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Monday, June 27, 2016

Maisto 1:18 2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra Convertible




Alright, now for your power and comfort, too in the 2003 Cobra Mustang, dubbed "The Terminator" inside SVT development of the car.  This comes after a failed attempt to fix the Cobra's original issue in 2001 by placing the 5.4L DOHC V8 from the Cobra R in the engine bay and the 6-speed manual transmission.  Problem is, it used a new aluminum block that was not properly structured or had the proper coolant flow for the rear cylinders, causing premature engine wear.  In 2003 a new engine was developed by first going back to the 4.6 cast-iron block, then reobtaining the DOHC valve layout and bringing in the Eaton roots supercharger to force more air into the new motor.  The result is 390 horsepower and 390 Ib-ft of torque through a six-speed manual, and unlike the 2001-2002 Cobra the new engine was far more durable, not to mention a preview to come in the next Cobra Mustang (rather called Shelby by the next-generation).







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I'm surprised that the hood with two recessed vents managed to squeeze in the supercharger without any domed hood design.  Like the Cobra R, the new engine has a larger engine block and supercharger with belt cover that covers the engine bay quite nicely, and then some:  The new Cobra adds more decals and labels on the radiator frame, battery, and fluid caps that were never found on any other 1999 Mustang variant.  Also the intake leading to the supercharger is larger, the fluid resovoirs moved to the front (and do the same in the next-generation Mustang), and SVT Cobra engine plates on the valve covers.  Nice.  Oh, and despite the look there is still a 3D engine block just below the supercharger.  Underneath is the same chassis layout as the Cobra R minus the side-exiting exhaust.  The fuel tank is smaller than the R to allow the chrome exhaust to exit out back, but is still just as large and an eyesore.  The engine, transmission, drivetrain, exhaust, front and independent rear suspension carry-over from the Cobra R, and then adds revised front and rear under-bumper diffusers that are more detailed and cleaner than the other Mustang variants.  Finally, the convertible edition like my tester adds an X-brace to support the roofless body to the front subframe.







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The look of the new Cobra is aggressive and looks good from all angles as a convertible; as the coupe it looks rather awkward with the tall roofline against the sloping front-end (the convertible makes it look less-obvious).  The metallic red color is sharp and goes well with the amount of chrome, as in the thick 5-spoke wheels with SVT center caps in black and brembo brake calipers on the rotors with tires that are the widest ever on this Mustang bodystyle.  The front has a revised bumper where the foglights return and join the front brake cooling ducts.  The lower grille is larger, the lower chin spoiler is more visible, the grille still has the free pony, and the headlights are projector beam setups that were originally planned during the 2003 Cobra's development, but cancelled at the last minute (yet apparently the Maisto version still carried on with the design).  The front bumper, sadly, looks more plasticky for each version (compared to the 1999 GT coupe/convertible).







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The sides have the same Cobra R's side scoops and a first: body-colored exterior mirrors.  The back has the same taillights and trunklid, but gets more revisions with a new fully-integrated trunk spoiler with LED third brake light, COBRA on the rear bumper, and the lower bumper that finally removes the unnecessary center plastic trim for a full-width black trim area to support the dual exhausts.  The interior also goes for the extra mile with details both carried over from the 2000 Cobra R and the 1999 35th Anniversary edition, and then some more.  The front seats have two-tone white and black seats front and rear, with the front seats gaining the snake logo.  The convertible boot looks nice and smooth.  The door panels and the trunk are the only carry-over designs left untouched.  Lots of attention was paid to the dashboard where the twin-pod dash has a silver shifter knob, silver pedals, gauges and steering wheel from the Cobra R, and detailed center controls that now houses the larger and revised Mach I audio system.  On a convertible interior details matter and this Mustang has the goods to show it off.







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Out of the three Mustang variants by Maisto shown here the 2003 Cobra is the most popular as its hard to find a decent casting just below the $50 mark (which is what I paid for mine, including a slight smoky odor from a smoker household that I didn't even know about), and I can see why: it's the best version of the 1999-2004 Mustang bodystyles and so far Maisto is the only diecast manufacturer to make the 2003 Cobra and 2000 Cobra R.  Either way the two Cobra's make a nice addition to my collection (as mentioned before I've sold the two GT's already).







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