A Short Cobra History


Here is how my car came to be, kind of a short Cobra history if you will.

I purchased my ‘93 Cobra from Anderson Ford in Clinton, IL in September of 1993. It was then that I met Rick Anderson for the first time and with his suggestions I had the dealership make a few “performance enhancements” prior to taking delivery - The 3.73 gears, Hurst shifter, Subframe connectors, MAC shorties, Dynomax cat-back, C&L MAF and K&N conical filter made the
165-mile road trip back to St. Louis all the easier.

Then, Rick suggested I take it to the drag strip (I thought he was nuts at the time). I couldn't drive for chit, but I WAS HOOKED!! Here is that first time slip when the car was one month old:

I drove my Cobra in this state for a couple of years, enjoying the handling and decent power. But then over the next several years I had AFM install a Crane 2031 cam, Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads (first or second install of these heads at the dealership), then a custom AFM N-2 cam, and several iterations of exhaust.

The neat thing was that each time we made a change we would document it on AFM's in-house dynojet. With these basic bolt-ons, the car got 21-22 mpg highway with 4.10 gears and still passed an idle sniffer test through hi-flow cats. (It was also at this time my better half insisted if any more mods were made to the car, I would be the one to make them in order to save on the labor costs.) And incidentally, without the support Kathy has provided me through these years, the Cobra would not be where it is today.

In the fall of 1998 Rick and I started a two-fold project together. I suggested he needed a website to spotlight his always-growing list of unique Mustang and Cobra performance parts. In November of 1998, andersonfordmotorsport.com was born. It was during this project that Rick and I decided to resurrect his Clean Power theme from 1992. (In the December ’92 MM&FF issue his emissions-legal 1988 Coupe was spotlighted getting into the mid-12’s naturally aspirated.) We knew we could improve on those numbers and this is really where my story begins.

By the middle of 1999, with AFM Stage III Twisted Wedges, Extrude Honed Cobra intake and 4.30 gears, we were making 312 rwhp and still with clean emissions:

In this trim my best effort was a 12.37 @ 109.2 mph. It was neat to be able to consistently run 12.30s-12.40s at Gateway International Raceway on test and tune nights through an emissions-legal exhaust, and pulling a utility trailer 45 miles one-way to the track. Some of you might remember this...

Now I’ll admit that I wasn’t the best driver back then. We really wanted to see if the Cobra had an 11-second run in it, so just for fun, I temporarily pulled the cats and put my buddy Brian Meyer behind the wheel. It took Brian only three passes to post an 11.96 @111.77 mph. All on the stock shortblock.

Keeping with the natural aspirated, stick transmission theme, I next replaced the stock shortblock with a 12.3:1 compression 306 in the Fall of 2001. Having switched to race fuel, the car was taken off the street finally. Here is a shot of the old 306 with Victor 5.0 intake:

With an Anderson N-111 cam and stage 3 TW heads, this combo made 396rwhp at 6,400 rpm through 4.56 gears and a 26x10 slick. My best time was a 10.92 @ 124.3 with a 1.476 60-ft time:

By 2004, I had stepped up to a 13.2:1 compression 347, had the heads ported by Anderson to a stage 5, and with the N-113HL cam, made 495 rwhp at 7,100 rpm. At 2,890 lbs I broke into the 9's with a best time of 9.99 @ 135.3 with a 1.35 60-ft:

Although my Cobra has seen many changes since that first 14-second pass, I have always kept a few things constant – stick shift, naturally aspirated, 26” tire, and hydraulic cam.

Following the 347, I have been running a 359 cid motor the last couple of seasons, posting a best of 9.59 @ 142.3 at 2950 lb race weight shifting the Anderson Hi-Rev hydraulic cam at 8,800 rpm. And everybody knows you can’t shift a hydraulic cam above 6,200 rpm!!

Since that 9.59 pass, I made a switch to a Strange 9" Ford rearend with 4.88 gears and 33-spline axles. I was frequently chipping the ring and pinion gears on the 8.8" rear, so it was finally time for the 9". Have had no issues since then, but I lost about a tenth in E.T. from the switch. Right at the end of last season I made an 1/8th mile pass at Benton, IL that was quicker than the 9.59 passes 1/8th mile. That came from a lot of rear suspension work, getting the instant center where it needed to be.

For this season (2009) I have made a switch to an Anderson solid roller camshaft. With the hydraulic cam, the valves would float at around my shift point of 8,800. With the solid, the motor put down 578 rwhp at 8,500 rpm, and spun smoothly to about 9,300 (where we chose to stop the runs).

Here is a dyno chart showing a comparison from last year with the hydraulic cam and Kooks headers to the solid and a set of custom headers.

Updated November 2015

Thought I would update this article.

I spent the next several years breaking diaphragm clutches at 9,200 rpm and finally the TKO 600 so this story fast forwards to Sepember of 2013 when I got back to the track with a few changes to the car. The biggest change was installing a dedicated racing transmission, a GForce GF5R Clutchless 5-speed transmission.

Other changes were a Borg style adjustable 3-finger clutch tuned by Tim Hyatt and 5.14 gears in the 9" but I still was running the 26" tall slick. A few rear-bumper dragging episodes later I had a set of 63" long wheelie bars installed.

So the last several outings to Gateway I have run a pretty consistent string of 9.4x's at over 143 mph. In fact, the last time this year was at Sikeston were we ran a 5.94 in the 1/8th at over 116mph. Looking at the incrementals from that run vs. my 9.43 passes it looks like 9.3x territory.

So for 2016 I will be installing a Holley EFI setup on the car and building a new shortblock (15:1 363"). Will also be taking some weight out of the car. Going to try getting down to 2,800-2,850 from the current 2,997 lbs. This with the new shortblock should be good for very low 9's, perhaps 9.0x. Stay tuned.