January 31, 2011

Although this '94 Mustang GT is, in fact, Bright Atlantic Blue, the car actually resides on the Gulf side of The Sunshine State. But there's much more to the story than its unique hue. Chris Olmo of Mustang Motorsports in Fort Myers, Florida, bought the car from one of his customers in the year 2000. Originally green with a 302 and an A-Trim Vortech, the car was temperamental and the customer wanted out. Hence, the two struck a deal and Mustang Motorsports had a new "shop car."

Ever the horse whisperer, Chris had the stallion up and running in no time and drove the car for a year in that form before the temptation to modify it got the best of him. This was no weekend project, however. He made big plans and went to work. First, he removed the drivetrain and stripped the car to a bare shell. Then he added Cobra bumper covers, a Saleen S281 spoiler, and a Cobra R-style hood from Cervini's. He finished off the body work and had it painted. Moving onto the suspension, he installed UPR's proven Pro Series suspension in the front and rear, along with Competition Engineering struts and Lakewood shocks.

From the outset, Chris wanted a strong performer but was unwilling to sacrifice streetability so he switched things up a bit and installed a DOHC 4.6-liter Terminator long-block from Kar Kraft in Michigan. Of course, this swap required a new engine harness, computer, even a swap to the newer hydra-boost braking system in order to utilize the modular motor's power-steering pump. All of the factory engine accessories were fully integrated, including the air conditioner!

Following the street/strip theme, the Lentech AOD transmission bridges the gap between street and race by offering precise shifts, a transbrake, and an overdrive gear for comfortable street cruising. Also, it can be shifted manually or automatically using the factory shifter. Meanwhile the 9.5-inch Lentech converter stalls at 3,500 rpm, so it isn't too obnoxious in traffic.

Not long after Chris installed the drivetrain, his friend Mario Castro from Audio Interventions in nearby Estero, Florida, approached him wanting to build something special. As soon as he laid eyes on the Cobra clone he tried to buy it, but Chris was only willing to sell under one condition: once completed, the car would remain a Mustang Motorsports "shop car" meaning that Chris could continue to show and race it to promote his business. Mario agreed, and the two partnered up to finish the build.

Chris completed the project by installing a 76mm turbo kit from Hellion Power Systems. The kit uses a Sniper draw-through mass airflow sensor and a front mounted air-to-air intercooler, which feeds a Sullivan intake manifold. Chris tuned the Terminator ECU using Sniper software and the end result is outstanding. He certainly accomplished his mission of building a strong runner that is completely streetable. Unbelievably, he tossed the keys to your author. I was surprised by how easy it is to drive. You wouldn't hesitate to let Grandma drive it to bingo night, but she'd have a lot more fun with it on grudge night at the local dragstrip!

This Cobra clone made a legit 630 hp to the tire on the load-bearing dyno at Mustang Motorsports at 18 pounds of boost on pump gas. A couple of test hits at low boost yielded eighth-mile times in the 6.30s at 116 mph-and a polite request from the track officials not to bring the car back without a rollcage. Those eighth-mile times indicate 9-second potential in the quarter-mile, which is plenty stout for a full-weight street car with power steering and air conditioning.

At press time, the car was on the prowl rocking 23 psi. Most notably, the blue "Cobra" easily dispatched a certain 9-second Camaro that was recently featured in a Brand C magazine. Visit our website to see this car in action!