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Falken Tire is adding another 2010 Mustang to its drift team line-up. Justin Pawlak, aka JTP, will team up with Vaughn Gittin, Jr. to carry the Ford flag against the best from the east and west.

In the past, Pawlak competed in a rotary powered Mazda RX7 and became a full-time driver in 2008. That year Justin got his first Formula Drift podium at Irwindale Speedway and finished 16th overall. In 2009 he scored multiple Top-16’s finishes and a 9th place overall points finish.

For more information on the 2010 Formula Drift championship visit the Formula Drift website.

AutoSport Dynamics in Charlotte, North Carolina is building the Mustang for Justin and look for the car to debut at Long Beach, California. ASD built Gittin’s 2009 and 2010 Mustang and will work with Justin to get him comfortable with the new car and V8 engine.

Pawlak is looking forward to the 2010 season and the new car. “I’m speechless! I’m very excited to join the Falken Tire/Ford Racing team and the Falken family! Falken Tire has been pushing drifting to the next level and I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

Low Mile Cobra R Becomes Michigan Daily Driver

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
We know late model Cobra R’s are rare, with only 107 built in 1993, 250 built in 1995 and 300 manufactured in 2000, they still bring top dollar when they come up for sale. At the time, the 2000 Cobra R was the ultimate Mustang with its 5.4 liter 385 horsepower modular motor, race ready suspension and high mount rear wing.

A recent post over at www.svtperformance.com has the Cobra R community abuzz with talk about a 2000 model that was recently purchased by a “crazy uncle”. It appears that the 1,400 mile Mustang was purchased from Elder Ford in Troy, Michigan and put to use as a daily driver. From the post we have determined that the new owner even parks the car out in the open and has no problem letting the elements have their way with the Performance Red paint.

From the posted photos, a recent snow storm covered the rare car with a few inches of snow and we wonder how the BF Goodrich KDW’s handle in the winter.

Ford GT Set to Race at 24 Hours of LeMans

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
After the famous 1,2,3 finish at LeMans in 1966 and a forty year absence, the Ford GT will once again return to the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2010. Earlier this week, the ACO released the invite list and two Ford GT’s built by Matech Competition will compete in the GT1 class. Matech will field one car and a customer GT entered by the Marc VDS team will round out the Ford effort for 2010. Power will come from a 5.0 liter naturally aspirated Ford mod-motor built by Roush-Yates Engines in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Matech released a few months ago a well edited YouTube video on the new GT1 effort and its great to see the team bring Ford back to LeMans in one of the most famous endurance racecars.

Competition in the GT1 class will be from three Corvettes C6R (two from Alphand and one from Peka Racing) the Larbre Competition Saleen S7, a Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DBR9 and JLOC Lamborghini Murcielago.


Photo Credit: Matech Racing

Matech GT Racing, was launched in 2007 and originally competed with the Ford Mustang FR500GT3 and Ford GT in the GT3 series. The team secured the FIA GT3 European Team Championship title in 2008 in only its second year of competition. In 2009, Matech GT Racing continued to race the Matech Ford GT3, securing victory in its class at the 24 hours of Spa and finishing the season as FIA GT3 European Co-Champions.

In a ramp up for the 24 Hours of LeMans, the cars will also compete in the GT1 World Championship with the first race starting May 2 at Silverstone in England.

Ford Racing Celebrates 2010 Cobra Jet Delivery

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Ford Racing opened up the 2010 Mustang Cobra Jet build facility to customers, vendors, partners and employees to celebrate the “Job Done”, the completion of 50 new Cobra Jets.

Seventeen Cobra Jet customers made the trek to snowy Flat Rock, Michigan to pick up their factory built race cars. While at the Mustang plant, the new owners had the opportunity to meet the employees that built the cars and help celebrate the life of the Cobra Jet’s founding father, the late Bob Tasca.

Bob Tasca, Jr stopped by to participate in the celebration as he was on his way to Pomona to race his Mustang Nitro Funny Car at the NHRA Winternationals. Tasca, Jr. recalled how his grandfather and his dealership mechanics helped create the first Cobra Jet prototype.

“He set it up with a 428 out of the Police Interceptor package. It had a longer stroke so it had a little more torque,” recalled Tasca. “He put 406 cylinder heads on it with larger intake and exhaust valves. He put that combination together and in a Mustang it was potent. It really reflected what he thought would Win on Sunday and Sell on Monday.”


Bob Tasca, Jr. stopped by on his route to Pomona to thanks those that participated in the Cobra Jet progam, a car his late grandfather Bob Tasca created.

