Made in the USA – Ford, Quality Is Job One

Made in the USA Week concludes today. This week we too a look at the history and classic cars from Plymouth, Chevrolet, Dodge and Pontiac. Today we take a look at some iconic cars from Ford.

The Ford Motor Company has had a lot of fun with the iconic Mustang badge in the new century. The non-street legal Cobra Jet, the Boss 302 and the GT500 KR are three very special Mustangs produced in recent years.


Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

Ford_Mustang_428_Cobra_Jet_1969The Mustang Cobra Jet is technically classified as a production car, but the extremely limited production of 50 units each year featured components that were not street legal. An experienced drag racer took a stock Cobra Jet and took it from zero-to-60 in just 1.52 seconds. The same driver completed the quarter-mile in 7.848 seconds with a top speed of 174.4 mph.

If these numbers sound impressive, they should. These results made the Cobra Jet the fastest production vehicle on the planet. It made a Bugatti Veyron look positively sluggish by comparison. The Bugatti had recorded times almost a full second slower.

From 2008-2012, the Cobra Jet was powered by a supercharged 5.4L modular V-8, capable of as much as 800 horsepower. The engine was mated to a specially-built C4 three-speed transmission that pays homage to the original 1960s Mustang tranny. In 2013, a souped-up version of the 5.0L Coyote engine began to power the Cobra Jet instead.


Ford Mustang Boss 302

'70_Ford_Mustang_Boss_302The Boss 302 was originally produced in 1969 and 1970. It was re-released in the middle of the recession of 2008. It used the GT’s power plant, but a new intake manifold was employed that resulted in extra power. A stronger alloy was employed in the cylinder heads, and the ports were altered as well. There’s also increased lift in the camshaft, larger intake valves and race-grade bearings.

As a result, the engine achieves 32 horsepower more than that generated by the standard GT engine. This means 444 horsepower at 7500 rpm. The Boss 302 scampers from zero-to-60 in just 4.3 seconds. In both this test and in the quarter-mile, performance is comparable to that of a BMW M3.


Shelby Mustang GT500-KR

Shelby_Mustang_GT500_KR_02The GT500-KR was first built in 2008. The “KR” designation proclaims “King of the Road” status for this very powerful Mustang, and it pays homage to the 1968 Shelby that carried the same moniker. The original MSRP was a substantial $79,995. For that immodest sum, buyers got different components and enhanced performance over a GT500.

The KR version uses the same power plant as the GT500. However, engineers squeeze another 40 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque out of the GT500’s engine. The end result was a supercharged V-8 capable of 540 HP at 6250 RPM and a whopping 510 lb-ft of torque at 4500 RPM. The GT500-KR used the same Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual as found in the non-KR version. However, it features a 3.73:1 drive ratio that was more aggressive than that used in the GT500 transmission.