Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
July 1, 2002
Photos By: Steve Turner

Horse Sense: World Castings' immensely popular Windsor Jr. heads feature 1.94/1.60 Manley valves, 58cc combustion chambers, 180cc intake runners, bronze valve guides, and a dual bolt pattern to accommodate large-tube headers. The heads are designed to accept screw-in rocker arm studs, and World Castings recommends using aftermarket roller rocker arms. However, if you're using stock rockers, stud-mounted rockers are recommended.

When it comes to Mustangs, most of us like to start with a decent platform. The paint may not be perfect, but the car is solid. The interior may be a little rough, but we're adding new seats anyway, so no big deal. The wheels aren't exactly what we're looking for, but those will be replaced as well. Most of us just want a good-running car to get us going in the right direction.

Kevin Daugherty of Louisville, Kentucky, is a FedEx delivery driver. In 1996 he was looking for a hot rod that he could modify himself. A trip to a Ford dealership resulted in a disappointing '96 GT test drive. "I thought the Mustang was dead," Kevin said after taking the car for a spin. Although he was disappointed with the power, he did like the looks of the SN-95 Mustang, so he decided a '94-'95 model would best fit his performance needs.

"I found this Cobra in a junkyard in London, Kentucky," Kevin says. The car had suffered damage to the left front and left rear. The left front framerail and the core support needed to be replaced. In all, Kevin replaced the fenders, the hood, the front and rear bumper covers, the left quarter-panel, the trunk floor, and the trunk lid. "I figured I could save money this way," Kevin reasons, "because I planned on changing many parts anyway, and I didn't want to spend big bucks on a cherry car only to remove half the stuff." Oh, yeah-did we mention Kevin fixes totals on the side? His bodywork talents enabled him to do much of the work himself to restore the Cobra back to its glory, and then some.

During the four months he spent working on the body of the car, Kevin took a few liberties and added '96 taillights, a '96 Cobra rear bumper cover, and a Cobra R hood from H.O. Fiber-trends. To ensure a job done right, he removed all moldings and the interior while the car was being painted.

Once the paint was done, Kevin turned his attention to the Cobra's drivetrain. "I went with some simple stuff that I knew would give me nice performance without hurting driveability on the street," he says. The simple stuff included World Castings Windsor Jr. heads and the existing Cobra intake. Both were sent to Keith Craft Racing for porting while Kevin added a Ford Racing Performance Parts E303 cam to the mix.

The Cobra is in much better shape now than it was when Kevin purchased it. It took him four months just to get it ready to paint. Larry Sample and Joe Meredith helped straighten out the body. Then Troy Coulter applied the mirror-like Sikkens opalescent paint. Body mods include '96 taillights, a '96 Cobra rear bumper cover, and a Cobra R hood from H.O. Fibertrends.

When it came time to order the power adder, things shifted into high gear-sort of. Since the Cobra's paint came out looking so good, Kevin couldn't bear dropping a satin blower under the hood. So he paid the extra $150 and bought a polished Vortech S-Trim supercharger. This purchase threw him over the edge-now everything under the hood had to be either polished or chromed to match the Cobra's exterior gleam. "This resulted in a 15-month waiting period before I could reassemble the engine," Kevin says. Once all the parts were back in his possession, it took two months to put everything together and have the rearend built. (Gee, it took "Senior Technical Editor" Houlahan more than seven months just to get his rearend built.)

Once the car was done, Kevin drove it about two weeks before the T5 went on permanent vacation. It was replaced, and a Pro-5.0 shifter was installed as a preemptive measure. However, the new T5 lasted just three weeks. Kevin reasoned since most race cars have automatics, it was time for him to make the switch as well. He thought it would be an easy swap. "Boy, was I wrong," he admits.

The tranny swap took an additional three months to complete. Kevin chose a Level 10 AODE, and with help from Level 10 and Superchips, he says, "I've had no trouble and the transmission shifts perfect."