Eddie Rios' 2000 Mustang GT/Cobra
We first bumped into Eddie Rios at the SEMA show in 2005. He told us about a very fast street car he'd just put together. "If you want to see something cool, you guys should check out my car," he said, with a glint in his eye. Now I'll personally admit that initially at least we weren't prepared for just how mind bending this ride of his actually was. At first glance, Eddie's latest toy appeared to be an Oxford White 2003 Cobra with a turbocharged combo under the hood. Well actually it turns out, this car is a good deal more than that, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here - as you can imagine this latest Mustang is just one in a string of high performance cars the 26-year-old Rios has owned.
"My first was a 1985 Mustang GT. I was always around my grandfather when I was a kid and would help him working on his cars - I did stuff like brake overhauls, that kind of thing. When I was old enough I got my first car [the '85] and started working on that. I'll admit that I used to go to the street races, that was how I caught the modifying bug." A truck later followed the four-eyed Pony and after that, Eddie crossed the tracks and bought himself an LS1 powered Camaro and sprayed the heck out of it. A slippery slope no doubt, but before he fell down too far, the owner of his then new place of work, Earl's Automotive grabbed his hand and yanked him back into the sunlight. "I remember he told me," relates Rios, "he said, you have to stop playing with Camaros, you need a real car - so he actually went out and bought me a Mustang - since that time all I've had is Mustangs." Phew!
As for his current pet project, well that came about a couple of years ago when Eddie was looking to build a drag car. "I had a whole stash of race parts that I'd gotten a hold of and I started looking for a donor vehicle which I could strip and then turn into a race car, using a lot of these parts." Being the forward thinking lad he is, Rios naturally thought a V6 SN95 would be a great starting point. "That's what I was originally looking for - a cheap used, V6." However, when a good running, super clean 2000 GT came his way, those plans started to change. "I came across this GT. It was owned by a producer in Hollywood. It had high miles, because he drove it a lot, but it was really clean and well maintained." At a price that was simply too good to pass up, Eddie just had to buy the car. "Once I had this [GT] I realized that it was just too clean to gut completely and turn into a race car - so I decided to sell off all the race parts I had and set my sights on building a killer street car."
With those parts now gone, Eddie started collecting 2003-04 Cobra bits, but hit pay dirt one day when he came across a written-off '03 snake. "I found this one - it had been totalled in an accident, but it made for the perfect donor vehicle, so I purchased it and took everything I could out of it." The plan from this point forward, was to combine the 2000 GT, with the salvageable bits from the '03 and build a hybrid street monster, but in order to that, Rios decided that the GT should be taken apart and sent to the body shop for some fresh paint. "I wanted to paint it Oxford White, it's all business and it doesn't scream look at me." With the paint dried and now able to reflect nuclear energy, Rios had it back and the melding of the two vehicles began. "I started putting it all together. I used the '03 Cobra wiring harness, the entire fuel system and interior - a lot of it was plug n' play so that helped." When it came to the engine and driveline however, Eddie wanted a little more than an Eaton roots blower and a six-speed. The engine remained largely stock, though the stock blower was yanked and put up for sale on eBay, plus Rios had Valley Cylinder Heads do, well the heads.