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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I get into specifics of my FFW experience, let me puke out some goofy bullshit while I am still feeling elated from the weekend. If you haven't eaten lunch yet and don't wanna lose your appetite, just skip over this post and move to the next one. I apologize in advance for the ramblings that I am about to spew.

Imagine a car that can be driven in comfort and luxury all over the country on pump gas while getting over 20 MPG, run 10-second passes on the same pump gas and then drive back home without changing a thing. Suppose it's stout, comfortable, fast, fun, beautiful...and 90% stock.

Could that be possible?

I don't like the label 'True Street Car' for the 03 Cobra.

My new tag for the 03 Cobra is 'Luxury Muscle Car'. The Terminator has surely earned a new classification of muscle Mustang in my book.

Yes, I am a "Lemming" with a one-track mind. Yes, I am a broken record with my endless praises for the 03 Cobra. I can't help it. These cars amaze me.

It's not the car itself that I find so remarkable. There are plenty of other Mustangs out there that are just as impressive of street cars...or more. We've got automotive greatness but it's all been done before and there's nothing new going on.

The truly amazing aspect, however, of the 03 Cobra is how EASY it is to get there.

Get where?

Achieve muscle car heaven.

For me, that has always been an elusive goal...like a carrot on a string just out of my grasp. No matter how nice of a stock ride I started with...no matter how patient I was...or how careful I was...or how much money I threw at the project - I never quite got there and the goal was always out of my grasp. The projects were never finished. Or I’d have a great car that would get beaten by GM’s and want more power. I'd get closer and closer to that dream car and then...something would break. And backwards five steps I’d go.

Go to Jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Here’s my idea of muscle car heaven: “I’d like to order a street car. Make it as beautiful as anything else on the road. It’s gotta be a ‘head-turner’ in the looks department. Give it a growl and snort that pumps intimidation into the hearts of other sports car owners on the road…but not to the point that I get pulled over at every corner. Shower it with most of the luxuries that modern automotive technology and electronics currently offer. Give it the power and quickness to run with the top 1% of real street cars out there – pump gas, street legal and safe. Oh yeah - and I want all of this to last for a while. And can you make the whole thing convenient for me? And umm… can I get a warranty with that? I’ll have that with a large order of French fries, to go, please.”

Now that I’ve defined my muscle car heaven, I’ll make my statement again:

The truly amazing aspect of the 03 Cobra is how easy it is to get there.

I’ve invested very little time, effort, money and frustration into the realization of my dream muscle car.

And many might think, “Hammer’s been through a ton of shit with his car”.

Those who have paid their dues trying to do in the past what Ford did with the 03 Cobra understand where I am coming from. My 03 Cobra project has been a picnic. If you haven’t been through it, you’ll never understand.

I’m feeling absolved of all my past frustration. Thanks, SVT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I’ve been dealing with some gremlins with the car. It’s been running very strong but has been lazy up top and not performing quite like it should on the big end at the track.

I’ve been trying to find the gremlin – is it something in the tune? Is it the clutch? The exhaust? The MAF pegging? It’s never easy to pinpoint these things. In the mean time, the car is still to be feared on the road.

One little problem was the boost blow-off valve on the KB. It came apart. No big deal…it was easy to fix and nothing needed to be replaced. Then it ran better but was STILL lacking.

I was running at Atco during test-n-tune of the NMRA event. And I was still disappointed with the ETs and MPH’s. Then, while driving home from Atco that night, my exhaust started making some very strange sounds. It developed a very deep and loud bass rumble that you typically hear when the headers come apart from the H or X pipe (in my case, stock logs and Bassani X-Pipe). So I figured I had a bad exhaust leak. The noises got louder and louder until I heard something vibrate off and fly out of my tail pipe. And then the heavy low bass rumble was gone. WTF??

Two days later, at JDM Engineering, I discovered that my cats were completely hollowed out! Both of them…GONE!!! So it was a piece of my cat that was clogging the exhaust and causing the noises. Jim D’Amore temporarily set the X-pipe to ‘off-road’ until I figure out a better exhaust solution (sorry, Bassani).
It was then that the car really woke up on top end. It wasn’t the tune, it wasn’t the clutch, it wasn’t the MAF. It was bad cats the whole time. And the car new it…it finally spit the cats out (is this thing Christine?).

But a pegging MAF was still suspect, even though it didn’t appear that way on the dyno. Racing down the track and a one-gear pull on the dyno are very different animals.

So Jim D’Amore invited me out with his camp to FFW Epping, where he would help me troubleshoot the issues with the car.

I called up Jimmy V and, on a moment’s notice, he was ready to go. JT wanted to go badly also but had work responsibilities that he could not get out of. It’s never the same without him, but we made due.

So we headed up to Epping in the middle of Saturday qualifications. We found and parked at the JDM camp and I turned the car over to the very capable hands of Jim D’Amore again.

Jim put a JDM-exclusive and specially fabricated MAF sensor into my meter. He grabbed his shoe polish, wrote his class and number on my car windows and off he went.

The MAF trick made my car very fat up top and yet he clicked off an [email protected] with a 1.71 60-foot and a 101.27 8th mile MPH!! Not too bad!

After a long cool-down, he decided to pull the headlight out in an attempt of leaning out the mixture a bit. It was still fat but the trick worked. He ran a 10.85 at 128.25 with a 1.594 60-foot and a sub 7 second 8th mile ET!!! (6.993 to the 8th).

Jimmy V and I were adopted into the “JDM Lightning family” during the event and I had an awesome time. These guys are all terrific people. Their friendships and support for each other always come before winning a race. And Jim D’Amore and company were perfectly hospitable and cordial. They fed us (lobster dinners in Maine), hooked us up with a hotel room (no extra charge for the petting zoo), and made us feel like we were members of the family every step of the way. Yeah, I could really get comfortable in this new home!

