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2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R - Quick Cars

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'00 Ford Mustang R
Wings and splitters were the rage in the late '90s and early '00s. Some cars needed them, such as the European spec WRXs and Ralliart Mitsubishis-they were functional aerodynamic devices. Unfortunately, the look became a movement, and with a little help from a certain Fast and Furious franchise, racer wannabes nationwide began mounting all sorts of aero abominations to the bodies of their four-door commuter vehicles, and the ricer look was born.

Thankfully, that look has fallen out of favor, and a lot of the ricer cars are making their way into the junkyards. However, the look left its mark on the Annals of Bad Taste, and it is with this unfortunate lens that some people will now view the '00 Mustang Cobra R. We must remember to take off our ricer goggles to truly appreciate this car.

It was designed from the ground up to be a no-compromises race car. The big rear wing and carbon-fiber front air dam were designed by Ford engineers to provide greatly reduce front-end lift and add a substantial amount of downforce at high speeds. It's a good thing, too, because the Cobra R is able to hit 170 mph flat out.

It could also accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and eat up the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 110.8 mph, making it the quickest factory Mustang at the time. Power was supplied by a four-valve 5.4L engine, and it was the first time the tall-deck mod motor was dropped into a Mustang unibody. To make the thing fit, the SVT engineers designed a special crossmember and shorter motor mounts. Even after all that, a domed hood was needed to clear the massive intake manifold. A T56 trans and independent rear suspension with 31-spline axleshafts round out the drivetrain.

Only 300 Cobra R's were built. Though many have ended up in the white-gloved clutches of collectors, they were meant to be raced, and this car, No. 155, has spent a lot of time on the racetrack. The eight-point rollcage, tow hooks, and racing harnesses are by no means for show. The chassis was tweaked with Kenny Brown subframe connectors and a massive strut tower brace. The rubber bushings were replaced with either Delrin bushings or Heim joints.

Current owner Brian Anton bought this car from its previous racer/owner a little more than a year ago, but his job has kept him from the track so far. He's contemplating a set of coilovers and is clearing his schedule for some track days as we speak. This ex-race car has lots of laps left in it.

Tech Notes

What: '00 Ford Mustang Cobra R

Engine: The 5.4L (330 ci) DOHC 32-valve V-8 is loosely based on the Navigator engine but with heavily worked-over cylinder heads and a unique set of camshafts. It was rated at 385 hp and 385 lb-ft. In reality, these cars put that much power to the wheels. We love it when the factory underestimates its power figures.

Transmission: Tremec T56. Try to get a T5 to live behind that engine.

Rearend: Independent rear suspension, Ford 8.8-inch centersection with 31-spline axles. Stock gears were 3.55:1, but this car was upgraded to 3.73 gears on a Torsen limited-slip differential.

Other cool race car parts: Sabelt racing harness, Sparco quick-release steering wheel, steel skidplate, G-Force quick-release driver's window net, Kenny Brown differential cooler.

Wheels/Tires: Stock. These cars wore 265/40R18 tires on all four corners. Brian upgraded to 285/40R18s on the back. The wheels are 18x9.5.

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