Jeff Ford
March 1, 2000

Step By Step

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P91486_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_Cobra Front_Driver_SideP91490_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_Cobra InteriorP91491_large 1996_Ford_Mustang_Cobra EngineP91492_small 1996_Ford_Mustang_Cobra Wheel0

We aren't sure if a Cobra falls into the area of having hidden modifications. After all, it's a Cobra--a burly SVT mutation of a Mustang that can do things no normal steel Ford can do. As with all good comic book stories, the Cobra was once a mild-mannered Mustang that was transformed into something more than a Mustang--a romping, stomping, car-eating machine, on the side of good of course. It's a Mustang comic book superhero that you can reach out and touch--if you will--except this one rolls around wearing its subtle costume all day. As with many of its comic book counterparts, the Cobra hides its identity behind a Brooks Brothers suit with the barest hint of its potential marked out on the body.

However, in the world of SVT superheroes, there is something about this black Cobra that stirs us to greater heights and makes us desire it to do more and bigger feats than the average Cobra superhero. Perhaps it is that cape, uh, wing that Steve Saleen crafted for his cars that is stuck on the back. It could be the 3.73 locking rear gears or the Pro 5.0 shifter or one of the other bazillion things that have been added to the car by Street Performance of Houston, Texas. Of course, it could be due to the blinding chrome engine that has had many of its detachable parts plated by Airline Chrome also of Houston. The mod-motored '96 is stuffed with the magical 32-valve 289--that's right, 289. When bored 0.020 over, the 281 (or 4.6) becomes what it was and more. Also present is the now ubiquitous Vortech supercharger as well as all the electronics that go to make these engines run well on a huffer. There are other components that make the engine a gargantuan performer, but listing them would take up the two pages we have for the story with no room for more. Guess that's the way of things with superheroes.

All the superpowers--listed or not--conspire to make us want to grab the wheel and take out some obnoxious propeller head packed into a Honda RX and buzzing through traffic thinking that he is "the man" in his stoked-up, nitrous-injected four-banger. Moohahahahaha...sorry--we got carried away with the power. And boy, is there power here. Were this a bizarro superhero bent on evil, it could wreak havoc on the local population. Thankfully, it is owned by an easygoing fellow named Rob Hamilton of Houston. 'Tis well that Rob can control himself and not go about wantonly crushing the competition on the streets, because he could if he wanted to. Rob is content to use his Cobra's superpowers for good--that being the daily grind of traffic in Houston and the odd weekend (legal) drag race. Still there must be something awesome about just knowing that under that black hood between those shock towers is a beast with powers to spare and a will to use them--for good, of course.