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Upgraded V8: 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

The 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra was a limited edition classic that shouted loudly that American manufacturers were back in the performance car race. It wasn’t the most potent car on the planet, but it came as a breath of fresh air after nearly two decades of motoring misery that has become the hallmark of The Malaise Era. This Cobra is a tidy vehicle, but the upgraded V8 under the hood means I wouldn’t describe it as a genuine survivor. However, if you have gasoline coursing through your veins, you may find it hard to resist. The Cobra is listed here on eBay in Franklin, Massachusetts. The bidding sits at $20,048, but that remains short of the reserve.

Buyers in 1993 could order their new Cobra in 1-of-3 paint shades, with this car’s original owner selecting Vibrant Red Clearcoat. If I’m candid, I prefer these cars wearing Teal paint, but I can’t criticize the 1,774 buyers who chose this shade. It holds a nice shine for its age, but there is deterioration worth noting. As is common with many cars from this era, the clearcoat is peeling in a few places. It isn’t severe, and a reputable shop may be able to address the problems without resorting to a total repaint. Beyond that, the panels are straight, and the Cobra remains rust-free. The distinctive aerodynamic additions haven’t succumbed to UV damage or other problems, and the glass looks good. The exterior proves that looks can be deceiving. The Cobra appears to roll on its original 17″ wheels, but the rears are factory reproductions that are 2″ wider. That allows the owner to squeeze on wider tires that should assist handling and enable the car to apply its power to the ground more effectively.

One of the defining features of the 1993 SVT Cobra was the 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. The company filled it with upgraded components, allowing it to produce 230hp. With the power feeding to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission, it could storm the ¼ mile in 14.5 seconds. That was enough to satisfy most owners, but not this one. The original V8 made way for a “Blueprint” 306ci powerhouse with roller rockers, an improved exhaust, and a reprogrammed computer chip that churns out an incredible 390hp. To cope with the extra power, the seller ditched the T-5 transmission in favor of a Tremec TKO-600 five-speed. The factory driveshaft also received the old heave-ho, with a custom aluminum unit feeding the power to the wider back wheels. With an additional 160hp at the driver’s disposal, this beauty should get up and moving if someone floors the loud pedal. I would expect it to easily achieve a mid to low 13-second ¼-mile ET, although I wouldn’t rule out a twelve under the right circumstances. The seller admits that while this classic has 137,000 miles on the clock, the drivetrain is essentially new. They say it runs and drives perfectly and is ready to be enjoyed by its new owner.

There is an air of mystery with this Ford that may warrant deeper investigation. It rolled out of the factory with its interior trimmed in Opal Gray leather, but a previous owner swapped the seats for Opal cloth. I’ve seen owners do this with other classics, but there may be more to this story. The seller indicates it has a clear Massachusetts title, but it previously had an Ohio “Rebuild” title. They have been over the car with a fine-tooth comb and have not located any evidence of accident damage or repairs. They suspect the vehicle may have been stolen, and the thieves removed enough parts, including the interior, for the insurance company to deem it totaled. They’ve been unable to confirm this, so potential buyers may need to break out their best Sherlock Holmes hat to investigate it further. The interior presents well and has no immediate needs. There is some light wear on the outer edge of the front buckets, but the other upholstered surfaces, carpet, dash, and plastic are excellent for a driver-grade car. It has the usual comfort and convenience features, including air conditioning, a driver’s airbag, power windows, power locks, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and an aftermarket CD player.

While I prefer my classics original and unmolested, I respect what the seller has achieved with this 1993 SVT Cobra. The significant power increase should place a low-13-second ¼-mile ET within its grasp, while the upgrades to its drivetrain and suspension should help it cope with the additional ponies. Predicting a possible auction price would be a piece of cake if it remained unmolested, but the upgrades are a game-changer. As I’ve said in previous articles, a modified car is only worth what someone is willing to pay. A few people like what they see because it has already attracted twenty bids. This is one time when I won’t make a prediction because I feel it is your turn to take a swing at it. I’ll be interested to see if anyone scores a home run or whether you all strike out.


  1. Oldschool muscle

    For me it should be kept stock .y brother had this exact car and only put a few mods under the hood and it ran like a beast. I still like these today.!!!
    I had an 89 lx auto slush box but it was good for me at the time for traveling to work still it was a 5.0

    Like 2
  2. Todd Zuercher

    The value of this car won’t be as with the replacement engine and transmission but should still be a fun driver.

    The seats appear to be FloFits which are an upgrade from stock (used in Saleens) but again, will lose points with the purists.

    This car was far beyond the Malaise Era, Adam- that ended in 1983.

    Like 1
  3. Stan

    Wild car , good call on the Tremec upgrade.

    Like 3
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    My thoughts on this Cobra are similar. Low mileage unmolested examples have skyrocketed in price in recent years. This one is neither. So despite the upgraded powertrain (I’m guessing given the high mileage, powertrain work was necessary), it won’t bring big bucks. But I guess that’s fine, it’s still a highlight of its era and will be affordable to more folks. And, you won’t be reluctant to drive it.

    Like 3
  5. Troy s

    The ’93 Cobra Mustang was the final straw of this era 5.0, at a time when the 5.0 trend was absolutely crazy. For good reason too as the all new fourth gen Camaro/Firebird could be had with 350 cubic inches of terror And a manual transmission, they were really quick! Ford had to counter punch with something, right? Ford gave us these,,,and Still no 5.8 screamer like some of us hoped for. Depended on the driver, how low one could get these to go, Tony Defeo managed mid to low thirteens in a stock motored ’88 LX as noted in Cars Illustrated magazine back then.

    Like 1

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