Tasca Jr. said that after a few weeks of driving the Mustang around Providence, Rhode Island, Ford invited his grandfather down to Dearborn because they wanted to see the car to believe it. “The Ford engineers told him it wouldn’t work and it couldn’t cool,“ said Tasca. “My grandfather told them that that was funny because he had been driving it all week and that there was nothing wrong with it. He brought it to Detroit and Ford realized that the package that he put together was legit. That’s why he loved Ford because they got it. Ford got behind him and decided to build these exciting cars. Turn the clock foreward and even in these tough economic times they are producing this car. They are the only manufacturer in the world that’s doing what they are doing here. It’s a great tribute for Ford and more importantly a great tribute to our customers.”

Brent Hajek was the lucky recipient of the first 2010 Cobra Jet off the assembly line. If you’re not familiar with Hajek, he’s what I call a modern day version of Mickey Thompson. He was the car owner of John Calvert’s 2009 Winternationals winning Cobra Jet and has been to Bonneville with Mickey’s son Danny Thompson driving a Mustang to 250+ mph. He even coaxed Bill Elliott back to Talladega to attempt a closed course record in an E-85 powered late model Mustang. Hajek took delivery of the first 2008 Cobra Jet and bought several more. He was excited to take delivery of the first 2010 Super Cobra Jet and has big plans for the new year.


Brent Hajek was the lucky recipient of the first 2010 Cobra Jet off the assembly line. He he accepts the keys from Ford Racing’s Andy Slankard.

“We made history last year at the NHRA Winternationals, we went out and won the thing on the 40th Anniversary of the Cobra Jet”, said Hajek. “It’s just gotten better from there. We went out and kicked the Dodge Challenger Drag Pack’s butt. Got to run against Big Daddy’s Dodge at Indy. Set some national records and were ready to take this 2010 and see what it can do. These guys built a heck of a machine and we’ve got some cool things in the works for 2010. I hope to make Big Bob Tasca proud!”


Randy “Mr. Big Stuff” Payne made the trip north to pick up his car. In 1969, Payne teamed up with Herbert Platt to run Ford’s Eastern Ford Drag Team.

Another 2010 Cobra Jet owner making the trek to Michigan was Rome, Georgia’s Randy “Mr. Big Stuff” Payne. In 1969, Payne teamed up with Herbert Platt to run Ford’s Eastern Ford Drag Team. Platt and Payne hit the road in a two car open hauler with Platt’s CJ powered Mustang and Payne’s Torino Cobra Super Stocker. Back in 1969, the team ran a heavy schedule of drag racing events and held performance clinics at local Ford dealerships.

Randy’s son Butch still races in NHRA’s Stock Eliminator and the family was excited about picking up the car and getting back to Georgia. The Payne’s even brought some of the old photos from the Ford Drag Team Days and displayed them next to their new car.


Grace Howell (right) and the Howell family from Aiken, South Carolina will race their 2010 Cobra Jet in AA/SA. Debut is planned at the Gatornationals

Another tried and true Ford family taking delivery of a 2010 Cobra Jet was Grace Howell and the Howell family from Aiken, South Carolina. For several years, Grace campaigned a 1995 Cobra R in NHRA’s Super Stock class. Plans for 2010 include running the Cobra Jet in AA/SA and the Cobra R again in the Super Stock GT class. The Howell team plans on running both cars first at the NHRA Gatornationals and in other races in the Southeast and Midwest.


Jamie Allison (far right) Brian Wolfe (second from right) and other members of AAI and Ford Racing sign a Cobra Jet hood that will go up on the pilot assembly wall of fame.

Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports was on hand to congratulate his Ford Racing team that helped make the 2010 Cobra Jet a reality. As head of Ford Racing Performance Parts last year, Jamie was instrumental in making the additional run of 50 2010 Cobra Jets happen.

Also on hand was Brian Wolfe, who was head of Ford Racing last year when the 2010 Cobra Jet was designed and developed. Credit goes to Brian for many of the racer friendly features on the new car. Features that include; transmission access panel, engine/transmission options and other go fast goodies.


Seventeen 2010 Cobra Jet owners visited the assembly line where their cars were made to celebrate “Job One” and “Job Done” with Ford Racing


2010 Cobra Jet delivery took place at the Mustang Plant Pilot Assembly Line. Owners were already applying graphics to their cars like Ray Skillman Ford

Interlum’s Mustang Custom Scuff Plate Install

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Few can argue that the late model Mustang is one of the most personalized cars in the market today. From body kits, to wheels, to engine upgrades, fans of the Mustang can encounter a variety of aftermarket add-ons when you attend a Mustang car show, flip through the pages of any Mustang niche magazine or spend an hour on the StangTV website.

