Frank Shipton’s ’95 SVT Cobra reads only 14,000 miles on the odometer since he first purchased the car back in 2000—almost 14 years ago—but this isn’t your typical stock Cobra by any means.
While his pride and joy may have fewer miles than most Snakes of this age, virtually nothing remains untouched, even the color.
When Frank first acquired his Cobra, it was factory black, but he wanted to brighten things up. He tossed around a few gray hues, but his painter and life-long friend Jason Pecikonis, the owner of Timeless Kustoms in Camarillo, California, convinced him red was the way to go. Deciding on eight coats of Viper Red, the Cobra now possesses incredible depth. “I can’t go anywhere without getting a thumbs-up. It gets attention everywhere,” Frank says.
With the red skin, the Cobra needed more zip. Brian Shapiro of B&D Racing in Van Nuys is responsible for the Ford Racing R302 beast that now sports a displacement of 342 ci and is capable of an impressive 516 rwhp and 467 lb-ft of torque. Inside, you’ll find a Scat 3.40-inch forged crank with JE forged pistons and forged H-beam connecting rods. A custom Lunati roller cam was added to the setup, along with AFR aluminum cylinder heads. The compression ratio is set at a power-adder–friendly 9.0:1.
Speaking of power adders, Franks’s Cobra sports a polished Vortech T-trim supercharger pumping 14 psi of boost. In fact, Frank’s favorite part of the car is listening to that high-pitched whistle of the cog-driven blower.
Ignition components from MSD were added, and Ford Racing shorty headers connect to the custom X-style mid-pipe complete with DynoMax Race Magnum Mufflers. A full Griggs suspension was added to help make this Cobra “handle better than most exotics for half the price,” according to Frank.
To beef up the rear, 3.73 gears were installed with an Auburn differential and 31-spline axles. He also installed a Centerforce billet flywheel and clutch, and a 3-inch driveshaft was mated to the Tremec T-56 transmission.
Mike Ambrose Interiors in Van Nuys is responsible for the “perfect” black interior, providing this Cobra with a sinister black/red color combo. Extra safety and sportiness comes from a custom rollbar, Recaro seats and a Schroth harness setup.
The exterior boasts the same aggressiveness as the motor with a modified Saleen 281 rear spoiler, ’96-style Cobra hood, and 19-inch HRE 545R performance wheels wrapped with Michelin Sport Pilots. Behind the wheels peek Wilwood Brakes sporting six-pistons in the front and four-pistons in the rear.
Now retired, Frank recently packed up and moved to Tucson, Arizona, leaving those twisty back-mountain roads he enjoyed for more treacherous asphalt, all to be closer to family. “The road systems down here are atrocious,” says Frank, “but family is where it’s at.”
With a modified ’93 Cobra and ’91 LX passed down to his adult kids, it has become a family affair to show them off together at car events. “This car has never been a daily driver. In fact, it stays inside and covered on most days, however, with clear skies and sunshine guaranteed, I drive a special 70-plus-mile course,” Frank notes.
Frank praises Brian Shapiro of B&D Racing in Van Nuys; Jason Pecikonis, owner of Timeless Kustoms out of Camarillo, California; Tim Rumph of Van Nuys Plating; LaBree Motor Sports from Van Nuys; Mike Ambrose Interiors, also from Van Nuys; SSP (Street Sounds Plus) from North Hills, California; and Distinctive Metal Polishing out of Reseda.
Now that Frank is enjoying retirement, he and the wife purchased an RV in pursuit of a new hobby. Starting out slow with weekend trips, soon they’ll soon be traveling the country, and the Cobra will be tagging along to visit car events across the United States.
With a modified ’93 Cobra and ’91 LX passed down to his adult kids, it has become a family affair to show them off together at car events.