In a span of less than 10 years Ford gave us a Cobra R model three times on three different body style Mustangs. Each iteration of the now legendary R model was limited production, and a hot commodity. Three years after the last model we also received the Terminator Cobra, the parting shot of the aging Fox underpinnings, and at the time the most powerful Mustang ever built, not to mention the first to leave the Ford plant with a supercharger.
Former SVT chief, John Coletti the man behind all three Cobra R models as well as the 1993 Cobra, and the Terminator project had said SVT would only build a Cobra R when and if they deemed the car necessary. I have to admit that after the Terminator, SVT followed with some amazing cars, as did the rest of the Mustang team. The track bred BOSS (not an SVT product), and the freakishly powerful 13-14 GT500 stand on their own.
With Chevrolet adding the outlandishly priced Z/28 Camaro to their lineup, and promising a super light, supercharged Z06 ‘Vette, maybe it’s time Ford struck back with a track oriented Mustang of their own, I think it’s time for a new Cobra R, so here’s my wish-list for a 2016 Cobra R.
We keep hearing rumors of a twin turbo Coyote variant coming, code named “Voodoo”. I’d speculate that this engine is destined to make it to the Cobra Jet for 2015 and maybe the crate engine line as a very expensive crate package. While the Cobra R has traditionally been naturally aspirated, in the 15 years that’s passed since the last version Ford has shown a love for forced induction.
So I think the Voodoo engine fits the idea of a Cobra R for a new generation. With a name like Voodoo, it better make at least 650 hp. Such an engine in a lightweight Mustang needs a 0-60 mph time of no slower than 3.5 seconds as well. Supercar territory yes, but this is a halo car, more than just a hopped up Mustang.
The turbo system should push the boundaries of NVH standards, with wastegates that growl and moan like an angry caged beast, an on-boost rush that sounds like the warning of an Egyptian Cobra about to strike it’s pray, and the hiss of a blow-off valve that will get everyone’s attention.
Programmable boost profiles are a must. The Cobra R should have electronically controllable wastegates that the driver can adjust across several levels of boost. None of this overboost nonsense from the Focus ST, if owners want the maximum available power, they get it.
Cobra R’s have always been about track prowess, and cornering capability, and a new one should be no different. Adjustable dampers should be a no-brainer, but make them electronically adjustable from the driver seat via the switches on the dash or steering wheel. Infinite adjustability would be great but I’d settle for three options, sport, track and competition, - of course competition mode would be where I’d spend all my time. I might even put the NASCAR or Formula One logo next to the competition mode icon, just to add an heir of absurdity to this setting, and enforce how this mode was for serious driving only.
For the Cobra Jet program Ford called upon some of the best names in drag racing to consult, design, and provide parts. Why not do the same for a limited run Cobra R, someone like Kenny Brown or Maximum Motorsports could certainly design and build a superior suspension system that is track oriented, it is after all what those companies do every day. Give one of these outfits some parameters to work in and a contract to design and build the parts. Everything should be made of better materials than a tubular steel, aluminum, even titanium.
Weight is always a concern, and in the past the Cobra R has ditched sound deadener, air conditioning, stereo, power door locks, and power windows, in favor of grace and agility over passenger perks. The thrill is after all in the sounds the engine makes, and the ability to clip apexes at incredible speeds.
I’m all for this, Chevy owners can have their optional air conditioning, and sound system on the Z/28, with the Cobra R program the exhaust note from the side pipes located just behind the driver’s door would be the only sound system offered.
Carbon fiber and aluminum could also be utilized to a greater extent throughout the car. I’m thinking carbon fiber seat structures similar in appearance to the current Recaros, but tighter bolstering, optional racing harnesses for driver and passenger, and ditching the rear seat in favor of a X-brace like on the BOSS 302 Laguna Seca.
The Cobra R has always been set apart from the pack, I took some time to do my own rendering for this story, although I’m no graphic artist I didn’t think it came out too bad. I thought the car should be set apart, but feature some subtlety too, everything done would be in the name of function.
Our StangTV Cobra R Rendering
From the restyled hood, to the rear wing, if I designed the car, it would sit lower, on 19-inch wheels with 15-inch discs, and would wear revised front and rear fascias. A chin-spoiler, and taller rear wing would also be part of the aero package. Brake cooling ducts would replace the front fog lights, just like on the 2000 model.
Scoops located in the front fenders and quarter panels would redirect airflow to cool the brakes, and keep the car on the ground. A NACA duct in the quarter glass could either provide fresh air to the driver, or feed a rear differential cooler. A heat extractor style hood, shaved roof antenna, and side exit exhaust would round out the package of functional changes. I’d also only offer the car in a unique shade of red, not present in the rest of the Mustang lineup, just to make it stand out.
Price it at $59,000, making it a full 20-large less than it’s competitor, they’d sell out before the orders were officially taken. Just imagine a more powerful, more capable car, that’s a bargain by comparison.
While SVT hasn’t mumbled anything about a new Cobra R, one could easily make the case that the Mustang should maintain it’s position of superiority on the track and street. The muscle car wars are far from over, they’re just evolving, and now is the time for a new Cobra R -are you listening Ford?