Ford Unveils 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet  

Limited-edition model is fastest drag Mustang ever

By Lee Bailie Wheels.ca

Aug 17, 2018 3 min. read

Article was updated 5 years ago

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Ford is paying homage to its drag racing glory with the reveal of the 50th anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet at the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.

The Mustang Cobra Jet is a limited-edition model capable of topping 150 mph (241 km/h) and covering a quarter-mile in the mid-eight second range, and comes by way of Ford Performance, the company’s in-house tuning arm.

The 50th Anniversary car was developed to be the most powerful and quickest Mustang Cobra Jet from the factory ever. The project epitomizes the close teamwork between traditional and motorsports engineering groups to maximize the design, performance and durability of production Mustangs.

The car is powered by a special 5.2-litre version of Ford’s famed 5.0-litre V8, strengthened and outfitted with a 3.0-litre Whipple supercharger. The engine sends power to the ground through a 9-inch solid rear axle, two-way coil-over shocks with adjustable ride height and a low-drag disc brake system from Strange Engineering as well as a four-link rear suspension with antiroll and panhard bars.

whipple supercharger cobra jet

Additional factory-provided racing performance upgrades include an NHRA-certified safety roll cage, FIA-certified seats and anniversary-badged racing wheels.

The new Mustang Cobra Jet is available in either Race Red or Oxford White and can be outfitted with exclusive 50th Anniversary graphics and badging. Customers can order now at an MSRP of $130,000 U.S. Production is limited to 68 cars, in honour of Cobra Jet’s 1968 debut.

 Making history again

Since the car debuted in the NHRA Super Stock class at the 1968 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., its winning engine formula has served to power Ford Mustang, Mercury Cougar, Ford Fairlane, Ford Torino and other vehicles. Credit for this formula goes to legendary East Coast Ford dealer Bob Tasca, grandfather of current Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang NHRA Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III and the man who coined the phrase “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”

After its display at Mustang Alley as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise, the 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet will travel the following weekend to Norwalk, Ohio, for the 50th Anniversary Ford Performance Cobra Jet Reunion at Summit Motorsports Park – the largest gathering of Cobra Jets in history. More than 150 vehicles dating back to 1968 are expected to attend.

 Mustang Cobra Jet timeline

1968 – Original FE 428-cubic-inch V8-powered Cobra Jet is created:

  • Ford produces 50 lightweight Mustangs to hold the 335-horsepower engine; six are shipped to Holman Moody and Bill Stroppe to be prepared for NHRA competition

  • Al Joniec pilots one of the six to Cobra Jet’s first victory

2008 – Rebirth of factory Mustang Cobra Jet, M-FR500-CJ, 40 years later:

  • Powered by a supercharged 5.4-litre dual-overhead-cam V8, this drag racing renaissance was the first Stock Eliminator car to dip into the eight-second zone at an NHRA National Event

  • Unlike the original, the 50 produced this time around do not feature VINs, so they are not street legal

  • John Calvert drives a Cobra Jet featuring Joniec tribute paint scheme to victory at NHRA Winternationals on 41st anniversary of its original win

2009-16 – M-FR500-CJ:

  • 250 additional cars are produced with dozens of domestic drag racing records, victories and championships achieved across NHRA, IHRA, NMCA and NMRA

  • Drivers range from experienced veterans to young drag racing stars in the making

  • Through half a century, Mustang Cobra Jet orders are still being placed at local Ford dealerships

  • But if you want one of these ready-made factory-built drag cars you’d better have already put your money down because Ford is building just 68 copies.


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