Ford’s Cobra Jet Mustang has been a huge success since 1968. And now, Ford Performance introduces the 2018 CJ—the 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet, that’s to be the quickest and most powerful drag racing Mustang ever.
Ford revealed the new 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet at the popular Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.
“From the very first Mustang Cobra Jets dominating the 1968 NHRA Winternationals to our modern-day racers, the Ford Performance Parts team continues to build on Cobra Jet’s success at the track over five decades,” said Eric Cin, global director, Ford Performance Parts. “This inspired generations of Mustang fans to create their own performance machines for the street.”
Since the beginning, the Cobra Jet has been a collaboration of multiple engineering groups to maximize design, performance, and durability.
The first Cobra Jet made its NHRA debut at the 1968 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, California. A total of six CJs competed at the event where Al Joniec drove his brand-new 428-powered Mustang to victory in Super Stock eliminator.
The first era of Cobra Jet included the 428, 429, and lastly the 351 CJ. Cobra Jet returned in 2008 as a track-only, special-edition racer with only 50 examples being offered to the public. Racers, collectors, and fans loved the new CJ. Ford Performance kept the momentum going with a 2010 model CJ that offered refinement and better performance.
Part of the modern Cobra Jet’s raw power comes from the supercharger, something VMP Performance customers know well. The first few generations of Cobra Jet use an Eaton supercharger; these superchargers use the same TVS technology that is used in the VMP Performance line of superchargers.
Countless wins from 2009-2011 solidified Cobra Jet’s place in history and gave Ford reason to continue production in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. And now, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, Ford Performance has developed a very special 2018 CJ.
The 2018 CJ is powered by a 5.2-liter version of Ford’s famed 5.0-liter Coyote V8, strengthened internally and outfitted with a 3.0-liter supercharger. “The upgrades to the engine will be exciting,” said Dave Born, engineering manager at Ford Performance. “It’s got the GT350-style heads, which produce higher flow so there’ll be power improvement. The CJ engine now utilizes Speed Density, where it used mass airflow in the past. It also features a mammoth air inlet scoop that is fed by the entire grille of the car. Cobra Jet uses Kooks headers to expel the burnt gasses. Born added, “Our goal is to build the baddest, fastest production Cobra Jet ever.”
The engine sends power to the ground through a 3-speed automatic transmission and a 9-inch solid rear axle. Suspension consists of a four-link rear with a Panhard bar, two-way coil-over shocks with adjustable ride height, and a low-drag disc brake system from Strange Engineering. Performance is tied to safety with a roll cage that’s legal to 7.50. Additional factory-provided racing performance upgrades include, FIA-certified seats, wheelie bars, parachute, and one-off racing wheels. “We definitely look to define the safety aspects of the car,” said Andy Vrenko, vehicle dynamics engineer. “Doing a 7.50 cage was interesting and a challenge because we have to accommodate different size and shaped drivers. But we know these upgrades would make the car desirable to a lot of customers racing shootout and Stock eliminator. And instead of using conventional gauges we got a Racepak. We’ve been working closely with Racepak and it will provide a lot of data to the racers. It will be called a Cobra Jet IQ3. Adding anything to a car that you already bought can be challenging, so if we can integrate it’s strongly desired.”
The new Mustang Cobra Jet is available in Race Red or Oxford White. It can be outfitted with exclusive 50th Anniversary graphics and badges. Customers can order now at an MSRP of $130,000. Production is limited to only 68 cars, in honor of Cobra Jet’s 1968 debut.