What Is the NHRA Cobra Jet Mustang?

One of the purest examples of the Mustang's racing pedigree, the NHRA Cobra Jet Mustang, was a limited-production vehicle sold for the 1968 model year. Only 50 were made, making them one of the rarest and most valuable of the high performance pony cars released in the ‘60s.

NHRA Cobra Jet MustangNHRA Cobra Jet Mustang Specifications

The '68 NHRA Cobra Jet Mustang was available as a coupe in Wimbledon White only. The cars featured a 428ci engine V8 engine, deleted export brace, steel wheels and aluminum intake. Of the 50 that were produced, 18 came off the line on December 30, 1967, with the rest following shortly in the New Year. Frequently, they're referred to as the "135 Series," which signifies a common three digits that were in each of the car's VIN number, which were sequential for the production run of 50 (8F02R135007 through 8F02R135056). The cars made their debut at the 1968 National Hot Rod Association Winternationals in Los Angeles.

A Racing Sensation

The Cobra Jet Mustangs that raced at the 1968 Winternationals were further modified for the drag racing circuit, with upgrades including traction bars, 427-style connecting rods and a C8AX-C cam installed by Long Beach's Holman-Moody-Stroppe. Several Cobra Jet Mustangs took home honors that year, including the overall Super Stock Eliminator title, which was won by Al Joniec, one of the six Ford-sponsored drivers.

2008 Revival

In 2008, 40 years after the debut of the first NHRA Cobra Jet Mustangs, Ford released a limited-edition revival that attempted to recapture the spirit of the original. Technically an FR500CJ, the 2008 Cobra Jet features a 425 horsepower, supercharged 5.4L V8 and a number of other performance enhancements designed for success at the track. Lacking a VIN number, the new Cobra Jet couldn’t be registered for street use. Despite this, of the 50 that were manufactured over a four-week period, all were sold in less than a week.

Whether it's the original 1968 or the 21st century revival, the NHRA Mustang Cobra Jet is an uncompromising example of the performance and racing heritage that first brought the Mustang into the public consciousness. In fact, many of the originals are still being driven and raced to this day.