Jim Smart
August 1, 2001
Photos By: Randy Lorentzen

We're convinced John was playing it cautious with his numbers-matching GT500KR because his quarter-mile times weren't what we expected. And who can blame him? No one wants to throw away a cross-ventilated, numbers-matching Cobra Jet block because he overdid it. John took the conservative approach, which was disappointing for us but certainly understandable, considering what he could lose with a blown engine. We're also not completely convinced his engine was in an ideal state of tune for drag racing anyway. Here's what happened on the track.

Time Slips
  '68 GT500KR '99 SVT Cobra
Run No. 1: 15.610 at 92.14 mph 14.572 at 97.30 mph
Run No. 2: 15.536 at 91.33 mph 14.574 at 97.95 mph
Run No. 3: 15.451 at 91.36 mph 14.545 at 98.74 mph

'98 Cobra
We had an adrenaline rush when Pat rolled up in his '99 Cobra. It's a dazzling Red with charcoal leather inside. Only 733 others were built like it out of a total of 4,040 units. The throatiness of his revised SVT dual exhaust system yields the deep burble of a high-tech, dual overhead-cam V-8 we call the "Mod Motor." This 320hp engine has a 6,800-rpm redline and will rocket the body to 100 mph in just 13 seconds in proper tune.

Call the '99 SVT Cobra a battle wagon for just about any arena because it does nearly everything so well. For the daily commute, it's unbeatable because it offers you power, a fun-to-shift Tremec five-speed, solid handling and braking, air conditioning, Ford's Mach 460 sound system, rich leather appointments, and a host of other nice features. Although the Cobra really isn't designed to be a drag car, it will drag race with the best of 'em, turning in an easy 14-second quarter-mile e.t. On the road course, it will leave you behind, then come up behind you right away, even if you're driving as best you can.

Call the '99 Cobra one of the best factory-produced Mustangs ever. Why? Solid construction with exceptional road manners. At the wheel, you feel confident knowing the FOX-4 platform with fully independent suspension is the most forgiving Mustang ever. That "new edge" styling makes the soft, rounded '94-'98 Mustang concept just downright sexy. The breed became macho in 1999 when the SVT took that "new edge" look and gave it hair everywhere, including the underarms. The 4.6L DOHC modular V-8 is the most high-tech Mustang V-8 engine ever.

'68 Shelby GT500KR
The Acapulco Blue '68 Shelby GT500KR fastback is 1 of just 933 produced by Ford Motor Company's Metuchen, New Jersey, plant and the A.O. Smith Company in Ionia, Michigan. All '68 GT350, GT500, and GT500KR Shelby Mustangs were produced there, then shipped to dealers around the world.

When you study the '68 Shelby Mustang, it looks sexier than the '99 Mustang Cobra we were just talking about. In a crowd, the Shelby will turn heads and draw car buffs faster than the Cobra. Why? Because the Shelby enjoys that slippery, elongated look so popular in the '60s. The sculptured fiberglass fascia gently divides the air at speed. Air is then carried over the buttery fastback roofline to the rear deck spoiler that keeps a luscious fanny centered on the open road. Shelby's stylists understood what a success six taillamps and a sculptured tailpanel would be, and they have been proven winners for more than three decades.

Inside, Ford did a magnificent job with the Interior Decor Group for 1968: rich woodgrain, dual-pod instrumentation, Shelby-specific custom console with gauges, molded door panels with pull handles and courtesy lamps, a fold-down rear seat, groovy bucket seats, and more.