What Is a Mustang Cobra?

Since its inception, Ford has produced some seriously cool Mustangs (and some less than extraordinary variations). One such cool pony car is the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra. The Fox Body and SN-95 Cobra marked an essential stage in the evolution of the modern Mustang. So then, what is a Mustang Cobra, and what makes it special?

What is a Mustang Cobra?

The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra is a specialty performance version of the Fox Body and SN-95 pony car branded with its namesake badge. The first SVT (Special Vehicle Team) Cobra was the 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra. The 1993 Cobra took the Fox Body’s 5.0L and added GT40 heads, a Tremec five-speed transmission, and suspension upgrades. The result was the first Cobra, a tighter, faster, more agile Mustang. 

The Ford Mustang Cobra is a staple in the pony car's history.
The modern Shelby Cobra badge | Rene Johnston, Toronto Star via Getty Images

The SN-95 body followed the Fox Body car, characterized by a longer, wider, more modern look. The first SN-95 variants upped the power to 240 horsepower and introduced more performance elements. Finally, in 1999, Ford’s SVT division built the “New Edge” Cobras, with horsepower figures well over 300. 

Of course, SVT created some mold-breaking cars like the supercharged Cobra Terminator and the Cobra R, a track-focused SN-95. Anytime SVT got their hands on a Mustang, performance was the name of the game. 

How fast is a Mustang Cobra?

The first Cobra, the 1993 model year, was properly quick. In fact, the little Fox Body could hit 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds; that’s quick by today’s standards. However, the first SVT Cobras in the SN-97 platform dropped weren’t as quick, much to the dismay of fans. SVT wouldn’t quit there, though. According to Steeda, with the 4.6L V8, the New Edge Cobras could hit sixty in just 5.4 seconds. 

Of course, the fastest variations were the Terminator and R models. For instance, the SVT Cobra Terminator made 390 horsepower and could sprint to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Also, SVT produced R variants throughout the lifespan of the Cobra, all of which were the fastest, sharpest, and most track-ready examples. 

What is the price of a Mustang Cobra?

A 1994 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra has a fair purchase price of $12,478. However, if you want one of the more specialty models, it will cost you. For instance, Hemmings reports that the venerable 2003 SVT Cobra Terminator will set you back around $20,000, maybe more. Be on the lookout for the elusive Mystichrome color spec.  

The SN-95 Ford Mustang Cobra Terminator is a supercharged SVT Cobra with respectable credentials.
Ford Mustang Terminator | Unsplash

Should you buy the SVT pony car?

The Cobra badge and moniker was the brainchild of American motorsports legend Carroll Shelby, so it’s inherently special. It wouldn’t be surprising if cars like the 1993 SVT Cobra or the 2003 SVT Cobra Terminator appreciated to substantial collector’s status. If you’re not interested in the Cobra’s merit as a collector’s car, consider its application for good times. The Fox Body and SN-95 platforms have already distinguished themselves at the drag strip, and in autocross, with no shortage of possibilities. 

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