Michael Johnson
Technical Editor
August 7, 2018

When it comes to our Mustangs, if we’re not able to drive it, most of us are in a mild depression. If we’re without our Mustang for an extended time, we either have to borrow a friend’s Mustang, or buy another Mustang to get us through. In our situation, we already owned a 2001 Bullitt as a daily driver when we bought this Terminator swapped 1994 Cobra, but we also came upon a great deal on a 2003 Cobra we couldn’t pass up; so, the Bullitt went down the road to a new owner. In the meantime, we were enjoying the Cobra while waiting on our 1994 Cobra to be resurrected.

We bought the 1994 Cobra even though we knew there was a cooling system issue. We were hoping it would be a simple fix, but our luck doesn’t work that way. Turns out, not only did the engine have blown head gaskets, but the damage extended to a couple pistons, as well. MPR Racing Engines’ Tim and Tyler Eichhorn were able to get the engine back in fighting shape by cleaning up the short-block, adding new hardware from JE Pistons, and a Ford Performance oil pump with MPR billet gears before adding the cylinder heads and cams.

Once the engine was back together it was sent to Power by the Hour to get reacquainted with the car. During reinstallation the combination’s existing clutch looked a little worse for wear so a new McLeod RST clutch and flywheel were added to make sure we wouldn’t have any shifting issues. Once the car was running again, Power by the Hour worked with Blankenship Tuning and Performance to get the tune ironed out. Lee Blankenship has been tuning the car for years, and Power by the Hour specializes in Coyote tuning these days, so our best bet was to get Lee and PBH together on the tune.

MPR Racing Engines added new JE pistons and a Ford Performance oil pump with MPR billet gears to the short-block while assembling the engine, and Power by the Hour assembled the Ford Performance 2.3L supercharger and supporting hardware before putting the car back together. A JLT Performance cold air intake ties in with our Oxford White cam covers. In retrospect, perhaps white wasn’t the best choice for under the hood of a daily car, but to us an engine isn’t complete without a JLT cold air, and it does look good.

With the engine broken in and the car ready for the road, we drove it the 3 hours back home. During that drive, we noticed several things we need to refine. First, the car has dumps, which are pretty loud, and causes several interior rattles and noises. Plus, the exhaust drones like mad, and since we plan on driving the car daily, that will need to be addressed.

Second, previous to buying it, the car had more of a drag life, and therefore wore Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pros out back. The ET Street Radial Pro is basically a DOT-approved drag tire, but driving it on the street is not a popular idea, especially in the rain. Our plan is to add Mickey Thompson’s ET Street S/S, which is also DOT-approved, but more of a street tire featuring a design to battle hydroplaning while providing “excellent dry traction,” according to Mickey Thompson. The ET Street S/S features the same compound as Mickey Thompson competition-proven drag radials, but with a radial construction.

Those that have been in the Mustang game a minute might recognize our new car. David Smith originally built the car, and the build had a huge following on The Corral (www.corral.net) during its construction. We featured it in our sister publication 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords back in the October 2009 issue (http://www.mustangandfords.com/featured-vehicles/m5lp-0910-1994-cobra-mustang/). The car went through a couple owners after David, and a few mechanical changes, before landing in our laps November of 2017. Yes, David wants first crack if we ever decide to sell.

Lastly, after we refine these things, the plan is to add power. On a safe tune, the combination made 520-rwhp and 505-rwtq on 16 pounds of boost. Prior to the engine build, the combination was making 24 pounds of boost, but that was with E85 in the tank. At 24 pounds of boost and with E85, of course the combination made more power, but we plan on running the car on pump gas. Before, the Ford Performance 2.3L supercharger used a 2.75-inch pulley. To rein in the boost, a 3.25-pulley was added, arriving at 16 pounds of boost and 520-rwhp. We could add a 3.00-inch pulley for a couple more pounds of boost, and E85 or race gas to throw out some number, but why? E85 isn’t available on a large scale where we live, and it’s not like we’re going to run race gas all the time so what’s the point.

Of course, we want more power, but that plan is on the back burner until we address the aforementioned issues. Mustang Week is coming up so the tires and exhaust, and a couple other small items are up first for refining. We will have more updates as improvements are made.