Rod Short
April 1, 2001

Step By Step

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P65609_large 1993_Ford_Mustang_Cobra_R Front_Passenger_SideP65610_large 1993_Ford_Mustang_Cobra_R Engine
Once James began running 10.90s at 130 mph with a stock block, a Vortech S-trim, an F303 cam, and ported Twisted Wedge heads, he decided to save the car for the track. Getting to the next level of performance, however, would require some extra horsepower, so the car was taken to Heffner’s Performance Center in Glen Burnie, Maryland. There, a more potent engine combination was assembled using an A-4 block with a stroked Cola steel crank, Eagle rods, and Ross 8.5:1 pistons. Ported aluminum heads from Twisted Wedge were then installed with an Extrude Honed GT-40 lower, a Downs Ford Motorsport upper intake, and an Accufab 75mm throttle body. Extra cylinder pressure is now provided by a Vortech T-Trim, which is set to provide 18 pounds of boost. Job Spetter from Turbo People in Hastings, New York, programmed the DFI fuel system, which uses a 1/2-inch Cartech fuel rail, 55 lb/hr fuel injectors, and a Weldon pump. The result is a nimble factory road racer with the heart of a beast inside.
P65611_large 1993_Ford_Mustang_Cobra_R Rear_Driver_Side
With a C4 automatic, a 3,800-stall converter, and 3.73 gears packed into the standard 8.8-inch rear, James uncorked an amazing 9.64-second e.t./ 142.93 mph at Maryland International Raceway late last year to take his R-model where few—if any—have ever been before.
P65612_large 1993_Ford_Mustang_Cobra_R Interior
James was right about what these cars were intended for, as potential buyers were required to sign a waiver that these cars would be raced. Originally intended for competition in IMSA and SCCA, the ’93 Cobra R–model followed the tradition of past factory race cars by deleting items such as the radio, the speakers, the rear seat, the insulation, and the sound deadeners. Each of the 107 cars made, however, did meet federally mandated safety and emissions requirements and include power steering and brakes, which were standard equipment.

When Ford introduced the '93 Cobra R-model, many would-be buyers were disappointed to learn they were nearly all gone before anyone knew about them. Other performance buffs felt let down when many of these cars wound up in the hands of collectors rather than on the racetracks for which they were intended. As a result, this reputed king of all the Fox Mustangs is rarely, if ever, seen anywhere other than at a few national shows or auctions.

With this modified R-model, however, James Furman of Woodbridge, Virginia, has provided a sense of new direction. Not only has his car been driven on a regular basis, but it also has gone from its road-racing roots to running straight lines at the dragstrip. "I bought the car new from a dealer back in 1993," James says of the car's history, "and it was strictly a street car up until last year. I decided I wanted to go a little faster, but I didn't want to tear it up, even though I believe they were meant to be raced."

Despite all the modifications, it's the car's nearly stock look that masks its heritage. "Most people don't know it's a Cobra R until they look inside," James replied when asked about the deceptively stock appearance. "Cosmetically, the only change has been the addition of a carbon-fiber Saleen hood. In fact, it even has the factory road-race suspension still in it." With results like these, setting factory road racers on the straight and narrow could become a serious trend for the future!

Horse Sense: As part of the $7,205 option, ’93 Cobra R owners received a bevy of performance goodies, including a tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels, oversized front/rear disc brakes, extra cooling modifications, an upgraded T5 transmission, and an 8.8-inch Traction-Lok rear axle with a 3.08 gearing.