One Family Owned: 1997 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

Many enthusiasts consider a known ownership history crucial when purchasing a classic to park in their garage. This 1997 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra ticks that box because it has remained in the same family since Day One. It is a low-mile survivor, and the original SVT documentation is the icing on the cake. The seller has listed the Mustang here on Craigslist in Gresham, Oregon. They set their price at $13,000, making it an affordable pony car.

Ford formed its Special Vehicle Team, or SVT, in 1991. The company produced limited-edition high-performance versions of various models, including the F-150 and Mustang. The latter is the most frequently seen at Barn Finds, although most of those are the Fox-Body SVT Cobra. The demise of the Fox-Body saw the organization focus on its replacement. It continued to utilize the Cobra designation, with 6,961 cars rolling out of the factory in 1997. Buyers could choose from four paint shades, with our feature car 1-of-1,994 ordered in dazzling Rio Red. It presents nicely as a survivor, with an impressive paint shine and no evidence of abuse. It isn’t all plain sailing, with the seller admitting the paint exhibits signs of deterioration. There are no horrendous problems visible in the supplied photos, and the overall condition is acceptable if potential buyers consider it an affordable survivor. The plastic and glass are excellent, and there are no wheel issues. The seller includes a set of aftermarket American Racing wheels for those wishing to personalize their ride. They look okay, but I would probably leave the car untouched if it were in my garage.

Buyers ordering a 1997 SVT Coupe could team their exterior paint shade with four interior trim combinations. Black leather was comfortably the most popular choice, while 811 buyers teamed Rio Red with the Saddle leather we see inside this car. The condition is consistent with the odometer reading, with no signs of severe wear or abuse on the seats or carpet. There is a tiny nick on the outer edge of the driver’s seat, and addressing this before it deteriorates would be wise. Otherwise, the leather exhibits the typical wrinkles, the plastic is free from deterioration, and there are no aftermarket additions. SVT combined performance with luxury in the ’97 Cobra, with the buyer receiving dual airbags, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, white-faced gauges, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player.

SVT initially focused on the iconic 5.0-liter V8 with the SN95 Cobra, but the game was set to change rapidly. Ford introduced its “modular” engine to the Mustang range in 1996, and the SVT Cobra utilized the 4.6-liter DOHC V8 to weave its brand of magic. Two technicians hand-built each motor, and the powerplants wore their signatures once complete. The 4.6 produced 215hp and 285 ft/lbs of torque when bolted under the hood of a regular production Mustang GT. The care and attention to detail lavished on the SVT V8 pushed power to 305hp and torque to 300 ft/lbs. The impact was profound because while a GT could cover the ¼-mile in 15.3 seconds, the Cobra slashed that time to 13.9 seconds. However, unlike the GT, buyers could only order the Cobra with a five-speed manual transmission. The seller indicates that this classic is original and unmolested, apart from a brake upgrade to cross-drilled and slotted discs. They include a selection of paperwork comprising the Owner’s Manual, Service Book, Window Sticker, and the crucial SVT documentation. The car has a genuine 55,000 miles on the clock and is a turnkey proposition for its new owner.

This 1997 Mustang SVT Cobra is a genuine survivor ready to provide a new owner with classic motoring fun. It has no apparent needs, although the seller admits the paint shows its age. These cars could be one of the hidden gems of the classic world because values haven’t climbed at the same rate experienced by other versions of the SVT Cobra. Increases have been modest, and a check of recent sales results suggests the seller’s price is highly competitive. It hasn’t been on the market for long, and I suspect anybody interested may need to act fast. I think a new home is inevitable, but could it be yours?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA HoAMember

    Another fun sight, after the ’88 LX, 5.0, my 2nd Mustang was a red ’95, not a Cobra, but close enough. It was a V6, and 5 speed, it was a foolish purchase as a reward, of sorts, for my union trucking job efforts. I loved this car, such a breath of fresh air from the ’88. Even the Texarkana police took a shine to it, but that’s a different story I won’t go into here. It was comfy, room for 4, had enough steam, but like most Fords, it started using coolant, but was a really nice car. For once, I have nothing but good to say about this car, probably the nicest car I had.

