1969 Ford Torino Cobra – 13.90 seconds
Price New: $3,400
Price Now: $40,000 +
The legendary Torino Cobra Jet debuted as a mid-year introduction in 1968 as a new muscle car engine from Ford. The pressure from Chevrolet’s 427 V8, Mopar’s 440 and 426 Hemi, and Pontiac’s 421 and 428 V8 made 427 Medium Risers obsolete. Ford needed a new mass-produced muscle engine to battle competitors. The Torino Cobra Jet was an engine designed to be affordable but still durable and powerful enough. Ford rated the 428 Cobra Jet at 335 hp, but it was immediately apparent that their new mill put out much more than that. It was speculated to be over 400 to 450 HP to be precise (via Motor Cities).
To further enhance the appeal of this new and powerful engine, Ford envisioned a marketing campaign with a cartoon snake that burned rubber. The logo appeared on cars as well as on promotional material, clothing, and factory brochures. Despite the fact it wasn’t on all models, the cartoon cobra was so popular that it’s still recognizable today.