One new product that takes personalization to a new level is a custom sill (a.k.a. scuff plate) for the late model Mustang. Once looked at as an afterthought when customizing the Mustang interior, new advances in technology can turn the “door step” to your Mustang into a personalized billboard.

The scuff plates are manufactured by Michigan based Interlum and can be custom ordered with any name or motto plus a number of Mustang themed logos. In addition to being cool, the plates are built from OEM quality materials since the company manufactures scuff plates already for Ford, Lincoln and many other OE manufacturers.

We were invited to Interlum’s Plymouth, Michigan custom shop to see how the personalized scuff plates were made and to meet the team that developed the unique product. Mike Judge is the owner of Interlum and has been busy over the past few months launching the product and developing the process to custom order the plates.

A few months ago, www.fordcustomscuffplates.com was launched and the site allows a customer to select what script and logo they want on their personalized sill plate order. If a computer is not accessable, a 1-800 line has been set-up to order, the number to call is 1-800-367-3788. The scuff plates retail for $199.95, not a bad deal considering they are personalized, include LED lighting and made just like the OEM Ford units.


The Interlum technician sets up the nameplate material in Corel Draw, a program used by the laser-engraving machine to etch the material.

Once Interlum receives the order, a technician sets up the nameplate material in Corel Draw, a program used by the laser-engraving machine to burn the top section of the material. For our custom plate, we brought the PowerTV logo eps file and selected the words “Turbo Mel” for the personalized section on the plate. Turbo Mel is a nickname for Melissa Lawrence’s Turbocharged 2010 Mustang daily driver. The Mustang is a current PowerTV project car that features a Hellion Turbo system. To balance out the plate, the layout technician selected a Ford Oval logo to the right of the script and after final sizing we were ready to engrave.


The raw personalized plate material looks similar to brushed steel and the laser etches the top silver layer leaving the clear bottom section untouched.


Interlum uses a laser engraver, a device similar to a laser printer, to create the plate section of the scuff plate.

Once the technician had the layout set, he instructed the Epilog Laser Engraver to start engraving. The laser engraver works similar to a laser printer but uses a beam of ultra-hot light as the engraving tool. The laser burns the top layer of the sheet and no part of the machinery actually touches the material being engraved. Laser engraving produces a permanent, crisp, highly detailed mark, engraving images at up to 1200 dots per inch.

In addition to engraving, the laser can also be instructed to cut the material. Once the Turbo Mel text and logos were engraved, the technician plotted off the final size of the sill plate and instructed to laser to cut out the plate.


Interlum’s owner Mike Judge checks the finished etched plate before final installation of the light pipe and scuff plate.

With the personalized plate section done, Interlum was ready to assemble all the sill plate components made up of the sill plate body, light pipe, wiring harness and personalized plate.

The sill plates feature an LED “light pipe” that runs the entire length of the script section and backlights the script when the interior lights are activated. At night the backlit plate really sets off the interior especially when the door is opened for entrance or exit. Interlum has developed the proprietary LED light pipe technology that casts an even light over the entire length of the plate. Combined with the Mustang’s MyColor interior option the color options are limitless.

Factory Scuff Plate Removal


The factory 2010 Mustang scuff plate features the Mustang logo and looks like every other 2010 Mustang GT rolling around town

The first step was removing the factory installed sill plate. This was accomplished by forcing the sill plate out of the snap points with a trim removal tool and unplugging the lighting connector. Its up to you to decide what you want to do with the old sill plates, the instructions showed a trash can symbol but we tend to hang onto things for craigslist or a future swapmeet.


The factory 2010 Mustang scuff plate was removed with the aid of a trim removal tool and the factory connector was unplugged.

Custom Scuff Plate Installation

The Interlum custom Mustang scuff plates came well packed in a custom box to prevent damage. Easy to follow instructions were included and we followed their step-by-step guide.

We took the new Interlum Custom sill plate out of the shipping box, laid them over the lower door seam and plugged in the OE lighting connector. One the electrical connector was solidly in place we snapped the scuff plate in place and removed the adhesive tape backing.


Prior to installing the scuff plate, we plugged in the new scuff plate electrical connector into the OE plug.


The adhesive tape backing is removed prior to securing the outer edge of the sill plate to the rocker panel.


The new Turbo Mel scuff plates look great and combined with the new logos add a personalized PowerTV touch to the car.

