skip to content
Driving Line Mark Logo

DIY Terminator: Supercharged 2001 Ford Mustang Cobra

When Ford released the New Edge design for the Ford Mustang in 1999, the ensuing Cobra had a bit of a rough start. Early models were down on promised power due to an engineering flaw, and a delay in the resulting fix meant that the model was withheld for the 2000 year. For 2001, the car was finally offered with the full 320hp, but with only 15hp over the previous model, enthusiasts were hardly stoked on the increase. Ford would ultimately remedy that with the supercharged SVT Cobra in 2003, which left 1999 and 2001 owners feeling a bit bamboozled.

Yellow Mustang parked

Saying NO to NA

Luckily, the aftermarket always has an answer. The owner of this 2001 Ford Mustang Cobra set about making his own supercharged Cobra with the installation of a Vortech V-2 supercharger kit. Equipped with the accessory aftercooler, the increased boost level, high output supercharger system features a fully integrated air to water aftercooler approach to charge cooling.

Supercharged 2001 Mustang Cobra engine

Vortech chose the air to water system primarily because it closely maintains the boost level found at the compressor. The system has proved to make good power, and importantly, be reliable for daily driving duties.

Vortech Aftercooler in Mustang Cobra

To keep the air cool coming in, an Anderson power pipe was installed, and powder coated black for a subdued appearance. The power pipe brings in an enormous amount of cool air from the fender area, vital to the boosted engine.

Vortech Supercharger in 2001 Mustang Cobra

To expel spent gasses, a Magnaflow Magnapack race exhaust was installed, and similar to the charge pipe, was powder-coated black. Between the whistle of the supercharger and the deep, rich tones of the exhaust, the Cobra makes a good case for itself. On a conservative tune, with the supercharger and bolt-ons, the car makes a healthy 468hp on the dyno.

Rear end of 2001 Mustang Cobra

As with many modified Mustangs, the owner swapped to a Ford Racing 3.73 gear to improve low end torque and increase acceleration.

Side View of Ford Mustang Cobra

Building on Good Bones

Part of the SN95’s Cobra’s appeal to enthusiasts was the introduction of an independent rear suspension. Giving the muscle car a much more modern ride, the IRS has been a popular bolt-in upgrade for other Mustang owners looking for better handling. The owner has improved on those bones, adding full length weld-in Maxim Motorsports subframe connectors to stiffen the chassis, while a set of H&R springs bring the body closer to the ground.

Nitto NT555 G2 tires on a 2001 Ford Mustang

Full Tilt Boogie Racing double adjustable tie-rods and Maxim Motorsports fully adjustable camber plates allow the alignment to be dialed in to match the improved chassis dynamics.

Maxim Motorsports camber plate in Ford Mustang

OEM Inspiration

To take advantage of all of that suspension attention, a set of later model Cobra wheels fill the wheel wells, wrapped in Nitto NT555 G2 tires: 275/40/17 in front and 315/35/17 in back. The NT555 G2 is an ultra high performance summer tire that can handle the demands of a modified muscle car, while remaining composed during unpredictable daily driving situations.

Rear of Ford Mustang Cobra with NT555 G2 tires

Keeping with the obvious cues to the supercharged SVT Cobra, the 2001 Mustang exterior has been converted to match the 2003 models, including the front bumper, fog lights, side scoops and rear spoiler. A lightweight Cobra-style Cervinis hood was added to complete the look.

2001 Mustang Cobra with 2003 front end

Was It Worth It?

Of course, this entire project begs the question of why one would go to the trouble of supercharging and converting a naturally aspirated Cobra over simply starting with a 2003 or 2004 model. At the end of the day, the car certainly makes more power than a factory supercharged SVT Cobra, but with the budget allotted, the 2003 and 2004 models can make big power as well.

2001 Ford Mustang Cobra interior

Like many enthusiast projects though, rationality isn’t always part of the equation. Taking an unloved model and making the investment to turn heads at the truck is a classic recipe for many gear heads, and that’s exactly what the owner has done here. Cost-effective? Probably not.

2001 Ford Mustang Cobra doing a burnout

But a DIY spirit often sees the end goal, and makes their way there regardless of rational critique. With nearly 500hp on tap, this Mustang lives up to the Cobra name, and embodies the do-it-yourself ethos of the classic tuners that inspired the Cobra name itself.

2001 Ford Mustang Cobra driving away while doing a burnout

Return to beginning of article

Recommended For You

Loading ...