gram light wheels

(From S3 Magazine: Issue 58) I know a lot of y’all reading this magazine come from an import tuning background. But I also know those import vs domestic’ lines blurred a long time ago because y’all V8 swap everything these days, break the rules, and generally get into sh*t lol. So a Sonic Blue Terminator Cobra on BBSs in front with drag slicks in back… that flies. 

I mean… we’re attracted to raw & visceral cars, right?

That’s why we like swapped Hondas at 9k, and the sound of JZs hard in boost. Mustangs used to be the rival… the other team. But I feel like over the years, we’ve come to common ground. And if you think about it, it doesn’t get much more raw & visceral than a 4-digit-horsepower Terminator Cobra.

Cobra BBS wheels

Describe this Cobra in 3 words: Violent as fvck. 

I’m not cursing, I’m quoting, because that’s how this car’s owner, Spencer, describes it. And truly, this is the most violent kind of car on the planet. The kind of car that wants to go straight to hell & take you with it. Mega rowdy. Mega physical. A 100% American translation of power. It’s got no traction control, no ABS, none of that sh*t. Hell – this car’s still got the stock seats! I can’t believe the early 2000s-era Ford seats even hold up to this kind of power lol. It’s one thing to have a high horsepower GTR or Audi. Those are point & shoot platforms. AWD missiles. This is also a missile, but without the fins in back to guide it. 

And if you think about it from a historic/collector standpoint, the Terminator Cobra changed how Mustangs appeared to the public.

It ushered in a new supercharged era for the Cobra, and upped the ante. And also had independent rear suspension. By the later 90s, American V8s were getting challenged-hard by Japanese tuner cars. The Japanese manufacturers were showing that smaller displacement turbos & AWD would take it to the house on these traditional, unsuspecting pony cars. So in hindsight – the Terminator could have very well been a response to Mustangs getting upset by DSMs, Supras, & all sorts of other tuned-out imports in the late 90s & early 2000s. 

03/04 cobra

But the Terminator Cobra really woke up & reinvigorated the domestic muscle segment.

At 390 factory horsepower, the Terminator Cobra reignited the modern American horsepower wars. At the time of its introduction (2003), the flagship C5 Z06 Corvette was only making slightly more horsepower at 405hp. So GM was forced to respond, and they did, with 505hp in the next-generation C6 Z06. Ford counter-punched with 500hp in the 2007 GT500. Cadillac came into the ring with a new kind of muscle. Mopar got the band back together with the SRT8s… which led to the 392s & Hellcats, etc. And so on & so on. Here we are today, with 700+ horsepower turn-key cars & SUVs. It’s perhaps the end of a great chapter, as car manufacturers are now buckling to the pressures of the EV movement. But it’s all the more reason to appreciate this platform. 

Text by Wooley     Photos by Taylor Galster

sonic blue new edge

Sonic Blue Terminator Cobra: 750-1100whp

Stock bottom end with OPGs

Ported & polished heads 

Stage 2 comp cams 

1 7/8 ARH headers

Gen-5 3.0 Whipple supercharger

Lethal 1400HP fuel return fuel system

Injector Dynamics 1700’s 

T-56 Magnum trans

Fully built independent rear suspension

BMR k-member and a-arms

Viking DA coilovers  

BBS RK plasmas (front)

15×10 Weld Beadlocks with 275/65/15 MT street R’s (rear)

Wilwood brakes

Nitrous Outlet dry kit with 75HP shot

Stock ECU