(from Ford Press Release)
Beginning with the original in 1993, every generation of the SVT Mustang
Cobra has elevated its standard of performance. Now, the 2003 SVT
Mustang Cobra raises the bar yet again, this time increasing power
output to a level never before achieved in a production Mustang. The
addition of a Roots-type supercharger and water-to-air intercooler to
the Cobra’s 4.6-liter, DOHC 4-valve V-8 engine bumps output to 390
horsepower and 390 foot-pounds of torque.
The new SVT Cobra also joins the 2002 SVT Focus in providing a six-speed
gearbox as standard equipment. Additional enhancements for 2003 include
exterior design alterations to the front and rear fascia, hood, rocker
moldings and side scoops, as well as several changes to the interior
appointments, including new multi-adjustable front seats trimmed in Nudo
leather and Preferred suede.
"Every once in a while, a car comes along that really shakes up the
status quo," said Tom Scarpello, marketing and sales manager for Ford’s
Special Vehicle Team. "Since the ’641/2 Mustang was launched, there have
been a number of Mustangs that set the standard for performance when
they were introduced. The 2003 SVT Cobra is the new benchmark, and
proudly carries on the tradition of Mustang performance leadership."
"We’ve had some pretty successful Mustangs, and specifically SVT Mustang
Cobras," said John Coletti, chief engineer for Ford SVT, "but the whole
idea is to improve. That’s what we’re committed to, and the number-one
thing our customers want is enhanced performance. The supercharged
engine allowed us to go where we needed to go — to give our customers a
whole lot more car than ever before."
The 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra’s 4.6-liter, DOHC V-8 is equipped with an
Eaton™ supercharger and new aluminum alloy cylinder heads that provide
increased flow capabilities. The engine produces 390 horsepower at 6,000
rpm and 390 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm, compared with the 2001
model’s 320 hp at 6,000 rpm and 317 foot-pounds of torque at 4,750 rpm.
To provide strength necessary for the substantially increased torque
output, the new Cobra engine is built on a cast-iron block. This unit
contains the carryover forged-steel crankshaft, which is fitted with new
Manley forged "H-beam" connecting rods, forged pistons similar to those
in the SVT F-150 Lightning, and an aluminum flywheel similar to the 2000
SVT Mustang Cobra R’s.
The engine is mated to a TTC T-56 6-speed manual transmission. Behind
that, an aluminum drive shaft with upgraded universal joints connects to
the rear axle, which now has a 3.55:1 gear ratio.
The SVT Mustang Cobra’s independent rear suspension system receives
upgraded bushings and an additional tubular cross-brace for 2003,
necessary for increased loading due to the higher power output and
larger tires. The Cobra coupe’s springs have higher rates compared with
2001, increased from 500 lb./in. to 600 lb./in. at the front, and from
470 lb./in. to 600 lb./in. on the rear springs. In a departure from past
practice, the Cobra convertible receives its own individual suspension
tuning to suit the unique characteristics of its convertible body. The
convertible’s front spring rates are 500 lb./in., and the rear springs
are 470 lb./in.
The 2003 SVT Cobra is equipped with gas-charged monotube Bilstein
dampers at all four corners, and the pad material on the rear brakes has
been upgraded for enhanced durability and brake performance.
Exterior design changes distinguish the SVT Mustang Cobra from the
regular production Mustang GT. While it retains the SVT-signature round
fog lamps, the front fascia is more aggressive looking, and also helps
to deliver more air to the engine compartment. The hood also has been
redesigned, and now has flow-through scoops that help vent hot air from
the engine compartment. Both the hood and rear deck are made of
lightweight composite materials. Showing that SVT appreciates even the
smallest details, the windshield wipers feature an aerodynamic "wing" to
help keep the blades planted at speeds up to 130 mph.
At the sides, the rocker panels have been reshaped with simple, clean
vertical surfaces. Color-keyed, foldaway outside mirrors are unique to
Cobra, and the side scoops have new, horizontal fins to match those in
the hood scoops. The rear deck lid features an integrated spoiler with
an LED center high-mounted stop lamp.