Dearborn, Michigan - Ever since 1968, the Ford Performance Parts division has built a few very special Mustangs each year, specifically for drag racing.
As the only ‘works’ cars, the first Mustang Cobra Jets dominated the 1968 NHRA Winternationals, inspiring Ford to continue the project and thousands of aspiring drivers to build their own Mustang-based quarter-milers, using Ford Performance parts - which was why they did it in the first place.
This, then, is the 2018 Cobra Jet, billed as the most powerful and quickest Mustang from the factory yet, capable of running a quarter-mile (402 metres) from a standing start in around 8.5 seconds, with a terminal velocity of more than 240km/h.
Just 68 Cobra Jets will be built this year, none of them with a VIN number so they can’t be registered for the road (believe it - if they had VIN numbers, some petrolhead would do it).
Each will have a hand-built, supercharged 5.2-litre double overhead camshaft Coyote V8, hooked up to a 230mm Strange Engineering rear axle and special four-link rear suspension, in place of the standard independent rear suspension set-up. That sounds like a step backwards, but in fact a live rear axle works best for straightline performance, so that’s what the Cobra Jet gets.
Ford isn’t saying how much power the force-fed Coyote puts out, but it will be a lot more than the claimed 427kW of the naturally aspirated version you or I can buy in a box from Ford Performance Parts (which is how the term ‘crate engine’ was coined).
The Mustang Cobra Jet is designed to be eligible for National Hot Rod Association drag racing, as well as various several National Muscle Car Association and National Mustang Racers Association classes, with an NHRA-certified roll cage, Racetech FIA bucket seats, custom dampers specifically set up for drag racing and special Weld Racing wheels with 50th anniversary badging.
It’ll be available in the United States only from mid-year in either red or white, with a commemorative 50th anniversary graphics package and anniversary badging as options.