Contact Information:

Interlum/Ford Custom Scuff Plates
1-800-367-3788
www.fordcustomscuffplates.com

Few can argue that the late model Mustang is one of the most personalized cars in the market today. From body kits, to wheels, to engine upgrades, fans of the Mustang can encounter a variety of aftermarket add-ons when you attend a Mustang car show, flip through the pages of any Mustang niche magazine or spend an hour on the StangTV website.

One new product that takes personalization to a new level is a custom sill (a.k.a. scuff plate) for the late model Mustang. Once looked at as an afterthought when customizing the Mustang interior, new advances in technology can turn the “door step” to your Mustang into a personalized billboard.

The scuff plates are manufactured by Michigan based Interlum and can be custom ordered with any name or motto plus a number of Mustang themed logos. In addition to being cool, the plates are built from OEM quality materials since the company manufactures scuff plates already for Ford, Lincoln and many other OE manufacturers.

We were invited to Interlum’s Plymouth, Michigan custom shop to see how the personalized scuff plates were made and to meet the team that developed the unique product. Mike Judge is the owner of Interlum and has been busy over the past few months launching the product and developing the process to custom order the plates.

A few months ago, www.fordcustomscuffplates.com was launched and the site allows a customer to select what script and logo they want on their personalized sill plate order. If a computer is not accessable, a 1-800 line has been set-up to order, the number to call is 1-800-367-3788. The scuff plates retail for $199.95, not a bad deal considering they are personalized, include LED lighting and made just like the OEM Ford units.


The Interlum technician sets up the nameplate material in Corel Draw, a program used by the laser-engraving machine to etch the material.

Once Interlum receives the order, a technician sets up the nameplate material in Corel Draw, a program used by the laser-engraving machine to burn the top section of the material. For our custom plate, we brought the PowerTV logo eps file and selected the words “Turbo Mel” for the personalized section on the plate. Turbo Mel is a nickname for Melissa Lawrence’s Turbocharged 2010 Mustang daily driver. The Mustang is a current PowerTV project car that features a Hellion Turbo system. To balance out the plate, the layout technician selected a Ford Oval logo to the right of the script and after final sizing we were ready to engrave.


The raw personalized plate material looks similar to brushed steel and the laser etches the top silver layer leaving the clear bottom section untouched.


Interlum uses a laser engraver, a device similar to a laser printer, to create the plate section of the scuff plate.

Once the technician had the layout set, he instructed the Epilog Laser Engraver to start engraving. The laser engraver works similar to a laser printer but uses a beam of ultra-hot light as the engraving tool. The laser burns the top layer of the sheet and no part of the machinery actually touches the material being engraved. Laser engraving produces a permanent, crisp, highly detailed mark, engraving images at up to 1200 dots per inch.

In addition to engraving, the laser can also be instructed to cut the material. Once the Turbo Mel text and logos were engraved, the technician plotted off the final size of the sill plate and instructed to laser to cut out the plate.


Interlum’s owner Mike Judge checks the finished etched plate before final installation of the light pipe and scuff plate.

With the personalized plate section done, Interlum was ready to assemble all the sill plate components made up of the sill plate body, light pipe, wiring harness and personalized plate.

The sill plates feature an LED “light pipe” that runs the entire length of the script section and backlights the script when the interior lights are activated. At night the backlit plate really sets off the interior especially when the door is opened for entrance or exit. Interlum has developed the proprietary LED light pipe technology that casts an even light over the entire length of the plate. Combined with the Mustang’s MyColor interior option the color options are limitless.

Factory Scuff Plate Removal


The factory 2010 Mustang scuff plate features the Mustang logo and looks like every other 2010 Mustang GT rolling around town

The first step was removing the factory installed sill plate. This was accomplished by forcing the sill plate out of the snap points with a trim removal tool and unplugging the lighting connector. Its up to you to decide what you want to do with the old sill plates, the instructions showed a trash can symbol but we tend to hang onto things for craigslist or a future swapmeet.


The factory 2010 Mustang scuff plate was removed with the aid of a trim removal tool and the factory connector was unplugged.

Custom Scuff Plate Installation

The Interlum custom Mustang scuff plates came well packed in a custom box to prevent damage. Easy to follow instructions were included and we followed their step-by-step guide.

We took the new Interlum Custom sill plate out of the shipping box, laid them over the lower door seam and plugged in the OE lighting connector. One the electrical connector was solidly in place we snapped the scuff plate in place and removed the adhesive tape backing.


Prior to installing the scuff plate, we plugged in the new scuff plate electrical connector into the OE plug.


The adhesive tape backing is removed prior to securing the outer edge of the sill plate to the rocker panel.


