The Cobra convertible was chosen to be the pace car for the 1994 Indy 500 race held in May 1994. To celebrate the honor all 1,000 1994.5 Cobra Convertibles produced were pace car replicas finished in Rio red with saddle tops and interiors. To complete the look “Official Pace Car” decals were supplied in the trunk of every car. The cars weren’t cheap however and cost $27,320.
The 1994 Mustang won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year honors and was picked to pace the 78th Indianapolis 500. All 1,000 cars were built with a Rio Red exterior with Saddle Brown leather interior. This was the third time the Ford Mustang had paced the Indy 500, once with the original Mustang in 1964 and the first year for the Fox Body in 1979. Jack Roush was once again the designer of the Pace Car, and once again Parnelli Jones drove the Pace Car around the track.
The core SVT Cobra underpinnings mean this was a great car overall. The Cobra had 25 more horsepower than the Mustang GT coupe’s 215 horsepower. The power increase came from adding to the stock 4.9-liter V-8 by improving the engine’s breathing characteristics. That meant the addition of special cylinder heads, modified roller-rocker arms, stiffer valve springs, and a specially tuned upper intake manifold. It also has an oil cooler, a lightened flywheel, and an accessory drive system that reduces parasitic power loss. The results were a sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and 14.6 second quarter mile time.
The interior featured tan leather along with the Indy Speedway “Wings” embossed on the headrests of the front seats. A Shelby-type roll bar was also added to the replicas in order to hose the flashing light unit. The replicas rims were the identical to the Cobra’s except for the recessed potions being painted charcoal. The “Official Pace Car” lettering as well as the “wings” decals were dealer installed.
Ridewise, SVT recalibrated and upgraded the springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars. Cobras get Goodyear GS-C P255/45ZR all-weather tires mounted on big, 17-inch wheels that conceal the largest four-wheel disc brakes ever mounted to a production Mustang: 13.0-inch discs in front, 11.7-inch discs in back.
ENGINE TYPE: Pushrod 16-Valve V8 engine, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 302 cu in, 4942cc Power: 240 bhp @ 4800 rpm Torque: 285 [email protected] 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual
DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 101 .3 in Length: 181.5 in Width: 71.8 in Height: 53.5 in Curb weight: 3578 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 5.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 15.9 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 35.2 sec
Street start, 5-60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 11.0 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 11.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.6 sec @ 96 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 140 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 171 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 g