Michael Johnson
Associate Editor, 5.0 Mustangs & Super Fords
January 1, 2013

We hate it when someone makes too much sense. We're used to hearing frivolous conversation, so when someone suggests something that makes perfect sense, we're taken aback. That's the thing about common sense, it's not that common these days. And Mustangs don't make much sense to the utilitarian buying public. Regular folks only want a car to get from Point A to Point B. To them, cars are merely an appliance, much like a dishwasher, microwave oven, or a stove.

Of course, Mustangs make perfect sense to the 5.0&SF nation. So much so that we usually have more than one, sometimes way more than one. We have one for a daily driver, then one we use sparingly, and then one that serves duty as a race vehicle. Ultimately the gray area between each Mustang gets more and more gray each day. We can't ever leave well enough alone, and our daily drivers become cars we don't want to drive every day, creating a quandry. Of course, you have to decide what you really want. For Louisville, Kentucky's Josh Besore, he took a little friendly advice to help him see the forest through the trees.

First off, Josh was always drawn to cars and loved helping his dad in the garage. The interesting thing is Josh was raised around Corvettes. "I remember as a kid helping my dad restore his '70 Corvette," Josh says, "and to this day I still have the scar on my head to prove it." Fortunately, Josh smartened up with his first car, which was a Ford product ... kinda. Josh's first ride was a Merkur XR4Ti with a turbocharged 2.3 combination. In Josh's eyes, the little German Ford was the perfect first car. "It fed my constant addiction of hearing a turbo spool, but I had the bug for more power," Josh says.

Around this time Josh's best friend, Gary Franconia, was rockin' a transformed '98 GT. Gary had turned the GT into a Saleen S351 clone. "I'll never forget his ride," Josh says. At this point,Gary passed on a bad case of Mustang fever. Josh was able to track down a bone-stock '94 GT with a bent shift fork. As soon as the bent shift fork was fixed, Josh went mod-crazy on the car, installing "almost every bolt-on, including nitrous," he says. Josh says after the bolt-ons, the '94 ran strong, but as is the case with every 'Stangbanger, it just wasn't enough--he needed more. Unfortunately, his friend Gary (to whom he dedicates this car's new-found fame) was killed in a car accident, which shook Josh. With that life-changing event, Josh threw caution to the wind, adding an '04 Lightning to his stable. The Lightning was identical to the one his friend Gary had owned.

Not long after Josh's new purchase, the modifications began. "It responded well and was a 12-second truck, but I was at the limit of the stock rods in the 5.4," Josh explained. Evidently, Josh had a few vehicles in his stable, and keeping them all running fast was a full-time job. "From this point on, I can thank Jesse Humbles for what happened next," Josh says. Let's pause right here for a second. We know Jesse Humbles, as his LX has been featured on these pages before. We're hard-pressed to believe Jesse actually made a statement making sense because he's usually a goofball like us. However, even we make sense from time to time, so it happens to the best of us.

"I'll never forget standing in Jesse's garage, wrenching on cars of course, and he asked me a simple question: ‘Why not sell all the cars you have, stop trying to make them all stupid fast, and focus on only one?'" With Jesse's enlightening statement, a light bulb appeared above Josh's head, and it lit up a vision of owning an '03-'04 Cobra. Of course, the Terminator light bulb comes on in our head on a daily basis. Our rock-star salary doesn't exactly enable stepping into a Terminator as of yet, but by selling off all of his vehicles, Josh had the wherewithal to make it happen.

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What Josh searched after was an unmolested Cobra. He didn't want someone else's headache, and he wanted to make sure any mods the car already had were installed correctly. That theory flew out the window when he found a Cobra boasting the exact mods he would've installed, and it was owned by a perfectionist like himself. Previous owner Brad Birri had already done the hard work, and he'd done it right. "When I found this Cobra and test drove it...I was in love and had to have it," Josh says.

Since Brad was a stickler too, Josh didn't have to do much after he purchased the Cobra. All he did was add CCW Classic wheels, and replace the IRS bushings and rear differential. Josh also had Lee Blankenship from Blankenship Tuning go over the tune, helping the Cobra pound out 612 hp and 658 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. The Cobra ran really well, a best of 10.81 at 132 mph on 18-inch drag radials, but he wanted to see what it would on big 'n littles and slicks. However, there's not a track owner alive that doesn't know what a modified '03-'04 Cobra will run with slicks, and since the car is sans rollcage, none of his local tracks would let him run.