Additionally, I have become a bit of a fixture at JDM’s shop recently. As such, I am privy to many of his up-and-coming projects and new innovations…of which I am not at liberty to disclose. But I was present for most of the cam swap project. And it’s a HUGE success. IMO, that’s the BIG news from Epping. The JDM black 03 Cobra is the prototype for the cams. The installation was finished at the 11th hour before departure for Epping. So there wasn’t time to re-tune the car but only pack it up and leave. In Epping, I studied this car very closely. The cams are almost undetectable at idle and low RPM drive. I have seen this car run many times in heat and humidity similar to Epping and it typically runs 11.80’s @ 118. Well, now it’s running 11.20’s at 121-122!! The cams, without a re-tune, have picked up a half second and 3-4 MPH at the track. The car’s gonna run 10’s on Eaton alone and I am extremely impressed. Stay tuned, it’s going to be BIG news.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and hanging with Mark (MJ) at this event and was very much impressed with his knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise with our cars. He went out of his way to data log my car and explain everything to me. He’s definitely ‘one of us’ in my book. Look forward to hanging with you again in the future, Mark!

I want to express deep gratitude and appreciation to Jim D’Amore, the JDM crew, B.O.L.T. (Brotherhood of Lightning Trucks) and especially my bro Jimmy V.
 

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so are you telling me that we could possibly see a daily driven 03 with cams and a kenne bell go low 10's?? These cars are unbelieveable!!! Congrats on your 10 second run!

Andrew
 

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Snake Charmer
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Impressive times to say the least, What size drag radials are you running?
 

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Congratulations Rich, you did it, you said you were going to do it and you did it;)
 

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The Ubiquitous Jimmy V.
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WOW I am still impressed..
nice writeup Hammer..You hit the nail on the head.
SVT is now really in the Performance buisness..
 

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HAMMER said:


So we headed up to Epping in the middle of Saturday qualifications.
Jimmy V and I were adopted into the "JDM Lightning family" during the event and I had an awesome time. These guys are all terrific people. Their friendships and support for each other always come before winning a race. And Jim D'Amore and company were perfectly hospitable and cordial. They fed us (lobster dinners in Maine), hooked us up with a hotel room (no extra charge for the petting zoo), and made us feel like we were members of the family every step of the way. Yeah, I could really get comfortable in this new home!

I want to express deep gratitude and appreciation to Jim D'Amore, the JDM crew, B.O.L.T. (Brotherhood of Lightning Trucks) and especially my bro Jimmy V.
I am glad you had a great time, Mr Hammer and Jimmy V are allways welcome up here in New England. To us Lightning guys, the Cobras are part of our familly.

It was a great event and your car was very impressive, I see 10.5's in your future. Some cooler air and a little more tunning is all you will need to go even faster.

I know the chevy guys must be real scared right now seeing all these Cobras and Lightnings running in the low 11's and high10's and then driving the same vehicals home.

:king :lol
 

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That is awesome. Damn that guy can drive I assume that was on the BGF DRs.
 

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HAMMER awesome write-up man.....impressive to say the least!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks guys and Don, it's always a pleasure hanging out with you too, brother. I do feel part of the Lightning family and I just may own one soon.

;)

Yes, Jim D'Amore is a driving machine...to say the least. There were no tricks...everyone knows my mods. Just a set of 275/40/17 drag radials out back.

I spoke to him about doing a kind of 'workshop' track rental. I would like to see guys like Jim D'Amore, Nitrous Pete and others get togather and organize this.

Data log the cars, watch the runs, give constructive criticism and offer consulting on mods and driving skills.

Sounds good??
 

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CONGRATS HAMMER!!!

Nice write up! wish i could have been there to see you make that
fast ass pass!! a always next time

sean
 

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I like the idea Rich! I think it would attract a crowd. I would certainly try my best to be where ever it ended up. How about the suggestion Jimmy has made for a fall event? Could put the two into one.
 

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dream muscle car

Hammar:

Hammer wrote, "The truly amazing aspect of the 03 Cobra is how easy it is to get there. I've invested very little time, effort, money and frustration into the realization of my dream muscle car."
My feelings exactly. You articulated them quite well.

My last muscle car, prior to the 03 Cobra, was a 69 Dodge Super Bee Six Pack (440 cu.in., 4 speed, 3 two barrel carbs, etc. straight from the factory). The Cobra has it beat it every category!

Again, thanks for your article, and congratulations on your great results on the track.

I'm still working on my Cobra. It is doing well, but not yet I expect the tune to be, but work is in progress. After the 17 lb tune is totally complete, I have a 21 lb pulley to tune for both street and track use. That should be fun and exhilerating!

jmiller
 

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Very nice writeup. Congrats on the new best as well. I know gremlines are always finicky to find, but you find them its worth the frustration.

Im looking to join the big blwer club next year, and can only hope for the best. Although in light of recent events I have gotten sidetracked on my goals.

Im thinking of making a run at the 10's on the eaton first, just so I can say I did it. I know Im just shy of my mark and a couple of bolt on's, maybe a 6lb lower and Throttle body. Then go from there.

I think in 04 these cars are gonna make huge gains and leaps in ET ,MPH and power categories. It should be very interesting.

Thanks for all the info, and taking the time to explain the path you have taken to make it easier for those who are going down that road.
 

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It's nice to see another 10 sec pump gas street car like mine. Great run. It's amazing what a 60ft will do to a time though isn't hammer. Your second run, same problem I had trying to back up my 10sec pass.
 
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