Huw Evans
January 1, 2007
Photos By: Tracy Stocker

Larry Wilmot's 1998 Mustang Cobra
By day, Larry Wilmot is an Automotive Safety Restraints Engineer - now, you're probably thinking that somebody in Larry's profession would probably drive around in some four-wheeled over-padded safety device, perhaps a cross between a Volvo and a minivan - a terrifying thought in itself. However, nothing could be further from the truth. See Larry lives in Oxford, MI, he's also a car guy from way back and tears around the streets in this 1998 Mustang Cobra. The Chrome Yellow SVT is the first car that Larry bought new, but he's been into automobiles and Mustangs specifically for a rather long time. "Cars run in my family. I grew up around them, Fords in particular and I remember when I was really small my dad had a 1969 Mustang convertible - we used to go to shows in it." In 1973, Larry's grandfather got into the whole Mustang game by purchasing a brand new one - the last of the 'big' Ponys and it was this car that would have a profound effect on the young Wilmot growing up. "I remember him buying this car brand new and sometimes we'd go for drives. He'd put me on his lap and let me steer it through town (no we're not getting into a Springsteen song - that was about a Buick anyway). About a year after he bought it, my grandpa more or less parked the car. It was still taken care of though and I used to wash and wax that thing - pity I wasn't old enough to drive it." When Larry turned 17 a dream was realized, when the car was given to him, however Wilmot's dad figured that a teen driver full of testosterone and a pristine '73 Mustang probably weren't the best combination, so he kept the keys. Today however, Larry is older, probably a little wiser and has that car tucked away "it has about 14,000 miles on it and it's a true survivor - still all-original." But let's get back to that Cobra - it's the subject of this feature after all.

"When these [SVT Cobras] came out I really wanted one. I had my heart set on a '97 in Rio Red." However, by the time Wilmot actually got around to buying one, the '97s had been replaced by '98s on the new car lots. "They dropped Rio and added Laser Red again for '98 - it wasn't really the same," says Larry. However, late in the model year, Ford announced they would be offering Chrome Yellow on the Cobra. While driving along Gratiot Avenue one day, Wilmot saw a dazzling yellow object up ahead, as he got closer it turned out to be a '98 Cobra - yes, one in Chrome Yellow with black leather interior. "It was my car, so I drove into the dealership and tried to strike a deal, however the sales manager wasn't budging. He told me I could have any other Cobra on the lot for my price except the yellow one." A little dejected, Wilmot left the forecourt, empty handed. He continued searching but mostly came up with dead ends. One day he got a call from his wife. 'Call your father quick, it's an emergency,' she said. A little concerned, Larry picked up the phone and rang his dad. "He seemed a little short of breath at first, but then asked me if I'd found my car yet - I told him I was still looking. He sounded relieved. We chatted a bit and then he told me something." And that something was...(drum roll please) "that he'd found a '98 Chrome Yellow Cobra with black leather at a good price and put down a deposit on it!" Don'tcha just love nice surprises? It turns out that Wilmot's dad had bagged '98 SVT 4167 out of a total of 5174 Cobras built that year. Now from the pictures you'd think that once the ink dried on the title and the car was Larry's to enjoy, he just tooled about South Eastern Michigan in a bone stock SVT. Well, not exactly.