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History of the Cobra R
1993, 1995, and 2000 Cobra R

In 1993 Ford OK'd the production of a limited edition version of it's Mustang to be produced by it's newly formed Specialty Vehicles Team, SVT for short. This model would become to be known as the SVT Cobra. Since this would also be the last of Fox Body Mustangs the '93 SVT Cobra would also become one of the most sought after Fox Mustangs produced even today. To go even further Ford decided to also let SVT produce an ultra rare limited production race version of this car to be known as the Cobra R.

1993 Cobra R
The '93 "R" was a bare bones bad ass Mustang that was meant for one thing. Racing. To save weight this competition model was stripped of all but it's bare essentials including air conditioning, rear carpeting and the radio system with it's speakers, amps, and wiring. To further save weight they eliminated all sound dampening insulation, carpet padding, and body seam sealer. Also since a race car rarely needs rear seats they were removed with the seat belts, and seat brackets to further remove weight which also made this the only factory production Fox Body Mustang ever to come as a two seater.

1993 Cobra R
Carlton Moore's 1993 Cobra R

To further increase performance the Cobra R was equipped with larger brakes, stiffer coil springs, Koni shocks, larger anti roll bars, and a strut tower brace. To reduce operation temperatures and increase durability at race speeds the "R" was also equipped with a larger capacity radiator and oil cooler. The only exterior difference between the R model and the standard Cobra were it's special five lug wheels. These were actually the same wheels to be used on the newly styled upcoming 1994 mustang GT. To later become known as "Tribars" Ford decided to paint them glossy black and to also polish the center caps and wheel lips to keep them distinguished from the 94-95 wheels.

1993 Cobra R
Carlton Moore's 1993 Cobra R

Available in only Vibrant Red, only 107 1993 Cobra R models were ever produced making it the rarest, fastest, and most collectible Fox Body Mustang of all time.

1995 Cobra R
With the much more rigid all new SN-95 platform for 1994, SVT started the planning of a more powerful Cobra R for the 1995 model year. As with the previous R model this one was also lightened by removing the radio system, air conditioning, rear seat, and sound dampening material. To further save weight it was only available with manual windows, manual door locks, and cloth seats as SVT knew that racers would no doubt strip the interior and swap the seats with competition approved race buckets.

1995 Cobra R
Picture courtesy of 5.0 Mustang Magazine

With the previous R model Ford decided to keep the Cobra's stock 5.0L engine, but this year things would be different. For the first time in two decades the Cobra R was equipped with an EPA approved 351cid (5.8L) Windsor motor that sported cast iron GT40 heads, a roller camshaft, and a specially designed (to fit the 351) lower fuel injected intake manifold mated to a regular Cobra upper intake. All of this resulting in an engine that produced a healthy 300hp and 365lb/ft of torque which according to most sources was slightly under rated. Also according to 5.0 Mustang Magazine "All 250 were built on February 19, 1995 in a period of only 6.2 hours!!!"

To handle the extra power the engine was mated to a Tremec TR-3550 five speed transmission backed with a solid axle rear end equipped with a 3.27:1 gear ratio and a limited slip differential. To further increase the performance of this steed it was equipped with special coil springs made by Eibach, Koni "yellow" shocks and struts, a larger front anti roll bar, and a strut tower brace. Also to increase brake cooling the fog lights were replaced with air ducting to force cool air over the brakes.

1995 Cobra R
Picture courtesy of 5.0 Mustang Magazine

To increase durability these cars were shipped from the Dearborn Assembly Plant that they were built in to an outside company called Masotech for installation of an aftermarket 20 gallon rubberized fuel cell and a heavy duty cooling system. To further distinguish this from a standard Cobra, and more obviously to clear the larger engine Masotech also installed a lightweight fiberglass cowl induction hood. The only other exterior accoutrement added to this car were it's special wheels. These new five spoke 17 inch "Cobra R" wheels not only looked good on the R model but also became one of the most favored wheels for Mustang enthusiasts to install on their rides with many aftermarket replicas to be made in the years following.

Available in only Crystal White, only 250 1995 Cobra R models were ever produced. Since many, if not most, 1993 R's were sold to collectors Ford decided to only sell this model to persons with a competition license hoping that most of these cars would be used for racing competition rather than sitting in private collections.

2000 Cobra R
Even with their being no Cobra model for 2000, SVT decided to created an R model that would blow away previous year versions. The heart and soul of this new "R" was a 5.4L DOHC (dual overhead cam) engine that was stated to produce 385hp, and 385lb/ft of torque. Inside sources claim those number were highly under rated with the actual power numbers being upwards of 400-450hp. Based off of a Lincoln Navigator engine block and crankshaft, this engine had unique to the Cobra R aluminum heads, camshafts, Carillo billet steel connecting rods, forged pistons and a Canton oil pan. To allow this new motor to breath it was equipped with a hand built aluminum intake manifold and single bore throttle body. On the other side of the combustion chamber stainless steel short tube headers, a Bassani x-pipe, Borla mufflers and side exhaust kit help this bad boy exhale. To keep it emissions legal it was also equipped with '98 Cobra catalytic converters. All '00 Cobra R engines were totally hand built as a large prototype program at Ford's Engine Manufacturing Development Operations. Mated to a Tremec T56 six speed transmission this new engine/trans combo is bullet proof.

2000 Cobra R
2000 Cobra R

On the suspension side of things this R model was equipped with Bilstein shocks and struts, and Eibach springs. For brakes on the front it has four piston aluminum calipers squeezing 13inch Brembo discs with Galpher pads, and the rear with stock Cobra discs/calipers using special Akebono pads. As with the previous "R" the fog lights were removed to facilitate air cooling to the brakes through carbon fiber ducts. To make it stick, BFGoodrich G-ForceKD 265/40 tires were rapped around 18 inch five spoke aluminum rims.

Yet again all non essentials were removed including the air conditioning, radio system, rear seat, sound dampening material, and some trim pieces. The all black interior includes a set of specially made Recaro cloth bucket seats embroidered with the Cobra R logo.

2000 Cobra R
2000 Cobra R

Unlike previous R models this years exterior modifications were much more than just looks. It was equipped with a wind tunnel tested removable front air dam that reduced front lift by as much as 10 times, and a large rear wing that adds 3 times the downforce over the stock wing. Other exterior add ons were a large cowl induction hood, side exhaust side skirts, and 18 inch wheels.

Available in only Performance Red, only 300 2000 Cobra R's were ever made. Yet again they were only sold to those with a competition license. Unfortunately when the '00 Cobra was released most dealers raised the price by extraoridnary amounts. Yours truely saw one of these $54,000 MSRP R's being sold by a dealership online for $90K+. All in all the '00 Cobra R is arguably the best handling factory built Mustang of all time.