Therein lies the predicament every Mustang owner faces. Josh's Cobra is fast enough to warrant a rollcage, but he's torn on going that route. As you can see, the Cobra is really nice, and he hasn't been able to come to grips with adding a cage to the car. That doesn't mean the Cobra's done...not by any stretch of the imagination. Josh has plans for an engine build, a fuel system upgrade, and a solid-axle swap. "Then let the thing eat!"

Horse Sense: Josh's feature is Vincent Peete's first to appear on these pages. We hope to bring you more of Vincent's work in future issues, right Vinny?

The Cobra's Dark Charcoal interior is largely stock, save for well-placed gauges to help keep track of air/fuel. A Dynojet Wideband Commander lets Josh know if the Cobra is getting the proper amount of air and fuel to arrive at the most power possible, while a boost overlay mod allows the factory boost gauge to go to 23 pounds of boost. The recipe for a 600-plus-horsepower Cobra is tried and true. In Josh's case, his Cobra features a Whipple 2.3-liter supercharger with a Accufab single-blade throttle-body, an SCT BA2400 mass air, Siemens Deka 60-lb/hr fuel injectors, a Metco Motorsports 4-pound lower pulley, a Whipple 3-inch upper pulley, an Xtreme Heat Exchanger, and 23 pounds of boost. With the increased incoming air, exhaust upgrades like Bassani Mid-Length headers with a corresponding X-shape crossover pipe, and a Borla Cat-Back, the air exits as fast as it enters the supercharged Four-Valve. Blankenship Tuning put the car on its rollers to the tune of 612 hp and 658-lb-ft of torque.

5.0 Tech Specs

Engine and Drivetrain

  • Block
  • Stock iron
  • Crankshaft
  • Stock
  • Rods
  • Stock
  • Pistons
  • Stock
  • Camshafts
  • Stock
  • Cylinder heads
  • Stock
  • Intake manifold
  • Stock, Accufab single-blade throttle body, SCT BA2400 meter
  • Power Adder
  • Whipple .3-liter supercharger w/ 23 pounds of boost, Metco 4-pound lower pulley, Whipple 3-in blower pulley, and Xtreme Heat Exchanger
  • Fuel system
  • Stock tank and pump w/ Earl's Pro Lite fuel lines, Siemens Deka 60-lb/hr injectors, and Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump
  • exhaust
  • Bassani Mid-Length headers w/ Bassani X-shape crossover pipe, and Borla Stinge after-cat
  • Transmission
  • Stock T56 w/ 26-spline input shaft, Fidanza aluminu flywheel, Centerforce Light Metal clutch disc, Centerforce Dual Friction pressure plate, and Steeda Autosports Tri-Ax shifter
  • Rearend
  • Stock IRS w/ Billetflow/Zone 5 IRS brace, 3.55 gears, and Driveshaft Shop Level 2 axles

Electronics

  • Engine management
  • Stock computer w/ Blankenship Tuning SCT tune
  • Ignition
  • Stock w/ NGK plugs
  • Gauges
  • Stock w/ Dynojet Wideband Commander and Boost overlay mod

Suspension and Chassis

  • Front suspension
  • K-member
  • Stock
  • A-arms
  • Stock
  • Struts
  • Stock Bilstein
  • Springs
  • H&R Super Sport
  • Brakes
  • Stock, SLP Brake-Control package
  • Wheels
  • CCW Classic three-piece, 18x9.5-in
  • Tires
  • BFGoodrich KDW 2 275/35-18
  • Rear suspension
  • Shocks
  • Stock Bilstein
  • Springs
  • H&R Super Sport
  • Control Arms
  • IRS w/ Delrin differential bushings and aluminum front-differential-mount bushings
  • Brakes
  • Stock
  • Wheels
  • CCW Classic three-piece, 18x11-in
  • Tires
  • BFGoodrich drag radials 315/30-18

'04 Cobra