Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
2003 Ford Mustang Cobra - Relentless Serpent
From imports to domestics, Terry Molin's '03 Cobra reigns supreme.
When Ford released the all-new SVT Cobra in 2003, it was a serious callout to its competitors.
With 390 horsepower, a Roots-style Eaton supercharger atop a mean 4.6L with forged internals, a six-speed transmission, and independent-rear suspension, it was a true hot-rodders dream.
For Terry Molin, the all-business Cobra was exactly what he had in mind. His current Snake packs a wicked single-turbo, amazing detail, and over 1,060 rwhp. But his love for Stangs began with an '87 Fox.
"The first car I ever bought and fell in love with was a brand-new '87 Mustang GT," Terry told us. "I learned all my basic hot-rodding knowledge on that car. Fast forward to 2001. I had taken a job in the Northern Virginia area (he is native to Tampa, Florida) and sought out a reputable local performance shop—Excessive Motorsports in Manassas, Virginia."
"In 2002, I was ready to purchase a new car and I considered the Mustang GT," Terry explained. "But Northern Virginia is an affluent area, and I got caught up in the high-end import rage and bought an '02 Lexus IS 300."
Terry's hot-rodding nature lead him to modify his new import, and before long it had 265 rwhp. "While at Excessive Motorsports purchasing new parts for my Lexus, I noticed an '03 Cobra on the dyno. I watched as it pulled 370 rwhp and asked what was done to it. The owner laughed and said, ‘Nothing yet.'"
That's all it took for Terry to become hooked. In two weeks, he had stripped his Lexus of all aftermarket parts and traded it in on a new '03 Redfire Cobra. Terry slowly modified his Snake with the basics and a 2.2L Kenne Bell supercharger.
In 2006, he moved back to Tampa, and was introduced to Sam Lippencott, owner of Coastal Chassis Dyno. "My initial plan was to sell the Cobra and buy a new '07 GT500," said Terry. "With some home remodeling needing to be done and other financial needs, it wasn't in the cards." Sadly, he sold the Cobra and didn't get the GT500 he was lusting after.
After a year, Terry had the itch again, and a call to Coastal yielded a formidable option. One of Sam's customers was selling a fully built, twin-turbo, '03 Cobra and Terry was intrigued. "I thought to myself, why buy a new car just to build it the way I wanted it? This car only had 6,000 miles on it and no expense was spared."
The factory cast-iron block has been replaced with a Teksid aluminum block, bored and stroked to 302 ci. Inside, a billet crankshaft twirls Manley I-beam connecting rods, connected to custom CP pistons. The heads have been reworked thanks to Total Engine Airflow, and feature Crower's custom-grind turbo camshafts.
Terry ditched the previously installed twins in favor of a cleaner single-turbo setup. Coastal Chassis Dyno installed the custom turbo, consisting of a Borg Warner S-series 82mm turbo with custom piping. For added kick, Applied Nitrous Technology plumbed a direct-port Pro-Flow nitrous kit to the underside of the Sullivan intake, though it's yet to be used.
Ride quality is important to Terry, so he selected a KW Automotive Variant 3 coilover suspension. Kenny Brown full-length subframe connectors strengthen the chassis, and the IRS was ditched for a reinforced 8.8-inch solid-rear axle. For the exterior, he also added a VIS carbon-fiber hood, Bullitt sidescoops, and custom Volk Racing LE37 wheels.
On the dyno with 93-octane gas and 15 pounds of boost, Terry's Cobra laid down 740 rwhp and 710 lb-ft of torque. With race gas and 24 psi of boost, it cranked out 1,060 rwhp and 920 lb-ft.
Terry would like to thank Sam Lippencott, Jon Lackey of Boulevard Customs of Lakeland, Florida, for the audio work, and Robby Taylor for the paint and body.
Though Terry stepped to the dark side for a short time, things changed for the better when he witnessed firsthand what Ford's Terminator is made of. He stills owns his original '87 Fox-body, along with the Cobra. With four-digit horsepower residing underneath the Corbra's hood, we encourage anyone daring enough to try and test Terry's Snake—see what happens.
Things changed for the better when he witnessed firsthand what Ford's Terminator is made of.