Top 10 SVT Cobras
We celebrate Ford SVT’s 20th anniversary by choosing the 10 best Cobras
#10 '96 SVT Cobra
The switch from the venerable 5.0L to a hand-assembled, all-aluminum DOHC 4.6-liter V-8 rated at 305 hp ushered the SVT Cobra into a new era of modern performance. With a 65hp increase over the previous year, it could run 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and the quarter in 13.9. For added exclusivity, opt for one of just 2,000 Cobra coupes offered with Mystic color-shifting paint.
#9 '93 SVT Cobra R
Any SVT Cobra R is highly collectable, but much can be said for owning the first of a series. Ford put an exclamation point on its run of Fox-body Mustangs with this '93 SVT Cobra R (for "racing"). Purpose-built for serious racers and available only in red, this first SVT Cobra R had a low production run of just 107 vehicles.
#8 '95 SVT Cobra
As the last of the 5.0-liter Cobras and the first to wear SVT exterior badging, the '95 has a special place in the hearts of fans. And as the one and only year of the convertible hardtop experiment, find one of the 499 Cobra ragtops (available only in black) with the removable hardtop option from the 1,003 drop-tops produced and you'll have one of the rarest SVT Cobras ever made.
#7 '95 SVT Cobra R
The R-model competition package based on the SN-95-derived SVT Cobra swapped out SVT's 5.0-liter for Ford's 351 Windsor, re-engineered to produce 300 hp. Race-ready with a 20-gallon fuel cell, only 250 '95 Rs were built, all in white and each with distinctive fiberglass hood and five-spoke alloys that became one of the most popular aftermarket parts in Mustang history.
#6 '94 SVT Cobra
With the debut of a redesigned Mustang for '94, SVT's new SN-95-based 5.0 Cobra made 25 more horses than the Mustang GT and stopped better with new 13-inch front disc brakes. Later in the year, the first SVT Cobra convertible was offered. Available only in red, it was selected as the Pace Car for the 1994 Indianapolis 500.
#5 '00 SVT Cobra R
Debuting as the fastest factory Mustang ever produced, the R was the only SVT Cobra available in 2000. Its SVT-developed, naturally-aspirated 5.4-liter packed 385 hp and had a 170-mph top speed. With side-exit dual exhaust, front air splitter, and high-mount rear wing hinting at the superb handling, just 300 units were made in Performance Red.
#4 '07 SVT Shelby GT500
After Ford mainstreamed SVT and entered into a new business relationship with Shelby, the car that SVT had engineered to be the '06 SVT Cobra came to market as the '07 Shelby GT 500. Based on the all-new S197 Mustang and equipped with a 500-horse supercharged 5.4-liter, this first modern-day Shelby GT 500 was an instant collector car.
#3 '93 SVT Cobra
The inaugural year for the SVT Mustang Cobra, '93 was both the first year for the SVT ownership experience and the last for the Fox-body Mustang. As such, '93 is the only year that Fox-body Cobras were produced and consequently hold special value for collectors. That and the fact that less than 5,000 were built (4,993 to be exact), all of them coupes.
#2 '13 SVT Shelby GT 500
Let's face it, you simply can't overlook an eye-popping 662 horsepower and 631 foot-pounds of torque from a high-tech, all-aluminum 5.8-liter V-8 and Eaton 2.3-liter Roots-type supercharger. Same goes for being the most powerful production car made in America. Given ever-increasing EPA mandates, there may never be a replacement for this Cobra's displacement.
#1 '03 SVT Cobra
Introduced during 2002 as a '03 model, the "Terminator" Cobra will go down in history as SVT's benchmark performance Mustang. Thanks to its Eaton supercharged DOHC 4.6-liter with forged internals, its 390hp rating has often been doubled by racers. Opt for one of just 2,003 SVT 10th Anniversary Special Editions built.
Editor's Note: Veteran journalist John Clor has owned, raced, worked on, and written about Fords and Mustangs for nearly 30 years. Clor joined the Special Vehicle Team in 1995 and spent the better part of the next decade working on SVT communications, PR, and marketing. Since 2006 he's managed Ford Racing's club outreach program and the "Enthusiasts" section of FordRacing.com. Clor is the author of the sold-out hardcover book, Mustang Dynasty, editor of SVT Enthusiast magazine, and hosts his own local cable-access TV show, Cars In Context. The views he expresses here are his own.