Officially, there have been 300 modern Cobra Jets built since its debut in 2008—just 50 models are made in each production run, with of course dozens of clone cars built to NHRA specs. Most of those vehicles have found a home in Stock Eliminator or Super Stock, while many have been parked in a bubble for posterity. Of those hundreds of cars in competition, there are a growing number of outlaws lurking—Cobra Jet owners who who don’t want to race in index classes, and they’ve found a home in the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA).
Tommy Annunziata purchased this 2014 model Cobra Jet as a means to get back into drag racing, but the casual purchase quickly became a serious racing venture once he got together with longtime partner, friend, tuner, and Mustang legend, Jim LaRocca. The two New Jersey racers had ransacked the Mustang fields in the early years of the NMRA, and they decided to make a go at it again in the NMRA’s Coyote Modified class. Joining the ranks made them the fourth Cobra Jet to do so, adding some flavor to a class filled mostly with Fox-body Mustangs and a few S197 Mustangs.
Annunziata and LaRocca added a radical Coyote engine under the hood and frequently go up against the likes of turbocharged and centrifugally supercharged competitors in a 7-second arena. Despite the quick times, the New Jersey racers have kept the Cobra Jet close to its heritage, and the car has run an official best elapsed time of 7.80-seconds and 175.37 mph, earning them the high-speed record in the category. Unofficially, the car has run 7.69 at 177 mph during a test session, putting Annunziata under the current NMRA ET mark of 7.74, held by John Kauderer in a turbocharged 2014 Cobra Jet.
Fuel System/Engine Management
To upgrade the fuel system, the team added Aeromotive’s Pro Series pump and Deatsche Werks 2000cc fuel injectors to ensure that there is plenty of VP Racing Fuels C16 being fed to the cylinders. Holley’s Dominator EFI engine management keeps control of it all.
NMRA Coyote Modified rules restrict displacement to just 305ci, but there are few other limits to the short-block modifications. LaRocca and Annunziata turned to Pro Stock legend Tom Martino to build the bottom end. A Ford Performance M-6010-M50R aluminum block was the starting point. Martino then added a stock-stroke, billet Winberg crankshaft. It swings eight Manley I-beam connecting rods and custom Mahle pistons with Total Seal rings.
Kris Starnes Racing ported the factory Cobra Jet cylinder heads and Jim LaRocca designed the custom camshafts, which were ground from custom-made cores. LaRocca has a vast amount of experience in designing camshafts and drew upon his consulting work with many top Cobra Jet teams to come up with the outlaw cams. He uses MMR phaser lockouts and guides to round out the valvetrain.
The centerpiece to the engine combination is a massive, 3.6L Whipple twin-screw supercharger and Whipple’s Big Bore throttle body, which flows a healthy 3,250 cfm. The team mounted it directly to the back of the supercharger, eliminating the nearly 180-degree bend from the factory blower setup. LaRocca designed a custom pulley and tensioner system to keep the blower belt on the front of the engine during high rpm runs down the drag strip. Boost is listed at 24-25 psi at peak engine speed, which is more than 8,000 rpm. Expelling the spent gases is the job of custom long-tube headers from Kooks Exhaust & Headers.
The 1,400hp engine is backed by a Rossler TH400 three-speed transmission and a custom Coan torque converter with a 6,000-rpm stall speed. The torque converter is a critical component to getting the Cobra Jet to leave the starting line with 1.15 sixty-foot times. Also contributing to the quick short times and overall performance are Santuff shocks and struts, UPR rear control arms, BMR front control arms, and original Cobra Jet equipment including the anti-roll bar and Panhard bar. The Strange Engineering 9-inch housing is filled with 40-spline gun-drilled axle. The car rolls on a pair of Mickey Thompson ET Radial Pro (275/60R15) tires. Race weight is a robust 3,300 pounds with Annunziata behind the wheel.
Source: Hot Rod Network