SEMA 2015: Project Cobra Jet Challenge Debuts in the Toyo Treadpass

As car enthusiasts there is always that one specific car we’ve lusted over. For me, it was always the classic design of the Cobra. In the early-mid 1990s I got my hands on one of the first Factory Five brochures and I immediately fell in love with the Roadster. Shortly after, I ordered one of the build manuals and studied it like a high school book report. I vowed to myself that one day I would build one … and build it right.

Twenty years later, that dream has come true, and I am proud to represent our brands with our first SEMA project car, Project Cobra Jet Challenge that made its debut in the Toyo Tires Treadpass display. Our Factory Five Challenge project was mostly built in my home garage, though to make the final SEMA push, we needed to bring the project into our on-site tech center.

From the integrated roll cage, CCW C18 lightweight wheels, to the G-Stream rear wing, our Challenge car is a race-inspired street car.

The basis of the project is Factory Five‘s proven MK4 Challenge series car. The Challenge kit differentiates itself from the standard Roadster kit mainly from its fully-integrated, NASA legal cage. A robust halo bar is easily identifiable and from there, fully-integrated door bars makes getting in and out of the car a little more challenging than a standard Roadster. A standard 3-link rear suspension and tubular front suspension are a few of the additional items that come with the Challenge kit. We optioned a Street Completion package to make it road worthy, which consists of carpet, a second seat, and a windshield.

I wanted the design of the car to be edgy — matte/satin paint, carbon, billet, and no chrome. The concept of the Challenge/Roadster chassis are timeless, but I wanted enthusiasts to see this build in a more modern light. The next wave of gear heads need to continue to build these cars, and that is exactly the audience I was going for with this concept. These cars are affordable — as low as $13,000 to start — and can easily be built in a home garage. Anyone that built model cars as a kid would get a kick out of building a 1:1 scale version.

The interior is all business. A Racepak IQ3 displays all of the most critical engine functions, while the dash-mounted tablet serves as a tuning computer, live gauge display readout, and operates the car's stereo. Working with Marine Parts House, we developed a new line of custom billet lighting bezels. Up front, we worked with Trufiber to design a functional carbon fiber front splitter, while APR supplied the splitter.

When it comes to the engine, this is where the Cobra Jet portion of the project name comes in to play. Last year, we built a Coyote engine that was based closely off Ford Racing’s naturally-aspirated Cobra Jet engine program. Featuring the same 312ci Livernois block and Mahle pistons, it was filled with other go-fast goodies that allowed this Coyote to produce 624.9 hosepower and 462.3 lb-ft of torque – on a conservative 12:1 compression ratio. On the chassis dyno we made a conservative 534 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, and we are confident that we can eclipse 560 rwhp.

Stay tuned as we continue to bring you articles about this build, and actually get the car out on the track to see what it can do!

About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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