Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
May 25, 2012
Photos By: Steve Turner

We often get blamed for driving people to purchase or build the Mustang of their dreams. Many times it's "our fault" that your Mustang got out of hand, or that you added that supercharger, or built engine, or custom paint, and the like.

The feeling is mutual. Feature cars that we shoot have the same affect on us. Our features often inspire more projects, and even influence our own plans. When we see cars like Adam Powers' '98 Cobra, we want to build one just like it. From the Bright Atlantic Blue, to the Terminator swap, to the chrome FR500 wheels, Adam's Cobra has the gears in our heads turning at a rapid pace.

Well, at least this author's gears. It's no real secret that the SN-95 body style isn't Tech Editor Jones' favorite. And even though Editor Turner used to own a '98 Cobra, he doesn't show any signs of adding an SN-95 to the stable anytime soon. His current stable keeps him plenty busy as it is. For now, your author is the lone SN-95 owner.

For Adam, the SN-95 was the cool car during his high school years. It was his "generation" car. "When I was in high school, the '96-'98 cars were the top dogs," Adam says, "but the problem was that at nearly $30,000, a high-school punk like me couldn't afford one."

The story of Adam's Cobra started out when pro golfer Jay Haas reportedly originally purchased the car. I know a golf bag fits in an SN-95 trunk, but evidently Jay needed room for his buddies' golf bags too, so the Cobra was trade-in fodder. That's when Adam saw it and fell in love with the car's color. At that time, Adam still couldn't afford the car, instead he bought the wrecked front bumper off Jay's car after he hit a deer. Adam had the bumper repaired and painted, adding it to his '95 GT. "This was as close as I could come to having a Cobra," Adam says.

As luck would have it, though, another Bright Atlantic Blue '98 Cobra popped up at another dealer years later. This time, Adam's wallet was ready. "I was not letting another one go," he says. The first time Adam saw a BAB Cobra, it was at a Chevy dealer; this time around, it was at a Ford dealer. What are the odds it could be the same car?

The gaps weren't filled in until he went to his parents house to give his dad a ride in the car. "On our ride, my dad asked how many of these cars were made," Adam says. Being a true Melvin, Adam promptly answered: 563 hardtops and 249 convertibles.

Adam's dad, Mark, then asked how many he had seen in person. "Two...This one and Jay Haas' old car," he responded. Adam must have let dad drive the car because on their ride Mark asked Adam to check the glovebox for any paperwork. "Lo and behold, it was all there," Adam says. Wrapped in a plastic bag was documentation that Jay Haas had purchased the car in April 1998. It was the same car.

"After all these years," Adam says, "I ended up getting the car I had always dreamed of owning." The automotive equivalent to the fat kid dating the prom queen, Adam never thought he would own the car of his dreams, but his story proves if you work hard enough, dreams do come true.

Enamored with his purchase, Adam drove the car stock for a little while, but after he had the car repainted, he decided to do a Terminator swap. The most interesting aspect is who helped Adam perform said swap. It seems Adam, who lives in Westminster, South Carolina, is good friends with the guys from Hawks Third Gen Parts in Easley, South Carolina. Uh, yeah, Hawks Third Gen Parts specializes in '82-'02 Camaro and Firebird Performance and Restoration.

Adam was tired of chasing his F-body friends; instead he wanted them to chase him. In the ultimate "if-you-can't-beat-'em, let-'em-work-on-your-car" scenario, the guys from Hawks Third Gen were instrumental in making Adam's dreams come true.

Out came the stock Four-Valve, and in its place went an '04 Cobra engine, T56 transmission, wiring harness, and computer. The '04 Cobra engine and transmission had just over 20,000 miles on them, but he didn't do just a simple swap. Adam wanted the car to look stock, but make an impact when the hood is open. The underside of the hood had to be "modified" to clear the Terminator engine, which boasts a Bright Atlantic Blue supercharger, Dragon intake, and cam covers. The cam covers also feature Terminator eyes to forewarn of the fury within.

That fury is augmented by a Stiege-meier Porting Services-ported blower with a Metco Motorsports pulley system, a Dragon plenum and throttle body, a JLT Performance cold-air intake, an Afco heat exchanger, American Racing Headers 13?4-inch long-tube headers, Hawks custom 3-inch X-shape crossover pipe, and a Magnaflow after-cat exhaust. As most know, you can sneeze on a ‘03-'04 Cobra and make 450 rwhp. The improvements Adam made to the Terminator engine resulted in 520 hp to the wheels.

Before owning this Cobra, Adam had experience with fast cars, but his Cobra is the first that features cold A/C, power steering, 22-plus mpg, and over 520 hp. "I love boost," Adam says.

Don't we all!

Horse Sense: "Special thanks to my Lord; amazing wife, Crystal; the Hawks Third Gen crew; and last but not least, my dad and hero, Mark Powers," Adam says. It seems Mark is the one who sparked Adam's Mustang madness.

5.0 Tech Specs

'98 Cobra
Engine and Drivetrain

Block '04 Cobra iron
Crankshaft '04 Cobra
Rods '04 Cobra
Pistons '04 Cobra
Camshafts '04 Cobra
Cylinder Heads '04 Cobra
Intake Manifold '04 Cobra w/ JLT Performance cold-air intake, C&L Performance meter,and Dragon single-blade throttle body
Power Adder Stiegemeier-ported Eaton supercharger w/ Metco pulleys, 2.76-in supercharger pulley,17 pounds of boost, and Afco heat exchanger
Fuel system Aviator in-tank fuel pump w/ 255-lph in-line pump, Fore Innovations fuel rails,'04 Cobra injectors modded for 60-lb/hr, and Aeromotive regulator
Exhaust American Racing Headers 1-3/4-in long-tube headers w/ Hawks custom X-shape crossover,and Magnaflow mufflers
Transmission '04 Cobra T56 w/ Ram HD clutch, Pro-5.0 shifter, and FRPP aluminum driveshaft
Rearend 8.8-in w/ 4.10 gears

Electronics
Engine management'04 Cobra PCM w/ SCT tuner
Ignition'04 Cobra w/ ACCEL coils, and NGK TR6 spark plugs
GaugesStock w/ Auto Meter

Suspension and Chassis
Front Suspension
K-member Team Z Motorsport tubular
A-arms Team Z Motorsport tubular
Struts Bilstein
Springs Team Z Motorsport coilover
Brakes Stock '98 Cobra
Wheels FR500 replicas, 18x9-in
Tires Nitto 555, 275/35-18
Rear Suspension
Shocks Bilstein
Springs H&R SS
Control Arms Stock
Brakes Stock
Wheels FR500 replica, 18x10-in
Tires Nitto 555R Extreme Drag radials, 305/35-18

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