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SVE Mustang King Cobra (1994)

by DrivingEnthusiast

Ford SVE Mustang King Cobra

Built: 1994

Never shown or introduced to the public!


The King Cobra car was built in the 1994 timeframe by SVE as a prototype of a possible future Mustang. It was never been shown or referenced in public. It served as a test-bed for future technologies SVE hoped to offer on a production SN95 in the year 2000 timeframe. In many ways, it is the prototype of the originally intended 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra – a plan that was considerably dumbed down (and delayed) before final production.

The supercharged 4.6 is related to that of the Mustang Mach III, with changes suitable for production use. You’ll note that the layout below is very close to that of the ’03-04 Cobra.

Prototype 4.6 liter DOHC supercharged V-8

Elements of the 1996 Mustang 4.6 V-8 (SOHC U& DOHC) can be seen here including the use of the Hydroboost braking system, the pre-production air filter, and the placement of the fuse box and other underhood elements.

Many of the engineering elements of the future 2003 SVT Cobra can also be seen here – from the supercharger placement (although not the same supercharger), to the expansion tank for the intercooler, to the shape and location of the MAF, air filter, and air inlet. The battery, however, is located in the trunk – something that would prove impossible for the eventual production car. Note that the power steering reservoir is located where the battery would normally be found and that would also change by necessity.

There was also an emphasis on building in anti-lift geometry in the rear suspension. It was apparent that this car would have a very heavy engine up front, and this architecture was necessary for handling and braking ability. Anti-lift would be an important benefit of the final production 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra IRS suspension as well.


  • IRS with special attention paid to achieving low unsprung weight and anti-lift geometry
  • SLA front suspension
  • PBR fr/rr brakes w/specifically-tuned ABS
  • Torsen differential
  • Unique body components – hood for clearance, and functional side scoop to cool rear suspension
  • Unique interior trim

The Mustang King Cobra shows that SVE had in mind a demonstration of its engineering capabilities.  As we know, none of these major engineering elements made it to production. Nor has Ford been able to actually offer such a front and rear suspension on a production Mustang. It’s a shame that SVE and Ford fell so far after showing what they were capable of here, and again later on with the FR500.


0-60 mph 4.9 seconds (estimated)
60-0 mph 130 ft. (estimated)
1/4 mile 13.0 @ 105 mph
200 ft radial skidpad 0.87g  (estimated)
600 ft slalom 65 mph  (estimated)
Horsepower 380 hp
Torque 440 ft.-lbs.

SVE program managers included Al Suydam and Steve Anderson. Team members included Ron Smith and Eric Tseng.

A number of issues were encountered in the development of this car (and the related show car Super Stallion – which perhaps was one and the same car underneath?). The chief problem was excessive heat in the shocks – pushrod operated, and located in a “tray” in the trunk. The side vents cooled those shocks, but only to a degree.

Also, of course, was the entire issue of cost: since the SN95 hadn’t been engineered for an SLA up front and an IRS in the rear, production costs would be excessively high – especially for a short run of 8-10,000 cars per year. As it turned out, as we now know for the 2003 Cobra, the SLA front suspension was dropped, the IRS was totally redesigned to make it considerably more production-friendly, and the supercharged engine would continue in development for a few more years before finally appearing in 2003.