as the magazine's representative in the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge. Our goal is to prove (for at least a year) the Mustang's superiority. Tests range from measuring horsepower on K&N's chassis-dyno to measuring emissions output using a five-gas engine analyzer, as well as road worthiness in a massive cruise on the streets and freeways of Southern California and the road course at Buttonwillow Raceway in Buttonwillow-and ultimately on the dragstrip
While we're sure our competitors have a few tricks up their collective sleeves and may bring "ringer" cars and drivers to the event, we chose Ron-a true, hard-core 'Stangbanger, who has both road-course and drag-strip racing experience. We picked him and his self-built, 5.0-powered SN-95 Cobra because enthusiast and Pony truly embody the all-around performance any blue-blooded 'Stang fan can appreciate.
Enjoy the photos and details on Ron's pride and joy, and join us in cheering car and driver on to victory in the battle for domestic-versus-import supremacy-as well as the $10,000 prize that goes with winning the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge!
5.0 Tech Specs
Engine And Drivetrain
Stock Ford 5.0-liter/302
Crane 0.498 lift; 220 degrees of duration @ 0.050Heads
Ford Lightning 80mm
Modified Ford Racing Performance Parts 30-lb/hr (actual flow is 45 lb/hr)
Vortech SQ S-Trim supercharger
D&D Performance T-56 six-speed
Ford 8.8 with 31-spline Superior axles, 3.55
gears, and Trac-Lok differential
Stock w/MSD billet distributor, MSD 6A, and Blaster coil
Auto Meter Phantom oil pressure, boost, and fuel pressure
Chassis And Suspension
Power Slot rotors w/Hawk HPS pads
'98 Cobra 17-inch
Stock w/Hawk HPS pads
'98 Cobra 17-inch
The interior treatments in...
The interior treatments in our Top Car Challenge entry are described by its owner as "factory-stock with power everything (windows, door locks, seats, and so on)." In addition to the OEM pieces, Ron added Auto Meter's Phantom series boost, fuel-, and oil-pressure gauges. Next-level audio/video entertainment is provided by an Alpine CD unit, Icon DVD player and monitors, a pair of JBL amps, and a Kicker/Infinity speaker package that will make your ears bleed when the stereo is set on low. It puts glass objects at high risk whenever Ron pumps up the volume.
Here's a quick SN-95 Cobra...
Here's a quick SN-95 Cobra quiz question, and we're sure our Melvins know the answer: What's the major difference at the back of a 5.0-powered SN-95 Cobra and its modular-powered '98 Cobra cousins-other than their taillights? If you answered "rear bumper covers," you're absolutely correct. The rear bumper on Ron's and other '94-'95 Snakes feature V-6 Mustang (which were still called "LX") covers embossed with the word Mustang, not Cobra. The Cobra-stamped bumper covers weren't introduced until 1998 and have been one of the standard identifiers for the hopped-up Ponies ever since.