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'96 Cobra - Backdraft
Al Papitto set the world on fire with his '96 Cobra.
Al knows that to make a fire, the proper amount of air must be mixed with the correct amount of fuel, along with a spark strong enough to get things going. To that end, a set of 43-pound injectors and a UPR 340 fuel pump supply the petrol, while lighting things off is an MSD DIS4 ignition box sending the jolt through stock coil packs and NGK plugs. The signal to start the combustion process comes from the stock ECM that has been loaded with a custom Boss 330 Racing tune courtesy of a DiabloSport programmer. Venting the residue from the cylinders are the stock Cobra manifolds, a UPR x pipe system, and a 2-1/2-inch exhaust system muffled by a pair of Flowmasters.
Next to be transplanted into the Cobra was the driveline equipment, starting with the transmission assembly. The stock '04 Cobra clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate are squeezed between the engine and the T-56 six-speed stick shift tranny. Al makes each gear change with a UPR shifter, while linking the trans to the third member is a custom aluminum driveshaft. While we're on the topic of the 8.8-inch rear under the hind end of the Cobra, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the housing is stuffed with 4.10 gears and a pair of Moser 31-spline axles.
With the driveline squared away, it came time to upgrade the handling of the Cobra. Knowing that the nose would be a bit heavier thanks to the 5.4, Al set about overhauling both ends of the Stang in an effort to harness and apply all of that torque and horsepower. A set of UPR upper and lower control arms replace the front stockers, while handling the shock of each road blemish are a pair of Koni shocks and UPR springs. The rear features the same Koni shocks and UPR springs as the bow. As for the braking system, the factory brakes remain, minus the addition of a set of Brembo rotors front and rear. Chrome '03 Cobra rims are located forward, while a set of '04 Cobra rims that were widened to 11 inches are bolted up aft. All four corners of the car ride on BFGoodrich TA tires.
With Al planning on the car being not only his toy, but also a daily driver for his wife, he enlisted the help of J&J Autoworks in Vero Beach, Florida, to give new life to the Mustang's flanks. After installing the Kaenen Cobra R hood, the crew at J&J shot the sheetmetal with DuPont Chroma base black, followed by Chroma clear. As for the interior, the '96 appointments were chucked in favor of those from the '04. The only add-ons come in the form of a pair of Auto Meter A-pillar gauges.
Overall, with a dyno figure of 462 rwhp and 440 lb-ft of torque, this Cobra gets up and goes. "It doesn't handle quite as well as my wife's Corvette," Al says, "but the car is pretty unique and has torque a 4.6 guy could only dream about."
Those who line up next to Al's Cobra might want to think twice before they do it. Backdraft can be a nasty thing.