1997 is a carryover year. The single difference is the loss of the honeycomb grille present in the 1996 model. With 19.5% of the small specialty segment, the Ford Mustang is the sales leader despite falling sales volumes.
With 19.5% of the small specialty segment, the Ford Mustang is the sales leader so I guess Ford decided it didn’t need to do anything to get the public excited. Therefore 1997 is a carryover year.
The single difference is the loss of the honeycomb grille present in the 1996 model. The honeycomb grille it had just added the previous year. Short life for that design I guess.
All Mustangs now came standard with Ford’s Passive Anti-Theft System. The system was designed to protect against drive away theft through the use of an electronically coded ignition key. The standard interior received new flecked fabric (wow, exciting right???). The base and Cobra models were unchanged otherwise. The most exciting of them was a new set of optional diamond-cut 17-inch alloy wheels for GT models. Rounding out the news for 1997 were changes to interior colours and trim.
The engine choices and power output for 1997 was identical to the 1996 model year. The standard 3.8 liter V6 offered 150 horsepower, while the V8 options were the GT package 4.6 liter modular overhead cam engine with 215 horsepower. The SVT Cobra was again available with the aluminum 4.6 liter modular DOHC engine and provided a strong 305 horsepower.
Special Edition Models & Variants
The 1997 Mustang GT was nearly identical to the 1996 Mustang GT with the exception of some color options. The mechanical updates in 1996 were so big that Ford did not invest in anything meaningful in terms of upgrades for 1997. The 1997 Mustang GT came with 16 inch, star 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels (upgradeable to 17 inch 5-open-spoke aluminum wheels); upgraded axle; and the 215 hp 4.6L V8 engine.
The 1997 SVT Cobra saw only a couple of changes over the 1996 model. The grille opening was enlarged and a new color, Pacific Green, was offered. Optional equipment continued to be limited to just the Preferred Equipment Package (Mach 460 sound system and leather seats) and the rear decklid spoiler. See our 1997 SVT Cobra Data Explorer for more information.
Essentially a Detroit-area commemorative “Dealer Special” along the lines of so many Regional Special Editions that have dotted Mustang history over the years, these cars are quite rare and very special. In order to commemorate the Dream Cruise, Ford decided to make a very, very limited edition Mustang. 58 of the SVO Woodward Dream Cruise Mustangs were produced and all of them had the same white, with blue Shelby-style stripes colors.
Mustang sales continued their downward trajectory in 1997 with only 108,344 units sold, down over 20% for the second year in a row. To dive into the model and body splits as well as see charts and percentages, check out our 1997 Ford Mustang Production & Sales Numbers deep dive.
% of Total
2 Door - Hardtop V6
2 Door - Hardtop GT
2 Door - Convertible V6
2 Door - Convertible GT
2 Door - Convertible Cobra
2 Door - Hardtop Cobra
Options and Pricing
The base Mustang came in at a still affordable $15,355 and only increase in price by a few hundred dollars versus prior year. The base convertible price increase by almost $700 to $20,755. If you wanted more performance, then a base GT would set you back a relatively bargain $18,000 while the Cobra coupe came to $25,335. For more detailed options and pricing, please check out our 1997 pricing and options research.
2 Door Hardtop
2 Door Convertible
2 Door GT
2 Door GT Convertible
2 Door Cobra
2 Door Cobra Convertible
Exterior & Interior Colors
A total of 11 colors were available for the 1997 Mustang model year. 1997 Mustang GTs had the option of two one-year-only paint options: Aztec Gold and Autumn Orange. Neither color was offered again after 1997 model year. Deep Violet, Moonlight Blue, and Deep Forest Green were also retired after this year (all were offered in 1996 and 1997). For detailed colors, color palettes, codes and interior colors please check out our in depth 1997 colors information post.
A total of three engine combinations were available for 1997. The base engine was the same 3.8 liter V6, with its output the same as prior year. The advanced 4.6L V8 was made available in both the GT and Cobra. While the engine looks the same, the Cobra’s DOHC (vs GTs SOHC) was the much more potent power plant. The SVT Cobra was an aluminum version of the 4.6L creates 305 hp. For more information on engines for 1997, you can find the information here.
Engine Name & Year
Power (hp @ RPM)
Torque (lb/ft @ RPM)
1997 – 281 Modular V8 (4.6 L)
305 hp @ 5800 RPM
300 lb/ft @ 4800 RPM
1997 – 281 Modular V8 (4.6 L)
215 hp @ 4400 RPM
285 lb/ft @ 3500 RPM
1997 – 232 Ford Essex V6 Engine (3.8 L)
145 hp @ 4000 RPM
215 lb/ft @ 2500 RPM
Below is the performance data for the 1997 Mustangs that we could find. The GT was good for a sub 7-second sprint from zero to 6-mph while the Cobra dipped into the mid-5 second range. Both cars were solid quarter-mile cars given their cost. Below we have included 0-60 mph times, 0-100 mph times as well as quarter mile times and top speed where available.