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Understated Excellence: Oxford White 2004 Terminator Mustang Cobra
Flawlessly Fierce: Sometimes the path to greatness is one of understated excellence rather than overstated style.
As a Blue Oval diehard, you likely fall into two categories. You’re either born a Ford fan or you can trace your roots back to the very moment you joined the dark side. For Taron Young, it only took one ride in a special somebody’s Fox-body for him to leave his longstanding love affair with old school Oldsmobile Cutlasses to join the Ford camp.
“Back in 1994, Julie [now his wife] got a brand-new 1990 Mustang GT as a high school graduation present. Although I was a diehard Cutlass fan, it only took one ride in her Fox-body to turn me into a Mustang guy,” Young says.
This sudden change of heart was perfectly OK with Julie, as she came from a loyal Ford family. Over the next several decades, not only wound Young’s relationship with his girlfriend eventually grow into a marriage, but his love for Mustangs would turn into a lifestyle.
“I was a tow-truck driver for 11 years. After that first drive in her GT, I bought and sold as many Mustangs as I could get my hands on. I didn’t care—I just wanted to buy, fix, modify, and work on as many Mustangs as I could,” says Young.
Naturally, with every Mustang he bought, fixed, and sold, his knowledge of the Pony car only deepened. And as one would expect, with knowledge also comes an uptick in taste and appreciation.
He says, “I bought as many as seven Mustangs from one tow yard on one occasion, and in total I’ve owned nearly 50. But eventually I slowed down and began focusing on individual cars that I extensively modified to my liking.”
His liking happens to be of a show-stopping style. He says, “After building a candy apple green Fox-body convertible show car with tons of modifications, a built motor, and a blower, I started building a notchback project. But the minute I heard the distinctive whine of the Eaton blower on a Terminator Cobra, I had to have one.”
The year was 2003, and Young paid a visit to a dealer to simply see what a new Terminator might cost him. We all know how that goes! One test-drive later he found himself at the bargaining table about to sign on the dotted line. But his wife Julie got wind of his zeal and pulled him away from the sales office only to strike a deal that would ultimately benefit them both.
“We made a deal: If I bought her a house, she’d buy me a Terminator,” Young says.
He made good on his promise. In 2010 so did Julie in the form of a lightly modified Oxford White 2004 Cobra with just 24,000 miles on the odometer.
Before even taking delivery of his precious Cobra, Young sent to Drew Wallace and his brother Greg, the Mustang specialists at AED in Shingle Springs, California, where the crew gave the car a thorough looking over before adding a host of mandatory Terminator mods. This included fixing the infamous cylinder head tick with new valve seats and a refresh along with hardy ARP head studs. A D’Agostino Racing cylinder head cooling mod, a McLeod twin-disc clutch, a 2.76-inch blower pulley, and a Bassani cat-back exhaust to match the JLT CAI were also added at the same time. When in-house tuning extraordinaire Shaun Perry of AED was done with the tune, it laid down 476 hp at the wheels on 91-octane pump gas.
With copious amounts of power on tap, Young spent plenty of time at his local speed shops, Sacramento Mustang and Tognotti’s Auto World, adding many upgrades. He started with plenty of suspension parts, such as Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates and full-length subframe connectors along with H&R Sport springs and Bilstein shocks.
With proper suspension in place, Young turned his attention to life inside the cabin. He says, “I try to keep my cars complete and cohesive, which means I want as many performance, and aesthetic mods as I do stereo system upgrades so that the driving experience is as nice as it is fast.”
A Pioneer AVIC Navigation head unit replaced the stock stereo, while a host of JL audio component speakers, amps, and a matching pair of JL W6 subs in a custom color-matched and backlit box bring the beats. A Clifford alarm with a two-way pager function and remote start keep this snake safe.
“The right wheels make or break a car,” Young says. “I had such a good experience with Steve at True Forged with my notchback project that I commissioned him on the Cobra. I wanted the widest wheels with the widest lips possible.”
After careful consideration, Young stuffed a whole lotta wheel under the wells. Specifically, custom color-matched True Forged Sebrings, 18x9.5 up front and 18x11 out back, wrapped in sticky Toyo R888 rubber, 275/35ZR18 in front and 315/30ZR18 in the rear. Behind the massive rollers, Speed Concepts slotted and drilled rotors help slow this Cobra’s roll.
When a slammed stance and wicked wheels weren’t enough, Young decided that an elegantly understated exterior treatment was in order. Up front you’ll find Raxiom blacked-out headlights and tinted foglights, all outfitted with Eagle Eye HIDs. Other points of interest up front include True Forged billet hood vents and unique fender stripes. Other noteworthy additions include tinted taillights and sequential turn signals along with a Grand Design Terminator decklid liner.
But no showstopper is complete without a serious engine bay. This one doesn’t disappoint. Young says, “I contacted AED and asked them what the recipe for big, reliable horsepower was. When they sent me a mod list, I followed their recommendations and started checking things off the list.”
But as with everything Young does, he went the extra mile by not only stuffing plenty of power under the hood but serious style too. “I wanted the engine bay to look unique, so I decided on a combination of white and crinkle black finishes.”
All that white starts front and center with a custom white powdercoated Whipple 2.9L supercharger. The massive blower inhales plenty of boost through an Accufab throttle-body and a JLT intake, while spent gases travel through American Racing long-tube headers and a matching X-pipe before reaching a Bassani cat-back with Flowmaster Outlaw mufflers. Massive Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors and a Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump provide the fuel, while a Meziere electric waterpump and a Fluidyne heat exchanger keep coolant and intake-air temps in check. The resulting combo has already made 712 hp and 648 lb-ft at the wheels at 21 psi, but Young has plans to add the Whipple Crusher inlet, a bigger cold-air intake, and the appropriate fueling parts for E85 in the hopes of making over 800 hp.
Of course, once the shock of the custom-colored Whipple and its supporting ensemble wears off, you begin to notice exquisite details like the Cobra mural painted on the under-hood insulation and the plethora of crinkle black accents, including matching True Forged expansion tanks.
“I’m really happy with how the car turned out,” says Young. “Although I still have plenty of plans for it, I’ve really enjoyed taking it to car shows all over California.”
When he says “shows,” he’s not kidding. Young and his good friend Julio Gonzalez are the president and vice president of Capital Mustang Car Club, a diehard group of Mustang show-goers who take car shows seriously. How seriously? Well, along with his wife Julia, his daughter Brianna, his son Jaylen, his mother Sheila, his father Tyrone, and his sister Toni, the family and his car club have taken the Terminator to over 100 shows in the past five years and won over 50 awards, plaques, and trophies—we told you he takes the show circuit seriously!
But don’t go thinking it’s just a beauty queen. Young has plans to visit Sacramento Raceway after the next round of mods. But bragging rights and time slips aside, he drives it whenever possible. “I don’t drive it when the weathers bad, and I certainly don’t commute in it, but it’s not a garage queen either. It gets driven on a regular basis.”
He may not have started on Team Blue, but one look at this flawlessly fierce Terminator is proof that without a doubt, Taron Young bleeds blue.