Tommy Lee Byrd
October 25, 2010

By now, just about everyone has purchased something off the internet, or more specifically, eBay. There are good sellers and bad sellers, but one thing is for certain: there are some great deals out there.

Either way, buying a complete car on eBay is perfectly fine, but it's always a good idea to at least inspect the car and take it down the road before handing over the greenbacks. For Gordon, Georgia-resident Jay Hawthorne, this lesson was learned the hard way when he purchased this '04 Cobra and wasn't exactly pleased with it.

Upon the car's arrival, Jay hopped in and drove it a few miles, only to run into problems immediately. The car was advertised as a race-ready, proven combination, but it was running poorly, so he turned around and headed home. Jay contacted the guys at Injected Engineering to diagnose the Cobra's problem and repair a few other minor issues. He felt confident in the shop since he'd worked with the staff on a previous project. Once the car arrived at Injected Engineering, the plan was to dial in the tune, but Jay's mindset quickly changed.

"I realized this car would never be what I wanted unless it was perfect, and my definition of perfect turned into having the entire car rebuilt by Injected Engineering." It was over a year until the car was finished, as Jay kept adding parts and modifications to the task list, but the finished product is definitely a fine machine.

Since the engine was the main concern, that's where the crew started the buildup. The 4.6L mod motor retains its original displacement, as well as its original crankshaft and connecting rods. A set of CP forged pistons provides a 9.0:1 compression ratio, but that's the only modification you'll find inside the block. The cylinder heads are stock with a set of Crower custom-grind camshafts, to better suit the new combination. Atop the engine is a polished Whipple 3.4L supercharger, which is the secret to the car's 751 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

To prepare for massive quantities of boost, Jay upgraded the fuel system with a Magnafuel Pro Tuner 750 fuel pump and a set of FRPP 80-pound injectors, so it doesn't take long for the Cobra to drink a tank of VP Q16. The transmission is a 4R70W, built by Injected Engineering with a Lentech manual valve body and transbrake, while power application is controlled by a PI multi-disc, 2,800-rpm torque converter.

Even though Jay's Cobra weighs in at a hefty 3,625 pounds, several measures were taken to reduce the car's weight, including a UPR tubular K-member and control arm set, and QA1 coilovers. The lighter components offset the additional weight of the UPR subframe connectors and the rollcage, built by Bell Chassisworks. The rollcage is an eight-point design, constructed of chrome-moly tubing for weight savings compared to mild steel. There's no doubt the Holeshot Sun Star wheels help shed a few pounds as well, measuring 15x4 inches up front and 15x10 inches out back. The black-centered wheels are wrapped in Mickey Thompson radials all around, with 325/50R15 ET Street Radials out back for plenty of traction.

With massive power, the stock IRS wouldn't hold up well, so a straight axle was swapped in and modified to handle the abuse. The 8.8 rearend features a Detroit Locker, a pair of Moser 31-spline axles, and a 3.55 gear set. For rear suspension, Jay relies on a set of UPR adjustable control arms, while the stock springs and QA1 shocks work hard to keep the radials firmly planted.

So far, the best track times for Jay's Cobra have been at Atlanta Dragway, where it ran a 9.98 blasting through the traps at 135 mph. After experiencing violent launches, Jay is considering an antiroll bar to knock that e.t.'s down even further, but it's certainly a crowd-pleaser with its twisted-up wheelstands.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

For the interior, Jay replaced the original seats with a set of Corbeau racing buckets, complete with Impact Racing harnesses. He then added a Grant quick-disconnect steering wheel and a selection of Auto Meter gauges to monitor the supercharged mod motor. All of the other interior components are stock, including the original stereo system.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Externally, the '04 Cobra body has most of its original features, but Jay decided to add a carbon-fiber hood to give it a little character. He had Jason Duggar at Performance Automotive paint the hood edges to match the original Competition Orange paint, leaving the raw carbon fiber in the center for a nice detail; Jason then clearcoated the hood and buffed it to match the original finish. The car was finished October 31, 2009, which is a nice match to this car's orange and black theme.

Buying the car sight unseen didn't work out well for Jay, but with hard work, the car went from barely running to 9-second e.t.'s. Over a year later, Jay Hawthorne finally has a car that he can call "perfect." Now Jay's biggest concern is having fun behind the wheel, and we'd say that's an easy task with 750 hp available at his right foot.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery