2003 Ford Mustang - SVT Cobra - Look Back
'03 10th Anniversary Edition
Just when Mustang performance fans thought it couldn't get any better, SVT debuted a 10th Anniversary Edition Cobra in the summer of 2003. Available in either coupe or convertible, the package (375A) cost $1,495 and added special 17x9-inch argent wheels, red-leather seating surfaces, carbon-fiber-look interior trim, and unique anniversary badging on the floor mats and decklid. Only 2,003-get it? 2003!-Cobras were built with the package in three distinct colors. SVT produced 257 coupes and 394 convertibles in Black, 365 coupes and 369 convertibles in Torch Red, and 381 coupes and 237 convertibles in Silver Metallic.
Jimmy Morrison and his sons have a collection of high-performance Mustangs in their Morrison Motor Company car dealership in Concord, North Carolina. Michael, in particular, has a strong interest in SVT Cobras and has become the go-to guy for all three generations of R-models. Our '03 10th Anniversary Edition Cobra photo car was borrowed from the Morrison collection.
|Model:||'03 10th Anniversary Edition SVT Cobra|
|Engine:||390hp, 4.6L, DOHC V-8|
Ford produced several IRS-equipped Mustang prototypes for evaluation during the mid '90s, but those cars were usually crushed or turned into experimental racers. In 1996, SVT's John Coletti collaborated with Steve Saleen on an IRS system for the Saleen/Allen Speedlab SCCA racer, giving a boost to the notion that street Mustangs should lose their straight axles.
After much research and development on the track, SVT brought the '99 Cobra to showrooms with the first fully independent rear suspension fitted to a production Mustang. The system used short and long arms mounted on a tubular subframe and an aluminum differential housing. It was designed to mount to the same four points as Ford's solid axle and suspension, which SVT felt would inspire upgrades among owners of GTs. The Cobra system had two additional bolt holes and weld nuts where the Mustang's quad-shock system would've been, but it was an easy swap.
The IRS weighed 80 pounds more than the GT's straight axle, but the all-important unsprung weight dropped by 125 pounds. This arrangement allowed SVT to install much stiffer springs and increase the rear track by 1.2 inches. The ABS sensors moved inboard on the Cobra half-shafts, and the Cobra's twin exhaust pipes ran straight below the IRS cage.
Adding to a car's overall weight is a no-no in today's automotive climate, so SVT put its '99 Cobra on a low-fat diet. The result was a 30-pound loss over the front tires and another 20-pound reduction in the midsection, an effort that produced a weight distribution of 55 percent (front) and 45 percent (rear).