YAZTEC Automotive, courtesy of GAA Classic Cars
  • 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra with Vortech supercharger
  • 60k actual miles
  • Owner’s manual and two sets of original keys
  • Number 378 of 4,993 built, with certificate from Ford
  • Parked in a barn since 2005, brought back to life with new fuel tank, fuel pump, alternator, water pump, radiator, drilled and slotted rotors, shocks and struts, tires and sport exhaust

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
Years Produced:1993
Number Produced:4,993
Original List Price:$18,505
SCM Valuation:$27,500
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
Club Info:SVT Cobra Mustang Club (SCMC)
Alternatives:1989 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE, 1989 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo 20th Anniversary, 1994 Ford Mustang Cobra
Investment Grade:D

This car, Lot FR0079, sold for $20,865, including buyer’s premium, at GAA’s auction in Greensboro, NC, on March 2, 2018.

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that trends are cyclical. Without fail, what was really cool to everyone one day is garbage to the same group the next day. Some trends are so popular that they create their own market and the public watches in amazement as the trend behaves in defiance of common logic. Remember Beanie Babies? If you invested in them, I’d bet you do.

Another little nugget of knowledge I have kept with me is to not take the investment advice of people who are spouting overheard rhetoric. This is the equivalent of the kid with the shine box giving advice on stock picks. Please don’t listen, because that is a sure sign of a trend bubble getting ready to burst.

The other day, a friend sent me an ad for buckets of genuine barn dust for the wise-investment sum of $500 per bucket. The ad instructs you to take a $5,000 car, dump dust all over it, and voilà — you have a $25,000 car. How could you lose? This reminds me of another life lesson — logic-defying trends often bring out the scoundrels on their way to becoming a trend bubble getting ready to burst.


Scoundrels have little to do with the recent sale of a nice-looking barn-find 1993 Mustang Cobra. In fact, I am rather pleased with the presentation of the car, considering it could have been completely exploited as a barn find.

For the record, I don’t care for the barn-find trend. Being dirty, neglected and covered in owl droppings does not raise the value of a car, especially if it was mass-produced. The risk of rat-borne hantavirus lurking within the musty confines of a dormant interior is in no way appealing to me. Maybe I’m a germaphobe, but I have to always question the person willing to pay a premium for these attributes.

Before you get your ink pot and quill out to yell at me, I too find mystery in the likes of a barn-find Ferrari 250 GT California found under boxes in France or a 427 Cobra that last raced in the ’60s and still sits under a canvas cover with a busted gearbox. Sorry, Mustang fans, this isn’t the same.

I like patina too, but I like clean patina, and there is a difference. That brings us back to the ’93 Cobra, which the seller washed prior to the auction. Oh dear! Did they devalue that poor car? No, they gave it a much-deserved bath to present it in its best light at auction.

Foxes on the rise

If you haven’t noticed, the depreciation curve of the Fox-body Mustang is no longer flat. If you assumed that it was, I would assume that you live under a rock. 1979–93 Mustangs are going up.

In typical form for any model, leading the charge are special-edition cars. Among Ford’s factory-built Foxes, the Cobra is king. I specify Ford-built because tuners such as Saleen, whose cars were sold in Ford dealerships, are well ahead of the typical Fox Mustang appreciation and have seen more of an exponential curve with regard to their appreciation.

The 1993 Cobra was the last hurrah for a model that was getting old. The basic unibody design of the Fox platform dated back to the mid-1970s and suffered from the noise, vibration and harshness that were quickly becoming engineered out of other modern chassis of the day. As the public became more acutely aware of the civility that modern cars were capable of, the limitations of the Fox platform became evident. Ford realized that subframe connectors and sound-deadening material can only go so far.

The ’93 Mustang Cobra utilized the best pieces from the Ford Motorsport catalog, which had been rebranded as SVT in 1993. As a result, the ’93 Cobra became the first production Mustang to actually have a horsepower increase from the 225 horsepower spec that the 5.0 engine had put out since 1987. GT-40 heads, a different cam (not custom and not the E-303 like many think), 1.7-ratio roller rockers and a cast intake that looked eerily similar to what was on the V8 Explorer was good for a reported 10 horsepower increase to 235. Today it doesn’t really seem worth the effort, but SVT needed something to market.

Rear disc brakes were also standard, but the car did not get the five-lug conversion kit. Therefore, the Thunderbird wheels of the same era will not work on a stock Cobra. Make sure the original Cobra wheels are not marred too much when looking for a nice example. Custom valving was also used on the shocks and front struts, and the Cobra-spec factory units are all but impossible to find anymore, so if concours judging is your thing, check to make sure your potential purchase still has factory units.

Not a stock time capsule

There are items detracting from this particular car. Obviously, the Vortech supercharger kit sticks out. The aluminum radiator, the red plug wires and distributor cap, and the caster plates at the top of the shock towers are mentionable because they’re non-original items, and with minty cars, anything that detracts from originality also pulls away value. Then again, some Mustang circles see these mods as tasteful and needed. Either way, if done right, none of it should sway values here based on mileage and overall condition, which I peg at #3.

While the 1993 Cobra was conceived as a special edition, they are not really rare. Ford made 4,993 of them. There are still plenty out there that are low-miles, garage-fresh cars that will lead in price, but it’s pretty easy to find a bargain-basement junker, too.

The price paid was reasonable in the current market, but the car was certainly not stolen off the block. I think the seller did just fine. If the price feels high, just wait. Hopefully, Fox Mustang values increase at a reasonable rate as to not attract scoundrels, buckets of dust and kids offering free Fox-body investment advice with a shoeshine. For now, this was a good deal for all involved.

(Introductory description courtesy of GAA Classic Cars.)

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