|Here is a member spotlight I did for my club, this tells some history of my car|
Member Spotlight - AJ Varin and his 1997 Cobra - The Rebirth of a Good FriendAJ Varin (AJ SnkNV) was one of the first members in the club, number 18 to be exact. Since he has recently done a lot of work to his ride, I asked him to consider writing a “member spotlight” article. Here’s what AJ has to share....
From our June 04 newsletter
What I am about to write about is the times and tribulations of owning a sports car. In the beginning I was very involved with the club and became good friends with a lot of great people. Since there were many bad influences (people that had done more to their Cobras than I did) in the
club, I started spending money on the car. I learned a lot over time from reading magazines to talking with the people in the club. In the beginning I was doing just basic upgrades like exhaust, gears, and short shifter. As time went on, I started racing the car and due to the competitive spirit I had, I always wanted to outdo others, especially Mike Mandry. Mike and I
seemed to start basically racing at the same time, so we both had the same level of experience (we both sucked). So as we started racing
more against the Xtreme Vette guys, I started adding adjustable drag shocks and struts, lower control arms, Pro M 77, and drag radials.
Shortly after, I installed a dry nitrous system on the car to offset my inadequate racing skills. I bought this from a local guy and probably should have bought new but it was a good deal. I never seemed to get the nitrous running right because the bottle had contaminants in it that would clog my lines. But even running bad
it pulled 389 rhwp and 430 rwtq and I really enjoyed using it in the car. After a couple years of 1/4 and 1/8 mile racing my troubles
started, I blew my clutch at Hallsville. Once I replaced the clutch, things went fine for about a month, then the clutch went out again. I had something strange happen to the clutch; it basically had a warp in it. So back in the shop for another clutch and more money spent. Well a few months went on and then getting onto the highway something made a strange sound and its
doesn’t sound good. You got it; I threw a bearing, which could only mean more money into the car. I figure I will take advantage
of this misfortune and get a Houston Performance short block with forged piston and rods. I also have them install a billet oil pump, shorty headers, and windage tray. This whole thing took a couple months and a bunch of money but I figured when I get it back I would bump the NOS up and really have a bad ride. That is not the way it worked out. A few weeks later the car overheated badly and I believe caused some issues inside the engine. They way it overheated also caused the paint on the after
market hood to peel. As far as the engine went, it seemed to tick more than normal. I believe it was around this time was when I went into a depression about my car. I was just using the car to get from point A to point B. I wasn’t going to the car shows and really wasn’t active in the club at all for the next year and a half. At the end of 2003 I was thinking about just getting rid of the car and ending my misery. After many posts on the SVT page and also speaking to close friends (MADMEX & Thumper) and family,I decided to keep the car and fix it. My first step was to deal with the engine. I took it to Lone Star and had them add a polished Vortech supercharger. After we had it tuned it pushed out 437 rwhp and 388 rwtq. I was happy but I believe there is still some issues with the pistons from previous problems, so we have a very conservative tune on it. I am hoping in a couple of years to
crack open the block and change out the pistons and also bump up the boost to around 12-14 lbs. The next step was to add new wheels for overall looks. I did some searching and decided to add the FR500 wheels and I was able to save some money by purchasing a knockoff. Also since I was thinking about the car for shows, I ordered the polished wheels. Plus by going to 18” wheels I needed new tires, so I added some nice
beefy 285s on the rear, which make the car look a lot better. Next was paint, I took the car to Henry Medina at HPM Collision and was in discussion with him for weeks on a scheme. We came up with keeping black on the lower ˝ of
the car and doing a dark shadow gray on the top with a nice metallic silver pinstripe breaking the two up. The paint job came out fantastic and I’m currently very happy with my decision to keep the car. I entered my first car show last
month and took first place with my class, which made me very happy. Currently I am having a stereo system built in it and should make another statement for me as people look at my car at shows. So as you can see cars can be both fun and a nightmare at any given time. I believe this car will be in my garage for a long time and still even going through more transformations. I am happy to be in a club with great members that help me though the pain and pleasures of the Cobra. I hope I can assist anybody going through the same problems I went through. You know
where to find me again, back in meetings and shows and maybe doing some racing again.