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Monday, June 27, 2016

Maisto 1:18 2000 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R

Wilder things would become to the Maisto 1:18 1999 Ford Mustang casting in the next few years, starting with the Cobra R in 2000.  The third installment of the R models, this is the track-focused Cobra Mustang that is only sold to those committed to racing the car on the tracks even though you can still drive it on the streets legally.  Among the larger engine it has revised exterior enhancements that are the most aggressive of the three Cobra R's (1993, 1995, and 2000 model years) and lots of decontented interior stuff.

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I got this one from the 1:18 show haulers set that was towed by the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, and while I did sold the set I kept the Cobra R Mustang (the yellow GT, shown before, was now the new trailer queen with the sold set).  Red was the only color and it looks aggressive on this limited run car (only 300 produced) with a large lower air dam on the visibly-plastic front bumper that removes the foglights for brake ventilation ducts.  The prancing pony in the grille is now free without the outer frame, while the headlights get the black headlight treatment that will be common place on 2001-2004 Mustang models.  The hood has a large dome to accommidate the larger intake under the hood, while the sides get a raked rear stance to allow the side Borla exhaust tips to exit.  The snake badge fits on the front fenders and on the sharp 5-spoke wheels with brake rotors that finally have Brembo brake calipers!  The real reason why the exhaust exits out to the sides is to allow the larger fuel cell in the rear bumper behind a bumper lifted from the V6 Mustangs (because they have no exhaust cutouts) and looks like an eyesore that ruins the aggressive looks of this car.  The rest of the rear-end has the same Mustang letters and lower plastic cutout, taillights, and center brake light like the other Mustangs, and then joins with snake badges, Cobra R plate, and the massive rear wing on the trunklid.

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Once again the trunk opens to nothing much, while the interior shows what the R is all about: Racing.  There is no back seat, just the shell remains, while the front gets supportive Recaro seats with the embroaded name, snake R logo, and a nice weave pattern on the seats.  The dashboard looks familiar with the 4-spoke steering wheel and twin cove design, but a closer look reveals no radio and no A/C (the controls operate the heater and flow-through ventilation, but not the missing A/C system).  Also the steering wheel gets the Cobra name instead of the prancing horse and the gauges are inverse: white-faced gauges on black.  The hood opens up to reveal the massive 5.4L DOHC V8 motor with large valve covers and intake risers under a cover with the Cobra R logo to fill an engine bay that gets additional details in the additional hoses and silver accents on the strut tower covers.  The V8 produces 385 hp. and 385 Ib-ft of torque through a 6-speed manual transmission.  Now the R was not affected by the controversial 1999 Cobra recalled that affected the 1999 Cobra's because Ford downplayed the horsepower output as owners were experiencing much less power than advertised.  Ford not only corrected intake, exhaust headers and system on the 1999 models but also pulled production of the 2000 Cobra's to fix the issue.  The Cobra R was the only Cobra model for 2000 that survived because the engine block was all-new.

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The chassis also showed a unique, and first for a Mustang: independent rear suspension.  The rear now has larger upper/lower A-arms with half-shafts (note the ABS toothed ring gear sensor near the differential) and coil springs just ahead of the shafts; Maisto must have the working rear springs centered with the rear wheels so there are four springs at the rear: the two in the center of the wheels are the working springs, while the two springs just ahead of the rear wheels are stationary.  Otherwise it was all-familiar 1999 Mustang here from the engine and transmission to the front suspension, save for the short-flow exhaust pipes leading to the side Borla mufflers.

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It's an awesome-looking Mustang that will be remembered for years as the ultimate Cobra R, and one that has enough features to distinguish itself from the other 1999-2004 Mustang variants.  But a revised Cobra was around the corner to offer those who want the Cobra power but with more creature comforts.

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