No, it isn’t April Fool’s Day – Scott Libersher, the COPO Connoisseur, really has added a Ford Mustang Cobra Jet to his collection of Camaros.
A longtime Chevy collector as well as an NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars and Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock contender, Libersher’s addition is actually an acquiescence made out of love for his son-in-law, Dan Condon. Condon himself is a Ford guy, and since Libersher’s engine builder and right-hand-man, David Barton of Ray Barton Racing Engines in Robesonia, Pennsylvania, wanted to get his feet wet in the Ford department, it made perfect sense that a Cobra Jet was selected for Libersher’s latest collaboration.
“This car has actually been in the works for quite a while,” noted Libersher, who is still unquestionably committed to the bowtie brand, “but it’ll be Dan [Condon] – not me – who will be campaigning the Cobra Jet on behalf of Libersher Racing.”
The new pony actually began its life as an automatic transmission-equipped regular ol’ Ford Mustang which Libersher picked up as a flood-damaged salvage title purchase. It was then stripped down and built it back up with all-new 2018 body panels to make it a Cobra Jet clone.
Watson Racing was tasked with managing and overseeing the entire process, and Libersher couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out. “We built it as an NMCA Holley EFI Factory Super Cars and NHRA Factory Stock Showdown car, so it’s got all the goodies,” added Chuck Watson, Junior, who was proud to have partnered with Libersher on such a high-profile build.
Up first was making sure the Cobra Jet’s chassis was up to the task of handling the high-horsepower abuse it will undoubtably face. As such, a 25.5 SFI certified roll cage approved to run 7.50-second quarter mile elapsed times was installed and color-matched to the CJ’s ruby red exterior, while Watson took care to make sure each and every weld was spot-on perfection.
Next, the car’s suspension system was addressed and Watson selected Lamb Components parts, including shocks and struts, along with Mark Williams axles. “A Strange rear end housing with our Watson Racing bracketry makes it work with the four-link Cobra Jet suspension, wheelie bar, and other parts,” noted Watson. At each corner, Weld wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber frame a set of matching Lamb brakes.
Meanwhile, Barton was hard at work putting together the power plant for Libersher and Condon’s toy. “Scott is really happy with our COPO stuff, so this Mustang had to be top-notch, too, and he’s given us the opportunity to put the powertrain together for him,” he shared.
Barton fortified the Cobra Jet’s supercharged Coyote engine with a set of Diamond pistons and a lot of experimentation with camshaft profiles was done. “We have a Spintron in our facility so we can test the valve train and stuff, and we put a lot of research into all of our engines,” shared Barton proudly of his shop’s capabilities. “Ford has been helping us out a lot, too, and they’ve been great to work with.”
The team at Watson added their own three-gallon fuel cell along with a complete Aeromotive fuel system and custom fuel lines by Watson to help ensure the Cobra Jet has plenty to eat, and a Holley EFI system will allow Barton to manage the tune up and make sure nothing goes awry.
Additionally, a Turbo 400 transmission will work in conjunction with Barton’s bullet, and the guys have decided to keep the whole thing as close as possible to their Chevys. “We need to figure out the gearing, of course, and we’ll have a bit of a learning curve with the different RPM and horsepower range in order to get it dialed in and competitive,” noted Libersher, who understands full well the initial work will yield big rewards for Condon in the long run.
“This car is representative of all the things you can do with these to make them the best that they are. Scott didn’t short change it in any way, and it’s a cookie cutter clone of my father’s car which we have a tremendous amount of development into,” added Watson.
With everything except the engine and transmission completed by Watson, the next step will be for Libersher to take possession of his first Ford and have Barton finish up installing all of its horses. After that, it’ll be only a matter of filling it with fluids and letting Condon fling it down the track.
Current plans are to have his ’18 Cobra Jet clone completed and ready for Condon to make the initial shakedown runs towards the end of the year, likely September or October. “We’ll get some data and be ready to hit the ground running in NMCA Factory Super Cars for February, 2019,” Libersher asserted of the projected plans.