Shelby Cox
November 1, 2002

The concept of the flame paint job was started by rodders and drag racers in the '50s. The idea quickly caught on with the youth of the time, turning neighborhood garages into body shops overnight-and custom paint was born.

Custom paint has evolved with advanced computer graphics; now complete murals grace the metal and fiberglass of some great automobiles. Even so, the "flame job" still remains one of the most popular paint schemes today. Take, for example, Bob Shumaker's '94 Cobra. Bob went back to his drag-racing roots with modifications to this fired-up Mustang.

He came across his snake in the local Indiana Auto Trader. "The body, black interior, 302 engine, and running gear were in good condition," he said, "but the black paint was in bad shape, lots of deep scratches." He took it upon himself to bring the stock 5.0 engine, interior, and undercarriage back to life with a good cleaning and tune-up. He added a few touches of his own with BBK shorty headers, BBK cold-air fit, BBK H-pipe, and Flowmaster mufflers and tips. The five-speed also got an extra punch with a Steeda Tri-ax shifter. Mike Federspiel, owner of Mike's Body Shop in Roanoke, Indiana, installed a Cervinis Cobra R hood to give the Mustang a racer look.

With the car clean and slightly modified, it was ready for a special touch. Tiffany Lesser, owner of Sunshine Design in Auburn, Indiana, was the artist of choice. A lot of detail went into the addition of the flames and a cobra design hidden on the underside of the hood. On the rear bumper, the addition of "SNAKE BITE," with a cobra nestled under the license plate, tells prospective racers to watch out for this Mustang. As a final touch, Bob included a set of Bullitt wheels to give the car a little showier look.

Being the president of the Crazy Horse Mustang Club, Bob and his wife take the '94 Mustang to many shows. They are also owners of a '95 Laser Red GT and a 2000 GT, which is their daily driver.

"When Ford announced the '03 supercharger Cobra with all the goodies, I thought about selling one of my cars," Bob said. "I decided that showing a car you bought wouldn't be nearly as much fun as showing one you built."

After seeing what Bob can do with a Mustang, we agree with that decision. He has picked up a Powerdyne supercharger for the '94 Cobra that will make this snake's bite as venomous as it looks. Markle, Indiana, better be prepared for fast times with this snake charmer.