Yes, we know it's not a new GT500 or 5.0L, and that's OK. For the rest of you modular fans who can't flip the coin into the new modular market, we wanted to show you that the predecessors of today's engines that powered cars like the '98 Mustang Cobra aren't forgotten in our books.
Let's face it—dating back 15-plus years, a 305hp 1998 Ford Mustang Cobra wasn't bad. It was a huge improvement over the 215hp non-PI Two-Valves. And though the '96 Cobra wasn't the first car to get modular power, (thank you, '91 Lincoln Town Cars), it certainly was the beginning to a long evolution of modular engines. Aftermarket companies swarmed over the new DOHC design, fighting to compete for the top spot in performance development. One of those companies was JLT Performance.
JLT has been in business since 2003. Owner Jay Tucker is an avid racer and performance enthusiast. Having owned a supercharged '99 Saleen Mustang, Tucker was unsatisfied with the aftermarket CAIs and decided to build one himself. A trip to the dyno showed that his homemade product worked.
Fast-forward five years into the Terminator Cobra era, and Tucker once again built a custom CAI, this time yielding even better results. With help from the Internet forums, word spread of his success. Shortly after, requests were pouring in for him to build more. With that, Tucker eventually quit his day job and started what is now JLT Performance. The first line of cold-air systems worked well, but in January 2012, JLT re-released its entire line of CAI systems.
Pictured here is JLT Performance’s latest redesign of its popular cold-air-intake system.
"The main reason for the redesign was for fit and finish," Tucker tells us. "We were able to do it, but we had to keep it cost affordable. The fitment was OK on the old design, but we listened to our customers and wanted to make a better product. We've gotten a great response from our customers since the release."
If your ride is sporting one of JLTs early designs, an upgrade kit is available at a cost of $149 for its Ram Air intakes and $189 for its cold-air kits.
Yours truly owns the '98 Cobra in this story. It's a nice all-around ride, but it needed some TLC. It has a few simple bolt-ons, including 4.30 gears, a Bassani X-style midpipe, a custom tune, and JLT's first-generation Ram Air CAI. For this article, we show JLT's latest and give our Snake a breath of fresh air.