The new Turbo Mel scuff plates look great and combined with the new logos add a personalized PowerTV touch to the car.

Contact Information:

Interlum/Ford Custom Scuff Plates
1-800-367-3788
www.fordcustomscuffplates.com

Parnelli Jones Heralds Return of Boss 302R

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Forty years after Parnelli Jones and George Follmer helped make it a road racing legend, the BOSS 302R was back on track for 2010 with a new version of the 302 cubic inch V-8 engine. Trans-Am and Indy 500 legend Jones participated in several on track festivities and a media press conference before last weeks Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series season-opener to celebrate the debut of the new BOSS 302R.


Photo Credit: Ford Racing Parnelli Jones stands on the Daytona pit lane flanked by an original 1970 Boss 302 and the new 2011 Boss Mustang 302R.

When asked to compare the original car to the modern version, Jones was amazed at the power of the new Mustang. “To compare the two cars, obviously they can make a lot more power today and they’ve certainly done that,” said Jones. “The new car is phenomenal, it handles great. I got a chance to drive a little bit out at Laguna Seca, drive the new car that they’re racing today, and I can certainly see that they’ve come a long way. Obviously, they have a little better power, a little better brakes, probably a little better drivers, probably, anyway. It’s really thrilling to be a part of Mustang because I certainly feel a great part of it, spent my whole life, I always say 40 years, I’ve got 4 of them myself. They’re really enjoyable cars and I can’t say anything greater than that.”

When asked about the new 302 engine compared to his 1970 powerplant, Jones felt the electronics and engine materials were much better. “Well, actually that’s one thing that’s quite different. In our day, we didn’t have any electronics, and we had metals, for example, that weren’t as good as they are today,” recalled Jones. “Valve springs, for example, was a big problem that we had back in 1970, and today they’ve come a long ways. The amazing part of it is you can, in today’s Mustang, you can take it out and go hot lap it for quite a few laps and things like that without hurting it. In our day, in ’70, you couldn’t do that quite with a streetcar and went out and take a few laps, you would probably burn it down. They’ve come, with technology, a long ways. As we can see, you can make so much more power today in the same amount of cubic inches as we did then. It just goes on and on. The brakes are better. The tires are better. Technology has just come a long way, so it’s not the same, but take whatever you race, whatever you have at that particular moment, and try to maximize the most out of it.”


James Gue and Bret Seafuse drove their BOSS302R to a fourth place finish in the Fresh From Florida 200.

Mike Harrison, Ford Engine Programs Manager, was also on hand to explain the the media how close the race engine was to the production 2011 Mustang GT motor. “With the 5.0-liter that we have here today for the BOSS 302R, we’re essentially pretty much stock for what we’ve announced for the 2011 5.0- liter,” said Harrison. “It’s very slightly modified from the 2011 engine, but we get to take advantage of that fact. Really we’ve got a lot of torque to pull out of the corners and also it’s going to make racing a lot more affordable because this is a primarily production based engine that we’ve pulled off our machine and assembly lines, so it’s very economical for us to do this. It’s going to make racing a lot more affordable.”

In the Fresh From Florida 200 race, James Gue and Bret Seafuse were the the top-finishing Mustang, driving a BOSS302R that they had only taken delivery of less than two weeks ago. The team barely had enough time acclimate themselves to new car but a 8th place start looked promising until Grand-Am officials orderd Seafuse to the rear of the field.

“We went down the board because I made a bit of a blunder on the second [race] restart and I jumped the start,” Seafuse said. “So I had to come in for a stop-and-go. We went from 7th or 8th to dead last behind all the ST cars and everybody. I’ve never done that before.”

After a heard charge through the field Seafuse handed the car off to James Gue and the JBS driver pushed the new car into 4th place in the 63 lap race.

“Though we hurt ourselves early, our finish is made all the more remarkable when you consider I only was able to get my first laps in the Boss [Thursday]—it ran well straight out of the box,” Gue said.

“We’re off to another really good points start and we can only get better now that we’ve got a little more time to get used to our newest horse.”

Following the Complete Build of a 2010 Cobra Jet

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Following in the rich tradition of previous Ford factory built Mustang race cars like the 1968 Cobra Jet, the Boss 429 and the FR500S Mustang Challenge car, Ford Racing and AAI (aka the Mustang Plant) started work on a production run of 50 Cobra Jet Mustangs. Two years ago, Ford Racing built 50 Cobra Jet Mustangs at Ford vendor facilities, but the 2010 edition of the car returned home to Flat Rock, Michigan.

