Michael Quilatan - 1994 Mustang Cobra
In 1995, my best friend and I were both in college, and both had 5 Liter Mustangs. I sold my GT over 10 years ago, but my buddy kept his Cobra. It was neglected over time, and sat in a New York City garage for several years, sidelined by clutch, electrical, and cooling problems. In 2009, I purchased the Cobra for $1000, with the sole intent of turning it into a weekend road racing / HPDE car.
Between 2009 and 2011, the car was basically only driven to and from Tyrolsport, the European performance shop that took on the project car basically as a favor. This trip is about 5 miles from my home. Over time, all issues were addressed, including many maintenance/restoration items sourced from Late Model Restoration as well as a complete Maximum Motorsports road racing suspension. The engine was left untouched, save for maintenance items. It sports ported heads and intake, Steeda #19 cam (SN95 specific), long tube headers, Ultra-Flow exhaust and every other bolt-on short of forced induction. It dyno'd 303hp to the wheels and ran 12.8@109 in its prior life many years ago as an NMRA Bracket/Open Comp car.
Last year I was watching Top Gear on television and saw their epic journey to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in 3 exotic cars. It was then that I decided to make VIR the venue for the Cobra's re-debut. This past November, I drove the car the furthest its been driven in the last 6 years- nearly 1000 miles in a weekend - between VIR and NYC. It ran strong for two days on track and was a complete blast.
My Cobra shares the stable with a Jeep SRT8, a Porsche Boxter S, and a Mini Cooper S- arguably the most fun vehicles in each of their respective classes- and the Cobra is without a doubt my favorite of the four.
Also inspired by a Top Gear ice racing challenge I watched on television a few weeks ago, I've just mounted a set of snow tires and signed up to take the Cobra to a Winter Driving School- a day of driving slalom, skidpad, and a 1.25 mile race course on a frozen lake...Look Out!