Rare Factory Racer: 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R

In an era of commonplace 460-hp Mustangs, it’s important to remember that, twenty years ago, 385 horsepower was fire-breathing, and this 2000 Mustang Cobra R is a reminder of that fact. The car hasn’t been in cello wrap since it was new, having covered 5303 miles, but it’s close to pristine, and it’s available here on eBay for about $144K. (You don’t need the exact amount if you can afford this ride, and anyway, you can make an offer.) When you do hit that “buy it now” button, or have your offer accepted, you’ll be committed to finding the car in Sacramento, CA. Would you dare drive it home? You could rip down the freeway in this thing, creating a scene all your own with that big wing.

The words “Factory Race Car” might make the difference here. This Cobra R is #276 out of a production run of 300 cars, each of which featured an engine which was not the familiar 4.6-liter “mod motor” of the era, but a 5.4-liter-displacement mill with lots of internal goodies like dual overhead cams, a forged steel crank, billet steel connecting rods, and forged aluminum pistons. You might have noticed the large rear wing, already mentioned. This glued the car to the ground at its reported 170-mph top speed. (The speedo goes to 180, in case you’re wondering). Heck, the car even has a fuel cell and Recaro front bucket seats. What more do you want? Oh, maybe huge Brembo brakes and tires that were big for the era at 18X 9.5 inches.

The original list price of this car was $54,995. This one’s getting towards three times that amount. Worth it? It would be the sentimental thing to do to say yes. It’s rare, for sure, and purpose-built. But let’s be real—it’s outdone by more modern GTs and Shelby models, though perhaps those would not be as rare. You also have to like the so-called Ford “New Edge” styling to make this your baby.

For that price, the car must appeal to the potential buyer as more than a driver—it has to be seen as a piece of Mustang history. But it wasn’t built on the back of any particular racing success (though former racing standout Tommy Kendall once told me Ford had given him one as a reward for racing success, I think in a Trans Am Series Mustang) and it’s not an Anniversary model. Nor is it kissed with Shelby’s own lips. If Performance Red is your color, though, then maybe all that is forgiven, and you’ll be happy to blast around town in this rare Cobra R Mustang.

 

Comments

  1. Mark_K Member

    I’d love to own it! Unfortunately, even if you drop the ‘1’ from the front of the price, I’d be hard pressed to afford it! :(

    Like 7
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I don’t follow these closely, but I know they have become a high-dollar collector Mustang. I’m guessing most of the 300 are still around, and that there are several (many?) with low mileage, even lower than this example. A little research shows they are easily six figure cars now, though maybe not to this level for one with 5300 miles.

    I wish the ad was structured differently. It talks about the Cobra R as a model. Prospective buyers already know all that. Instead, tell us about this particular car. Ownership history? Use– track, shows/cruise-ins? Flaws?

    Like 10
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    As it’s so valuable,it’ll probably not get driven,just put away
    & resold down the road.
    I hate those “Ricer” spoilers on the trunk lid.I doubt this will
    ever get driven fast enough to actually be effective.They do make
    good TV trays though – just sit backwards on the trunk lid,legs under
    the spoiler,& your meal on the top of it.

    Like 6
  4. Charlie

    Does the motor use a timing belt?

    Like 2
    • jwzg

      No. They use chains as do all modular V8s.

      Like 5
      • Charlie

        Thnx

        Like 1
  5. That 80's Guy That 80's Guy

    Those cars were vaporware when new, and when you could find them at a dealer, they were marked up $10 to $20k over MSRP….at least in my area of SoCal. Thats a lot of dough for a car that could be taken quite easily by a bolt-on LS1 F-body.

    Still, a nice piece of history, in which Ford tried for the first time in nearly a decade to wrest the Pony car performance crown from GM.

    Like 4
    • Grant

      Too bad Ford didn’t try to make them a collector for the rich. If they had offered these in large numbers at an affordable price, Ford would be hailed as one of the good guys. The Peoples car company, instead, they went after the almighty buck. Stupid move too, they could have cleaned up financially if they had made these in volume. Old Henry figured that out a while back, to bad those who came after him forgot that.

      Like 9
      • Steveo

        I’ve seen too many people drive to believe a lot of these things on the highway would have been a good thing. It would have been the kind of thing that would lead the government to say that no passenger car can have more than 100 HP.

        Like 2
    • SirRaoulDuke

      Taken by an F body on the strip, but not likely on the track. This was as much of a track handling and braking package as it was for horsepower.