For a complete 2010 Cobra Jet build picture gallery, CLICK HERE.

ALSO CHECK BACK IN A FEW WEEKS FOR THE FULL BUILD VIDEO!

In 2005, AAI started building the S197 version of the Mustang and to date has produced over 800,000 units, a number thats pretty impressive considering its a two door sports car. All V6, GT and GT500 models are manufactured on the main line and the build team knew they wanted to be a part of the historic car. While impossible to build on the high volume main line, the 2010 Cobra Jet was built on the AAI pilot assembly line where the plant performs new model training and workstation development. The pilot assembly team is made up of seasoned main line technicians and welcomed the challenge of building such a high profile Mustang.

A 2010 Cobra Jet starts out life as a “prepped” body-in-white 2010 Mustang. Prior to arriving at the Cobra Jet line, a 2010 shell was produced on the main AAI body line and painted Performance White. After paint the unit is sent to Watson Engineering in Taylor, Michigan for an NHRA legal 8.50 e.t. 10-point chromoly cage install. Watson Engineering also installed the rear back seat delete panel, firewall cover plates and transmission access panels. After the cage and body updates were complete at Watson, the body was shipped back to AAI for another trip down the main assembly paint line to coat the cage and interior Performance White in preparation for the Cobra Jet line.

There are two Cobra Jet assembly lines that merge into one assembly line after the car is built into a “roller”. When the Cobra Jet body hits the first build station, the line technician removes the doors for easier access to the interior. The composite cowl hood is also removed to access the engine bay. All installed parts are binned near the station where they will be installed. A computer terminal also provides the technician with build information specific to each car.

Station 1 of the Build

The first part installed on the car is the main wiring harness for the electronics. An electrical bulkhead panel is installed on the passenger side firewall and the battery cable is routed towards the trunk for the electrical kill switch that is mounted on the rear of the quarter panel per NHRA specifications. One cool thing about the Cobra Jet build is that the only parts installed are go fast or safety related items. The body is void of insulation and other sound deading material that weigh a car down. Ford Racing engineers also kept wiring to a minimum to save weight.

After the cabin wiring harness is installed, the battery hold down bracket and Aeromotive Stealth Fuel system is mounted in the trunk. The Stealth Fuel Cell developed for the Cobra Jet is a 6-gallon aluminum racing fuel cell with an Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump and filter inside the cell unit.

Once the trunk is squared away with the kill switch, fuel cell and battery mount, the technician lifts the body with an overhead hoist to access the floor pan. On the underside of the car the technician installs the upper control arm mount, driveshaft loop, lower radiator support, rear shocks, brake lines and fuel lines. The radiator support (shown above) is a tubular item and weighs a lot less than the OEM Mustang unit.

Station 2 – Interior and Engine Bay Parts

After the underbody is complete in Station 1, the car moves onto Station 2 for interior assembly and engine bay parts install. The first item installed in Station 2 is the carpet as well as the rear interior panels and rear shelf cover. The OEM factory headliner is also part of the Cobra Jet build to complete the plush interior of the factory built racecar. The Cobra Jet 10 point cage has also been pre-certified by an NHRA chassis inspector so the new owner can roll the car right off the trailer and into the tech line.

For the IP (Instrument Panel) install, a preassembled unit complete with Auto Meter Monster Tach is installed. The panel also features the fuse box right where the passenger airbag cover used to be for easy access in the event a fuse blows. Once the IP is in place, Automatic equipped Cobra Jets have a Hurst Quarter Stick shifter mounted to the transmission shifter bracket. One interesting thing Ford Racing engineered into the 2010 car is a removable panel to access the transmission servo and shift linkage.

Once the IP and carpet is installed the line technicians move to the front of the car to install the radiator/fan unit, intercooler heat exchanger and intercooler pump. For an intercooler pump Ford Racing selected a 55-gallon per hour Meziere unit to help intercooler cool the air charge.

Since the pilot assembly line does not move like typical assembly lines, the cars are moved from station the station using large overhead lifts. The lifts are used in the first three stations to place the bodies on adjustable skillets. The skillets can be adjusted to a comfortable height for the workers at that build station.

After the cooling system is mounted the manual brake booster and proportioning valve is installed in the drivers side engine bay. These units were built exclusively for the Cobra Jet and help save a lot of weight in the car. The CJ also has a line lock for locking the front brakes in the burnout box. There are over 100 unique part numbers for the Cobra Jet build so the crew has had to juggle inventory, Just In Time parts shipments and parts availability throughout the 3 week build.

