The Mustang is easily one of the most well known American muscle cars in the world. You can’t mistake that iconic blue oval or the silver logo, no matter how much the exterior of this marvelous piece of engineering has changed over the years. The Cobra Jet moniker typically refers to Ford Performance drag racing cars, the ones designed to break speed records moving in a straight line. What sets the Cobra Jet 1400 apart from previous models that bore the name?
The Mustang Cobra Jet
The original Mustang Cobra Jet hit the strip in 1968, marking Ford Racing’s return to the sport. It didn’t have the specs of a modern dragster, but that didn’t stop it from taking the drag racing world by storm. The original Cobra Jet had a top speed of 127 miles per hour and generated 335 horsepower and 440 foot-pounds of torque at 3400 RPMs.
Ford only created 50 of these original Cobra Jets, and the first time it hit the track, it dominated the field. It tore down that quarter-mile track at 120 mph, completing the distance with an elapsed time of 11.5 seconds. At the time, it was one of the fastest dragsters in the world.
Ford released another incarnation of the Cobra Jet in 2008 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the model, which was a fast fan favorite, though it wasn’t street legal. Now, in 2020, Ford is adding a new twist to the classic Cobra Jet Dragster.
The Cobra Jet 1400
In this era of sustainability, everyone is talking about electric vehicles (EVs) — who is making them, how can they get ahold of them and how far they can travel on a single charge. One thing most people aren’t looking at when it comes to EVs is speed. Sure, they can get you from point A to point B and haul your groceries without hurting the planet, but would you really take an electric car onto a drag strip? Ford says yes.
The Cobra Jet 1400 is the newest incarnation of this classic dragster, and while we haven’t seen it on the track yet, the sheer power it can supposedly produce is right there in the name. Ford hasn’t released a lot of specs on this prototype yet. However, what they have told us is that the Cobra Jet 1400 will be able to crank out 1400 horsepower and 1100 lb-ft of instant torque thanks to an unknown number of electric motors.
Gasoline engines, or rather the transmissions attached to them, have to reach a certain number of RPMs or rotations per minute before they can start delivering torque to accelerate or tow a heavy load. That’s why you’ll see drag racers cranking their engines at the starting line before the flag drops. To get the best acceleration, they need to be at that RPM redline before moving forward.
Electric motors don’t have that problem. They deliver all of their torque as soon as you hit the accelerator. Therefore, revving the engine won’t be necessary with the Cobra Jet 1400. It might make drag strips a bit quieter, but it may also make for some interesting races.
Not the Only Electric Mustang
Muscle cars and electric motors might seem mutually exclusive, but they’re showing up at places other than the drag strip. A leaked dealer VIN decoder appears to indicate that we’ll be seeing more electric Mustangs in the next few years, including the Mustang Mach-E in 2021.
The Mach-E isn’t the pony car that you’re used to seeing with the Mustang name attached to it. Instead, it’s a crossover SUV that ranges from $44,995 to $61,660, depending on the model and features you choose.
The same VIN decoder also seems to indicate that we’ll be seeing another Mach-model Mustang for the 2021 model year. The Mach-1 Mustang seems poised to make a comeback, possibly replacing the BULLITT Mustang that Ford released for the 50th anniversary of the Steve McQueen movie that shares its name.
Having two Mach Mustangs for the 2021 model year might seem confusing on paper, and you may think that Ford is borrowing trouble. We assure you, however, that if you put the Mach-1 and Mach-E in the same room, you’ll have no problem telling them apart.
The Future of Ford and E-Vehicles
Ford, along with GM and other domestic automakers, has repeatedly spouted a plan to have 20 new electric vehicle models on the roads by 2023. The full objective is supposedly to create 40 new EV and hybrid models in the next few years, taking their focus away from gasoline vehicles.
Newly revealed information, though, seems to indicate that electric cars aren’t going to play as significant a role in Ford’s future as we thought. Between Ford and GM, EVs are only going to make up around 5% of their total production between now and 2026.
According to Ford and GM execs, the reduction is to prevent them from surpassing demand for EVs, but that might just be their way of saying they don’t want to move away from the more traditional diesel and gasoline engines just yet. We’ll have to see how things play out in the next few years.
Where to See the Cobra Jet 1400
We probably won’t get to see the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 in action for a while. Right now, Ford is testing the prototype and ensuring that it will make history when it finally hits the drag strip. When that will be is anyone’s guess. An event of this magnitude will likely wait until things start to go back to normal, and social distancing measures ease up.
It’s an exciting step to see Ford turn its iconic dragster into an electric vehicle. Time will tell whether this move is a wise or a foolish one. We can’t imagine seeing a drag race with the roar of the engines replaced by the gentle hum of an electric motor. Still, who knows what the future holds.