Car Feature: Restored JPC-Built ’03 Cobra ‘Vert Cranks Out 875 rwhp

With the fifth-generation Mustang continuing to make headlines for superior power, performance and prestige, previous generations of the classic pony car are becoming things of the past for some. But that’s not the case for Dino Rallis’ 2003 Mustang Cobra that Justin’s Performance Center recently built. This once rusty factory stock car has had new life breathed into it by the experts at JPC and is now putting new Stangs, even the 2013 GT500, to shame. Need we say more?

We first got word of Rallis’ car though Aaron Leblanc, resident sales expert at JPC, and after one look through the spec list, we just had to know more. After all, we’re talking about a high-performance ’03 Cobra built by JPC owner/Mustang enthusiast Justin Burcham and his crew. So we hit up Leblanc for the full scoop on this impressive fourth-generation Cobra convertible.

The car came to JPC a pure factory car, but that’s not the only hurdle the Mustang experts at the shop had to battle. The car, originating from the New York area, also had quite a bit of damage by the way of rust which the crew had to tackle before moving forward with the car’s performance build.

“I’d have to say the toughest part of the build was actually trying to restore the car,” Leblanc told us in an email conversation. “The car had come from the New York area and ended up developing a good bit of rust. We ended up having to replace all of the bushings in the rear of the car for the IRS. We spent a good bit of time removing the rust and repainting a lot of the parts. The car came to us 100% stock down to the factory air filter and pulley and we’ve rebuilt the car from the ground up.”

With rust issues aside, the Mustang underwent a complete build from bumper to bumper. Under the hood, you’ll find a 5.3L stroker RGR shortblock with custom RGR/JPC camshafts and custom ported heads, as well as a 4L Whipple Supercharger, Billetflow upper pulley and idler, and a Metco lower pulley.

Pulling the exhaust to the rear of the car are Kooks longtube headers with a 3-inch collector attached to a 3-inch Bassani stainless steel catback system with 4-inch tips. The engine is aided by a Diablosport Predator tuner and fueled by Shell URT Advance Race Fuel. At 22psi, this potent engine is capable of producing an amazing 875rwhp.

Backing the engine is a Magnum transmission with a Cryo-treated gear set matted to a Mcleod twin disc clutch and custom driveshaft.

This setup helps push the car’s incredible power to the ground by way of DSS Pro Level rear axles, 3.73 rearend gears and an Eaton Truetrac differential with LPW IRS rearend girdle.

Adding to the Mustang’s performance is the fully built suspension system complete with Eibach Pro Kit lowering springs, Stifflers subframe connectors, an AJE K-member and A-arms, and Maximum Motorsports IRS Grip Package.

The car also sports QA1 single adjustable shocks and Eibach anti roll bars in the front and rear. In total, the build only took JPC about 3 months to complete.

“The purpose of the build was to build primarily a street car that had the power to also run a fast quarter mile time,” Leblanc relayed from Rallis to us. “I wanted something that I could take to a road racing track and mix it up with the exotics, something that I could drive to work that also has air conditioning and just cruise around in.  The car passes inspection in Maryland and puts down over 850 RWHP, can’t ask for more than that.”

It’s obvious that Rallis loves the car, but what about the guys at JPC-what was their favorite part? Well, Leblanc summed that up for us nicely, saying,” I think collectively here at the shop our favorite part was dynoing the car. It’s pretty exciting to see something you’ve been working on and planning for a few months finally come together and throw down the results you want.”

Although this Mustang is one potent car, Rallis still has some build plans for it in the future.

“I still have plans for the car; custom roll bar and bigger fuel pumps and injectors to run E85 are some of them,” Rallis said. “The car is staying with me until I am dead and gone.  The 03-04 cobra is my favorite body style and it’s what I have wanted for a long time.”

At every angle this Cobra is quite the looker and has the performance to back it up.

With the expertise of JPC behind the Cobra build, we have no doubt that this potent beast will make Rallis happy for the rest of his life. Of course when you have a guy like Bachman , who’s been interested in, racing and tinkering on Mustangs since his early teenage years, building any sort of performance machine, you can’t really go wrong.

Be sure to stay tuned as we look at a couple more JPC builds in the near future and check out the video below for a look at this 875 rwhp Cobra on the dyno. 

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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