Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
September 1, 2011

Keith Craft machined a Shelby aluminum block, shaving some 80 pounds off the front end in the process, and stuffed it with a 526ci rotating assembly-it's twisted the engine dyno to a stunning 840 hp at 7,100 rpm, and more than 700 lb-ft of torque. With a 14:1 compression ratio, we're certain it crackles through the exhaust nicely, while burning the Sunoco Maximal race fuel. In this form, the Cobra Jet has run a best of 9.90 at 138 mph in the quarter-mile. This included a 60-foot time of 1.36 on the back tires at Bandimere Speedway, on a day where the corrected altitude was 9,400 feet above sea level. At sea level, the car would be flirting with the 8-second zone!

Unfortunately, Bob's father passed away before he could go a for a ride in the car, so Bob keeps a picture of him in it so that he would be going for a ride every time Bob drove or raced it. There's also a picture of Bob's twin daughters who "changed my life in every way."

"I would like to thank my dad, Mike Lupfer for an awesome chassis, my buddy Keith for always being there for help, and the special ladies in my life-Andrea, my wife, and my awesome little girls, Danielle and Brianna."

Bob runs the Cobra Jet at the track about 12 times a year, and occasionally drives it on the street when he has "one of those days when you need to relieve some stress." The Mustang has so far met his every goal, though friends do occasionally tease him about adding some nitrous to it. Bob has also wanted a '70-'72 Maverick since he was little, too. That could be an even tougher quest than the ultimate Cobra Jet.

The Details

Robert Smith's '68-1/2 Mustang Cobra Jet

  • 526ci FE built by Keith Craft Racing (Arkadelphia, Arkansas)
  • Shelby aluminum block
  • Scat billet steel knife-edged crank
  • 4.375-inch bore
  • 4.375-inch stroke
  • Oliver 6.700-inch Billet rods
  • JE forged aluminum pistons, 14:1 compression ratio
  • Comp Cams solid roller camshaft, advertised duration 292 degrees, 0.786-inch lift
  • Jesel 0.904 lifters
  • Comp Cams pushrods
  • Danny Bee beltdrive
  • Keith Craft CNC-ported Edelbrock Performer RPM FE heads (NHRA version), Comp Cams triple valvesprings, Stealth Titanium valves, 2.30-inch intake/1.73-inch exhaust, T+D 1.76:1 shaft rockers
  • Dove single-plane intake, ported
  • Quick Fuel Technologies 1,150-cfm Dominator
  • Moroso valve covers; MSD crank trigger ignition, billet distributor, 8.5 wires, and coil; Meziere water pump, engine plate, and mid plate


  • Jerico DR4 four-speed manual with 3.05 First gear
  • Lakewood scattershield
  • McLeod Soft-Lok clutch
  • Long pistol-grip Vertical gate shifter


  • Mark Williams 9-inch rear, driveshaft, and aluminum third member with spool
  • 35-spline gun-drilled axles
  • 5.14 Richmond Pro Gears


  • Tubular stepped headers built by Mike Lupfer, 2-1/8, 2-1/4, 2-3/8-inch primary tube steps, 4-inch collectors, 4-inch X-style midpipe to Borla XR1 mufflers


  • Front: Koni 90/10 shocks, Moroso trick springs
  • Rear: Mike Lupfer-built four-link suspension, notched rear framerails for mini-tubs, AFCO double-adjustable coilover shocks


  • Front: Wilwood disc, 11.65-inch vented rotors, four-piston calipers
  • Rear: Wilwood disc, 10.5-inch vented rotors, four-piston calipers


  • Front: American Racing Trakstar, billet aluminum, 15x3.5, 1-3/4-inch backspacing
  • Rear: American Racing Trakstar, billet aluminum, 15x11, 5-inch backspacing


  • Front: Mickey Thompson E/T Drag, 27.5x4.5
  • Rear: Mickey Thompson E/T Drag, 29.5x10.5W


  • Factory black door panels, dashboard, and carpet; Kirkey aluminum seats; Grant GT steering wheel; Auto Meter tach, water temp, fuel, and oil pressure gauges; window net; and Simpson five-point harnesses


  • Single-stage Wimbledon White paint, Glasstek 4-inch cowl induction-style hood, Simpson parachute

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