    Like 8
    • HoA HoAMember

      Oh, okay, you twisted my arm, I took an “unscheduled” vacation, alone with the Mustang to Texas to get away from it all. Apparently, a red Mustang with Wisconsin plates and lone driver, looked a bit out of place on the Texas/Arkansas border,,,so what happened???( leaning forward with anticipation),,,,after searching the car and not finding what he was looking for,,he let me go.

      Like 6
  2. scrapyard john

    This really looks like a great buy if everything checks out when you go to drive and inspect it, especially if that mileage claim is legit. I don’t think these are (maybe never were) quite as popular as the Fox Body Mustangs so maybe they are easier on the wallet. I don’t often say this, but I legitimately think I’d buy this if it were closer, but Oregon is too far from me.

    Like 5
  3. James Quinn

    Probably the ugliest mustang ever designed. I always felt bad for people who bought a 98 Mustang not knowing the 99’s would look better. I even felt worse for people who bought 04’s.

    Like 6
    • JoeNYWF64

      I actually thought the fairmont body based gen right after the mustang II was the ugliest – with loss of curves, loss of frameless side glass, too high a roof, & not so great dash – mechanically, now that’s a different story with those.

      Like 2
    • Mike K

      Yup, they ugly. I have an 06 GT convertible, and I never even looked twice at these Mustangs.

      Like 4
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    “scrapyard john” makes a good point. With the rise in prices for clean Fox Bodies, this generation of Mustangs now look like bargains. There is some thought that their time simply hasn’t arrived yet, so get one while you can. Like this one. It probably has some faults, but it would be a low-stress eye-catching fun-providing car for not much money.

    Like 6
  5. Henry DavisMember

    I just commented on the Super Coupe that’s on today’s Barn Finds, said it was over priced. I feel the exact opposite about this Mustang! If I had a place to put it I’d buy it in a heartbeat!

    Like 7
    • TC Australia

      Henry, give me a call I’ve got one of these for sale at the moment. Only problem is it’s Right Hand Drive and in Australia, perhaps a bit too far to come have a look at it and drive it home. Mine is a GT with the tighter sports suspension, the computer has been ‘chipped’ as well and it keeps trying to drive out of it’s paint !

      Like 1
  6. Big Red

    Ford also had SVT Focus and 2 years ago I sold a 04′ EAP edition in Orange,all were
    6-speeds.The rarest were the 4-doors.
    Also SVT Contours.

    Like 1
  7. Cav

    I ordered my ’97 Cobra Convert in Pacific Green with tan interior and top back in 1996. Rear spoiler was an option, though since I had the dealer specify “included in price” on the contract, I saved $320. Still have the car, has 1,500 miles on it, original everything. I love this car because of the power, handling, and seat height. Oh, and all 1997 Cobras came with a running Mustang in the grill. Takes a specialized tool to get off, and replace with the snake. I did that, too.

    Like 0
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

      It must be torture not to drive it.

      Like 1
  8. mick

    Nice car, reasonable price. Why’s it still for sale? If I wasn’t on the opposite coast, I’d be driving a red 97 SVT right now. (well, not right this minute . . .)

    Like 3
    • Henry DavisMember

      Timing is everything! I was in Erie two weeks ago, if I’d known about this car then I’d have looked at it. Too far to go from Florida, so GLWTS!

      Like 2
  9. TC Australia

    Henry, give me a call I’ve got one of these for sale at the moment. Only problem is it’s Right Hand Drive and in Australia, perhaps a bit too far to come have a look at it and drive it home. Mine is a GT with the tighter sports suspension, the computer has been ‘chipped’ as well and it keeps trying to drive out of it’s paint !

    Like 0
    • Henry DavisMember

      TC, I’ll give you a call next time I’m in Australia! (Don’t hold your breath!)

      Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds