With the Woodward Dream Cruise’s weekend of honoring all things automotive in full swing, Ford debuted its 2018 Mustang Cobra Jet, which it teased this past April. The nostalgia in the air was thicker than the Hoosier drag-racing slicks at the ends 0f the Cobra Jet’s 9.0-inch rear axle. The first Cobra Jet came out 50 years ago, dominating the famed NHRA Winternationals that year, and cementing its name in the heads of drag racers for generations to come. Or maybe it’s just all the unburned hydrocarbons hovering around M-1 between Ferndale and Pontiac, Michigan, that has us reminiscing over the Cobra Jet name.
Either way, the new Cobra Jet is the latest in a line of turn-key, track-only racers Ford sells for those looking to go a quarter mile as quick as possible. Ford won’t say exactly how much horsepower it’s new drag-race special makes, but it says that the car will run a quarter-mile in the mid-eight-second range. So, even if that’s an 8.6-second pass at more than 150 mph, odds are the Coyote-based engine makes close to 1000 horsepower.
To make all that power, Ford increased the engine's displacement from 5.0 liters to 5.2, strengthened its internals, and dropped a Whipple supercharger into the valley. The twin-screw blower displaces 3.0 liters of air for every rotation (that's about 13 percent more volume than the roots-type pump on the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1). Unlike the independent rear suspension found in street-going Mustangs, this car has a live rear axle supplied by Strange Engineering and it’s located by four links and a Panhard rod. The suspension features ride-height adjusters and the disc brakes are designed to minimize drag. A parachute is fitted to arrest the car at the end of a run. Skinny tires on the front axle, a stripped interior featuring an NHRA roll cage, an FIA seat, a Sparco steering wheel, a factory-installed wheelie bar, and a carbon-fiber hood also come standard.
Both Chevy and Dodge have sold similar low-volume drag-strip vehicles in recent years. Dodge offered two flavors of its Challenger Drag Pak back in 2015, while the also nostalgically named COPO Camaro debuted at SEMA two years ago.
To honor the first Cobra Jet's debut in 1968, Ford is limiting the 2018 Cobra Jets to just 68 examples at a price of $130,000. The order books are open. You can have it in any color so long as it’s red or white.
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