      Like 8
    • Big C

      But then, you’d have to buy a ton of cat litter to sop up all the oil those Chevies leak onto your driveway. In 1986, there was no factory Camaro that could run with my Mustang 5.0.

      Like 4
      • That 80's Guy That 80's Guy

        @BigC, too bad we’re not talking about 1986, but 14-15 years later, when there was no such thing as a stock Mustang that could beat my 2000 Z28!

        And it never leaked a drop of oil, nor have any of my LS-powered cars!

        Like 3
  6. SirRaoulDuke

    Seller is high as a kite at $144k. It’s not super low mile, and these trade hands more frequently than you would think with only 300 made. Comps? BaT, 10/13/22, 7k miles, $101k for Paul Walker’s car, and that is one of the very few celebrity owners where it matters; Bat, 10/30/22, 500 miles, $121k; BaT, 7/19/21, 3200 miles, $73k.

    Like 6
  7. Stan

    Real rocket. 3.55 gear ⚙️ equipped.
    Regular Cobra was a 3.27.

    Like 1
  8. Howard A Member

    I had a red ’95 for a spell. had the V6, which I never cared for, and a 5 speed. It replaced my ’88 5.0 LX, and was 10 times the car the LX was. It was a chick magnet, although, even though I bought it from a gal, and sold it to my sister-in-law, I never got that kind of attention. I DID however, get the attention of the Hope, AR. police on a trip back from Texas once, I’ll spare you the details, but red Mustangs from out of state, apparently was their target for the day. I’d imagine this car would do the same. Mustangs WERE cool cars, until late. The 4 door version is pure blasphemy, no?

    Like 3
    • Robert Taylor

      I have my 88 LX 5.0 I bought new. My wife has a 98 3.8 she bought new. There is no comparison in room or performance between the two we both prefer the 5.0. I however don’t know the condition of yours mine is like new.

  9. Howie

    I am a Ford guy, but for that amount of money you could buy a new mid-engine Vette. GLWS.

    Like 6
  10. Norman Reyome

    I own one, #17/300, and have had it since 2002. Mine has 20,000 miles on the odo, but if the speedo gear was actuated by the front wheel it would probably be considerably less….. Never fails to make me smile, a scalpel amongst butter knives….

  11. Troy

    Well that is a I really don’t want to sell it price, I had a 2000 with the 6cyl I didn’t fit well in it so needless to say I didn’t own it long

  12. Leslie Martin Member

    The internet of the Cobra R was never to be a low volume collectible. The “R” was intended to stand for “Racing”, not “Rare”. It was developed by John Colletti and the mad scientists at SVT for two reasons.

    First off this car was meant to serve as a showcase for the many aftermarket vendors that offered products to enhance the SN-95 platform at the time. The list of suppliers that provided upgraded parts to the “R” reads like a SEMA directory. Remember that at the time, SVT Cobras weren’t just competing with the Camaro SS of the day. They were also selling Mustangs directly against the bolt on miracles from the likes of Saleen, Steeda, and Roush. So having a halo car was a valuable marketing tool.

    The other reason SVT launched the “R” was to do brand damage control after the debacle of the ’99 Cobras which notoriously dynod under their advertised HP numbers and often produced incurable third order vibrations from their newly designed IRS setups. The ’99 Cobras were so bad and cost Ford so much to remediate that they suspended production for the 2000 model year, allowing SVT to fix the problems for 2001’s (which were MUCH better) while bringing the Cobra R to market as the showcase car it was for 2000.

    The biggest shame to me is not that these cars were generally shrink wrapped and never driven. It’s that so few of them ever rolled onto a race track. Maybe if these cars had gained any kind of racing provenance when they were new, they would actually be bringing the kind of insane money sellers like this one are asking for a bubble car.

    Like 4
  13. Miminite

    I remember one of these at my local Ford dealer at the time. I was buying an Escort for my wife to drive. The dealership owner even talked to me about it as I’m a nerd for Mustangs in general.

    Wasn’t there actually 307 of these made? Seems like this was the yr a lawsuit from a dealer over availability and Ford made 7 more from leftover parts. If anyone has better info would love to hear it.

    Nice car, not in my budget. I’m sure it will get locked away in a private collection where at least it will be there for future generations.

  14. chrlsful

    very nice, loose the spoiler (greatly reduce size? same for nose valance)?

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