When the all-new S550 Mustang went on sale last fall, Ford fans enamored with racing wondered both aloud and online if the exit of the solid rear axle from the production Mustang meant a swan song for the Cobra Jet program.
The S550 Mustang’s independent rear suspension as the only rear suspension/axle going forward from 2015 also left many curious as to whether Ford could either somehow stuff a solid rear axle under the new Mustang, or if the Cobra Jet would have to rely on a rear suspension that is better suited to carving corners than clicking off quick ETs.
Ford answered all of these questions today at the 2015 SEMA Show, pulling the wraps off the all-new 2016 Cobra Jet. Powered by a Whipple blown version of the Coyote 5.0, this limited production, for drag use-only Mustang, continues on with the Cobra Jet tradition that began in the 1960s.
For those of you wondering, yes there is a solid rear axle (SRA) under the rear of the car. Based around a Ford 9-inch housing, and carrying 3.89 rear gears with 40-spline Strange. Ford managed to get the SRA in the rear of the car using a custom four-link suspension. To do this, the car has undergone extensive surgery in order to fit the solid rear axle, including cutting out sheet metal in what was formerly the rear seat area. This is not a bolt-in replacement subframe, however, according to Ford Performance’s Jesse Kershaw.
Based on the Coyote 5.0 the engine shares its DNA with the Mustang GT, although it has been fortified and topped with a front-inlet Whipple supercharger. “It was important to use production hardware wherever possible in the engine to ensure parts are readily available and reasonably priced for racers,” said Jesse Kershaw, manager Drag Racing Parts and Competition. “The production parts are also incredibly durable in passing our rigorous dyno and drag strip testing.” Kershaw told us that the dyno cells used for testing both horsepower and durability of the new Cobra Jet engine can simulate the loads of an entire drag strip run from burnout through the traps. Hundreds of dyno simulations were run before the new Cobra Jet prototype was tested.
Cobra Jet engineers even raided the Ford parts bin, grabbing the electric water pump from the C-Max hybrid and equipping the Cobra Jet engine with that part. This is a first for the Cobra Jet program, and will not only add a handful of horsepower under the hood, but also allow racers to circulate coolant through the engine without the car running.
Ford continued its tradition of providing a fast and reliable turn-key race car with the Cobra Jet, but also brought along many of the best and most proven names in the aftermarket for its race-only parts. This includes Strange Engineering for lightweight brakes and Strange coil-overs. Feeding the hungry 5.0-leter under the hood is a trunk-mounted fuel cell with an Aeromotive fuel system. Corbeau FIA seats, five-point harnesses, an 8.50 certified roll-cage, and a handful of gauges fill out the business-only passenger compartment. Cobra Jets will roll on Weld Wheels, 15×9 inches in the rear and 15×4.5 inches up front. They are wrapped in 30-inch tall Hoosiers out back and 28-inch tires in the front.
Gear changes come through what Ford calls a T4 transmission. This three-speed transmission features a SFI Reid case and provides the durability and performance needed for the Cobra Jet platform.
Just as it has since 2008, the Cobra Jet will be limited to only 50 units produced for the 2016 run, which is currently in production. There are two available colors, Oxford White or Deep Impact Blue, and Ford will split the build evenly between these. Cobra Jet delivery will begin sometime in the first quarter of 2016, and can be purchased through any Ford dealer in the USA (PN M-FR500-CJ). You’ll need to be ready to plunk down $99,990. Add $1,995 for a Cobra graphics package and another $1,995 for a wheelie bar.