Jim Smart
April 1, 2010

Ron Bramlett's passion has always been his profession-high-performance automobiles. Before his family founded Mustangs Plus in 1981, the Bramletts were in the used car business-primarily buying and selling Corvettes. But toward the end of the 1970s, Ron's love of Corvettes spread like a California wildfire into classic Mustangs, which were plentiful and cheap. And as he had been doing with Corvettes, Ron started buying and selling classic Mustangs as well as parts and accessories.

"Having been around Mustangs for more than 30 years, I've had the opportunity to own hundreds of collectible Mustangs," Ron comments. "I've had quite a few with great histories, including an original, unrestored '66 Hi-Po hardtop." Ron will also tell you he's had ample opportunity to own some of the rarer ones, like Shelbys, selling some for $3,000 back when these cars were cheap. However, for Ron, it wasn't the money; it was the history that made a car worth buying. That's why he has such a fascination for Ford's SVT Cobra Rs, which were offered in limited quantities in 1993, 1995, and 2000. Ron owns at least one of each.

For Ron, the Cobra Rs were like the 1960s all over again. Ford had to build a specific number to satisfy homologation requirements, just like Carroll Shelby had done 30 years earlier with GT350s in SCCA competition. When Ford introduced the SVT Cobra in 1993, it would be on the order of what Shelby was building in the 1960s-the ultimate performance Mustang right off the assembly line.

'93 Cobra R
Ford assembled '93 Cobra Rs as incomplete Vibrant Red-only Cobras converted to R-model specifications. Of the 5,100 '93 Cobras produced, only 107 were converted to R status. Some were purchased to race. Others were put away as collector cars.

Ron's son, Ron, Jr., turned him onto an online AutoWeek ad for this '93 Cobra R with only 2,850 miles-#91 of the 107 units produced in the spring of 1993. It had been stored since new in a climate-controlled garage in the Midwest. The down-side to this story is Ron's difficulties with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Because the car is low-mileage and considered "new" with an out-of-state title, he hasn't been able to tag it in California, which makes it a car he keeps stored and never drives. And despite several failed attempts to explain the car's history to the DMV, Ron has never been able to get it licensed. Anyone who can help Ron with this dilemma is invited to contact him at Mustangs Plus.

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Snapshot

  • 107 produced out of 5,100 '93 Cobras
  • 5.0L GT-40 Cobra V-8
  • 235hp @ 4,600 rpm
  • 280 ft. lb. of torque @ 4,000 rpm
  • Redline: 6,000 rpm
  • High capacity cooling system
  • Engine oil cooler
  • Rear seat deleted
  • Sound system deleted
  • Climate control deleted
  • Larger four-wheel disc brakes
  • Stiffer coil springs
  • Koni shocks and struts
  • Larger sway bars
  • Strut tower brace
  • Five-lug wheels in glossy black
  • Manual windows
  • Top speed: 140 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 14.3 seconds @ 98 mph
  • Weight: 3,255 pounds

'95 Cobra R
When Ford redesigned the Mustang for 1994, it was a more advanced car with solid footing and a stiffer platform. What's more, it looked more like the original from 1964. However, it had also taken on more weight, tipping the scales closer to 4,000 pounds thanks to additional body structure and more safety features. The Cobra R took a year off in 1994, returning for 1995 with 5.8L (351ci) displacement for more power.

Ron and Cindy own not just one 1995 Cobra R, but three. This one, #180 out of 250, is their time-capsule Cobra R with just nine miles. The other two are race cars with history, which is what inspired the purchase of this unmolested Cobra R.