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2003 Ford Mustang Cobra - Sneaky Serpent
Jim Bunge’s ’03 Cobra may look relatively tame, but it’s a different story on the strip
The year was 1965 when Jim Bunge of Dublin, California, headed down to his local Ford dealership and bought himself a brand-new '66 Mustang in Timberline Green with the intention of competing in autocross. From that point on, Jim was hooked on fast Fords. Almost 40 years and many Fords later, Jim became the new owner of the awesome '03 SVT Cobra gracing these pages. Now, we're not saying Jim's '03 Cobra is ordinary by any means, but at first glance, you might simply see a beautiful and well-kept Cobra not unlike many others. Not so fast! While Jim's Cobra might be tame in appearance, his 10-second quarter-mile time slips prove otherwise.
Jim's Black Cobra has been outfitted with a Kaminari fiberglass tonneau cover and Classic Design Concepts lightbar. The stock interior has been retained; complete with the signature leather and Alcantara insert Cobra seats, though an Auto Meter Cobalt tachometer has been installed so that Jim can keep a closer eye on engine rpm when shifting at the track.
The stock 4.6L 32-valve DOHC powerplant remains under the hood, equipped with stock internals and the stock Eaton supercharger. An Accufab 65mm throttle body and K&N cold-air intake have been added, as well as an Edelbrock Performer EFI nitrous system with a 100 shot of wet nitrous (nitrous and fuel both injected together into the air stream). A custom nitrous tune was installed via a Diablosport Predator to guarantee the best performance, and dual SVT Focus fuel pumps provide sufficient nourishment for the powerplant. Ford Motorsport shorty headers lead the way to high-flow catalytic converters and a Dr. Gas x-pipe paired with SpinTech mufflers to create a rich deep growl.
"The car used to have long-tube headers, but it was just too noisy," Jim told us. "It has a deep healthy muscle sound now but around 3,800 rpm, it sounds like a Ferrari. It's like a unique high-pitched sound."
A six-speed Tremec transmission puts the power to the beautiful Budnik Cannon wheels, while the 13-inch Baer slotted and drilled front and rear rotors paired with Hawk pads provide plenty of stopping power. Subframe connectors keep the SVT stiff and sturdy, and the suspension has been tightened up using rear bushings for the stock independent rear suspension from Griggs Racing, as well as Ford Racing adjustable coilover shocks to drop the Cobra to a more eye-pleasing level.
But back to that nitrous system: Arguably the coolest detail about Jim's Cobra revolves around it. We asked him what the most challenging aspect of his Cobra project was. "Putting in the Edelbrock 100 shot wet nitrous system," he told us. "The purge kit for the nitrous comes out of the mouth of the right side Cobra emblem. It took approximately 40 hours just to install all of the lines. You can hear it! It hisses just like a snake! But we don't use it often. It's just an absolute beast without it," he explained.
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According to Jim, the Cobra produces 550 hp and 678 lb-ft of torque at the tires and has run a 10.6-second quarter-mile pass at 128 mph with nitrous and a 11.3-second pass at 117 mph without it. Jim has several people to thank for taking part in the build, including his son, Jason, and Pete Moreno and Terry Simpson from The Restomod Shop in Stockton, California. And in case you're hoping one day you might own this fine Mustang, you're going to have to build your own.
"My son has put countless hours into the small details. He's done about 80 percent of the work himself. I've had lots of people ask, but when I can't drive the car anymore, it will belong to my son. This car will never be for sale."