The Cobra Mustang - SVT
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra!
The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra, a pony car from Ford that was started back in 1993. This car was produced in very limited numbers and is a very high performance version of the popular Mustang platform from Ford, Cobra has always been the option from Ford that sat above the ever popular GT model. In very limited numbers Ford produced the rare and hard to find Cobra R.
Here is the history of the car broken down to each body style and engine platform with pictures and video of each. Enjoy!
After Ford’s Special Vehicle Team was put together, the first car that they slapped an SVT badge on was the F-150 Lightning, the second, was the 1993 Cobra Mustang. This car was based off of the 3rd generation mustang platform, best known as the Fox Body mustang. And 1993 was the last year of this body style, but the first year for the Cobra. Under the hood was a Windsor 5.0 L V8 engine rated at 235 hp and 280 ft·lbf torque. They only made 107 Cobra Rs this year.
235 hp @ 4600 rpm and 280 lb·ft @ 4000 rpm
9.0:1 compression ratio
6000 RPM redline
0-60 mph - 5.7 seconds
Top Speed - 140 mph
Curb weight: 3,255 lb
Stats: as reported in Feb 1993 Car and Driver
1/4 mile 14.3 sec. - 98 mph
Braking 70–0 mph in 181 ft
0.85 g in 300 ft skidpad
1993 Cobra R
With the Racer in mind, the SVT team set out to built and all out race car, a track ready stripped down version of the already potent 1993 Mustang Cobra. The car was shaved down at every corner and cut of every thing except the bare essentials, air conditioning, rear carpet and the radio. To cut even more weight the eliminated all sound dampening insulation, carpet padding, and body seam sealer.
And with the race car theme in mind they removed to rear seat with the belts and all brackets and hard wear, which made this the only Fox Body that came strictly as a two seater. To help out on the track the R was fitted with larger brakes, stiffer springs, Koni race shocks, larger anti-roll bars, and a strut tower brace. To keep it running cool it had a larger capacity radiator and oil coolers.
The only difference in the R and the Cobra in the looks department was the five lug wheels. These wheels were carried over to the next generation Mustang and used on the GT model. They were referred to as "Tribars". They painted the wheels gloss black and polished the center cap and lip, which has become very popular in recent years.
The only available color was Vibrant Red, only 107 of these gorgeous cars were ever built, which makes it just about the rarest and fastest production Fox Bodies in Ford history.
1994–1995 SN-95 Windsor SVT Mustang Cobra
In the Summer of 1994 Ford introduced the Cobra In the new SN-95 Body style.
It featured larger brakes, a tuned suspension setup with wider wheels a "GT-40" lower intake and Cobra exclusive upper intake manifold and GT-40 cast iron heads. Horsepower was up to 240 hp, though. The differences in the GT and the Cobra were the front bumper, the Cobra had rounded fog lights, the Cobra wheels, and in ‘94 and ‘95 the Cobra used the LX V6 rear bumper, the COBRA rear bumper didn’t show up until the ’96 model.
In ’95 the Cobra had an optional removable top. 499 of these were made and you could only get it with Black paint and Beige interior. They were basically the same as the convertible but had a few changed to allow for the removable fiberglass top.
For these 2 years the car ran 0-60 in 5.9 sec and did the 1/4 in 14.6.
1995 SN-95 351 Windsor SVT Mustang Cobra R
After the huge success and following of the ’93 Cobra, the SVT team set out to create a more powerful Cobra R for 1995. To satisfy requests they wanted to create a more powerful Cobra with more fuel capacity.
To obtain this, they replaced the Cobra’s 5.0L V8 with their own version of the EFI 5.8L V8, which is actually a fuel injected 351 Windsor, built to produce 300 horsepower and then they put in a Kevlar 20 US gallon fuel tank.
