Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
January 15, 2014
Photos By: Brad Stillwell

If you've never driven a Terminator, you owe it to yourself to get behind the wheel of one at least once. Sure they are overshadowed by the horsepower of modern Mustangs. However, they are really the cars that ushered in the sort of easy bolt-on power that we enjoy from today's 'Stangs. It's easy to vividly remember your first drive in the first factory supercharged, six-speed Mustang. These cars were cool and they still carry that rep today, for good reason.

"I was hooked on getting an '03 Cobra after I spent a weekend terrorizing the streets with a friend," Nicholas Shortridge confessed. "My first experience was with a ported blower, 100-shot-of-nitrous, drag-radial Cobra. It was the most fun, easiest bang-for-the-buck straight out of the box."

When you whet your appetite with a Terminator that already has a stout roster of bolt-on performance enhancers, you are really setting the stage for wanting a car and wanting to mod it in a hurry. Nicholas finally picked up his first '03 Cobra in 2005, and it already had a ported blower onboard and it was putting down 500 hp to the street. That might be enough for some, but not Nicholas. Yet, he had to be patient and wait to finish college before he could really start in on the car the way he wanted to.

His real start at modding had a serious launch. It began with a single-turbo kit. "...Built it in my garage. It was a great kit and it made 650 wheel (horsepower) and hurt some feelings—especially those cocky C6 Corvette guys," he explained. "It was great to make 650 wheel with A/C and power steering, and anyone could drive it. After getting bored with 650, I moved to Texas for work and the car took on a new life."

They say things are bigger in the Lone Star state. Apparently things get bigger when they move to Texas too—including car builds and horsepower numbers. Upon arriving there, Nicholas picked up a daily driver and turned his Cobra into a full-on project car.

These cars were cool and they still carry that rep today, for good reason.

"I was hooked on getting an '03 Cobra after I spent a weekend terrorizing the streets with a friend."

As you can see, it got more aggressive—far more aggressive. Of course, when you start flirting with the bleeding edge, it's best to rely on people with experience. To that end, Nicholas commissioned HPP Racing ( in Lewisville, Texas, to construct a stroker modular based on the heralded Teksid aluminum block. They put together a stout 5.0-liter modular that lives in the car to this day.

"HPP Racing built this motor four years ago," Nicholas raved. "I think I made the right decision. It belted out 1,338 wheel without missing a beat."

Of course, it takes more than a built 5.0 to roll deep into the four-digit range. Nicholas loved turbos but believed a big single was intractable for the street. He really wanted twins, and he wanted to keep the creature comforts. For this task, he turned to CG Fabrication (

"Making power has never been a problem since going turbo. The package was just never well-rounded or streetable," Nicholas explained. "This turbo kit was built custom for my car, but it is now sold to anyone. Retaining all the accessories is impressive for a kit that is capable of 1,500-wheel horsepower."

Capabilities are one thing, but getting a built motor and a custom turbo kit to play nicely together on the street and the track is no small feat. The Terminator electronics are not nearly as advanced as those found in modern 'Stangs, and even those would struggle to do what Nicholas asks of his car's EFI. He simply wants to rein in 1,000 on the street and over 1,300 at the track.