Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
March 16, 2010
Photos By: Steve Turner

Jason Struzik
If you haven't figured it out by now, we'll tell you a little secret-twin-turbocharged '03-'04 Cobras do really well in the KOTS. Mike Palugi gave everyone the formula, and they keep coming back. Jason Struzik's '03 Cobra follows Mike's recipe of ditching the factory Eaton in favor of twin turbochargers, but also throws in a pinch of nitrous for a little extra kick. The Schererville, Indiana, resident brought his lovely wife, Cheryl, and the kids, along with his Midwest posse to have some fun in Bowling Green.

Jason's car was the easiest car to start. I don't know why and it seems like a small detail, but every little bit counts. Many KOTS cars take a few rotations to light, but Jason's lit right off with no hesitation. Once underway, the car's McLeod Twin-Disc clutch didn't seem as grabby as other KOTS stick-cars' clutches, but for some reason the handling wasn't as sharp as Tom Darnell's KOTS-winning Cobra, even though both cars shared a similar big 'n' little wheel and tire arrangement.

The convertible suffered from a little cowl shake, which is to be expected from a droptop. However, Jason likes his tunes, so he made sure the car was outfitted as such, including a flip-screen display. The gauge layout was perfect, and the modified stock seats did a fine job of looking good and keeping you planted. However, the shifter was a little forward, which threw off the driver position for me, which was weird because Jason and I are roughly the same height.

As for power, Jason's Cobra made 983 hp courtesy of a Turbo Horsepower twin-turbo kit, a little spray, and Bob Kurgan's tuning. On the Ride & Drive, the power was linear, giving me a chance to prepare for the onslaught of boost. The car was a pleasure to drive, but not as easy or grin-inducing as Tom's Cobra. That's why it scored an 8 in the Ride & Drive segment. It finished second in the Horsepower segment, earning the high score there, and it finished with 9s in both the Fit & Finish and Engineering categories.

As you can see, the only category Jason's car didn't do well in is the Drag Race portion. That's because he broke a belt tensioner in the burnout box. However, his good wife Cheryl and his Midwest posse lobbied for votes all weekend, and the work paid off with a high score in the Popular Vote segment. Jason finished with a final score of 87.5.

Ride & Drive: 8
Horsepower: 11
Fit & Finish: 9
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 1
Popular Vote: 12

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Stock Iron
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 281 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock
Camshafts: Stock
Heads: Stock
Intake: Sullivan Performance
Throttle Body: Accufab
Mass Air Meter: SCT
Power Adder: Turbo Horsepower twin-turbocharger kit, 57mm Garrett turbochargers, intercooled, ZEX wet nitrous kit, 75hp shot until boost hits 10 pounds
Fuel System: Twin Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps, Sullivan Performance fuel rails, RC 75-lb/hr fuel injectors, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Exhaust: Turbo Horsepower headers and custom intermediate pipe, and Bassani Xhaust after-cat
Transmission: D&D Performance-built T56, McLeod Twin-Disc ceramic clutch and pressure plate, and Hurst shifter
Rearend: Solid-Axle conversion 8.8, Strange Engineering differential, Strange 31-spline axles, and 3.27 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Stock Computer, SCT handheld, Kurgan Motorsports-tuned
Ignition: Stock, NGK BR7EFS spark plugs
Gauges: Stock, Auto Meter boost, fuel pressure, and air/fuel

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