Jim Smart
August 1, 2002
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives

What made the actual pace cars different than those sold to the public was the use of a specially calibrated AODE automatic transmission behind the essentially stock 5.0L High Output SEFI V-8. A 15-gallon racing fuel cell was used instead of the stock fuel tank. Also on board was a halon fire extinguishing system, a 50,000-watt strobe light package built into the roll bar, attachment points for ABC television cameras, and antennas hidden in the convertible top boot for those ABC cameras. Only a minor adjustment was made to the rear leaf springs to accommodate the added weight of the specialized equipment. Alex Trotman, then chairman of Ford, drove another pace car. Another racing legend, A.J. Foyt, drove yet another. The replica pace cars sold to the public achieved immediate collectibility status when they were introduced. And they remain desirable buys today when they come up for sale.

Regular production SVT Cobras didn't have it much different than the pace cars used at Indy. Underhood was the same powerful 235-horse 5.0L GT-40 V-8. The Cobra's handling was exceptional, especially if you had just driven a Mustang GT. Inside, there were rich leather upholstery and white-face instruments.