By on January 5, 2015

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One of the cars I’ve always admired from afar was the Fox Body Mustang Cobra. I say admired from afar because I’ve always known that it would never live up to my own fantasies if I ever drove it. But this rolling chassis presents an interesting way to get into a Cobra without running afoul of the need to preserve its authenticity.

Listed for sale is a salvaged titled, rolling shell of a Mustang Cobra, sold sans drivetrain, but with the all-important certificate of authenticity from SVT. Never mind the fact that it’s got a gaudy aftermarket hood with a giant scoop.

The first step is to hit the Ford Racing catalog for a crate engine. There are some hot, hopped-up versions of the 302 making power levels far beyond the stock 235 horsepower – but for not much more money, you could upgrade to a 5.0L Coyote that makes a lot more power. And then, you need to look for a transmission, and you might as well upgrade the brakes and suspension as well.

But who am I kidding? If I’m getting a Cobra, it better be Vibrant Red.

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47 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: They See Me Rollin, They Hatin...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    Looks like a fun project .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Love the Fox bodied Stangs myself, but gimme a Police Interceptor notchback over a Cobra.

    Saw this guy on Bring a Trailer. Lost interest once I learned the motor was gone.

    And I’m digging the blue. They also had yellow Cobras. Yellow ain’t my cup of tea- at all, but on this car… it’s a lot more tolerable :)

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Grab a regular 5.0 from PicknPull on half price day, or even better, a complete worked over drivetrain off Craigslist from some kid getting kicked out of his mom’s house.

    Then put for sale signs on the “Cobra”.

    You don’t even like a car as charming as the R32 Skyline. I can’t imagine a worse match for you.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      That was my first thought as well, find some poor crusty Mountaineer/Explorer at the pick-n-pull and there you go. That way you already start with the desirable GT40 heads from the get-go.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Owned a Mustang SN95 that I turbocharged. It was a lot of fun despite terrible handling and horrible MPGs lol. Cool project! :)

  • avatar

    I’m surprised the hood is painted to match the body color and is not primer gray like most Mustangs you see on Craigslist. That itself makes this an intriguing project…

  • avatar
    dal20402

    A Coyote conversion sounds like fun until I think about the Gumby nature of the body. Is there any way to stiffen a Fox hatchback enough to make it handle big power without twisting like an old Kenworth?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There is a good selection of subframe connectors and beefed up torque boxes available in the aftermarket that make them sturdy enough to handle all the forces of 9 second 1/4 mile passes without twisting beyond usability.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      The Fox Body is quickly becoming the Tri-Five Chevy of our day. They are good platform to start with in the drag racing world as they are very light, and relatively easy to build. That plus being a durable cheap RWD chassis that easily fits a V8.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Nice find. Would turbo LS swap. “But SVT!” you say. *Especially* because SVT.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      A LS3 will suffice. I am sure it can be easily taken into 500HP territory with some toys. Sourcing a TR6060 shouldn’t be that hard.

      +10 on the “*Especially* because SVT” part.

  • avatar

    I’m of 2 minds on these Mustangs. On the one hand, I like the clean lines and great visibility. I like that so many parts are available and so many engines can fit.

    On the other hand, They look like they could be the concept for a refreshed Tempo coupe. The Cavalier coupe of the time arguably has sportier dimensions. The front overhang is bigger than it should be on a RWD coupe without pop-up lights. Needs more room between the edge of the front door and the front wheel well. I still kinda want one.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I see that aftermarket hood a lot. People like uglying up their cars, I guess.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    i like the car for some reason…but then id have to grow a mullet to be able to drive it

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    You’re not gonna fit a Coyote motor in there.

    Even a MN-12 Thunderbird, a wider car actually built for a OHC V8, requires a new hood just to upgrade to the 32V 4.6.

    I mean, I suppose you could just cut the sh*t out of the front end, but then you might as well just make a full on drag car and put in a huge turbo’d Windsor stroker or something.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There are already many Coyote swapped Fox bodys out there that remain a stock appearing front end.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I’d love to see how they made it fit.

        Then again, I’ve always seen the Fox Stang as a really small car for some reason, so maybe there’s just more room than I thought.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It’s apparently a pretty easy swap. Ford Racing makes a harness for it. There’s not a lot of extra room but the motor fits fine. The 302 pretty much swims in that engine bay.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This was a T-bird problem or an MN-12 problem? Since the Conti Mark VIII was V8 only one would think a new hood would not be required. Ford would have been better off to have just used one hood/assembly to accommodate the 3.8 and 4.6 but I digress.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        T-Bird and Cougar, apparently. It fits in the Mark VIII just fine because that car was built for the 32V, but the T-Bird and Cougar hood is apparently too low to clear the cylinder heads of the 32V or something.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          One would think it would have been cheaper to configure the whole platform and its parts to accept a V8 and spread the cost out over all of them….

