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

2009 Nitto Tire King of the Street Winner!
Tom Darnell/Erik Radzins

To have 1,000 hp and this kind of driveability should be illegal. Drop the shifter in drive and go. Should the feeling arise, drop the hammer and get ready to steer your arms off. The last thing you want to do with Tom Darnell's '03 Cobra is hit the gas with the wheels turned-that is not a good idea at all. When you mat willing gas pedal, you'll have to steer anyway so you might as well start out pointed straight. Drive the Cobra like Miss Daisy and you'll never know 1,000 hp lies in wait. Tom's Cobra is to the King of the Street competition like Peyton Manning is to the quarterback position-it's the perfect fit.

Tom put his head together with the guys from the House of Boost to bring the Cobra to life. Tom owns NANO-Nitrous, and the House of Boost was founded on providing customers with exactly that-boost, and lots of it. Erik Radzins and Dorian Comeau from the House of Boost are no strangers to KOTS. Erik and Dorian know what we're looking for, and they know how to bring it.

What they brought was the KOTS' first 1,000hp car to actually make 1,000 rwhp at our event. We've had car owners claiming 1,000 hp, but for one reason or another, that number never materialized before now, 2009. Specifically, Tom's twin-turbo Cobra made 1,078 hp, and thanks to its drop-it-in, drive-and-go driveability, it scored a 9 in the Ride & Drive category. Tom and Erik worked on two different Baumannator transmission tunes for the car-one for "around-town" driving and another for "outside-of-town" spirited driving. The "outside-of-town" transmission tune features switches for overdrive and lock-up, but the "around-town" tune allows you to drop the stock-style shifter in drive and go with a fully operational overdrive and lock-up.

The car is amazingly docile and mild-mannered just putting around town-until you slam 20-plus pounds of boost down the Sullivan Performance intake. That's when the E85-fed powerplant shows its muscle. It's a small detail, but even the gas pedal worked like a dream.

With murdered-out Welds, the Cobra's look equaled its sinister nature, but steering prowess was unaffected. The car was just a dream to drive; I wish I could've brought it home. Unfortunately, Erik blew a head gasket in the car during an after-KOTS quarter-mile run. Besides, I don't think Tom wants the car that far from him

The numbers speak for themselves. Tom's Cobra finished the competition with a high score of 91.5. Congrats Tom, Erik, and Dorian.

Ride & Drive: 9
Horsepower: 12
Fit & Finish: 7
Engineering: 9
Drag Race: 5
Popular Vote: 10

5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain

Block: Ford 4.6 aluminum block
Bore: 3.552 in
Stroke: 3.543 in
Displacement: 281 ci
Rotating Assembly: Stock Cobra crankshaft, Manley Performance H-beam connecting rods, JE pistons, Hellfire piston rings
Camshafts: Strictly Performance custom grinds
Heads: Stock '03 Cobra, Strictly Performance-ported/flowed, Manley Performance valves, Comp Cams valvesprings
Intake: Sullivan Performance lower, HPP upper
Throttle Body: Single-blade
Power Adder: HP Performance twin 67mm turbocharger system, ball-bearing turbos, 28 pounds of boost, intercooled, NANO Nitrous by Nitrous Outlet 20-pound competition system 100hp system
Fuel System: Aeromotive Eliminator Pro Stealth fuel system, Sullivan Performance fuel rails, 160-lb/hr fuel injectors
Exhaust: HP Performance headers and H-pipe, DynoMax Bullet 3-in mufflers, Flowmaster 3-in tailpipes
Transmission: 4R70W automatic, Precision Industries Stallion 3,000-rpm stall converter with lock-up, Baumannator TCS, stock automatic shifter
Rearend: Stock IRS, The Driveshaft Shop Level 5 axles, 3.55 gears

Electronics
Engine Management:
Big Stuff 3, House of Boost-tuned
Ignition: Coil-on plug, Taylor spark plug wires, NGK TR6 spark plugs
Gauges: Stock

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