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Fully Documented: 1997 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Convertible

Buying a classic car can take a leap of faith. Sometimes it is little more than a slight hop, while other times, it is like jumping off a cliff. It always helps when the vehicle in question comes with some substantial documentation to verify its authenticity and that the owner has treated it with respect throughout its life. That is the case with this 1997 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Convertible. It is a two-owner survivor that presents nicely. It isn’t perfect, but its overall condition means that it could easily serve as a daily driver. Located in Vista, California, you will find the Cobra listed for sale here on Craigslist. You could park it in your garage, ready for the upcoming summer months, by handing the owner $11,900. It seems that Barn Finder rex m has managed to spot another beauty for us. Thank you so much for that, rex.

For the 1997 model year, Ford produced 3,088 examples of the Cobra Convertible. Of those, 606 cars wore Crystal White Clearcoat paint. This is one of those vehicles, and while it isn’t perfect, it presents well. It has spent its entire life in California, allowing it to remain rust-free. The paint has a few minor marks and defects, but addressing these would not be complicated or expensive. The White convertible top has a couple of small rips, and replacing this would be at the buyer’s discretion. Doing so would not require a mortgage because replacement tops are easy to find for around $400. The panels are straight, and once again, there are only a few minor dings and defects. The plastic trim and bumpers have survived the rigors of UV exposure exceptionally well, while the tinted glass is in good order. The alloy wheels show no evidence of curb strike or staining, and the original owner ordered this classic with the optional rear spoiler. As you can see, returning this Mustang’s presentation to near showroom condition would not be difficult. However, leaving it untouched would also be a viable option.

The exterior paint, soft-top color, and interior trim combination raise the rarity of this classic significantly. Of the 606 Crystal White Convertibles built, only 76 owners ordered their car with a White soft-top and Black leather interior trim. Our feature car is one of those vehicles, and its interior is in overall good condition for a survivor. The leather shows some wear and discoloration, but a specialist should be able to rejuvenate it and return it to near-new condition. If I were to buy this classic, I would prioritize that. At the same time, I would have them lavish some TLC on the leather wheel because it shows some wear. The plastic trim is in good condition, as is the carpet. The dash looks clean and crisp, and there have been no aftermarket additions. As well as the leather-wrapped tilt wheel, the interior features dual airbags, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a four-way power driver seat, power mirrors, cruise control, and an AM/FM radio/cassette and CD player.

When the company launched the second generation SVT Cobra in 1996, it did so by saying goodbye to the venerable 5.0-liter V8 that had served it so effectively. In its place, they slotted in the 4.6-liter DOHC modular V8 that was hand-built at Ford’s Engine Plant in Romeo, Michigan. Two technicians would assemble these beauties and proudly attach a plaque bearing their signatures. This V8’s 305hp finds its way to the Traction-Lok rear end via a five-speed manual transmission. Power steering and four-wheel power disc brakes with ABS demonstrate that the company was approaching this as a total performance package. It lacked nothing when pointed at a ¼ mile, with the journey taking a mere 13.9 seconds. Refreshingly, the owner doesn’t make outrageous claims about this being a low-mileage survivor. The listing indicates an odometer reading of 88,700 miles, which is reasonable for a vehicle of this vintage. For potential buyers, the news seems to be nothing but positive. The odometer reading can be verified by a complete service history that the owner includes in the sale. He also holds the original Window Sticker and much of the dealer paperwork from when the car rolled off the showroom floor. This Mustang runs and drives well and is a turnkey proposition for its next owner.

This 1997 Mustang SVT Cobra Convertible isn’t perfect, but it is a tidy driver. It has a few needs, but addressing these would be unlikely to break the bank. One of its great attractions is that its flaws are not urgent, so the buyer could choose to address them when and if circumstances allow. It should offer sparkling performance and can still turn heads with twenty-five years under its belt. The asking price looks competitive, and the Cobra has only been on the market for a few days. I won’t be surprised if a buyer snaps this one up pretty quickly.


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    These mid-90’s Cobras are high on my “want” list. Why? Sporty looks (not necessarily the best-looking generation of Mustangs, but I like them), relatively modern car, straightforward powertrain, good performance, and… relatively cheap. This one needs some work but isn’t very expensive, and you would have a fun car take on cruises with your local Mustang club.

    I think that low-mileage, clean, original SN-95 Mustangs have already started to increase in value, but lag the rise in Fox Body inflation. But I suspect they are next…. maybe if you like them, get one sooner than later.

    Like 5
  2. rextreme Member

    Show me another car of this vintage in similar condition where you get so many desirable features for so little money!

    Like 6
  3. Stan

    Agree with Rex good valu , great comfortable seats in this one, dogleg shifter. I was hoping for the California triple white pkg. White interior and white rims, and this car would really pop.

    Like 1
    • Claudio

      Good bang for the buck

      Great performance, topless , easy to maintain
      Not the greatest looking year/model
      Certainly a great driving experience

      Like 2
  4. Bick Banter

    The engine was built by an individual named Robert Nutty, lol!

    Like 0
  5. trav66

    With 90,000 miles, be prepared to pull the heads and repair the spark plug holes with steel heli-coils. (the aluminum threads corrode and the plugs get loose). I had to do it myself on a 99 GT I bought, luckily a friend had an expensive torque wrench to help me finish the job! The days of simply torquing head bolts are gone! It was a very fun car! The featured SVT looks to have a fair asking price. GLWTS

    Like 1
    • jwzg

      ’97-’03 with the 4-thread plugs were indeed the worst.

      Like 0

    I’m surprised that this vehicle doesn’t have the leather wrapped roll bar like my ’96 SVT Cobra does. Just turned 73,000 miles on it after driving it to Florida for some winter cruising!

    Like 0

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