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well the T-Bird and Cougar had the SOHC V8 as an option, of course, but despite some kind of planned SVT Thunderbird that, for all I know, never existed, they never planned to make the DOHC V8 fit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh you’re right I’m forgetting there was a 32v DOHC and a 16v SOHC offered in the platform. That’s very Detroit (of the last 30 years or so) two motors, one slightly better, and the better one only being offered in a limited configuration.

            Would MN-12 accept a 5.0? I seem to recall in the late 80s a H.O. variant being offered in Mark VIII where the bhp is in the 225 range which is about what the SOHC puts put by MY00. Endless mods for the 5.0 as well.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            MN12s had the 5.0 from 91-93, so all you need is Windsor motor mounts and maybe a different bellhousing for the transmission? I assume the modular motor doesn’t use the same bolt pattern as the Windsor.

  • avatar

    My dad had an ’88 5.0 when I was a kid. Probably the first car that really got me to understand how awesome cars can be. It’s still my performance benchmark at 6.something seconds to 60 and low 200s horsepower. The sound was unforgettable.

    Coyote (or any mod motor) would be a mistake here, as you can get a high 300s hp 347 crate for 3-5k and it’ll drop in over a weekend. The stock T5 (or did Cobras get something better) wouldn’t last long, so you’d need to go 15 pages farther forward in the Jeg’s catalog for a T56 or the like.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Re: cowl hood. I loved the look 20 years ago, but I think I’ve outgrown it a bit. Maybe someone (younger than me) will be up for a stock hood trade in the springtime.

  • avatar
    raph

    Weird I seem to have been pruned somehow?

  • avatar
    omer333

    I’d go with the three-valve 4.6 modular motor that was in the 2005-2010 GT, 300hp at the crank on regular gas is always a good thing.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The 4.6 fit in the SN-95 so it ought to fit in this, though personally I would just find a decent 5.0 out of a GT or Explorer and do a few mods. A 5.8 SVT Lightning SC motor would be interesting as well. The MN-12 was designed for 2 different V6’s then Ford found a way to shoehorn the 5.0 in it. 95-97 had the 4.6 modular.

  • avatar
    probert

    What about the svo? Always wondered about that.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The SVO is a great choice. No K-member swap, just bolts in. SVOs are gone, but T-Bird turbo chickens are still everywhere. Same engine. Tough and overbuilt engines withstand lots of mods and cranked up boost.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I was pretty hot on buying a Fox body Mustang before I got my 2015 GT, so I did a lot of research and shopping. If one wanted to build a cheapo muscle car or track toy, there are lots of cheap Mustangs out there, but most all of them are pretty beat up. The Cobras are much more likely to have been kept in extra nice condition by the previous owners. Even ones with high mileage tend to be in excellent cosmetic and mechanical shape. I am sure they thought someday the cars would be worth big bucks! I wanted essentially a showroom condition Mustang, but I wanted to resto-mod it for performance. The Cobra makes sense for my scenario, and I wouldn’t throw in a pick-and-pull engine, I would build it up nice.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Want to share your thoughts on the ’15 GT? Specs, driving impressions, etc?

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I love my 2015, it is essentially everything I wanted in a car. They really improved the quality, I love the looks, it has every feature I wanted and the performance is spectacular. I have a base GT, competition orange, manual, with the Performance Pack and the Recaros. The base GT is supposed to have cloth seats but mine has leather… factory mixup worked in my favor. I have found 2 minor quibbles: the base Sync is slow and ponderous, and the cruise control turns itself off every time you turn the car off, but basically every other feature on the car works very well and intuitively. I can’t say enough about the improvement in quality. You don’t have to quantify every statement with “…for a Mustang” anymore.

        As for driving impressions, well, it is no GTI. I am used to small, light cars. The Mustang to me is very big, and I sit low. I feel a lot more comfortable in it now than I did when I first got it, but I still need more time to get used to it. I am short, and my taller friends say it feels small to them, so I think its more about what I am used to. Its the style of the car too, I had the same problem sitting in Corvettes, exotics, etc. Also the base seats are more adjustable for height-challenged people, the Recaros limit that for me. It is Oh My God fast and it makes glorious engine sounds, I really cannot imagine needing more horsepower than it has unless you are regularly on a track, but I might get an exhaust for it to enhance the engine sound a bit more. It has excellent shift feel, there are no squeaks or rattles, and I have been averaging right about 19mpg which is only about 3mpg less than my GTI did over 5 years of ownership.

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