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2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra - Intimidating Terminator
Craig Smith's Fiery '04 SVT Cobra gives poweradders a whole new meaning.
They have a menacing stock stance—that aggressive look that Stang enthusiasts envy and often imitate.
Terminators were packed with loads of factory goodness, and with only a few aftermarket parts, you can own a real street or track killer. Adding parts to make insane power is also doable thanks to the forged internals. And Craig Smith's Snake is no imitator—actually, it's more of an intimidator.
Acquiring this particular Snake didn't come easy for Craig, a 67-year-old retired electrical powerplant technician from Jacksonville, Florida. His search started in 2005, right when Terminators went out of production and were extremely hard to come by. "I didn't want a white, green, or blue one. It had to be black," says Craig. His lucky break came when a Texas couple put one up for auction on eBay—a barely broken-in Ebony Black Cobra with just 800 miles on the odometer.
After forking over $31,000 for his Mustang, the mods started. "My original concept was to build an automatic-equipped, 1,000-rwhp, 9-second car, but also have it be a street sleeper," he tells us. But of course, the flames give it away. "The only stock thing is the body [save for the flames] and so it is sort of a sleeper." And he's right. When you first see the Snake, you see a custom paint job—but you have to wonder if there is any more to it.
And this SVT Stang is packing some serious heat with ball-bearing Hellion 61mm precision twin turbos and a 2.4L Kenne Bell supercharger, connected to a 298ci Teskid Aluminum mod block built by Al Pappito from Boss 330 Racing. The mod mill sports a Kellog crank and Manley rotating assembly, and a 7-quart pan from Canton. It also benefits from Comp Cams cams and port work by Champion Racing Heads. It's intercooled and aftercooled, with the 11-gallon intercooler tank mounted inside of the trunk, and if that wasn't enough, he added a little single-shot of nitrous. "I wanted every power-adder available," Craig says.
With about $115,000 dollars invested, this Cobra is worth a pretty penny, and a lot of that is just in the engine and transmission. "If you want power, you have to pay for it. That's all there is to it," Craig states. That's his way of thinking when it comes to performance.
The Tru-fire blue flames by Visual FX coming off of the wheelwells and foglight housings grabs you. The paint fits the car perfectly considering the amount of power it's capable of putting out. We wonder, is Craig fooling anyone by keeping the Cobra wheels, hood, and body to maintain that sleeper look? "It's rather quiet inside the car," says Craig, "Well, until you really step on it and hear the turbos whine."
Due to health setbacks, Craig swapped the six-speed manual for a 4R70W automatic transmission connected to a 3,400-rpm stall converter and a modified aluminum driveshaft, a swap that was featured here in MM&FF back in our Jan. '08 issue. "I probably lost about $150 burning rubber that day," he says, laughing. He notes that he wanted to keep the independent rear suspension using Level 5 half-shafts to prove that a solid axle isn't always the way to go.
With the Cobra ready to rock, Tony Gonyon at Tuners Inc. dialed in the combo using SCT Software and made the power come together smoothly—well, as smooth as 1,000 hp can be. The Cobra rides on a suspension from UPR, with Bilstein dampers and 3.73 gears in the 8.8. Other important parts include an Accufab Big Mouth TB, 96-lb/hr injectors, Dynomax X-style mid-pipe and 3-inch exhaust, and a bunch of goods from Hurricane Performance.
The interior doesn't lack any attention to detail either. The gauges are custom, and it has matching Tru-fire flame touches throughout the black interior to match the exterior. The seats are custom black leather with blue cloth inserts running down the middle. Framing the interior is the six-point rollbar and harnesses, so he can now race "whenever and wherever he wants."
While the Cobra has yet to visit a track with the new engine, it did clock a best time of 10.37 at 132 miles per hour with the stock long-block. The stock motor was capable of 634 hp, but with a new aluminum heart, this Cobra can put out 1,014 rwhp and 826 lb-ft of torque. You can bet if all goes well next time, this fiery Cobra will hit the 9s—just as Craig wanted from the beginning.