With the increased torque from the larger engine, a Tremec 3550 5 speed manual transmission was mated up to the 351. Then they went to shaving weight, no back seat, radio, power windows or seats or air. The fog lights were even removed, and their housings were used as air ducts to vent cool air to the front disc brakes.
Progressive-rate springs and thicker stabilizer bars with a front strut tower greatly improved handling on the track.
They only made 250 of these, you could only get it in white with the saddle cloth interior, then they developed a cowled hood to clear the larger engine and components.
This baby reached 60 in 5.2 sec and the 1/4 in 13.8.
'96–'98 SN-95 Modular SVT Mustang Cobra
Well in 1996 Ford finally did away with the outdated 5.0 engine that they had become so famous for.
They replaced it was an aluminum ‘modular’ 4.6L DOHC (dual over head cam) V8, that boasted a little bit better power and improved fuel economy. The new modular made 305 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque; this put the new Cobra in the high 13 second rage at the drag strip.
’96 and ’97 models used the Borg Warner T-45 5-speed manual transmission. But in 1998, Tremec bought them out.
In ‘96 Ford used Mystic Cobra, a color-shifting or ‘flip-flop’ paint job. It had a green base, and depending on the light and the angle, the car could shift from green, to blue, to purple, to gold.
This was the last years for the return fuel system, as they switched to a return less unit to comply with emissions regulations.
These years the Cobra did 0-60 in 5.4 sec and ran the 1/4 in 14.0.
’99-’02 SN-95 2 SVT Mustang Cobra “New Edge”
Well in 1999 Ford came out with a new Mustang, it was called the New Edge Body, and with it came an all new SVT Cobra. A first for Mustangs, all of the ’99-’04 Cobras featured IRS (Independent Rear Suspension). And like a talked about it the last section, this is when they started using the return less fuel system to meet with new emissions standards.
These new Cobras featured a 4.6L DOHC engine with 320 hp and 317 ft·lb of torque. Ford took a year off in 2000, and didn’t produce any Cobras this year. To make those 320 ponies the SVT team changed out the intake manifold, some exhaust components, and retuned the computer of the 4.6L.
When the Cobra came back in 2001 it had the same horsepower and walked all over its GM rivals, the Camaro and the Trans Am. The 4.6L was much smaller than GM’s LS1, but the new modular produced more power, and the Mustang also weighed much less, which not only made it faster off the line, but much nibbler in the corners.
There were a few changes from the ’99 to the ’01 model. First the engine block was switch from the Teksid block to the WAP (Windsor Aluminum Plant) block. The cylinder heads were tweaked.
They featured seats that were Cobra specific. A new rear bumper with the “COBRA” inlay, instead of the previous model which featured a V6 rear. The rear badge simply read SVT instead of SVT Cobra. You could get the Cobra 17” wheels in a polished option.
They replaced the old T-45 tranny with a new 3650. The IRS Halfshafts were changed to 31 splines from the old 28. It featured a newly designed rear spoiler. They upgraded to a six disc CD changer. They did some redesign on the center console, and added a leather boot to the Parking brake.
They changed the headlights over from chrome backgrounds to a black, which makes the lights appear “smoked” or tinted. Some of the interior cluster lights received new colors.
The '99 model did 0-60 in 5.4 sec and ran the 1/4 in 13.9.
The '01 model got to 60 in 4.8 sec and ran the 1/4 in 13.5.
2000 Cobra R
In a very limited number of 300, in 2000 Ford produced its all new Cobra R, it had a monstrous 5.4L DOHC V8 that made 385 hp and 385 ft/lb of torque. But independent dyno tests show that these cars could actually make that power down to the wheels, which means that Ford severely underrated the flywheel power on these cars.
This was a street legal Race Car, and like all of the R models before it, it lacked any luxury components. Obviously no radio, air, or back seat.
