To Mustang enthusiasts, there are some cars that shine above the rest. There are the 428CJ models, the '67 Shelby GT500, the Mach 1, and the venerable Boss "9" to name a few. The late-model crowd has its favorites, too, such as the '93 Cobra, any "R" model, the specialty Bullitt, the Mach 1, and anything else that came out of the coveted SVT garage.
For George Lambert, the sharp '80 Cobra was the pinnacle of Mustang performance. It didn't take long before he became snake bitten and had the venom course through his veins. "I grew up mostly around Corvettes," says the Springfield, Illinois, native, "but in 1982 my love for the Mustang grew when I purchased my '80 Cobra." Since that time, the car has been everything from a drag car to a "half-assed street car." It was originally equipped with the turbocharged four-cylinder, but George yanked it out and replaced it with a carbureted 5.0 small-block. After just about everything broke, his wife, Tara, thought the car was possessed and nicknamed it "Christine."
In an effort to appease the horsepower gods, George pulled out the 5.0 and dropped in a Hi-Po 289. Featuring dual quads, 14:1 compression, and a C4 automatic linked to a 9-inch rear, the car ran well into the 10-second zone. That was all fine and dandy, except his wife still hated the car. "She would refuse to ride in it because it was too loud," George says. This time, in an effort to appease Tara, he took out the offensive, but cool, 289 and dropped in a drivetrain from a wrecked '89 GT.
Pop the hood on George Lambert's...
Pop the hood on George Lambert's '80 Cobra and you see: a fuel-injected blown mod motor? That's right, it's a 4.6 supercharged motor from a wrecked '04 Cobra nestled between the framerails. To make it fit, George had to cut out portions of the firewall from the '04 and graft it into the '80.
After buying a '99 Cobra drop-top for her, George fell in love with how the car drove. He was forced to sell the '99 when Tara got pregnant with their daughter, but he never forgot the feeling of the SN-series snake. Then it hit him--why get something new when you can adapt the car in which you took your significant other to your prom? The original version of his Cobra was good, but George wanted the best of both worlds: a Fox-body Stang with the power and intrigue of the newer mod-motor Cobra power plant. What a plan.
The journey began in November 2005 when George and friend Clint Faugust started the quest to find a beat-up Cobra. Mainly interested in a car for its powertrain and creature comforts, George expected the search to be lengthy. Two weeks later, Clint called to say he found a wrecked '04 Cobra convertible. "I decided to sell my brand-new Hayabusa to pay for the car," George says. "It was a hard thing to swallow, but it was well worth it!"
Vintage Cobra wheels from...
Vintage Cobra wheels from Wheels Direct keep the '80 Cobra image alive, hiding the fact that underneath the body is a newer skin of the venomous snake. The heels are shod in Goodyears up front and BFGs out back.