Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
June 1, 2006
The secret's out on the capabilities of even mildly worked '03-'04 Cobras, but most don't feature a ProCharger under the hood and a glovebox full of 10-second timeslips. The exterior of Ryan Hecox's Cobra screams "Walk softly, but carry a big stick," with stock body panels and paint and wheels, even though Mickey Thompson E/T Streets roll out back.

Horse Sense: Ryan was a GM guy before purchasing his '04 Cobra, but he's since sold all his Garbage Masters and replaced them with daily driven '05 Ford vehicles.

You gotta wonder why some of us act as if we've emerged from a cave. We see something we want and suddenly it seems all civility has left our brains, leaving us mumbling incoherently. At the point of visual lock, nothing else matters. The President could walk by and we'd be totally oblivious to his presence.

As Mustang enthusiasts, we often have this problem-basically every time we see a Mustang. Conversations come to an abrupt halt, all focus is on that Mustang, and we're overtaken by wanton desire. In a nutshell, we go after something we like without thinking twice or asking for financial or spousal approval.

Such was the case for Glen Burnie, Maryland, resident Ryan Hecox and this '04 Cobra. Sure, he approached his wife, Shannon, about the subject of purchasing a new Cobra, and she was less than enthusiastic about the idea.

Just two days after that conversation, Ryan went to the Ford dealership. When Shannon called that afternoon to ask about his whereabouts, Ryan had already "cleared" the purchase with Justin Burcham of Justin's Performance Center. The car was practically modified before Ryan ever held the keys. Evidently, this propensity for buying performance cars was not new to Ryan because he already had two "performance cars" in the form of an '85 Monte Carlo SS and an '87 Buick Regal-we just hope it was a Grand National.

The Cobra's first modifications were typical for the breed. Justin's Performance Center added a Bassani X-pipe and an after-cat exhaust, a Centerforce dual-friction clutch, a Pro-5.0 shifter, and Motive Gear 3.90 gears. To keep from breaking the stock axleshafts with Ryan's Mickey Thompson E/T Streets, Justin and the boys added a pair of The Driveshaft Shop's Level 5 axleshafts. Even before Ryan's first payment arrived at the bank, the Cobra boasted a lot more venom in the form of an ATI-ProCharger F-1A supercharger conversion under the hood.

The ProCharger conversion provided the strike Ryan needed, and the car proved to be a worthy competitor on the street. So, after "16 years of driving like an idiot on the streets," Ryan went legal at the '04 Ford Fever Classic at Maryland International Raceway and won the Modular Showdown class, which exposed him to the joys of heads-up racing.

But instead of racing this Cobra, Ryan purchased a '99 Cobra, got rid of the other performance cars, and now races the '99 in the NMRA's Factory Stock class under Justin Burcham's tutelage and with JPC sponsorship. With this kind of teamwork, a Factory Stock victory can't be too far away. One thing's for sure-when that happens, we'll need a caveman to understand Ryan's blabbering.

Ryan kept things simple on the inside, with the necessary aftermarket gauges, such as a Wideband Commander air/fuel gauge and the requisite boost/vacuum gauge to monitor the ATI-ProCharger F-1A's boost pressure, which we're sure stays at 20 psi with Ryan behind the wheel. A Pro-5.0 shifter boasts a UPR pistol-grip handle to give changes more emphasis from Ryan's right arm.

Instead of playing around with pulleys, Ryan went straight for the jugular by having Justin's Performance Center bolt on an ATI-ProCharger F-1A supercharger combined with an Afco heat exchanger onto the otherwise relatively stock Four-Valve engine. Dual Focus fuel pumps feed the beast via stock lines and rails and 60-lb/hr injectors. Power Surge Performance coaxed out 662 hp and a best of 10.48 at 131 mph using SCT software. Besides driving this Cobra, Ryan now races a '99 Cobra in the NMRA Factory Stock class.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINIgnition
BlockStock, Autolite 103 plugs
StockGauges
DisplacementWideband Commander air/fuel
281 cigauge, vacuum/boost gauges
Cylinder Heads 
Stock Four-ValveSUSPENSION AND CHASSIS
CamshaftsFront Suspension
StockK-member
Intake ManifoldStock
Stock lower, ATI-ProChargerA-arms
sheetmetal upperStock
Throttle BodySprings
Accufab single bladeStock
Mass Air MeterStruts
STC 90mm Big AirStock
Power AdderWheels
ATI-ProCharger F-1AStock
supercharger, 3.6-in pulley, AFCOTires
heat exchangerGoodyear F1
ExhaustBrakes
Stock exhaust manifolds,Stock
Bassani X-pipe and after-catRear Suspension
Fuel SystemSprings
Dual Focus fuel pumps, stockStock
lines and rails, 60-lb/hr injectorsShocks
TransmissionStock
Stock T56, Centerforce dual-Traction Devices
friction clutch, Pro-5.0 shifterStock IRS
with UPR pistol-grip handleWheels
RearendStock
Stock IRS, The Driveshaft ShopTires
Level 5 axleshafts, 3.{{{90}}} gears{{{M}}}/T 26x11.5 ET Streets
 Brakes
ELECTRONICSStock
Engine Management 
Stock computer, SCT tune-up by 
Power Surge Performance