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Ford has been producing pony cars for nearly six decades, and during that time, it has made some properly villainous muscle cars. One such gem is the mighty Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator, a supercharged precursor to the mad Shelby and Mach 1 cars we hold in high regard today. So accolades aside, what is a Ford Mustang Terminator?

What is a Ford Mustang Terminator?

The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra “Terminator” is an SN95 generation car that Ford built between 2003 and 2004. The Terminator gave itself away subtly, with a slightly different front fascia and only a few cobra badges. In addition to its sinister stance and styling, it was a quantum leap in horsepower-infused coupes and convertibles, pushing the muscle car market closer to modern supercharged cars like the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.  

Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator is a benchmark in the development of supercharged muscle cars.
An orange Terminator | Ford Performance

What is the engine in the Ford Mustang Terminator?

The beating heart of the SVT Cobra Terminator was a 4.6L DOHC V8 with an Eaton M112 supercharger for forced induction. According to MotorTrend, the official specs of the Terminator had it pegged at 390 horsepower at 6,000 RPM, but the actual figure was closer to 420 horsepower. Considering the 420 horsepower figure, the Terminator made at least 100 horsepower more than the previous iteration of Cobra. 

If you don’t want to subject your Ford Mustang Terminator to garage-queen status, you can easily up the horsepower. Owners can reportedly add a larger pulley, injectors, a high-performance fuel pump, or even port the blower to push the numbers above 500 horsepower to the wheels. Pair that with the lower, stiffer posture of the SVT Cobra Terminator over other Mustang GTs, and you have an autocross or track-day weapon. 

Tyler Ahern's supercharged engine in his formidable Ford Mustang.
A Terminator’s modified powerplant | Tyler Ahern, Ford Performance

How much is a Ford Mustang Terminator?

Savvy shoppers can find a Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator for $20,000 and up. Interestingly enough, that still makes the Terminator a performance bargain. To get a modern car with 400+ horsepower, you’ll need to spend twice as much or more. For instance, to get the new Nissan Z Performance with its 400 horsepower, you’ll have to pay at least $50,000. That modern Z Performance will outrun the Terminator in every metric, but it doesn’t make the Terminator any less impressive.

Still, the Terminator was a limited production vehicle compared to Mustang GTs of the time. Considering how few Ford produced, the car will likely continue to appreciate and could constitute an automotive investment. 

Should you buy a Terminator?

If you can find a solid example of a 2003 or 2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator, you should consider snagging it. The car represented a new era in the muscle car market and could appreciate in the future. Even if you don’t want a Terminator for weekend cruises and car shows, the potential for autocross, track days, and drag strip fun is nearly limitless. 

Perhaps the most excellent tidbit, MotorTrend reports that the Terminator was concurrent with the demise of the Camaro pony car program. The Terminator quite literally terminated that generation of Camaro. 

Scroll down to the following article to read more about the Ford Mustang!


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