As promised by Ford](https://www.autoclassics.com/makes/ford), the company has revealed a new vehicle ahead of this weekend’s [Woodward Dream Cruise – and it’s incredible!
Paying homage to mark the 50th anniversary of the original Mustang Cobra race car, which debuted at the NHRA Winternationals in 1968, the Blue Oval has unveiled a limited-edition Ford Performance 50th Anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet turnkey race machine.
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Capable of topping 150mph with quarter-mile runs in less than nine seconds, the new Mustang will make its public debut as part of the Mustang Alley feature during the Woodward Dream Cruise. The following weekend it will travel to Norwalk, Ohio, for the 50th Anniversary Ford Performance Cobra Jet Reunion at Summit Motorsports Park. The largest gathering of Cobra Jets in history, this is expected to attract more than 150 vehicles dating back to 1968.
The Ford Performance Parts team developed the 50th Anniversary car with one main goal: to become the most powerful Mustang Cobra Jet ever to leave the factory gates. Design, performance and durability have been maximised by combined efforts between traditional and motor sports engineering groups.
‘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,’ explained Eric Cin, global director, Ford Performance Parts.
‘This has inspired generations of Mustang fans to create their own performance machines for the street.’
What’s under the bonnet?
Lurking beneath the bonnet is a special 5.2-litre version of Ford’s worshipped 5.0 V8, strengthened and outfitted with a 3.0-litre Whipple supercharger. Power is savage enough to snap a standard rear axle at 20 paces, which is why the Cobra Jet’s axle is encased by nine inches of steel.
Further upgrades include two-way coil-over shocks with adjustable ride height, a low-drag disc-brake system from Strange Engineering, as well as a four-link rear suspension with antiroll and panhard bars.
Additional factory-provided racing performance upgrades incorporate an NHRA-certified safety roll cage, FIA-certified seats and anniversary-badged racing wheels.
How much does it cost?
Fancy buying one? Available in either Race Red or Oxford White, it’ll set you back $130,000 (£103,000). There is an option to outfit the vehicle with exclusive 50th Anniversary graphics and badging, too – and let’s be honest, you would, wouldn’t you?
Production is strictly limited to 68 cars, a reference to the original model’s debut in 1968.
The car’s long record-setting history dates back to its debut race weekend, where it commanded NHRA Super Stock at the 1968 Winternationals in Pomona, California. Since then, its winning engine formula has served to power Ford’s iconic Mustang, Mercury Cougar, Fairlane and Torino lineage.
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’.
Mustang Cobra Jet timeline
1968: Original FE 428ci V8-powered Cobra Jet is created
* Ford produces 50 lightweight Mustangs to hold the 335bhp 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
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