What Is the Mustang Cobra Jet?

A legendary name in pony car history, the 1968 Mustang Cobra Jet is considered the fastest production Mustang ever. Unveiled to the world on April 1, 1968, the original Mustang Cobra Jet was a 410 horsepower monster capable of accelerating from 0 to 120 mph in just 11.5 seconds.

Cobra Jet MustangCobra Jet Specifications

The 1968 Cobra Jet was powered by a heavily modified version of Ford’s 428 big car engine. Using the 428 as its base, Ford engineers widened the valve heads and added a 427 intake manifold, hood scoop, performance air cleaner and a number of other upgrades. The Cobra Jet was available in both fastback and coupe models with either an automatic or manual transmission. Additional touches included fog lamps, a side stripe and the distinctive black hood stripe, which quickly came to be feared on tracks across the country as a symbol of pure speed and power.

The Cobra Jet’s Racing Pedigree

The Cobra Jet quickly lived up to its reputation as the fastest Mustang ever, taking home uncontested honors in the Super Stock class of the ’68 NHRA Winternationals. To this day, old Cobra Jets continue to be run at racing events around the world. As recently as 2007 John Calvert set the record in the SS/G class, running to 139 mph in just 9.57 seconds.

Return of the Cobra Jet

To celebrate 40 years since the original’s release, Ford returned the Mustang to the drag racing circuit in 2008 with the release of a brand new Cobra Jet. True to the spirit of the original, the new Cobra Jet — technically an FR500GT and limited to a production run of just 50 units — featured a supercharged 5.4L V8 mated to a six-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. To save weight, the new Cobra Jet has jettisoned production car luxuries like wipers, a/c, airbags and side mirrors. Despite a lack of creature comforts, the entire run of 2008 Cobra Jet Mustangs sold out in less than a week.

Whether it’s the 1968 original or the 2008 revival, the Cobra Jet name has an important place in Mustang history, representing the purest distillation to date of its racing pedigree.