Eric English
April 1, 2003
Photos By: Dale Amy

We have to be honest with you. Two weeks before our photo shoot at World Ford Challenge 5, David smoked several of the glass-jawed pistons in the stock modular 4.6. With inadequate turnaround time before the event, we kept our appointment and were impressed by the smoke show, which emanated from the exhaust turndowns. Teardown of the whole shebang gave David the opportunity to make some upgrades to the combination that weren't present when we took the pics, so we've tried to note them in the text.

David's long-term intention for the Cobra is fairly simple and amounts to little more than a high-profile, high-horsepower driver. That said, there will undoubtedly be a number of passes down the quarter-mile to prove its mettle, so to speak, which will surely follow installation of an upcoming 10-point rollcage. We'd think the legal speed contests would also put David's coworkers at ease, being an indicator that all that power isn't being used for some less-than-honorable activities.

When the engine isn't singing its song, the sound system usually is. Twin 15-inch subs, six speakers, and two Phoenix Gold XS series amps assure the tunes won't be missed. Other accouterments include Konig Buzz buckets and an array of Auto Meter's sweet Phantom gauges-one of which is a two-channel intake-temp monitor, which showed the charge temperature difference on each side of the Vortech Power Cooler. However, since switchingto the JT-Trim, the Power Cooler has been removed, as approaching the 600hp level is where the cooler begins to sign off. You'll also notice a stick shifter in these photos, but David has since switched to a Bowler Transmissions-built 4R70W and 2,800-stall converter.

David is quick to point out the help he's obtained from friends and corporate entities during the Cobra's buildup. The previously mentioned T.J. Tracey has done the invaluable tuning, while T.J. Look at TNT Motorsports is credited with much of the actual wrench bending. On the manufacturer side, David found the good graces of Aeromotive, Vortech, Fox Lake Power Products, Auto Meter, and MSD, all of whom made valuable contributions. Advertising the goods fell to the graphics guys at Canham Graphics in Springfield, Illinois, who did a bang-up job in assuring this '97 will never go unnoticed.

Being noticed seems a constant theme in David's transportation since his work ride is a marked Chevy Impala. We wonder if there should be something in his inventory that allows for lower-profile travel if the mood ever suits. Now that David made the switch in brand loyalty, we'll remind him that SVT has a couple other nameplates in its arsenal that would make a perfect complement to this nasty, open-air snake. Any votes for a Lightning or Focus?

5.0 Tech Specs

Block ’97 Cobra prepped by Fox Lake
  w/ModMax components
Displacement 281ci
Heads Fox Lake–ported ’97 Cobra
Camshafts Stock
Intake Stock
Throttle Body Stock
Fuel System Aeromotive A1000 pump,
  fuel rails, dual billet filters, –8 feed and –6 return lines, 72-lb injectors
Exhaust MAC long-tubes, MAC H-pipe,
  MagnaFlow mufflers
Power Adder Vortech JT-Trim
  w/Mondo blowoff valve
Transmission Bowler Transmissions
  4R70W w/2,800-stall converter
Rearend 8.8 w/4.30 gears and
  Strange 28-spline axles

Engine Management FAST
Ignition MSD DIS-4
Gauges Auto Meter
K-Member Granatelli Motor Sports
Struts Stock
Springs Granatelli Motor Sports
Brakes Stock
Wheels Voxx Argus 18x8.5-in
Tires Nitto NT555 245/40-18
Shocks Stock
Springs Eibach
Brakes Stock
Wheels Voxx Argus 18x10-in
Tires Nitto NT555 275/35R18