Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company
  • This Cobra R is #73 of 107 made
  • No dealer prep, 589 actual miles
  • Original grease marks and stickers
  • Radio delete, back seat delete, a/c delete
  • Comes with window sticker and original battery

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1993 Ford Mustang Cobra R
Years Produced:1993
Number Produced:107
Original List Price:$25,692
SCM Valuation:$132,000
Tune Up Cost:$200
Chassis Number Location:Door tag, driver’s door; plate at base of windshield on driver’s side
Engine Number Location:Partial VIN stamped on rear of block, behind intake manifold
Alternatives:1989 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE, 1995 Ford Mustang Cobra R, 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 674.1, sold for $132,000, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach, FL sale, on April 11–13, 2019.

Special-edition cars are the cornerstones of all collections. But I challenge you to try to name all of the special-edition Mustangs that have graced the showroom floor. Even dealers got in on the game, using stickers and tape to boost those sales numbers.

The king of all these — and the one marketing moniker that Ford will never kill — is Cobra. From slick sticker package to real-deal performer, that snake has been on a bunch of different cars over the years — and most bring bigger numbers at auction time over their non-snaked siblings.

Surprisingly enough, though, Ford forgot about that goose that laid golden eggs around 1983. It wasn’t until 10 years later that the special-edition Cobra struck again, this time with venom.

Parts-bin special

Looking back on almost 30 years of Mustang production, there hadn’t been a special edition put out directly by Ford that took an existing powerplant and added more horsepower through simple bolt-on parts that were also offered over the counter — until the ’93 Cobra.

This special edition was not exactly rare, with 4,993 cars made in three different colors. In the late 1990s, they seemed to be everywhere.

Obviously, that trend has changed, as these cars have been retired from daily-driver duty. It also was the case that for almost 20 years, these cars were dead flat in appreciation and were worth somewhere around $15,000 for a respectable mid- to low-miles example. Appreciation has now shown the hockey-stick trend line over the past few years, and the best Cobras are leading the money-making charge — if you have a nice one.

This story gets even juicier when we talk about the much rarer 107-built Cobra R. This car was the special edition’s special edition. With the R, less was more.

Lose the weight

Ford basically took the Cobra and shelved the radio, your comfortable a/c, the back seat so you can’t take the kids, and most power accessories. They kindly provided a pair of front seats that had the lateral support of bar stools in the hopes that at least one racing bucket would be installed.

In reality, there is not a whole lot about the Cobra R that makes it much different from the standard Cobra. There are no big horsepower upgrades. The ground effects remained the ones unique to the Cobra, with no call-outs to differentiate the R and no huge wing on the back. Even the Vibrant Red color was available on the Cobra.

Most performance attention was paid to an upgraded suspension using ’94 Mustang spindles, lower springs and Koni struts unique to the Cobra R. Cooling various fluids for the track was also a top goal. Thirteen-inch Kelsey-Hayes brakes were also employed to bring it all to a halt, quickly, which is what the Mustang had needed for a long time.

Wheels to cover those big-boy binders were 17-inch units from the soon-to-be-released ’94 Mustang, painted black.

Right buyers

Ford figured that collectors would mothball these cars and speculation would run rampant. The prospect of seeing one on the track as Ford intended would be shot, so Ford made buyers produce a driver’s license from some mainstream racing sanctioning body.

Still, more than a few of the 107 Cobra R cars produced were delivered, by special request, without pre-delivery inspection done to keep all the shipping plastic and materials intact. You can guess where those cars went.

From day one, the Cobra R increased in value. They soon found their way into the hands of enthusiasts who didn’t have the proper paperwork Ford mandated.

Our feature car here is an example of that ethos, with 589 miles showing. Basically, this was a brand-new Cobra R, which is great, unless you want to drive it.

Our subject car sold for four times what a nice Cobra would bring today. Is this expensive? Yes, unless it is the centerpiece of your collection, as it has been for two owners, and you have to have it. Several potential owners did here at Barrett-Jackson, which drove this price.

This is the new high-water mark for all Fox-body prices — and it’s not without merit, as another did this same number at Scottsdale in January. With interest in ’90s performance at a new high, I don’t see the R coming down any time soon. In fact, I bet this sale brings even lower-mile cars to the block.

Well sold? Maybe just bought a little too early.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

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