Ok, here's a quick rundown of what basic mods you should or shouldn't buy for your 96-98 Cobra. I added some more in-depth suspension stuff as well. Feel free to add input on whatever I forget. This should help cut down the number of useless posts. Shifters This should be a top-priority on your mod-list, even if everything else is left stock. The stock shifter in the 96-98â€™s (and 94/95's even) are prone to damaging the transmission if the car is driven aggressively (i.e. powershifting). There are no internal stops in the T45's, so a forceful shift can break a shift-fork or worse. Most owners have gone with shifters from MGW, Steeda, B&M, or Pro 5.0, just to name a few. The aftermarket shifters have bump stops to prevent damage to the transmission when shifting aggressively. There are a lot of rave reviews about the MGW, it features different size handles to fit each specific drivers needs and is one of the more quiet aftermarket shifters. The Pro 5.0, Steeda Tri-Ax, and Hurst shifters are also loved by many but tend to be noisier than the MGW in many instances. The B&M Ripper and Pro-Ripper are also great shifters. Pretty much any aftermarket shifter with positive stops will do the job of saving your transmission, but some will make for a better driving experience than others, though it depends on your preference. This is one of those things, like exhaust, that you should use your friends' cars as reference to compare and find what you like. Don't make an expensive mistake by skipping this mod, it'll save you money later! Gears The most noticable mod per dollar for your Cobra is a new set of rearend gears. They will substantially help the acceleration of your Cobra and let it get into the powerband quickly. For a mild 96-98, 4.10 gears should be the lowest (numerically) that you even consider. 3.73's aren't worth it. 4.10's or bust. Ideally though, you want a 4.30 gear. The reason being is that on N/A 96-98 Cobras, you will shift right before the traps with 4.10's. The 4.30's will let you run through the traps in the powerband, thus decreasing your ET's. If you really wanna get serious, go right for the 4.56 gears. These will make your car an absolute monster compared to stock. As far as brands go, always use FMS gears if possible, but Motive gears are also a quality replacement. This is one area you don't wanna skimp in quality. Intake Systems One of the first power mods people do for their Mustangs is a cold-air intake system. They are cheap, and can increase performance quite well considering the low price. You should buy a quality CAI though. BBK makes a very "pretty" intake, but the gains are minimal at best. Moving on, the best intake currently available for 96-98 Cobras is the JLT intake. In both CAI and RAI versions they make good gains, with the CAI edging out the RAI by a couple rwhp. Next up is the Demolet Densecharger. This intake also has great gains, with the ability to change filter placement to find the best gains for your car. Furthermore, UPR makes a nice intake with pretty good gains, as does WMS. C&L's kit is very good quality, but the gains are a couple below the aforementioned intakes. The beauty of the C&L is that it has a cast-in nitrous boss that can be tapped as a great place for a nitrous nozzle, hence why I use it. Catback Exhaust Systems When it comes to catbacks, go for whatever you think sounds the best. Use friend's, or online exhaust clips, for reference on their combos to find out what sound you like. They will all make decent power gains, but the difference is negligable from one to another most of the time. Some mufflers will sound better with and H-pipe, and some better with an X-pipe. A GENERAL rule of thumb is that a chambered muffler will sound better with an H-pipe, and a straight-through muffler with sound better with an X-pipe, though this is not always the case (my H-pipe and Magnaflow combo sounded amazing). Midpipes When it comes to midpipes, you really can't go wrong with a good name-brand product. This modification deletes the stock catalytic convertors with straight-through piping, or replaces them with high-flow units. The unobstructed exhaust with help the motor exhale better, usually netting 8-15 rwhp, depending on your other modifications. The X-pipe will typically give a couple more horsepower than the H-pipe, but like the catback, go with the sound you like because the difference is negligable. If you plan on installing longtube headers (see below) in the near future, you may want to wait on this modification as a longtube header will require a special midpipe of a shorter length and collector design. After installing an offroad (catless) midpipe, your rear O2 Sensors will trip a check-engine light (or MIL, malfunction indicator lamp). Don't worry, this won't affect performance as it is a "soft code," meaning it is emissions related and not performance related. To remedy this situation, you will need to buy MIL-eliminators. These resistors simply plug in between the O2 sensor and the stock connector from the factory harness. Another option is have your tuner (read on...) turn off the rear O2 Sensors. You will not hurt anything if you don't take care of the light, but you will fail emissions, should you need to take them. Also, the H-pipe will typically give a more deep rumbly "classic musclecar" sound, and the