Most of you will probably not recognize the title of this story as a daytime soap opera, but you've probably noticed that Barbara Appelt's trio of Mustangs is both bold and beautiful. In fact, her fascination with speed doesn't stop with Mustangs. She also owns a 2001 ZO6 Corvette, and her daily driver is a Dodge Durango R/T. Since this is the Ladies issue, you've probably already deduced that Barbara is the girl pictured with her cars. Yes, you may be envious now. No matter what she drives, Barbara likes to go in style and she likes to get there quickly. Her 1998 Cobra is what started her on a path of high performance pony cars.
Purchased new at Oasis Ford, Barbara's Cobra was destined to become quite the performer. She had originally planned to only put chrome wheels and an aftermarket hood on it, but before long, the power bug bit and Barbara was walking out the door with a Vortech supercharger. The S-trim unit makes 8 lbs. of boost and has increased horsepower well beyond the stock figure. In order to make the most of the newfound power, Barbara called Joe Amato at Downs Ford in Toms River, N.J., to assist her in upgrading the rest of the snake's components.
Along with the supercharger, 24 lb. injectors and a T-Rex fuel pump were installed to help the 190-lph, in-tank pump make sure the high-strung horse gets enough gas. K&N, MSD and Motorcraft items all aid a custom-burned chip from Superchips in keeping the engine tuned properly.
One of the things that Barbara likes most about her Cobra is the way it sounds, which is due in large part to the BBK H-pipe and Flowmaster mufflers. While the exhaust works to contain the cantankerous tones of the blown 281-inch motor, most of the other modifications were chosen to bring the stock suspension and safety measures in line with the boost in horsepower.
An aluminum driveshaft has replaced the stock unit and a Lakewood driveshaft loop encompasses the weight-saving Ford Racing piece. A Pro 5.0 shifter has been stashed beneath the leather boot, and allows Barbara to transfer the torque more efficiently to the 4.10-geared rear end. Held by a Downs Ford girdle, the stock Traction-Lok differential still remains, and transfers power to a pair of Moser axles. Nitto 275/40ZR17 drag radials have been mounted on the chrome Cobra R wheels to provide better traction and Motorsport coil springs at all four corners try to keep the car planted.
Other suspension mods include Steeda aluminum lower control arms and Global West subframe connectors, in addition to BBK caster/camber plates and Energy suspension bushings. Barbara credits her friend Rich Algier with doing nearly all of the work on the Cobra.
With prodigious amounts of power and a taught suspension, occupant safety needed to be addressed, and this was done in two ways. First, Barbara had Joe Gambino of Precision Racecars in Toms River install a 6-point roll bar. Then she picked up a 5-point harness to keep the driver firmly planted in the seat. Barbara also had Joe replace the factory spoiler with a Saleen S-351 wing for a racy look. And it's that look that would lead Barbara to her next Mustang.
The Saleen speedsters had caught Barbara's eye, but she had never actually seen one in person. One day she happened to be driving past Down's Ford, which these days seems to be her favorite hang out. Barbara spotted a black 1999 Saleen Mustang and she was hooked. Five days later, there was a brand new supercharged S-281 Speedster sitting next to Barbara's Cobra in the driveway. Equipped with Saleen-spec parts from the bottom up, the Speedster is Barbara's favorite of her two Saleen Mustangs. That's right, she has two in addition to her high-powered Cobra.
While picking up parts for her first pony, Joe Amato asked her if she had seen the new 2000 Saleen coupe out front. She replied no and when he told her it was blue, Barbara was even less enthusiastic. However once she saw the car in person, she was amazed at how beautiful the color was. Before long, the Speedster had a hard top relative in the driveway.
Barbara said that she has no plans to modify the Saleens since they were already supercharged and road race ready. Besides, she has her '98 Cobra to tinker with. Even though she has thrown the aftermarket at it, Barbara's Cobra has only 6500 miles in its young career as a performance vehicle, and a plethora of possibilities await an awakening.
Barbara told us that many guys are surprised when they see a girl driving. And they're completely dumbfounded when she unleashes the fury of supercharged Ford power and waves goodbye. After looking at her collection of wild horses, it's obvious that Barbara has a fondness for the bold and the beautiful. With a Mustang threesome like this, we doubt she'll be parked in front of the television.