This year marks half a century since Ford first launched the Mustang Cobra Jet, a special turnkey model designed specifically for drag racers. So it's fitting, then, that the Cobra Jet returns this year with special 50th-anniversary decals and mechanical upgrades. And , Ford says it's the quickest one yet.
The history of the Cobra Jet is simple. In 1968, Ford rolled out 50 lightweight, 335-horsepower Mustangs for use as drag-racing machines -- though they were street-legal cars. The cars proved to be a huge success on the drag strip. In 2008 Ford revived the idea, this time with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 under the hood of the Cobra Jet -- but now the 50 cars were VIN-less and thus destined only for racing. Then from 2009 through 2016, Ford sold another 250 Cobra Jets. As ever, customers could order the high-performance machine directly from any local Ford dealership.
The new 2018 model continues that tradition. It is, once again, equipped from the factory with a roll cage, FIA-certified seats and other safety equipment that you'll need to hit the strip. A 5.2-liter V8, augmented by a Whipple supercharger, provides motivation, while chassis upgrades include things like adjustable coilover suspension, "low drag" disc brakes and a specially designed four-link rear suspension. And that's before listing the myriad other technical changes between a standard road-going Mustang and the Cobra Jet.
Ford doesn't quote a horsepower figure for the engine but says the racer will blast through the quarter-mile in the "mid-eight-second" range at 150 miles per hour. Need some context as to how quick that is? The Dodge Challenger Demon -- which is a completely different animal, being a street car that you could, if so inclined, drive to Trader Joe's -- set a production-car record when it ran the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds.
The 50th anniversary Cobra Jet lists for $130,000, and Ford will sell just 68 of them in honor of the original's debut back in 1968. The order books are open now.