Installing the Supercharged 5.4-liter in the Cobra Jet and Drivetrain

While the Cobra Jet features five engine options, during our visit they were building 5.4L derivatives. The 5.4 Liter Cobra Jet engines are being prepared to meet the chassis at the decking station. The engines are built at the Romeo Niche line 60 miles north of Flat Rock and shipped to the plant in batches. For 2010, Ford Racing offered two versions of the engine. A cast iron block 5.4 liter Supercharged “base” mill or an aluminum block 5.4-liter “Super Cobra Jet” powerplant as an optional upgrade.

All 5.4 Liter Super Cobra Jet engines arrive from Romeo on a engine pallet and are topped with a Ford Racing 4.0 Liter Cobra Jet Supercharger, Ford Racing engineered FEAD (Front Engine Accessory Drive), Cobra Jet Cams and Ford Racing Blue Valve Covers. Once on the engine prep line, technicians install American Racing Headers long tube headers, flywheel and the transmission. For 2010, Ford Racing made four race transmissions available, a race prepped C4 automatic, a 2 speed C2 automatic, a Tremec 6 speed, or a full race Liberty 5-speed unit.

After the engine is prepped for “decking” it’s placed in a movable fixture for attachment of the lower k-member, steering rack and lower control arms. Once the k-member, lower control arms and front spindles are attached, the drag struts are installed complete with Strange Engineering lightweight brake rotors and two piston calipers.

While the engine/front suspension is being prepped, the rear axle is being readied for installation. The Cobra Jet 9” unit is built by Strange Engineering and shipped as a ready to install item complete with rear disc brakes. For 2010 Cobra Jets, Ford Racing offered a 4.11 rear gear ratio for the automatic cars and a 4.29 gear ratio for the manual transmission package. Once the engine and rear-end are ready, a technician moves the engine onto its decking skillet and the rear end onto its own dedicated lift.

The Cobra Jet body is then lifted via the overhead hoist and placed on the “Moon Buggy” for engine and rear end installation. Once placed on the moon buggy the engine is lifted into the Cobra Jet engine bay. Two steel rods are used to “locate” the engine and cradle to the engine bay before lifting the entire assembly into the car. Once the engine and cradle is in place, the four engine cradle bolts are torqued to spec. The transmission cross member is then installed on the transmission and attached to the frame mounts.

Once the engine/transmission is secure in the chassis, the technician then moves to the rear end assembly and lifts the unit into the chassis. The upper control arm and lower control arms are attached and tightened to spec. The Cobra Jet uses spherical rod ends at all attachment points for adjustability. After the rear end is mounted the anti-roll bar system is installed. The Cobra Jet anti-roll bar unit was designed by Ford Racing and Team Z Engineering and is credited for making the car perform so well on the strip.

After the suspension is in place the Dynotech 1-piece driveshaft is installed. The production Mustang GT500 has a 2-piece drive shaft good to around 600 horsepower. With the Cobra Jet producing a bit more and engineered to take repeated 7,000 RPM launches, a beefier Dynotech unit was selected.

Wrapping up the Build

The final step after the decking station is the installation of the wheels and tires. The Cobra Jet has unique Weld Competition front 15 x 3 wheels complete with a Cobra Jet Snake machined into the wheel spoke. Tires on the 2010 Cobra Jet car are from Hoosier and the rear tire size for all the cars we saw being built were 30×10.5×15. All “Super Cobra Jet” equipped Cobra Jets get 30×10.5×15 rear meats while Manual optioned cars get 29x11x15 rear slicks. The other base 5.4L, as well as the three naturally aspirated engine variants, come with a Stock Eliminator legal 30x9x15″ slick.

After the car is a “roller”, it’s lowered down on the ground and the engine is dressed and starts to receive its own unique items. The fuel lines, engine wiring harness, intercooler reservoir, radiator reservoir, coolant lines and front fascia are all installed at this station. Once the engine bay is complete the technicians moves to the interior of the car to work on the steering gear installation, steering wheel, and switch panel.

After station four the two Cobra Jet lines merge into one as the cars are rolled into the safety belt, seat and console installation area. Belt mounts are already welded into the crossbar so the RJS safety belts are already mounted per NHRA tech rules. The Cobra Jet seats start out as basic Mustang V6 seats and an outside vendor installs the submarine belt grommet in the lower seat section and recovers the seat front with unique Cobra Jet logoed material. The headrest also includes the Cobra Jet logo for that added touch.

With the interior now complete, the doors are installed on the car as it passes through the final build station. Sure you could do without power windows but its cool hitting the window down switch to pick-up your time slip after a 9 second pass. Not to mention Ford doesn’t even offer roll down windows in any Mustang. After the doors are fit the front and rear glass is installed and the car begins to take on a finished look.

