Vinnie The Hitman
January 1, 2008

For many years we've heard what people have had to say about their Mustangs. It's usually the same old story of how boy meets car, boy races car, boy rebuilds engine, boy races car again, and they live happily ever after.

In this particular instance, however, things get twisted around as we were lucky enough to find a '98 SVT Mustang Cobra that was willing to talk to us about its owner. Here, Rick Mettie of Luna Pier, Michigan, is put on the hot seat as his Cobra does all the talking. Say what?

It's true, even though Rick bought his car brand spankin' new and has taken incredible care of his prized SVT snake, it still has a slight attitude problem. As a matter of fact, before we went into the interview, we heard that this particular stallion is a bit on the aggressive side, so we cautiously asked questions. Listen along and see what it has to say. Afterwards, you may wonder, what would your muscle Mustang or fast Ford say if it could talk?

MM&FF: We hear that you're the baddest Cobra on the road. Tell us about yourself. Do you have a name?

'98 Cobra: My lineage is long. My forefathers roamed the planet in the summer of 1964 and they attacked dragstrips, beat up those punk-ass Camaros, and became the gold standard to what is known today as the ponycar. I was the brainchild of a group of SVT marketers and Ford Racing engineers. Named Cobra, I was born from synthesized plastics, steel, and cast aluminum. But I prefer to be called Snake.

MM&FF: Thanks for the history lesson. So, Mr. Snake, tell us how life started for you.

'98 Cobra: First off, my name is Snake, not Mister or Uncle Snake, just Snake. Get it straight, smartypants.

MM&FF: Um, sorry about that. So anyhow, Snake, tell us about the day you rolled off the assembly line.

Snake: I was one of the lucky few that came down the line in one of the new '98 colors. Aside from Chrome Yellow, everyone wanted to be just like me. Some wound up being Oxford White and others were born Laser Red, but I'm Bright Atlantic Blue. I couldn't wait until they finally put on my five-spoke 17x8s; the tires were bald the moment they hit the ground. Hey, you hungry?

MM&FF: No, but we'd like to know more about how you became what you are today. When did you get on the road and develop your, shall we say, persona?

Snake: I finally got my break on September 18, 1998, when Rick Mettie picked me up from the dealership. He liked me for my color, which I don't blame him for, and we soon started playing with some bolt-ons. Twelves came with ease, but I was tired of that stuff, and I told Rick we had to step up with some more muscle. I was tired of losing to the '03 Cobras. They think they're hot stuff with all that power from the factory.

MM&FF: So what did Rick do?

Snake: What are you-blind, deaf, dumb, or all three? Just look at me, can't you tell? I'm all about the dragstrip, so the first thing I had him do was add more power and set me up for the 1,320. We got a blower and bought some new tires. I have no idea how much it cost because Rick paid for it all. Now I have 520 hp and 426 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. The Mickey Thompson ET Streets have allowed me to crank out 1.50 60-footers!

MM&FF: What's the key to all your power?

Snake: It all comes down to the combo and tune. Since I didn't want a heart transplant, I still have my stock 32-valve 4.6 in place. It's completely stock and with that S-Trim Vortech, making 12 pounds of boost, I only trust Lidio Iacobelli with my tune. Everyone else can kiss off.

MM&FF: We know you have all this muscle; do you have chicken legs?

Snake: Heck no. I've got beef down low as well with a Tremec TKO and an 8.8 with 4.30s and a set of 31-spline Mosers. Hey, why are you looking at my rear?

MM&FF: We were just checking it out. Sorry. Anyhow, what's it like going down the track?

Snake: It takes only 10.97 seconds to run 128.65 mph, that's what it's like. What else do you want to know?

MM&FF: Well, with all of these mods and 10-second timeslips, what was required to make it all happen?

Snake: After we started making power, it was time for suspension mods. In front, we ditched that stupid stock crossmember and swapped in a D&D tubular unit with a coilover conversion. Some 90/10s and 50/50s round out the legs, and Chassis Engineering lower control arms work with Southside uppers to keep my tail in line. Hey, I told you to stop looking at my rear.

MM&FF: Sorry, we couldn't help but notice that you keep talking about it. Hey, are those Weld ProStars?

Snake: Yeah. Got these in 15x8.5. You know what they say about cars with big feet don't you?

MM&FF: Yeah, they have big tires.

Snake: Exactly. Those are 12.5-inch M/T ET Streets in back. In front, I swapped out my 13-inch front brakes and had Rick put in stock '99 GT brakes with those fancy aluminum calipers. This way, I could put on the skinnies. I think in the end, I dropped about 200 pounds, without Atkins or calling Jenny Craig, either.

MM&FF: So when it's time to flex your muscles, where do you go and what class do you race in?

Snake: I like the MM&FF True Street events. It's mainly because I can find other cars like me that get driven on the street to and from the events. I get to lay down the numbers, and Rick and I still get home with the A/C on. Michigan can get pretty hot in the summer. I think it's called lake-effect heat or something like that.

MM&FF: I think you're confusing it with lake-effect snow.

Snake: What's snow?

MM&FF: I guess you'd never know, being pampered with only 31,000 miles on the clock. So what are your plans for next year?

Snake: Well, we're in the 10s now, so we're pretty happy with the performance. As for the exterior, I told Rick not to lay a finger on my original paint, so we're staying blue for now. Maybe we'll start playing with cams, but other than that, it's all good in the neighborhood.

MM&FF: Thanks for your time. Want to get something to eat?

Snake: Well, it's about damn time this is over. Where's the nearest Firebird buffet? Your treat, right?

MM&FF: Sure, we'll just go to the track. You can eat all you want.