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Gabe Wilkins' Blown Modular Cobra Convertible
"My Friends All Drive Porsches, I Must Make Amends..." With A 426hp, Blown 4.6
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These lyrics expressed in the Janis Joplin ballad of 30 years ago apparently still have relevance to Gabe Wilkins today. As a successful NFL athlete in today's lucrative pro-sports economy, Gabe, like so many of his former teammates, could easily be driving any tricked-out German or Italian sports car his rather large heart desired. But it's American iron--specifically Mustangs--that stir Gabe's soul, so he must try to make amends for all the Euro-trash parked in those football stadium reserved spaces.
In our Dec. 2000 issue ("Gabe's Mustang," p. 18), we featured one example of Mr. Wilkins' buy-American program--his way-cool, blitzkrieg-quick, 427-inch, street/track '94 coupe. Here's another--a tastefully personalized, blown modular Cobra convertible that serves as the big man's daily driver and was actually built prior to the fire-breathing Windsor coupe.
At the beginning of all this, Gabe could have picked up the phone and called such obvious sources of prepackaged muscular Mustangs as Saleen or Steeda. But, being a native of South Carolina, the huge defensive lineman turned to fellow Carolinian Mark Ray to call the plays when it came to the performance development program for his DOHC ragtop. His instructions were to make it quick and agile, while keeping it dead-nuts reliable and civilized--something for which Mark Ray Motorsports had already earned a reputation.
Mark's choices for engine, chassis, and interior upgrades were all made accordingly. After all, would you do anything against the wishes of a 300-pound customer who made his living knocking other 300-pounders flat? The immediate choice of a Vortech S-Trim was simple since the DOHC 4.6 responds to supercharging like Popeye to spinach. The rest of the supporting cast of components combined to sharpen the Cobra's reflexes without making it too mean to live with on a daily basis. That the project was a success is evidenced by the fact that Mark soon thereafter received the contract to pump up Gabe's Windsor coupe.
Weighing-in at around 4,100 pounds with the burly Mr. Wilkins at the wheel, this comely yet corpulent convertible won't ever run 10-second quarter-miles, but that's not what it was made for. Mark Ray sums it up: "Gabe cruises with this car, and if the street scene really heats up, he fetches the '94 427. What an arsenal." And what great ways to make amends for his import-driving ex-teammates.