Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
December 27, 2013
Photos By: Chad Burdette

It seems the 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra is one of those Mustangs late-model purists want to get their hands on. The more stock and lower the miles the better. The '94-'98 Cobras have a smaller fan base, while the '99 and '01 Cobra club is even smaller. The '03-'04 Cobras took SVT vehicles to another level, and enthusiasts have modified almost all of them. In the Shelby GT500 realm, there's a balance between stockers and modified cars.

Still the '93 Cobra enjoys legendary status, even though they don't hold a candle to the performance of modern SVTs. The '93 Cobra could be the most hallowed SVT Mustang ever built. It was, after all, the first. And because of that, there are probably more stock '93s socked away in storage than any other SVT.

If you are one of those origininal SVT Cobra purists, you might want to turn the page. Eric Waters' Vibrant Red example is anything but stock. However, if you like fast Mustangs no matter what emblem is on the fender, keep reading.

You can't blame Eric for putting this Cobra on the racetrack. Though he had already robbed an '04 Cobra of its innocence, this snake already had rubber on the rear quarters when he bought it. Eric's former '04 Cobra, which he traded for this '93, featured twin 62mm turbochargers, TEA-ported heads, and had basically became a race car.

If you own a race car in the south, there's no doubt you've raced on an eighth-mile track, and possibly at one of Donald "Duck" Long's races. That was Eric's goal, to race in Ultimate Street at Duck races. The rules in Ultimate Street are a little tighter compared to X275 when it comes to engine displacement and power-adder possibilities. The power-adder limitations presented the main problem, though. His Terminator wouldn't easily fit into Ultimate Street rules. Its turbo setup would need a complete revamp. That's led him to trading for the Cobra you see here.

The '93 roughly had 20 passes on it when Eric sat in the driver seat. It already boasted the 342ci R302 combination, but with a 106mm single turbo, which definitely isn't Ultimate Street-legal. The previous owner was never able to get the Cobra to realize it potential. Eric took on the challenge to get it on the right track. "It was kind of raw," Eric says. It showed a lot of potential, but it was up to him to make that potential shine through.

Eric knew all the hardware was there, but the car needed some quality time in the shop. Its 106mm was choked by a tiny intercooler. Eric wasn't too concerned with the turbo setup. For Ultimate Street, the 106mm isn't legal so Eric added a Borg Warner 80mm single-turbo and complemented it with a properly sized, Todd Berry-built intercooler, which was installed by Kurgan Motorsports.

Also in place was the JW Powerglide, and surprisingly, the existing PTC 9.5-inch converter has worked out pretty well for the new combo. Usually you hear of racers swapping out converters time and time again to arrive at the perfect combo. However, Eric didn't have that issue. "I thought I'd be pulling it out," Eric says. "I got lucky."

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Inside, the car had factory seats in it, and those just wouldn't do. In their place, Eric added race-friendly, lightweight Kirkey Racing seats with the appropriate harnesses. The Auto Meter Phantom and Saleen gauges in the center stack were already in place, so he was good on gauges.

To employ more race car tricks to the Cobra, Eric added the Strange Engineering removable steering wheel to make it a tad easier to get in and around the Cobra's NHRA-certified 10-point rollcage. The car's Hurst Quarter Stick shifter was also moved to make it more ergonomic. Right in front of the shifter the Cobra's NLR AMS-1000 boost controller lives in easy reach. It allows Eric to tailor boost levels and ramp rates to his needs based on traction, or a lack thereof.

So far, Eric's been able to get the car down into the 5.30s at 138 mph, still a tad off from the faster cars in Ultimate Street. However, the car's still a work in progress. At Lights Out...Unfinished Business, one of Ducks' races held in February 2013, Eric qualified Eighth out of 32 cars, and that was the car's first major outing. And as you know, that event was rain-drenched, with little time for test passes. With barely any testing, Eric was unable to go many rounds at that time. Since Duck's race, though, Eric has won a local race, which shows the car has promise. He looks forward to more of Duck's races to show the car's full potential.

One thing's for sure, if you race in the South, and a clean, Vibrant Red '93 Cobra is in the other lane, don't let its pretty face fool ya'—Eric will have the car running right. That's his ultimate goal. 5.0

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5.0 Tech Specs

Engine and Drivetrain
Block: Ford Racing R302
Crankshaft: Forged 3.4-in stroke
Rods: Eagle H-beam
Pistons: JE forged
Camshaft: Bennett Racing solid-roller
Cylinder heads: Brodix Track 1 w/ Bennett Racing-ported, 2.08/1.60 valves, Comp Cams 1.6 rockers, and K-Motion valvesprings
Intake manifold: Edelbrock Victor Jr. EFI w/ Wilson Manifolds upper elbow, and an Accufab 90mm throttle body
Power Adder: Borg Warner 80mm single-turbo w/ Todd Berry-built intercooler, and 25 pounds of boost
Fuel system: Weldon 2035 fuel pump w/ braided fuel lines, Bosch 160-lb/hr injectors, and a Weldon fuel-pressure regulator
Exhaust: Custom
Transmission: JW Powergilde w/ PTC 91⁄2-in converter and a Hurst shifter
Rearend: 8.8-in, welded and braced w/ 3.73 gear, and Moser 35-spline axles

Electronics
Engine management: Big Stuff 3
Ignition: MSD w/ Ford Racing spark plug wires
Gauges: Auto Meter

Suspension and Chassis
Front suspension
K-member: PA Racing tubular
A-arms: PA Racing tubular
Struts: Strange Engineering adjustable w/ Wolfe Racecraft caster/camber plates
Springs: PA Racing
Brakes: Strange Engineering
Wheels: Mickey Thompson
Tires: Mickey Thompson

Rear suspension
Shocks: Strange Engineering
Springs: Stock GT
Control Arms: Wolfe Racecraft adjustable uppers and lowers
Brakes: Strange Engineering
Wheels: Mickey Thompson
Tires: Mickey Thompson 275/60-15

Horse Sense: Ultimate Street at a DuckX Productions race is a displacement- and power-adder-limited class designed to back up the ultra-popular X275 class. Generally speaking, the turbos, blowers, and nitrous systems allowed in Ultimate Street are a step down from what's allowed in X275, but in many cases the winner can still take home $5,000, which is a nice chunk of change.