The final station is where the massive Cobra Jet throttle body, air inlet tube and K&N filter are installed. After the air intake unit is complete the car is ready to be moved to the alignment area for first start, final check and alignment.

Once on the lift, a Cobra Jet build team member starts the car for a systems check. All gauges are monitored for accuracy as well as engine sound. Once everything sounds acceptable the car is shut down for final calibration and prep.

While the car is on the lift the front and rear suspension is checked for alignment. To adjust the rear suspension, the alignment techs use the adjustable panhard bar to center the rear end. For front end alignment, the tie rods are adjusted to bring the suspension into front to rear alignment specifications.

After alignment check the cars are pushed to the decal application area for their unique Cobra Jet decal package. The base Cobra Jet decal package includes; Cobra Jet quarter panel script, CJ fender decal and 5.4-Liter Cobra Jet hood decal. This station is also where the cars get the optional Cobra Jet side decal package applied. If the owner wants a plain white car, the decals are placed in the trunk for the owners safe keeping.

While we were at the Cobra Jet assembly the build team was averaging 3-4 cars a day. Considering the complexity of some of the part installs and the hiccups that always arise the team appeared enthusiastic to be a part of the 2010 Cobra Jet program. While we don’t know if any of the 50 cars will win a NHRA National Event like John Calvert’s 2008 Cobra Jet, the 2010 version has several improvements over the first model. We’re anticipating many of these cars will hit the track early this year and, with some hard work from the racers, don’t be surprised if one dips into the 8 second zone. Impressive considering its a turn-key Ford Factory built car.

One Mustang enthusiast over at the Team Shelby website caught the two new Boss 302R’s in the pits at Daytona this past weekend with their hoods up. Sitting between the frame rails was the new race version of Ford’s heralded 5.0–liter engine.


Photo Credit: JeffJ

Not only is the engine architecture new but the intake design looks like some of the modular intakes we’ve seen on fast Mustangs at the drag strip. The engine also has the trademark Variable Cam Timing Sensors on the valve cover. While the VCT system was designed on the street to deliver more power and fuel economy we’re sure Ford Racing engine tuners will be using it to maximize the performance of the engine at high RPMs. Scott Maxwell driving the No.16 Boss 302 R set fastest lap time for the weekend.

From the tag on the valve cover it appears that the motor was built at Fords “prototype-only” engine facility called EMDO (Engine Manufacturing Development Operations) in Allen Park, MI. EMDO typically produces volumes of about 3 to 300 parts per run vs mainstream powertrain production plants that crank out 7 to 800 parts per hour.

Over twenty years ago, Ford crated EMDO and it’s been instrumental in engine testing, design and manufacturing feasibility ever since. EMDO produces engine prototypes for Ford and Mazda. All 300 of the 2000 Cobra R engines were built at EMDO as well as the first versions of the R50 FR500C Cammer engine. Roush-Yates Engines acquired the R50 engine build program in 2007 and continues to handle rebuilds and the Daytona Prototype engine program.

Longtime Ford Pro Stock racer Robert Patrick is set to return to the NHRA in 2010 with a new Pro Stock Mustang currently being built at Jerry Haas Race Cars in Fenton, MO.

Patrick posted a rendering of the new car and to our surprise the sleek pony sports a white and blue paint job rather than the traditional red paint of previous cars. The white paint is accented with a throwback “double hockey stick” blue side stripe and blue hood and deck lid. It’s a clean looking design and sponsorship will come from longtime sponsor Purvis Ford and EasyCare.

We anticipate Patrick will keep his current ADRL Extreme Pro Stock 2005 Mustang for select ADRL events and race the new 2010 Mustang in NHRA Pro Stock events east of the Mississippi. Longtime engine builder Bob Ingles will handle both the ADRL 815 c.i. mountain motor and 500 c.i. NHRA Pro Stock engine. Ingles and Patrick will be taking advantage of the new Ford Racing Pro Stock block and heads that are now available to racers.


Photo Credit: Ford Racing

The last time Patrick competed in an NHRA Pro Stock event was at the 2002 NHRA Finals in Pomona. In 2003, Robert moved to IHRA Pro Stock and won the 2007 IHRA Pro Stock Championship. In mid-2008, Patrick moved over to the ADRL Extreme 10.5 Class and found the mountain motor to a small tire combination a challenge. Last year he ran a full season in ADRL’s Extreme Pro Stock Class and finished fifth in season points.

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