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2004 SVT Cobra - Flame On!
Bobby Kimbrough's SVT Cobra Breathes Fire!
The 2004 SVT Cobra you see on these pages certainly does not suffer from "barn door syndrome." Its sleek, rounded-off design was honed in the wind tunnel to be as aerodynamic and effective as Bruce Lee's punch, and Bobby Kimbrough thought it would be ideal for a flame treatment.
He took it to Richard Wright in Easley, SC, who treated the car to some House of Kolor tangerine orange fire with white outlines. There is no "bump" when you run your fingers across the transition from black to orange - a sure sign that the painter spent some seriously long nights planning and executing this job. The Mona Lisa should be so well-crafted.
"I'm a motorcycle guy," Bobby told us, "so when I picked out a black Cobra, I already had in mind some kind of orange paint scheme so it would have Harley's racing colors. I had no idea it was going to look this good!"
It takes more than a pretty paint job to get on the cover of Modified Mustangs, though, and Bobby's flamed snake does not disappoint in the hardware department.
Kelby Harris and Paul Conner of Harris Racing in Concord, NC were enlisted to create a high-horsepower street car that was reliable enough to be used as a daily driver if Bobby so chose. They began by experimenting with the centerpiece of the 2003-04 Cobra powerplant, the supercharger.
"We left the engine internals stock," Paul said, "but we played with the factory Eaton blower to find more horsepower.
"We tried different pulleys and different tuning - and we got more power out of the engine - but we were certain a 4.6-liter with dual overhead cams had more to give. Bobby gave us the go-ahead to look for that extra power."
The guys at Harris Racing swapped the Eaton for a Kenne Bell 2.2-liter model and got 580 horsepower at the rear wheels - a 200-horsepower improvement.
"That kept Bobby happy for awhile," Paul told us, "but he wanted to see just how much power could be created without modifying the engine itself. We installed a ProCharger F-1A kit, which, so far, has made him really happy."
Happiness did not come without some custom tuning and parts development, however. Belts were slipping at medium to high revs until Kelby and Paul devised an eight-rib 3.4-inch pulley setup and upgraded the blower to the F-1C heads unit. As it drove when we photographed it, Bobby's car also benefited from a K&N air filter, Accufab 120mm, single-blade throttle body and elbow, ProCharger intake manifold, Siemens DEKA 60-psi fuel injectors and twin SVT Focus fuel pumps.
Exhaust was improved by Hooker longtube headers and X-pipe, MAC mufflers and three-inch tubes. A ProCharger external race wastegate and bypass blow-off valve finish the circuit. Harris retained the stock Ford intercooler, but improved things with ProCharger tubing. The flamed Cobra runs on 110-octane fuel and flows through Mallory filters and Royal Purple synthetic 5W20 oil courses through its veins. Combustion chamber fire was maximized with NGK sparkplugs.
Tim Matherly (yes, the NMRA Real Street guy), from MV Performance in Statham, GA tuned the factory PCM with a Diablosport chip. The result - more than 700 horsepower!
Bobby feels confident the stock Cobra Tremec T-56 six-speed manual transmission can handle all that torque, but he did install a Steeda Tri-Ax shifter for shorter throws between gears. Like a lot of 1999-2004 Cobra owners, he felt the stock independent rear suspension was not up to the task of laying down 700 ponies, so he swapped an 8.8-inch live axle with Eaton differential and Moser axles with 3.73:1 gears. (We covered his IRS-to-straight axle transplant in the May '06 issue of Modified Mustangs.)