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40k Mile 1996 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Convertible

If the original 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra gave strong hints that Ford had rediscovered its performance mojo, the 1996 edition seemed to seal the deal. Buyers suddenly found that they could slip behind the wheel of a Mustang that offered them 305hp under the right foot and straight-line performance that recalled the badge’s glory days. Today, these remain one of the more affordable of the high-performance Mustangs, making them accessible to the average person. This 1996 Mustang SVT Cobra doesn’t just merely superbly, because it also has a genuine 40,000 miles showing on its odometer. It carries all of the hallmarks of a classic that has been treated with respect, but the time has come for it to head to a new home. It is located in Prescott, Arizona, and has been listed for sale here on craigslist. If a spot of top-down cruising appeals to you, that dream can come true by handing the owner $16,900. I have to say a huge thank you to Barn Finder rex m for referring this clean classic to us.

Buyers could order their new 1996 SVT Cobra in a choice of four paint colors, and this one wears a shade called Vibrant Red. It is 1-of-536 to wear this shade in combination with a Saddle soft-top and Saddle leather interior trim. It presents exceptionally well for its age, with no evidence of significant paint flaws or panel issues. It appears that the Cobra has spent its life in the dry climes of Arizona, which means that rust should not be of any concern. It would not be stretching the friendship to state that the car presents in close to as-new condition, and even the distinctive 17″ x 8″ diamond-cut alloy wheels show no evidence of stains or other physical damage. The painted plastic surfaces have suffered none of the deterioration that can plague these items, and it seems fair to say that all the Mustang needs is a new owner who will continue to treat it with respect.

Just because an automobile offers its owner impressive performance levels, that doesn’t mean that there needs to be any discomfort associated with that experience. The SVT Cobra delivers on the equipment front, and when you consider what you will receive for your money, it should combine to make life pretty pleasant. As well as dual airbags, the car is equipped with air conditioning and power assistance for the windows, locks, driver’s seat, trunk release, and exterior mirrors. The original owner also chose to tick the boxes beside cruise control, leather upholstery, and a premium stereo that features an AM/FM radio, along with a cassette and a CD player. That’s not too shabby, and neither is the overall condition. There doesn’t appear to be any noticeable signs of wear or other problems, even on the outer edges of those heavily-bolstered bucket seats. The carpet shows no evidence of wear or stains, while the plastic components are all intact.

The big news with the ’96 SVT Cobra revolved around what was to be found under the hood. The venerable 5.0-liter Windsor V8 had finally been placed out to pasture, and in its place was a hand-built version of Ford’s 4.6-liter “modular” V8. This motor was a state-of-the-art powerplant when it was introduced, featuring a pair of camshafts per cylinder bank, 32 valves, fuel injection, and a host of other performance goodies within its aluminum cylinder block. The upshot of this attention to detail was an engine that comfortably pumped out 305hp. Rounding out the package, the ponies find their way to the rear wheels via a T-45 manual transmission. Power steering makes light work of the driving duties, while 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS add confidence whenever the driver hits the middle pedal. Was the Cobra fast? Ford claimed a ¼-mile ET of 14.1 seconds, but contemporary motoring publications repeatedly achieved sub-14-second figures to prove that this was a car with genuine performance credentials. The engine bay of this classic presents exceptionally well, with no evidence of fluid staining, leaks, or other problems. The owner claims that the Cobra has a genuine 40,000 miles on the clock, but he doesn’t indicate whether he holds evidence to verify the claim. There is no information on how well the vehicle runs or drives, but if appearances count for anything, I don’t think that the buyer will have a lot to worry about.

The 1996 Mustang SVT Cobra is something of a forgotten child within Ford’s offerings, and they don’t command the sorts of prices reserved for other examples wearing the iconic badge. Values have remained flat over the past three years, and I even found one example that went to market recently with seven genuine miles on its odometer, and that car struggled to hit $40,000. If you were to head out today with $20,000 burning a hole in your pocket to find a Convertible version, you would be spoiled for choice. However, it is doubtful that any of those cars would offer its buyer the combination of condition and odometer reading that we see with this car. Okay, so it’s not the most desirable Mustang ever made, but there is something to think about. It wasn’t that many years ago that nobody would give Fox-body examples a sideways glance, but these are developing into a must-have classic. I’m not guaranteeing that this car would experience the same sort of popularity, but it does have a lot to offer at the asking price. Maybe that makes it deserving of a closer look.


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Looks like they spilled some of the leftover Armor All on that garage floor.

    Like 5
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Seems like a pretty good price for a low mileage car in great condition, well optioned and offers impressive performance. I was never a fan of this body style when they were new but they are looking pretty good to me these days. This might be a bargain when you consider what they could be worth years from now.

    Like 5
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good write-up Adam. I’ve always liked these Cobras, my favorites being the triple black 96-98 convertibles. I agree with Adam’s overall theme, that these have been kind of forgotten but could start to gather more attention and therefore higher prices. Right now, they offer a fun experience for a reasonable cost.

    Like 2
  4. rextreme Member

    A hell of a car for the money, especially when you consider what run of the mill
    1965-1966 Mustang coupes are going for…

    Like 4

    I have a ’96 SVT Cobra in red with black top (new) and black leather interior. Had the engine rebuilt 2,000 mi. ago because the previous owner had thrown nitrous on it for some reason. Currently pushing approximately 400hp. What a ride. Owners of recent SVT’s have pulled up to me and said they wished their engine/exhaust sounded like mine. I drive it almost every day.

    Like 1
  6. Dave Peterson

    When I see this I feel guilty for installing that intake on my Mark VIII

    Like 0
  7. JCA Member

    Can’t go wrong with this. I had a Mark 8 with the 32v modular. Great engine

    Like 0

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