The Easiest Ways to Increase Horsepower on a Mustang Cobra

If you’re fairly new to the car-modding scene, we recommend you check out our other article (5 Easy, Low-Cost Cobra Mods) as it will give you a basic rundown on inexpensive mods that will help ramp up your Cobra’s horsepower. This article is going to focus on easy-to-install mods for your Cobra that also offer a big “bank for your buck” with respect to increasing horsepower.

First, a Lesson on Horsepower

04 Cobra Engine in 95 Cobra BodyThe engine in your Cobra (good car choice, by the way) needs two things to generate power: air (derived from the atmosphere) and fuel (derived from the gas in your tank). Once the two are ignited, the resulting combustion creates power.

Making more horsepower is as simple as increasing how much air and fuel your engine can burn in a given cycle. The more air/fuel burned, the more potential for horsepower – simple as that. Notice the word potential in that last sentence: a poorly designed or tuned engine can burn plenty of fuel and not result in more power, and vice versa with respect to air. The two must be combined at the appropriate balance and utilized in the appropriate fashion – two things, by the way, that your Cobra can do more or less do automatically.

Finding Inexpensive, Easy Horsepower for your Cobra

The absolute easiest way to increase the horsepower your Cobra makes is by improving how well it breathes. In other words, changing out the stock intake/air filter/headers/exhaust setup is the easiest and most affordable way to make more power.

The stock breathing setup on a Cobra is pretty good but still fairly restrictive. This restriction exists to satisfy fuel economy or emissions requirements, and if you’re modifying the car, there’s a good chance you aren’t too concerned about those (Good, neither are we!).

  • The starter mods – Intake and cat-back exhaust – estimated cost: $950. These two mods will result in an approximately 20 horsepower gain.
  • The supporting mods – Tune – A tune is critical to extracting maximum horsepower from your Cobra (especially if it’s been modified). A tune on its own can add 25 horsepower (sometimes more), and up to 60 horsepower when paired with an intake and exhaust (total setup gain).

Remember the golden rule: the easier the car can breathe, the more horsepower it can make.