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Modern Muscle: 2003 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

UPDATE 11/16/2020 – We just heard from the dealer, this Cobra sold to a Barn Finds Reader! If you are the lucky new owner, please contact us.

FROM 11/10/2020 – If you’ve worked hard for your money, that seems like a great reason to treat yourself to something special. Maybe that something could be this 2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra Convertible. This packs a lot into one package, with power to burn and plenty of luxury features to make life on the road an enjoyable experience. If that sounds like a winning combination to you, then you will find the Convertible located in Fostoria, Ohio, and listed for sale here at Reineke Family Dealerships. The sale price has been set at $34,000.

A total of 5,082 examples of the SVT Mustang Cobra Convertible were produced during the 2003 model year. Of these, 1,679 were finished in Ebony. It was the most popular shade by a very long way, and it’s easy to see why when you consider how tough it makes the Mustang look. This vehicle’s condition is extremely impressive, and it gives the impression of a vehicle that has been treated with care and respect. The paint holds a beautiful shine, with no visible issues or problems. The panels are laser straight, and the gaps are impressively tight and consistent. There is no evidence of any rust and the photos that the seller supplies show floors and an underside that are clean enough to eat off. The vehicle features a Black power top, and its condition is close to perfect. The Mustang originally rode on 17″ wheels, but these have been replaced by a set of 20″ CCW forged wheels. They give the Mustang a more aggressive stance, but I’m sure that we will have readers who would prefer to see the car fitted with the original items.

There’s a lot to like when you take a look around inside the Convertible. There is some wrinkling of the leather upholstery on the driver’s seat, but that’s about the only fault that you’ll find. The rest of the upholstery and trim is beautifully preserved, and it needs nothing. The list of luxury features in this car is about a mile long and should satisfy almost everyone. It includes air conditioning, power windows, power locks, dual airbags, cruise control with steering wheel controls, power mirrors, a premium stereo, a power driver’s seat, traction control, and an adjustable leather-wrapped wheel.

This Convertible is not a vehicle that is merely about looks or luxury because it has the muscle to back the appearance and comfort. What we find lurking here is a 4.6-liter 32-valve V8. This engine is full of components designed to improve performance, but the Eaton supercharger bolted to the top is the cherry on the cake. This means that this Mustang should have 390hp at its disposal. This finds its way to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. As well as power steering, this is a vehicle that is blessed with brakes that should make it stop…yesterday! How does 4-wheel ventilated and cross-drilled Brembo discs sound? If that isn’t enough, the fronts are an incredible 13″ in diameter, while the rears are 11.65″ units. Helping to make things safer is a 4-channel ABS. Put all of those factors together, and it should be no surprise to learn that this is a car with some serious performance levels. It can destroy the ¼ mile in 13.1 seconds and is electronically limited to a top speed of 153mph. The odometer on this car reads 23,246 miles, and I can’t see any evidence that might call that reading into question. The mechanical state and specifications for this car are a bit of a mystery. The larger wheels are an indication that someone wasn’t satisfied with the looks or performance levels that this car offered off the showroom floor. Of more concern to me is that someone has chosen to swap in an aftermarket air cleaner and cold air intake. I’d be interested to know whether there have been any other mechanical changes, and this is a question that would be well worth asking.

It would seem that when it comes to the classic car ownership experience, the 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra has most of the bases covered. There is no doubt that it is a relatively rare beast. It presents beautifully and is full to the brim with luxury appointments. The drivetrain combination offers power to burn and levels of performance that would satisfy most enthusiasts. I would be interested to know why someone felt that it was necessary to make the visible changes that have been performed on this car, and I would like to know whether there are any further changes below the skin that we don’t know about. If you are interested in this Mustang, it might be worth going in with a reasonable offer. You never know, today could be your lucky day.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    The 2003-04 “Terminator” Cobras are powerful, attractive, well-respected models. They have held their value well and I suspect will continue to do so. Based on the two-tone red/black interior, I believe this one started as a SVT 10th Anniversary edition, which was available in silver, red, or black.

    I really like these Cobras, especially the 10th Anniversary models. While I have no issue with the mods, to me these models are perfectly fine stock.

    Like 3
  2. Mike D

    These are great cars, future collectible, but I don’t think the value is yet where this seller thinks it is.

    Like 4
  3. brettucks

    I believe these were IRS – which most of the Mustang crowd though was a step too far. In retrospect it seems like this could now be considered a peek at things to come.

    Fun fact: I had a friend who bought a silver hardtop terminator brand new. We had yanked the IRS and converted to solid axle before the odometer hit 70 miles. It ended up being massively upgraded for dragging within a year with full kmember and bigger supercharger but still street legal. was in low 10’s last I saw it.

    Like 1
  4. Anthony J Poirier

    Yes first Production Mustangs with I.R.S

    My buddy has a MysticChrome coupe! Only made 1010 of them in the one year only of 2004

    Even the base 390 HP was apparently under rated. Doesnt take much for mods to pull in major Power. My friend changed to a Kenny Bell twin screw Supercharger. Easily 550 to the wheels

    A car worthy of good values and exclusivity

    Like 0
  5. Don

    Nice Cobra, But the red seats have to go !

    Like 0
  6. cav427

    A friend of mine had a Supra Turbo and drag raced a convertable Mustang Cobra when they were both new (1996 if I am recalling well). The Cobra Mustang had the driver and three other guys in it, my friend’s Supra had just me and him in it. The mustang was the non supercharged 4.6 liter and it destroyed his supra by half a car length. The Supra had the 335 HP six in it. After the race the only Mod to that Mustang was an underdive pulley and K&N Filter. I mention this to give a comparison as to how fast these cars actually are and how well they respond to minor tweeks.

    Like 1
  7. Leslie Martin Member

    Technically the first year of the IRS in a Cobra was 1999. It was a massive improvement in handling, but it was clearly not fully developed the first year.
    Those cars had massive problems with axle hop, which lead anyone who drag raced them to swap out the IRS for a live axle suspension. But the much more serious problem with those first IRS cars the 3rd order vibration they developed at high speeds (85 MPH and up). My ’99 Cobra convertible had this problem so bad that after multiple attempts to remedy the problem, Ford sent out an Engineer from Dearborn to my dealer with a fully matched and balanced driveline. When he decided my car was un-repairable, Ford bought it back from me, and I eventually replaced it with a 2001 model which had the IRS was completely sorted. That same suspension carried on to the Terminator models like this one thru 2004.

    I’ve never driven one of the Supercharged Cobras. But the power and torque my old DOHC 4.6 (315/317) made was scary fast, and it pulled like a locomotive. I can only imagine how much fun a Terminator like this would be with a 6-Speed and an (underrated) 390 HP on tap! I’m not a fan of the wheels or interior, but this is a hell of a package that would appreciate over time if you don’t kill yourself in it first.

    Like 1

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