Dale Amy
May 1, 2005

Good things seldom result when laws are broken, but, despite the well-known adage to the contrary, a combination of wrongs occasionally ends up being just right.

"She awoke to see nothing but the hood of our cherished Cobra, and dust from the airbags that had deployed. As she looked around, she saw the VW Jetta resting on the sidewalk against the traffic pole, its driver with a shocked and terrified look on his face. As she tried to get out of our destroyed Cobra, she suddenly felt faint and started to collapse. She was caught part way down by a helpful motorist that looked as if he had just stepped out of a '70s biker movie. He helped her to the ground, then suddenly started screaming into a radio, 'He's running, he's running eastbound toward the beach!'"

The foregoing is Tim Roi's partial account of the first wrong of our story, wherein the aforementioned VW had made a sudden and inexplicable left turn from an oncoming lane, directly into the 40-mph path of the '96 black, blown Cobra being driven by his wife, Stephanie. The "biker" who came to her aid turned out to be an undercover cop, and his frantic radio call soon resulted in the bolting Jetta driver being nabbed. "Following a short foot chase," says Tim, "the coward was caught and arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident, driving without a license, failing to yield, and the list goes on."

The net result for the Rois? Their Cobra was written off, Stephanie's back was hurt, and to add insult to injury, this all took place on her birthday. After arguing at some length with an apparently uncooperative insurance company that will remain unnamed since they have more lawyers than we do, Tim and Stephanie eventually applied their settlement toward a yellow '98 Cobra convertible that they still own. But they also got the tattered remains of their '96 Cobra back, including the Vortech S-Trim that had miraculously survived the impact.

This brings us to the second wrong of our tale, a wholly separate event that takes considerably less explanation: Some scumbag cretin stole someone else's '97 Cobra coupe with only 4,000 miles on the clock, stripped it to the bone, and left it for dead. Tim's employer at the time, Unlimited Performance Racing, in Lake Worth, Florida, then acquired the theft-recovery unibody shell. Recognizing this as an opportunity, Tim bought the naked unibody from UPR and started transferring parts to it off his wrecked '96.

Naturally, the now not-so-naked shell needed an engine, and since Tim had boost in mind, he started off with a new '03 Cobra-spec cast-iron block, and ordered up some Manley H-beam rods and CP pistons dished for 8.5:1 compression. These, as well as a stock Cobra steel crank, were shipped off to Al Papitto's Boss 330 Racing for assembly into a tough short-block. Meanwhile, Tim scoured eBay and came up with a set of '98 Four-Valve heads, complete with cams, and a '96 Cobra intake (hey, that's why they call them "modular" engines). He performed a mild port job on the heads, and did the same on the intake, shortening the runners a bit in the process. As we said, his old Vortech S-Trim had managed to survive the collision, so it was pullied for 12 psi and bolted on, plumbed through a new Paxton air-to-air intercooler. To make this mish-mash of modular hardware work cohesively, he called upon Chris Johnson of Superchips Custom Tuning to flash-tune the '98-spec EEC-V, and the result was 480 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels on the Sean Hyland Motorsports Dynojet. Continuing to merge stuff from different generations of snake, he backed up the powerplant with the T45 five-speed salvaged from his wrecked '96, using a Terminator Cobra clutch and flywheel between.

While all this was going on, the Rois moved back home to Canada from Florida, and Tim enlisted the aid of brother Mike in assembling and fitting body panels, and all the other little bodywork tidbits that result from compiling a car from a unibody shell. He then hooked up with Mike "Droopy" Papoff at Kustom Painting in London, Ontario, to lay on the Black Orange Pearl over Arctic White paint scheme, separated by airbrushed red and orange stripes. Tim left off the rear wing, added an '00 Cobra R-style cowl hood, and finished off with '03-style Cobra rims.

In all, the project took about two years. Officially written off for dead, the spirit of Tim and Stephanie's '96 Cobra now lives on in this reincarnated '97, with bits of '98 and '03 kindred SVT spirits thrown in for good measure. Through a lot of effort, two wrongs have finally been put right.

Tech specs

Block '03 Cobra iron
Bore Stock
Stroke Stock
Displacement 281ci
Crank Stock Cobra
Rods Manley H-beam, forged
Pistons CP custom, forged
Compression Ratio 8.5:1
Cams Stock '98 Cobra
Heads '98 Cobra, ported by owner
Intake '96 Cobra, runners shortened, ported by owner
Throttle Body '98 Cobra
Mass Air SCT 90mm
Injectors 42 lb/hr Bosch
Fuel Pump Holley 255-lph in-tank and Walbro 255-lph inline
Headers Stock '98 Cobra
Exhaust UPR X-pipe, Flowmaster after-cat
Transmission Stock T45
Shifter UPR Blue Thunder billet
Clutch '03 Cobra
Flywheel '03 Cobra
Driveshaft FRPP aluminum
Rearend 8.8, 4.10 gears, Auburn Pro diff, Superior 31-spline axles

Engine Management Stock, flash tuned by Superchips Custom Tuning
Ignition Stock
Gauges Auto Meter
K-Member Stock
Control Arms Stock
Springs Eibach Sportline
Struts Stock
Caster/Camber Plates Stock
Brakes Powerslot rotors, stock calipers, EBC pads
Wheels '03 Cobra
Tires 275/40R17 Firestone SZ50
Control Arms UPR adjustable upper/stock lower
Springs Eibach Sportline
Shocks Stock
Brakes Stock
Wheels '03 Cobra
Tires 275/40R17 Firestone SZ50
Chassis Stiffening n/a