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Ben Rossett May Be Socially Disconnected, but Horsepower Is Not an Issue With His 2003 Cobra
Ben Rossett doesn’t have a Facebook page. He doesn’t have Instagram, nor does he have a Twitter account. After working with him on this feature, we might even say he struggles with email and texting. This doesn’t mean Rossett lives in a van down by the river. After all, he owns two Tampa Bay area companies: American Concrete and Paramount Stoneworks. He’s just not interested in staying plugged in. Rossett likes to keep a low profile.
One aspect of his life that makes it difficult to stay on the down-low is his love of automotive toys. His driveway overflows with various forms of vehicular addictions. However, tucked away safe and sound in the garage is the Cobra you see here. While many of us use social media as distractions from everyday life, Rossett uses the Cobra to escape the mundane. This Cobra delivers all the drama he needs.
“I’ve always had Mustangs,” says Rossett. “The first car I built was a 1990 GT when I was 18 or 19 years old.”
After the Fox, Rossett had a red 1999 Cobra with a Saleen body kit. Even right now, to go along with the Cobra, he has a Lightning with a 76mm turbo.
When it comes to the Cobra, Rossett tells us he bought it from a guy named Mike from Indiana. That Mike is Mike Frassinoni. He is not the Cobra’s original owner, but it was stock when he bought it. Frassinoni transformed the Cobra to new heights, starting with the engine. He knew the factory Terminator engine was beefy enough for boost, but he wanted to make sure it would be ready for 1,000-plus horsepower at the wheels. Utilizing the stock iron block and the Cobra’s stock crank and rods, Frassinoni added JE pistons and ARP connecting rod bolts and head studs. The stock heads were treated to a mild port job, and turbo cams from Comp were added before reassembly. A custom intake found its way up top in place of the factory Eaton, or any other positive displacement blower. Frassinoni’s power-adder of choice was a Precision 76mm single turbo. He fabricated the turbo system for the car and did the wire tuck before turning it over to Tim Barth for custom tuning.
Behind the four-valve, Frassinoni installed an RPM Transmissions C4 with a Neal Chance converter and a Hurst carbon fiber shifter. Out back is a solid axle swap featuring Strange Engineering 35-spline axles, spool, and 3.73 gears.
Once the car was “done,” Frassinoni ran an 8.82 at 153 mph, and at 21 pounds of boost the Cobra was capable of making 1,106 rwhp. At 17 degrees of timing the combo is good for 850 rwhp. All told, Frassinoni owned the Cobra four years, but he had new projects on the horizon, like his current X275-style Cobra with a big-inch small-block on nitrous.
With the new projects in mind, Frassinoni put out a feeler on this Cobra, and that’s where Rossett enters the picture. Rossett saw the ad and called him. He liked what he heard, so he booked a flight to Indiana to take a look. Rossett and Frassinoni talked for roughly three hours, and that conversation was good enough for Rossett. He bought the Cobra and had it shipped to Florida.
When we asked why Rosset didn’t drive the Cobra back home, he replied, “I didn’t want to put any miles on the car.” The Cobra had just 1,100 miles on it at that time, and even today it has just 1,400 miles on it. That’s right. Rossett has owned the car for almost three years but has put just 300 miles on it.
For Rossett’s part, when he bought the car it had a drag race look. He wanted more of a street demeanor for the Cobra, so he added CCW wheels in a custom offset up front to keep the wheel and tire combo from coming in contact with the wire tucked components. The front wheels are 18x7.5 with Hankook RS3 235/45/18 tires. In the back, the body-colored CCWs are 18x10 with Mickey Thompson 305/35/18 ET Street Radials.
Rossett also added a Daytona Sensors boost controller to the Cobra. “Kinda like a traction control for the car.” With more of a street setup, the boost controller comes in handy, but Rossett says the car “hooks on the street.” He added a Flaming River quick-ratio manual rack to the car as well, while Aerospace Components brakes bring the fun to a halt.
Speaking of coming to a halt, Rossett’s time as the car’s caretaker could be coming to an end. The Cobra is actually for sale, and for the same reason Frassinoni sold it. Rossett has other projects he would like to finish. Most notably, the aforementioned Lightning with a single turbo combination. He is out of room even right now, so he has to make room in the stable. Plus, he just doesn’t drive the Cobra as often these days. He reasons that the Cobra is too nice and he doesn’t want to rack up the miles on it. The car has never seen rain—in Florida that’s hard to accomplish.
“The bottom of the car looks as good as the top of the car,” Rossett says. “I’d like to build something I can beat on and not care about.” He has thoughts of a Coyote-swap Fox with twin turbochargers, something with which he can have fun. A twin-turbocharged Coyote-swap Fox, huh? Now that would be a good excuse not to text us back.