5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1998 Ford Mustang Cobra - Sneaky Snake
Tim And Barbra Palmer's Turbocharged '98 Cobra Sure Doesn't Look Like The Typical Eight-Second Car
Horse Sense: Axis Industries doesn't have just 4.6 turbo kits--it also recently released one for '97-and-up V-6 Mustangs. The new kit includes a custom Spearco intercooler, a Turbonetics Deltagate wastegate, an Innovative T04 turbo, silicone hose connectors and high-strength hose clamps, an inline fuel pump, an FMU, and a high-flow air filter. The kit will set you back $4,200.
As always, when something new arrives in the world, you have your unbelievers. What's new right now is this eight-second, stock-looking '98 Cobra, along with the race-only turbo kit developed on the car and offered for sale by Axis Industries [(210) 523-6581; www.axisindustries.com] of Leon Valley, Texas.
The Cobra's owner, Tim Palmer of San Antonio, has faith in new strategies. He built the Cobra with Outlaw racing in mind, although he's running in modular classes until the car is completely sorted. The Cobra ran a 9.08 on its first pass and subsequently hit a best of 8.86 at 156 mph using only 17 pounds of boost. After raising the boost, Tim turned an 8.36 e.t. at 160 mph during qualifying for the Modular Shootout in Maryland in June. That explains the wheelie bars and parachute, but some doubters haven't been able to see past the stock-looking exterior.
"In Houston, it was hilarious," Rob Tynmann, president of Axis Industries, says. "You get quite a few people [at the race] who are gambling. They all get together in groups. They do a little bit of mouthing off. And they were all looking at Tim, this little short guy, with this car with no hoodscoop, and wheelie bars and a parachute. And they're laughing at him. We never even opened the hood in Houston and they just laughed their tails off. After the first pass, they all kind of clammed up a bit."
Even more surprising than the stock looks is the fact the Cobra runs that fast with stock heads and cams. "It's not setting the world on fire," Rob says, "but when you start thinking about 281 ci running that fast with stock heads and cams-the guys who know realize it's a pretty big accomplishment."
Tim had previously raced a 10-second '90 LX powered by a supercharged mod motor. Racing rule-book changes banning that combination motivated him to create his soon-to-be Outlaw, but it was his wife, Barbra, who made the ultimate sacrifice by donating her daily driven, supercharged '98 Chrome Yellow Cobra to the cause. She requested the car retain its factory look, though, and Tim worked hard to oblige. "My biggest goal was to make it look as much like a street car as I could," he says.
The '97 cylinder heads used in that LX survive in the new car, atop the Sean Hyland Motorsport short-block. But beyond that, the Cobra is a major departure from Tim's old ride.
Tim rents shop space at Axis and performed most of the work himself, except for the 10-point rollcage from Wolfe Race Craft and the Axis-designed motor plates. Working with Rob and Mike Noriega, head fabricator at Axis, the trio paid particular attention to airflow through the engine.
The crew created a unique intake manifold by modifying a Hamilton Clark piece. "It has a cast top that goes with it and little-bitty velocity stacks that go inside," Rob says. "We didn't like the positioning of the throttle body, so we went ahead and-from the runners up-threw it all away and built it all from scratch. The throttle body actually goes under the intake manifold. It has a pretty nice way of getting the air from the throttle body up to the runners themselves. It's a bit different than what some of the other sheetmetal manufacturers are doing. We have a little different train of thought on how air should flow. It seems to be working all right. I think whatever we hit on was pure luck, but it seems to be a nice combination on Tim's car."