X-pipe will yield a little more high-pitched "exotic" sound. Headers When it comes to headers, you really want to make the right choice. They all have different positives and negatives. For a 4V Cobra, longtubes should be your only choice. If you live in California, you may have to use shorties by law. Shorties don't offer much in the way of peak rwhp gains, but you will gain some much-needed lowend torque and smooth out the powerband to an extent. JBA makes a nice set, and they are compatable with stock or stock-style midpipes. On to longtubes, there are many choices available. Starting with the higher end of the spectrum, SHM has has some great LT's. Although I believe production has ceased, if you can get these for a good price, they are one of the best, if not THE best, 4V header. They use a stepped design to maximize power and flow, but come with a serious pricetag and limited availability. Next in line, and more readily available to us mortals, are Kooks longtube headers. These headers are fantastic quality and make great power. Available in stainless, they are very resistant to corrosion and a rust. Moving on, we have Hooker Supercomp headers. These headers, in my opinion, are the best option for their price. While more expensive then Mac or BBK, they allow you to drop the transmission without the removal of the passenger-side header, which is a big plus when you need to replace the clutch or tranny. They use a slip-fit collector, which can often leak, but the addition of some high-temp/pressure RTV sealant and a good clamp, they work great. They are available in coated or stainless, and with both 1 5/8" or 1 3/4" primaries. Next are BBK headers. These headers are relatively inexpensive and make great performance gains. The quality is also good and they are available in a few different finishes. The kicker with these headers is that you must remove the passenger-side header when you wanna drop the tranny, which is a pain in the ass IMO. You may have also heard of Mac headers. While they make a decent header for 5.0's, there have been many instances in the past with DOHC 4.6's with welding slag breaking loose and getting sucked into the EGR valve, causing an engine failure. My advice? Stay away from them altogether, but if you do use them, don't connect the EGR tube until at least a few hundred miles of driving. A good medium between longtubes and shorties are the Bassani midlengths. They give great gains, although a little lower than longtubes, but are of the highest quality and give more ground clearance than LT's. Underdrive Pulley Sets Though some argue they are a waste of time, they have been dyno-proven to make 11rwhp on 96-98 Cobras. The main thing to look for when choosing a pulley set is the crank-pulley style. BBK makes a nice set, but they use a piggyback-style crank setup where the factory dampner bolts to the BBK pulley. I personally do not trust this system. Instead, I would suggest a Steeda or March setup which use a 1-peice crank-pulley/dampner. Throttle-Bodies They may make decent gains on 5.0's, but this is the 4V modular world guys, and going fast with stock parts is what it's all about. The factory throttle body will handle all you can throw at it, unless you are running a ton of boost. BBK and Accufab make nice TB's, but you're wasting your time and money for only 2-3 rwhp MAX on an N/A or mild blower motor. Mass-Airflow Sensors (MAFS) Unless you are supercharging your engine, it's best to leave the stock one in place. The stock MAF sensor will read the most accurately, and has little restriction at mild levels of performance. If you end up getting a blower down the line, check with your tuner on which MAF to buy, but SCT makes some great products in this department, or a Lightning 90MM MAF can be utilized. Driveshafts The factory driveshaft will do just fine most of the time, but if you want a small performance gain (maybe a tenth in the quarter), an aluminum driveshaft is a nice addition to any car. They decrease rotational mass and reduce vibrations at speed. You can even buy lighter carbon-fiber driveshafts, but they are pricey. Also these are also highly recommended when doing gears to help cut out any vibration one might get. Drag-radials Power is nothing if you can't put it to the ground. Drag-radials will help give you that needed traction. For a daily-driven car that needs a longer-lasting tire, Nitto makes a fine drag-radial. Though they aren't what I would consider a "race" tire, they offer GREAT traction compared to your average street tire. Additionally, they last quite long (sometimes 15K-20K miles) and can be driven safely in the rain. Next in line are BFG drag-radials. These tires offer much better off-the-line traction than the Nittos, but wear a little faster. The traditional "leaf-treaded" versions (typically the 17 inch ones) are great in the rain as well. The 18-inch versions have a different tread design with a smooth center, and you must be more careful in the rain. This version also gives awesome traction. If you wanna get serious, Hoosier and Mickey-Thompson make AWESOME drag-radials. While they don't last particularly long, or give even a shred of wet-traction, they deliver the ultimate in dry-weather straight-line grip without going to a full-blown slick. Decide what is best for you by what your particular needs are.