The differences in this car and another ordinary New Edge Cobra are very evident. First off, the hood, it was a raised hood made to clear the larger engine, and it featured vents cut into it that helped get more cool air into the engine bay. To keep the car tight at high speeds the SVT team added a huge, functional rear wing that is unique only to the Cobra R. It had dual side exhaust like that of the Lightning, a V6 rear bumper, and under the bumper you can see the race style fuel cell.
The front bumper has big, in your face, removable front spoiler. Not only does it look awesome it is also designed to be functional in not only keeping the front end of the car down but to help bring more cool air into the engine. They designed some sweet 18” five spoke wheels.
They redesigned the cylinder heads for the 5.4, a different intake manifold, short tube headers replaced the exhaust manifolds, different profile camshafts, and a high flowing exhaust with Borla Mufflers.
The way that this car was set up made it a street legal beast that was ready to tear up the track at a moments notice!
The Car would sprint to 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds and completed the 1/4 mile in only 12.9 seconds. It was the fastest mustang ever built!
'03–'04 SN-95 2 SVT Mustang Cobra (supercharged)
The 2003 SVT Cobra came with a 4v 4.6L Supercharged V8, Ford claimed 390 hp at 6000 rpm and 390 lb/ft of torque at 3500 rpm. Later testing showed that again Ford had underrated their engine.
Actual numbers were found to be upwards of 425 hp!
With this increase in horsepower the SVT team had set out to increase to holding capabilities of the drive train. First they switched to a much stronger cast iron block instead of the previous aluminum one.
They beefed up the internals with Manley H-beam connecting rods with forged Zolner pistons. This had to be done since the Eaton M112 Roots-style blower was huffing out 8 psi of boost.
These engines were known as the "Terminator" engines, and will go down in history as the strongest and most power engine Ford has ever built. And also considered one of the toughest engines ever built by anyone. These engine have seen upwards of over 700 rwhp without even changing the engine interals!
They upgraded to an aluminum flywheel and a Tremec T-56 6-speed tranny, and out back they installed 3.55 rear gears and beefed up the axles with 31 spline half shafts.
Then they topped it off with redesigned upper and lower control arms.
For the 10th anniversary of the Cobra Ford offered a limited-edition Cobra with one of a kind paint and red leather inserts on the seats.
This car could sprint to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and did the ¼ in just 12.9!
2007 S-197 Mustang "Shelby GT500" (Supercharged)
This time around legendary Carroll Shelby lends a hand on the creation of the new Cobra, officially dubbed the “Shelby GT500”. Coming after a 3 year drop from the Cobra lineup. The new Cobra comes with a 4v 5.4L DOHC Supercharged V8 boasting 500hp!
Just like the older Cobras, this one has GT-40 aluminum heads and special profile cams which work perfectly for the completely new blower that’s pushing out 9 psi of boost.
On the driveline side, it was beefed up with a twin disc clutch matted to a T-6060 6-speed manual. This year they had to go back to a solid 31 spline rear axle because of the new S-197 chassis.
This new model Cobra is better suited for drag racing since this solid axel is a lot stronger for racing that the older IRS. The previous model was better suited for road racing. Since the new GT500 is heavier because of the larger engine, it is not too well suited for the corners, like the older Cobras with the Aluminum 4.6.
The GT500 also sports a new set of 18” wheels with bigger brakes and bigger sway bars to accommodate the heavier engine.
Ford continues it’s dominating legacy of the muscle car with the 2007 GT500, and that have improved even on it with the unveiling of the brand new 2010 Shelby GT500 (check for a later review of the entire Shelby lineup!).
This car runs to 60 in 4.5 seconds and the ¼ in 12.9, same as the ’03-’04 SVT.
With the 540hp GT500KR edition this little pony makes its run to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and runs the ¼ in 12.5.
And with the 725hp GT500 Super Snake, it has a 0-60 time of just 3.9 seconds and a ¼ mile run of 11.9.
And finally here are a couple of great videos in tribute to the Terminator Cobra. Thank you guys for reading and keeping checking back for more articles or message me with requests.
Enjoy these Videos!