Jim Smart
July 1, 2002

We're incorporating the last three years of production into one because very little changed in the three-year period. By this time, Ford was getting ready to unleash an all-new Mustang for the buying public to enjoy. So as far as the last three years of the Fox-body were concerned, it was basically in a holding pattern.

What did change were the wheels available on Mustang GT. The five-spoke cast aluminum 16-inch wheels that are so popular today were introduced on the '91 Mustang GT. These guys made the Mustang a better handler and certainly a hot looker. Aside from bigger wheels and the new front fender opening on the fascia because of those wheels, the '91 Mustang was a carryover from 1990. Minor trim and styling changes make the '91 Mustang a bit different. Convertibles, for example, had a lower stack height with the top down. Few people noticed this unless they were looking for it. It made the '91 Mustang convertible body a bit different to make way for the revised top.

Most apparent from this period were the '92 1/2 Mustang Limited Edition "feature" cars, also known as "Summer Special" cars. These striking, limited-edition Mustang LX convertibles were available in Vibrant Red with white five-spoke GT wheels. The super-sharp drop-tops had a rear deck spoiler, white leather interior, and more. When it comes to collectibility, these Mustangs are hot because they're so rare. Survivors in good condition aren't as plentiful as they used to be.

The year 1993 was virtually an instant replay of 1992. Because the limited-edition feature cars were a runaway success in 1992, Ford brought this concept back for 1993. Instead of Vibrant Red, 1993 1/2 witnessed Canary Yellow Clearcoat and Oxford White on these LX H.O. convertibles. Yellow drop-tops received chromed five-spoke wheels. Those in Oxford White got white five-spokers. Both had white leather interiors.

'93 SVT Mustang Cobra
The limited-edition '92-'93 feature cars were a success, which prompted Ford to think about new ways to spark Mustang sales. Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was created to develop low-production, high-performance vehicles for the Ford Division. SVT was an amped-up version of SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) from the early '80s.

SVT is Ford's skunk works, conceiving and producing exciting, limited-production cars and trucks for a hot marketplace. SVT's first work was the '93 Mustang Cobra, a terrific pump-primer for greater rides to come. Truth is, the '93 Cobra remains one of the best Mustangs ever because it had all of the right things without the excessive weight that came later in 1994-'02.

Headed up by Janine Bay, SVT looked at the Mustang and evaluated how the carline could be vastly improved. The result was a limited-production supercar available from Ford SVT dealers everywhere. Production began in December 1992, and because the Cobra came along late in the '93 model year, production was estimated at 5,000 units. Production problems plagued a full-scale introduction. Things got well underway late in January 1993, with mass production of the SVT Cobras continuing through late June at the Dearborn assembly plant.

What made the '93 SVT Cobra so terrific? Equipment. Ford called the '93 Cobra the Preferred Equipment Package 250A-a $1,455 option. The Cobra was distinctive because it had body features not available on the Mustang LX or GT: a unique grille with the traditional galloping horse, air dam, ground effects, distinctive rear fascia, and a bitchin' rear deck spoiler. In true Cobra tradition, the car had Cobra emblems and nameplates. Each Cobra was fitted with '84-'86 Mustang SVO taillamps.

Underhood, the Cobra had a specially modified 5.0L High Output engine known as the GT-40. Special modifications included GT-40 cylinder heads that were developed long before 1993. These heads were originally planned for a 25th Anniversary Mustang in 1989 that never materialized. They had larger 1.84/1.54-inch valves with larger ports. Wrapped around the larger valves were heavy-duty valve springs designed for a higher rev and more aggressive roller camshaft. Special roller rockers complemented the GT-40 heads. Compatible with the GT-40 heads was a GT-40 induction system that included a 65mm throttle-body, 70mm mass-air sensor and 24 lb/hr injectors. A specially calibrated electronic control module worked hand-in-hand with the more aggressive powerplant.

Underneath, the Cobra had to be better in terms of handling. The 15.0:1 rack-and-pinion steering system was identical to the rest of the Mustang line. But this is where similarity ended. Stiffer bushings made for better handling. Huge disc brakes (10.84-inches front, 10.07-inches rear) on all four corners made the Cobra unbeatable. Rear Quadra-Shock suspension was revised for better performance. Coil springs were Cobra specific. The front sway bar was actually an off-the-shelf item used in early Fox-body Mustangs with the TRX suspension. The rear sway bar was borrowed from the '87-'93 Mustang GT. The Cobra was also fitted with a chassis-stiffening crossbrace not found on the Mustang GT or LX.

Inside, the '93 Mustang Cobra differed little from the GT. Optional leather upholstery was available only in charcoal grey. Instrumentation was the same as the Mustang GT that year with a 0-140 mph speedometer and seven grand tachometer. One option you could not get on the Cobra was cruise control. The Cobra's standard sound system was the Premium Analog Cassette with 60-watt power. An optional CD player was available.

Cobra R
While Ford was producing '93 Mustang Cobras, SVT introduced the Cobra R, with 107 Vibrant Red, race-only models produced for a form of racing known as Showroom Stock in SCCA and IMSA competition. The Cobra R was a two-seat hatchback with improvements to the chassis, unit body, braking and engine cooling. At 150 pounds, it also weighed considerably less than production Cobras. On the ground, the Cobra R had 17-inch, three-spoke wheels similar to what would appear on the '94 Mustang a year later. Huge 13-inch front disc brakes and 11-inch rear disc brakes were fitted to the Cobra R. A large bore master cylinder was also used.

Driving lamps were deleted to save weight. Forget the sound system and rear seat, which were also deleted in the interest of weight. None of those power accessories found on the street Cobra were available on the Cobra R. Structurally, the Cobra R was assembled using convertible rocker panels for a stiffer platform. Reinforcement plates were welded underneath for added rigidity. Koni shocks and Eibach springs made the most of the Cobra R's handling.

Underhood, the Cobra R had a high-capacity cooling system with a purge canister to capture and release trapped air pockets. To further aid cooling, SVT fitted the Cobra R with an engine oil cooler.

It appears most '93 Cobra R models were purchased and stored by collectors. It's unknown how many have actually been raced in SCCA and IMSA competition. But you can rest assured they gave GM's Camaro and Firebird a run for the money. And that was Ford's objective when these cars were built in 1993.