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Friday, November 21, 2014

Matchbox 1995 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Convertible

When someone asks for a replica of Ford's highest-performance Mustang, whether it's a Shelby or SVT Cobra, usually it's a coupe over convertible two to one.  This is because the coupe has better body rigidity than the convertible, but times are changing.  Recently there's been quite a few Shelby GT500 convertibles showing up, including the Matchbox 2007 version, but when it comes to the SVT Cobra only Matchbox has been the purveyor in this segment.

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The snake returns!

SVT, short for Special Vehicles Team, was created in 1993 and immediately got to work making typical Ford vehicles built for the track.  F-150 Lightning, Taurus SHO, and Mustang Cobra was the select few chosen for the 1993 model year.  In 1994 an all-new Mustang was revealed with smoother sheetmetal with larger headlights, domed hood, and revised horizontal taillights with rear spoiler.  The interior was dual cockpit with dual airbags, larger gauges, and easy-to-reach central controls.  The engines carried-over, with the SVT Cobra getting the 5.0L V8 with GT40 intake manifold to produce 240 hp.through a five-speed manual.  The exterior got revised front bumper with rounder foglights, snake logos on the sides, unique Cobra 5-spoke wheels, and the third brake light is molded into the rear spoiler.  In 1996 the Cobra got new 4.6L SOHC V8, revised suspension tuning, larger domed hood, and COBRA on the rear bumper to go with the new vertical slashed taillights and clear front headlight units.The Cobra name would continue until 2004 when the new 2005 Mustang and the return of the Shelby name allowed for the return of the GT500 moinker.

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The fabulous MB droptop Cobra

Matchbox did an excellent job on this casting even in the Tyco-era.  The body lines are carefully done with the proper scoops, bulges, lights, and even the snake badges on the sides.  The Cobra convertible also features the roll bar first seen on the 1994 Indy 500 pace car for better safety protection and torsional rigidity.  This setup allowed the interior to be two-tone and show off even more sharp details from the twin-cockpit dash to the seats.  The base showcases lots of details for the engine, transmission, exhaust, and suspension system underneath, but one area that baffles me (and almost any new Matchbox in 1995-1996) is the cut out for the front and rear axles.  Lighter weight?  who knows.  The first release was red with black hood featuring the snake logo and 6-spoke torque wheels in gold.  Not very attractive, but the Cobra got the new MB 5-spokes in 1997, yet still littered with graphics.

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1998 got interesting in metallic red with the head of a prancing horse on the side to let you know this is the one and only Mustang car.  The most shocking, and best of the recolors is this all-blue version that I found from the left-over loose ones of a 1999 5-pack.  It's all blue, no logos or graphics (though some lighting detail wouldn't hurt) on the correct 5-spoke wheels.  It looks fantastic and allows you to see all of the excellent body work without the distracting graphics.  Also, aside from the front wheels that are a little bend to the side, the casting is in good condition with not a single paint chip around the vehicle (compare that to my 1996 red version!).  If you're looking for one cool Mustang Cobra from the 1994-1995 era, then go ahead and check out this version from Matchbox.  It's worth the purchase!

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