Chris Hemer
January 1, 2000

Step By Step

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P76413_large 1998_Ford_Mustang_Cobra Driver_SideP76414_large 1998_Ford_Mustang_Cobra Engine
The only mod performed on Jerry’s engine was the intake manifold, and that was to replace the stock IMRC with a Motorsport unit. Any other performance enhancer is bolted to the outside of the engine.

The term stock is often subject to interpretation, if not heated debate. In NHRA competition, stock means engine components in their original configuration (but not necessarily the original parts), and a hotter spec camshaft that must fall within the category's guidelines. Street racers often use the term stock, but who believes them? To most of us, stock means an unviolated engine--one that may have been treated to minor bolt-ons, but has never had so much as a valve cover removed. Jerry Green's '98 Cobra fits this definition of stock, yet has gone as quickly as 12.54 at 109.20 in quarter-mile competition--no blower, no nitrous, no bull. It may be the fastest stock Cobra in the country.

Jerry is the Motorsport special events manager for Ford SVO and, as such, is privy to good parts and information. Two years ago, Jerry owned a '96 Cobra that had gone as fast as 12.86 at 105.50 mph in stock form, and decided to apply what he learned from that car to his '98. The first step was to drop the Cobra off at Paul's High Performance in Jackson, Michigan [(517) 764-7661; www.paulshp.com], for the installation of some parts and subsequent chassis dyno tuning. There, owner Paul Svinicki added Watson Engineering 15/8-inch long-tube headers, H-pipe, and a Dynomax Race Magnum after-cat exhaust, followed by Motorsport 4.10 gearing and an Auburn unit. With these mods, the car went about as fast as the '96. The search for more horsepower was on.

The experimental, fabricated H-pipe was replaced with a Dr. Gas unit, which was reportedly good for 5 hp and 4.5 lb-ft of torque. The stock intake manifold runner control (IMRC), located underneath the intake manifold, was cast aside in favor of the Motorsport unit (PN M-9524-D464), which increases airflow by dispensing with the factory throttle plates and shafts. A Pro-M 77mm mass air meter and K&N air filter element were added next, followed by a Superchips computer chip specifically tailored to the new mass air and IMRC. Other goodies include a Critical Link carbon fiber driveshaft from Precision Technologies of Clearwater, Florida; Pro 5.0 T45 shifter; Kenny Brown TracKit Plus, and lowering springs; and either Nitto 275/40-17 drag radials, or 26x8.5x15-inch Mickey Thompson drag slicks. These mods contributed to a string of 12.60 e.t.'s at the J&P Performance Shootout in London, Ontario, Canada, and a runner-up position in the event's 4.6 Shootout class.

After the J&P event, Jerry and Paul added an experimental, single butterfly throttle-body and again recalibrated the chip. The result was 312 hp at 6,100 rpm and 304 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm on Paul's Dynojet chassis dyno, and a 12.54 at 109 mph--in 100-degree weather and 78-percent humidity. Jerry estimates that, under ideal conditions, the car should go 12.30s at around 112 mph. Any way you slice it, that's seriously fast for a stock Cobra. "It's important to use all of these parts in combination," says Jerry. "One or two of these parts on their own won't produce these kinds of results."

So what's next for what Jerry lovingly refers to as the "Blue Goose?" "We're going to lighten it up a little with drag wheels and skinny front runner tires, which should take off about 100 pounds," he says. "And, we'll continue to fine-tune to get it exactly where we want it. With less weight and good weather conditions, we should be able to run 12.20s. Then, as we learn more, we'll do more. There are new heads coming from Motorsport, and new camshafts as well, which we plan to add. That should take us into the 11s." But then it won't be stock anymore!