HIGH-FLY­ING CO­BRA JETS

Muscle Car Review - - Content -

And other Fords at the 2018 Co­bra Jet Re­union

Turn­ing 50 is a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence, so when Ford’s famed Co­bra Jet hit the half-cen­tury mark, the pow­ers that be at the Ford Mo­tor Com­pany and the Na­tional Mus­cle Car As­so­ci­a­tion felt the need to cel­e­brate. The fes­tiv­i­ties were part of the 17th an­nual Honey­well-Gar­rett NMCA All Amer­i­can Na­tion­als, held at Nor­walk, Ohio’s famed Sum­mit Mo­tor­sports Park. Imag­ine 34 vin­tage Co­bra Jets (428, 429, and 351 ver­sions), 46 late-model Co­bra Jets, and 12 fac­tory CJ supercars all gath­ered for on-track ac­tion.

There was a show-and-shine area with 119 ad­di­tional street CJs, plus guest ap­pear­ances by Co­bra Jet–era he­roes like the 1968 NHRA Win­ter­na­tion­als Su­per Stock Elim­i­na­tor champ Al Joniec, re­tired Ford Rac­ing prexy Emil Lo­ef­fler, 428 Co­bra Jet en­gine wizard Bill Gil­bert from Tasca Ford, re­tired Ford engi­neer Bruce Size­more Jr., for­mer Ford En­gine En­gi­neer­ing project man­ager

Bill Barr, for­mer Ford X-Garage em­ployee Do­minic Gar­foli, re­tired Ford Rac­ing tech­ni­cal li­ai­son Brian Wolfe, and cur­rent Ford Rac­ing Di­rec­tor Mike De­la­hanty.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the high-fly­ing Co­bra

Jets (and other Ford friends) that came to Nor­walk to “grab some air” and cel­e­brate the CJ’s 50th birth­day.

“There were guest ap­pear­ances by he­roes of the Co­bra Jet era”

n One of the most pop­u­lar cars at the Honey­well-Gar­rett/NMCA All Amer­i­can Na­tion­als and win­ner in the Diver­si­fied Vin­tage CJ cat­e­gory was the Hall Broth­ers 1968 Co­bra Jet Mus­tang driven by racer Steven Hall, who qual­i­fied his 1968 Co­bra Jet Mus­tang in the 12th spot run­ning a 9.74. Hall beat CJ pi­lot Rod Heltzel with a 9.74/136.23 when Heltzel and his 1968 CJ fouled away the win with a 9.80/135.09.

n This SS/KA 1965 Mus­tang 2+2 driven by Don Keen con­sis­tently car­ried the front wheels a full hun­dred feet out if the gate on ev­ery run, much to the de­light of NMCA fans.

By Bob McClurg

n Alan Platt, son of Ford Drag Team star Hu­bert Platt, flew to Nor­walk to drive Andy Snet­se­laar’s Platt & Payne 1969 428 Co­bra Jet Mus­tang trib­ute car. But he got caught nap­ping on the start­ing line by Snet­se­laar in his P&P Ford Drag Team Torino Co­bra. Snet­se­laar had Platt by a car length at the tree, and things re­mained that way all the way to the fin­ish line.

n Co­bra Jet racer Richie Pauley towed his C/SA 1968 CJ Mus­tang all the way from Sau­gus, Cal­i­for­nia, to qual­ify fourth in Diver­si­fied Vin­tage Co­bra Jet, only to lose in the third round against even­tual run­ner-up Rod Heltzel.

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