With the introduction of the “new edge” Mustang in 1999, came a new SVT Cobra. The New Edge design was basically a re-panelling of the old car, more like a facelift than a new model. Thus, the interior basically stayed the same, and most of the parts are interchangeable. All 1999-2004 Cobras featured independent rear suspension, unique to the Cobras. They also used a newer returnless fuel system which helped Ford meet tightening emission standards.
The new 1999 SVT Cobra had an upgraded 4.6L DOHC engine with 320 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 317 pound-feet (430 N·m) of torque @ 4,750 rpm. New 1999 SVT Cobra owners were concerned about slow 0-60 mph times and low chassis dyno power numbers even though Ford claimed that the 4.6 was outputting 15 hp more than the 1998 Cobra engine.
However, even though Ford claimed that the ’99 version laid down 15 more horses, several magazines reported that the Cobra seemed slower than previous models, leading to many dyno tests by new Cobra owners. Indeed, the power of the engine was found to be lower than expected.
On August 6th, 1999 Ford stopped selling the ’99 Cobra and recalled all that had been sold. Ford replaced the intake manifold and computer components as well as the entire exhaust from the catalytic to the tailpipes in order to achieve a “true” 320 hp at the crankshaft. Because of this blunder, the 320 hp 2000 SVT Cobra was pulled from production to return in 2001 again rated at 320 hp. The production run of 300, 385 hp, 2000 Cobra “R” cars went ahead without issue.
The independent rear suspension Ford used in the Cobras was a bolt in replacement for the live axle used in the normal Mustangs. This meant that both configurations could be swapped quite easily, and a lot of people actually did this conversion one way or the other. Replacing the Cobra’s IRS with a live axle was done quite frequently by people preferring drag racing, since the IRS had the habit of producing a lot of wheel hop during hard launches.
One issue with the IRS on the Cobras was that SVT used the wrong bolts on one of the attachment places where the IRS is connected to the body and frame.This caused a clunking noise from the car when shifting, since the IRS moved a little in its seating. Once known, this problem can easily be solved by replacing the bolt in question, although the exhaust sometimes needs to be removed or loosened in order to get to the bolt.
Along with these changes on the Cobra, there were rough fog lights in the lower front fascia. The Cobra model used a regular hood, while the GT used a hood sporting a non-functional hood scoop. Also separating the Cobra and the GT was the horse emblem found on the girl – the Cobra’s running stallion was not surrounded by the chrome band that could be found on the GTs. Not found on the Cobras are the tristar 35th anniversary emblem, which can be found on the GTs. Cloth interior was not available to the 1999 Cobra, however, leather was available in both Dark Charcoal and Medium Parchment.
The differential case on the Cobra was aluminum, which was a change from the ’98 version. Another major change to the ’99 Cobra was the introduction of the independent rear suspension system featuring short and long arms mounted on a tubular subframe. The steering ratio was changed to 15.0:1, and the turning circle was cut down to 37.9 feet.
Specifications & Performance
Built at: Detroit, Michigan, USA Engine: 90-degree, DOHC 32-Valve V8 Displacement: 4.6L / 281 CID Bore: 3.55 in Stroke: 3.54 in Power: 320 hp @ 6,000 rpm Torque: 317 lbs.-ft. @ 4,750 rpm Compression: 9.85:1 Front tires: P255/45ZR-17 Rear tires: P255/45ZR-17 Front brakes: 13 in. vented Brembo disc, PBR twin-piston caliper Rear brakes: 11.65 in. vented disc, single-piston caliper ABS: Three channel, four-sensor ABS system, linked to all-speed traction control Front suspension: Modified gas-charged MacPherson strut type with separate 500 lb./in. spring on lower arm, 29mm tubular stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Multi-link independent, steel upper control arm, fixed toe-control tie rod, aluminum spindle, gas-charged tubular shock absorber, 470 lb./in. coil spring, 26mm tubular stabilizer bar Wheels: 17 x 8 in. 5-spoke forged aluminum Tires: BFGoodrich Comp T/A P245/45ZR-17 1/4-mile @ MPH: 13.8 seconds @ 102 mph Top speed: ~225.3 kph / 140 mph 0 – 60 mph: 5.4 seconds
Total Produced: 8,095
Total Coupe Produced: 4,040 Total Convertible Produced: 4,055
Colors & Numbers
Exterior & Interior Combos Colors
The VIN is stamped on the plate which is riveted to the driver’s side of the dash, visible through windshield; the certification label is attached to the rear face of the driver’s door. For full details see our 1999 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra VIN Decoder page.