Michael Johnson Associate Editor
May 1, 2009
Photos By: The 5.0&SF Staff, Dan Schoneck, Alan Hurley, Scott Spandet, Matt Simonds, Jerome Shumate, Matt Knab, John King, Cory Harris, Andy Barth, Chuck Hamstra

Chuck Hamstra
There are no last place finishers in the Nitto Tire King of the Street, just cars that didn't finish in First. Case in point is Chuck Hamstra and his '98 Cobra. We've loved the Bright Atlantic Blue for years, and as with all the other KOTS cars, seeing Chuck's Cobra in person was like falling in love all over again. Since my daily driver is an SN-95 Mustang Cobra, yours truly really wanted to see Chuck's do well. However, Chuck had a rough go of it leading up to the KOTS.

First off, Chuck is from Utah, and since we hold the Nitto Tire KOTS as part of the NMRA Bowling Green, Kentucky, World Finals, that is a long haul. If you remember, gas prices were still through the roof. As you can see, that didn't stop him and buddy Heath Besner from attending. Further adding drama to the situation, Chuck broke a blower a couple days before he was supposed to leave for the KOTS. We made a few calls on his behalf to ProCharger, and a replacement was under the hood of Chuck's Cobra in time to make the trip. (Don't start thinking we'll do that for everyone. We thought Chuck's was a special case.)

Speaking of special, Chuck's Cobra is exactly that. Chuck is a service technician by trade, and his '98 is the eighth Mustang he's built for himself and "the best one yet," he says.

Built at Modular Madness West in Utah, the car's blower issues sent Chuck right behind the eight ball as far as the car's tune. He basically had to tune the car on the way to the event. That cost him big time in the Horsepower segment because his dyno pass of record showed 330 hp at the wheels. We allowed a few tuning adjustments, which greatly improved his numbers up to 584 hp, but KOTS rules doesn't allow for dyno tuning, so we had to go with the 330, placing him dead last in the ever-important Horsepower segment.

The Ride and Drive segment is where Chuck's Cobra really shines. First of all, the sound of the ProCharger F-1A is intoxicating. In our experience, ProChargers have been relatively loud throughout the power band, but interestingly enough, when Chuck's Cobra was in Fifth gear, it was as if the supercharger disappeared. Not only that, the Cobra's 3.55 gear made Chuck's Cobra perfectly suited for cruising. With the 3.55 gear, the car's IRS, and the F-1A's disappearing act, the car scored big points on the Ride and Drive.

The IRS rear made the ride compliant over the bumps, but further suspension upgrades also made for a solid, well-connected ride. The stock seats are comfortable, and the car's A/C kept us cooler than the other side of the pillow.

However, the new blower also caused a mysterious condition that made the car stall a couple times when depressing the clutch pedal while coming to a stop. Chuck says that problem didn't rear its ugly head until the new blower was installed, just prior to the KOTS. Up to that point, Chuck's Cobra pretty much nailed the Ride and Drive, but the stalling issue hurt.

What didn't hurt his Ride and Drive score was the Exedy prototype clutch in Chuck's Cobra. Like some of the other KOTS cars, the Exedy clutch wasn't grabby or chattery. The clutch had excellent feel and could be slipped when letting it out in First gear. Many of the other KOTS cars couldn't be slipped because of on/off switches for clutches.

As far as Chuck's final scoring goes, the aforementioned Horsepower numbers really hurt with a score of 1 in the category. His final score in the Ride and Drive portion was an 8. In the Drag Race segment, Chuck's Cobra responded with an 11.87 at 125 mph, leaving him with a 6 in that category. Tech Editor KJ Jones gave Chuck's Cobra an 8 in Engineering and Editor Turner gave the car a 7 in Fit and Finish. In the popular vote category, Chuck really had his work cut out for him since he was a long way from his home precinct. However, he rallied his troops to score a 6 in that category. Chuck's Cobra finished with a final score of 57.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINfuel lines, rails, and regulator,
Block55 lb/hr injectors
Teksid aluminum blockExhaust
DisplacementBassani Xhaust mid-length
298 ciheaders and X-style crossover
Rotating Assemblypipe, Magnaflow mufflers
Kellogg crankshaft, Manley rodsTransmission
and pistonsTremec TKO {{{600}}}, Exedy prototype
CamshaftsStage 2 Plus clutch and lightweight
Stock '04 Cobraflywheel, FRPP aluminum
Cylinder Headsdriveshaft, Pro-5.0 shifter
Stock '04 Cobra, owner-ported,Rearend
stock valvetrain04 Cobra IRS, 3.55 gears, Stock
Intake Manifoldaxles
'99 Cobra 
Accufab single bladeEngine Management
Mass AirStock Computer, SCT-tuned
SCT 2400Ignition
Power AdderStock, ACCEL coils, Taylor plug
ProCharger F-1A with F1-Cwires, NGK TR6 spark plugs
impeller and intercooler, 3.4-inGauges
pulleyStock, Auto Meter air/fuel gauge
Fuel System 
Bosch 255-lph pump, Aeromotive