2003 Cobra • Tommy Foster • Roselle, NJ
I bought my '03 Redfire Cobra in September of 2011 from a private dealer. It had 75,000 miles and very clean paint. Underneath the hood, it still had the stock Eaton supercharger with a smaller pulley and CAI. It also had weld-in subframe connectors and long-tube headers installed. That was all I knew about the car. I had no knowledge of the previous owner or what had been done to it.
A few months later, I discovered who the owner was by some locals who recognized the car. It turns out the car used to have a 3.4L FRPP Whipple supercharger and was running on E85, making 770 rwhp. The car had run a best of 9.9 at 141 mph.
As months passed, I added all new billet pulleys, a cold-air-intake, stainless steel brake lines, rotors, and black reservoir tanks. In the summer of 2012, I decided it was time to put an aftermarket blower back on the car. I purchased a used 2.4L Kenne Bell Twin-Screw, along with a new return-style fuel system and 80-lb/hr injectors.
My brother and I spent months installing everything. In early October, the car was ready for a tune. A friend of mine came over to install a base tune. The final tune would be done at ADS in Chandler, Arizona. He loaded up the base tune and the car started right up. It sounded great.
It was a Monday night that my friend came to pick up the car so he could take it the next morning for the full custom tune. I'll never forget that following Tuesday. I was on my lunch break when I got the call. "There is something wrong with your car." I went over to the shop shortly and we started the car. It sounded OK—but something was wrong.
That night we decided to get it back to my brother's house. A few months later my brother and I pulled the motor to see what had failed. The crankshaft was chewed up, along with most of the crankshaft bearings. I had to either rebuild or sell it.
After a few months, my brother told me there was a local guy looking to buy a Cobra to fix up. If the guy wanted to buy it, I would sell it for $15,000. I told my brother if he buys it, the car is gone. If he doesn't, we were going to rebuild it.
Well, the guy didn't buy it. So here I am today with my build. I did get some luck along the way. I purchased a built motor from a friend for $4,000, who had it sitting for years. He had purchased it from someone who said it was a $15,000 build.
I took it over to Brooks Racing in Mesa, Arizona, where it was completely disassembled and checked out. It turns out that they were not kidding. The motor was a fully built 5.1L stroker with a custom billet crankshaft, Manley billet I-beams, CP pistons, ported and CNC-ported heads, custom camshafts, Crower springs, and titanium valves.
Brooks Racing had the pistons ceramic-coated and installed them into my factory iron-block. I have purchased a McCleod RXT twin-disk clutch, and the transmission is being built to handle the power. The top of the motor is being graced with a 3.4L Whipple supercharger. I am currently upgrading my pumps with a Walbro 465-lb/hr fuel pump and DivisionX fuel rails. The car will be tuned on 91-octane gas and C-16 race gas, and should be back on the road soon.
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