The Cobra Jet name is a legend in Mustang—and drag-racing—circles. Introduced in 1968, these lightweight Mustangs were powered by 428-cubic-inch FE V8s; once Holman-Moody and Bill Stroppe did their thing with a half-dozen of these cars, they quickly set about establishing a reputation on the quarter-mile.
In the intervening years, Ford has occasionally trotted out new Mustang Cobra Jet models, with the most recent incarnation arriving in 2018. While racing technology has come a long way since ’68, one thing all Cobra Jets have had in common is a V8 heart. That changes with the all-electric Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, which swaps superchargers and pistons for batteries and a motor.
Sacrilege? It would be, if this thing didn’t have the numbers to back it all up. Ford says its new, one-of-a-kind monster produces 1,400 hp (hence the name) and 1,100-plus lb-ft of torque. The automaker projects quarter-mile runs in the “low-eight-second range at more than 170 mph.”
The last time a major automaker debuted an electric drag-racer, it was Chevy’s eCOPO Camaro; with over 700 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, it could run a nine-second pass. And while that was mighty, mighty impressive in 2018, Ford’s newest toy shows how much the state of the art has evolved.
Chevy, are you going to ignore the gauntlet that has clearly been thrown down at your feet?
To bring this racer to fruition, Ford Performance worked with MLe Racecars for the build, with Watson Engineering handling the roll cage, plus chassis support and development. AEM EV provided software and motor calibration and controls, and Cascadia supplied the inverter and motor.
We’re curious about what’s going on under this thing’s skin; the eCOPO Camaro, for example, retained its conventional, race-prepped TH400 transmission aft of the electric motors. And watching the video up top, you can hear what appears to be a hard shift as the Cobra Jet rockets down the strip. We’ll learn more in the coming months.
Currently, Ford is treating the Cobra Jet 1400 as a one-off. But in case you haven’t noticed, Ford has been dancing around the idea of an electric Mustang for a while now. There’s the production-bound Mustang Mach-E, of course, which uses a special light-up version of the galloping pony as its hallmark. Then there was the Mustang Lithium concept shown at SEMA last year; that one-off, built in collaboration with German supplier Webasto, featured the improbable combination of 1,000 lb-ft of electric torque and a six-speed manual transmission.
Consider this another data point in the trend line pointing toward the pony car’s interesting, potentially electrified and apparently very quick, future.
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