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2003 Ford Mustang Cobra - My Muscle Stang
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2003 Mustang Cobra - Ed Lucas - Owings Mills, MD
I grew up bleeding Ford blue. My parents owned a '70 Fairlane with a 429ci engine, and when I wasn't turning a wrench in the garage, I spent my weekends attending car shows and my weekdays in a home filled with car-show trophies. Naturally, I developed an appreciation for muscle cars.
I've always loved Mustangs, so when I was finally able to drive, I purchased an '86 Mustang LX as my first ponycar. I loved it, but it was only a four-cylinder, and I quickly realized I needed more power. School and lack of funds stood in my way until 1997, when I purchased a '93 GT and started base modifications immediately. I kept that car until 2002, when I bought a brand-new black GT. I installed all the usual bolt-ons and thought I was done buying Mustangs for a while, until I saw the '03 SVT Cobras. I knew I had to have one.
In late 2003, I went to a local dealer to look at a MysticChrome model, but came home with a black convertible. The car remained close-to-stock for its first four years, except for a MagnaFlow after-cat exhaust system and K&N cold-air kit.
Through a fellow Terminator owner, I had heard of Johnny Lightning Performance, a performance shop that happened to be pretty close to my home. My car was delivered to JLP shortly thereafter, and returned with a Stiegemeier ported Eaton supercharger, 60-lb/hr injectors, Accufab single-blade throttle body, Diablo Sport custom tune, MAFia mass air meter, and BBK Performance long-tube headers and catted X-style mid-pipe. The car made 502 rwhp. To eliminate wheelhop, adjustable rear shocks and a Steeda Stop the Hop kit were also installed.
In 2011, the stock heads developed a valve issue and I took the car back to JLP for a set of its XR cylinder heads and Stage 3 cams. At this point, the car put out 555 rwhp on 16 pounds of boost, and I continued to use the car as a daily driver.
In 2012, I met Brad Bennett of Southern Stables Automotive of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. Brad had recently opened a performance shop about a mile from my home and also drove an '03 Cobra. I wanted more out of my Cobra, so late into summer, he took on the project of installing a Kenne Bell 2.8 Mammoth supercharger onto my ride. The install included the supercharger, a Boost-a-Pump, line-lock, cold-air intake, fuel-pressure regulator, Kenne Bell single-blade throttle body, and Brad's SCT custom tune. Additional suspension upgrades included Tokico front strut assemblies and Steeda caster/camber plates.
The first dyno run resulted in 700 rwhp and 589 lb-ft of torque. We suspected a supercharger belt slippage issue, so we added a Steeda tensioner. We have not had it back on the dyno since the issue, but there is a definite improvement in the seat-of-your-pants feel. Future upgrade plans include a rollcage to allow for some on-track runs.