When Day-Two Won’t Do: Matt Whidden’s SVT Mustang Cobra Project

Matt Whidden bought a stock Cobra for a temporary daily driver, but he couldn’t resist the urge to turn it into a full performance build. Check it out here!

97 Cobra Mustang
Whidden’s plans for his bone-stock ’97 Cobra daily driver started innocently enough, but the initial strategy of just lowering it and replacing the wheels and exhaust lasted less than a week by his own admission.

“This is just another build – like many others out there – where things kind of got out hand,” says the owner of this blown SVT Mustang Cobra, Matt Whidden. “I originally bought this ‘97 Cobra as something fun to drive while my ‘95 Cobra was down for a big power build. The idea was simply to lower it, put on new wheels, and replace the exhaust. That lasted less than a week.”

Whidden says that while the ’97 Cobra wasn’t meant to be his pride and joy project, the allure of Ford’s modular V8 proved to be a siren song too strong to ignore. “The four valve motor’s smoothness and powerband quickly won me over, even though it made 300 horsepower less than my 95 Cobra,” he explains. “I bought the car with the intent of actually driving it, and two years later, I’ve spend a few hours behind the wheel and hundreds upon hundreds in the garage.”

To learn more about the DLG-1, dual channel wideband gauge, click here

Mustang Cobra
Six months into Whidden’s ownership, this is how the now-supercharged Mustang Cobra sits today, with a suspension overhaul courtesy of Maximum Motorsports, Koni, and Hyperco that should help the rest of the car keep up with the newfound horsepower.

The car’s got plenty to boast about due to those efforts, though. Starting with a showroom-stock example, Whidden quickly set to work heavily revamping the suspension, which now features Maximum Motorsports coilovers, Koni single-adjustable shocks and struts, and Hyperco springs front and rear. There’s also a host of other bits and pieces from Maximum Motorsports, like their adjustable rear sway bar, Panhard bar, control arms, camber/caster plates, full length subframe connectors, and four-point roll bar.

Brembo calipers
Whidden’s Mustang sports a laundry list of corner-carving hardware. These Brembo calipers with cross drilled rotors should provide the stopping power needed to keep the car’s overall capability balanced when hustling it around the track.

Considering the suspension upgrades and the significantly improved chassis rigidity, along with the True Forged Chicane three-piece forged wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis RT615K rubber, there’s little doubt that this pony can hang with the best of them out on the track or autocross course. But with Whidden’s penchant for horsepower, it wasn’t long before he turned his attention to the power train.

Crinkle-black powder coated intake

triple pillar pod with custom bezels

 

 

 

 

 

(Left) Crinkle-black powder coated intake, cam and coil covers, along with a custom radiator cover, help give the Mustang’s engine bay a clean, custom look. (Right) Installed in a triple pillar pod with custom bezels, the DLG-1 gauge provides real-time information on the air/fuel ratio and allows Whidden to monitor the left and right exhaust banks on one gauge.

To get the power where he wanted it, Whidden added a custom-built Vortech V3si with a Treadstone air-to-air intercooler to the mix, along with an Aeromotive 340 LPH fuel pump, a Tial Q blowoff valve, Siemens Deka 80lb injectors, and a 3.33″ pulley to provide 10 Psi of boost. “The tune isn’t finished, but the car will have to be held to 450rwhp at around 6200 rpm until I build another shortblock with billet rods,” Whidden says. To monitor things under the hood, he uses Innovate Motorsports DLG-1 gauges with custom bezels mounted in a triple pillar pod. “I like to monitor battery voltage, IAT, water temp, and boost,” says Whidden. “I tune the car myself and it’s very convenient to be able to monitor most of the parameters that the computer sees without having to have my laptop hooked up.”

Mustang's interior Mustang's interior

 

 

 

 

(Left) The Cobra’s interior upgrades include 2003 Cobra 10th Anniversary seats and center console, an FR500 steering wheel and a Pro 5.0 shifter, along with a host of odds and ends to help modernize the cabin. (Right) With the rear seat gone courtesy of a Maximum Motorsports delete kit, the Odyssey PS 1200 battery has been relocated to provide room in the engine bay and better weight distribution.

Despite how far the car has come under his care, Whidden says there’s still plenty of work still to be done. “I’ve now owned the car 2 years and have only driven it a few times. I work out of state in long periods of time, so that stretches my timeline out, but I’ve had the car in my hands less than 6 months. Eventually, I’m shooting for 600rwhp on 91 octane with 03 Cobra heads and 01 intake, with a custom 96-98 upper lid adapter,” he says. “I already have all these parts as well – there’s an entire bedroom of the house dedicated to parts awaiting install.”

red cars
Whidden swaps between the True Forged wheels and these MMD 551C rollers, the latter of which are wrapped in Nitto Invo tires. Keep an eye out for that F-150 Lightning in a future story.

146 thoughts on “When Day-Two Won’t Do: Matt Whidden’s SVT Mustang Cobra Project”

  1. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward
    to looking over your web page for a second time.

    asmr 0mniartist

  2. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to
    work on. You have done a extraordinary job!
    0mniartist asmr

  3. I am really impressed along with your writing abilities as
    neatly as with the format for your weblog. Is this a paid
    theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to
    see a nice blog like this one today..

  4. I have been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of house .
    Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site.
    Reading this information So i am satisfied to convey that I’ve an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed.
    I so much no doubt will make certain to don?t fail to remember this web site
    and provides it a look on a continuing basis.

  5. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, but I by no means found any fascinating article like
    yours. It’s beautiful value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the net can be a lot more
    helpful than ever before.

  6. First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your
    head prior to writing. I have had a hard time
    clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.

    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the
    first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!

  7. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

  8. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now 😉

  9. At this time it looks like WordPress is the preferred blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  10. Hello there, I do think your web site might be having web browser compatibility problems. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, great site!

  11. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can’t join it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  12. After exploring a handful of the blog posts on your website, I truly like your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website too and let me know how you feel.

  13. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday. It’s always exciting to read through content from other writers and use something from other sites.

  14. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see
    if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a
    youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she
    has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic
    but I had to share it with someone!

  15. Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  16. Asking questions are in fact good thing if you are not understanding something entirely, except this
    post gives nice understanding even.

  17. I seriously love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own site and would like to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Many thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *