Ford Mustang Cobra Jet Makes Appearance for 50th Birthday, Promises 8 Seconds of Not-that-legal Fun

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford mustang cobra jet makes appearance for 50th birthday promises 8 seconds of

In 1968, Ford issued a limited number of lightweight, “335-horsepower” Mustangs intended for the drag strip. While street legal, the vehicles were absolute beasts on the track thanks to the implementation of the 428 Cobra Jet engine. The powerplant utilized the racy 427 FE’s intake manifold and added ram-air induction, a functional hood scoop, and an engine bay full other performance modifications. It was serious business and produced far more horsepower than Ford claimed. Most estimates place the initial Mustang Cobra Jet’s output around 410 hp.

It’s now half a century later, and the model 50th anniversary is not an occasion you ignore. Ford chose to bring the Cobra Jet back for the occasion with iconic decals and mechanical upgrades that send it into the past and future, respectively. Unfortunately, onlookers can only enjoy the retro graphics and savage acceleration of this version at the track or in a garage. Because the Cobra Jet is way too extreme to be road legal.

Debuting on Woodward Avenue during this week’s Dream Cruise, the 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet comes equipped from the factory with a roll cage, FIA-certified seats, and all the other safety equipment necessary for an 8 second quarter-mile time with a trap speed of around 150 mph. After a boast like that, Ford didn’t even bother citing power figures. These would be largely meaningless. We wouldn’t be surprised if the vehicle’s spec sheet lists output as “as much as we could engineer.”

A 5.2-liter V8, enhanced by a 3.0-liter Whipple supercharger and loads of strengthening, sends the untold sums of energy through a 9 inch solid rear axle. Meanwhile, the Cobra Jet’s ridiculous chassis receives adjustable two-way coil-over shocks with adjustable ride height and a four-link rear suspension with anti-roll and panhard bars.

We could go on but it only gets progressively more ridiculous and ends with the line “factory installed wheelie bar and parachute.” It’s a race car and pretending to compare it to anything you might see on the highway would be silly, even something as savage as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The Mustang would have it for breakfast.

Assuming you’re competent enough to drive this thing and want to visit the track just to clown on everything that shows up resembling a normal car, the 50th anniversary Cobra Jet lists for $130,000. If street legal, the car would be the greatest deal on straight-line performance in human history.

Since it’s not, we’ll just call it a reasonable sum for an 8-second car that doesn’t involve extensive DIY and endless hours of manual labor. Ford only plans to sell 68 examples of Mustang Cobra Jet in honor of the original’s debut back in 1968.

After its display at Mustang Alley as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise, the showcased Mustang Cobra Jet heads to Norwalk, Ohio, for the 50th Anniversary Ford Performance Cobra Jet Reunion at Summit Motorsports Park the following weekend. Factory orders have already begun.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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2 of 25 comments
  • Carguy67 Carguy67 on Aug 18, 2018

    "... sends the untold sums of energy through a 9 inch solid rear axle" Wait, aren't we SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO over live axles?

  • Akear Akear on Aug 18, 2018

    This fine car is on death row. Soon Ford will put it atop a CUV platform and then it will become a castrated muscle car. The mustang is done.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic And this too shall pass.....Ford went thru this when the model T was introduced. It took the moving assembly line to make real money. As time progressed, it got refined, eventually moving to the Model A. Same kind of hiccups with fuel injection, 4 speed automatic, Firestone tires, dashboards with no radio knobs, etc, etc, etc. Same thing with EVs. Yep, a fire or two in the parking lot, espresso time at the charging stations, other issues yet to be encountered, just give it time. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Art Vandelay 2025 Camaro and Challenger
  • Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.