The long, drawn out pony car war had pretty much settled. The Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, and the Pontiac Trans-Am had all but bowed out of the ring, leaving only the Ford Mustang as the reigning champion. One would think that Ford would simply appreciate their victory, offering a small appearance package perhaps as reference to its victory.
Wrong! In 2003, the Mustang SVT Cobra, codenamed “Terminator”, was released with great enthusiasm to adoring fans everywhere. This Mustang, equipped with an Eaton supercharger, was rated at 390 horsepower. Later, discovery would show that the Mustang Terminator actually produced somewhere in the neighborhood of 430 horsepower.
The Mustang Terminator had an 80 horsepower difference between the standard 5.0L Mustang GT and itself, and equal amounts of torque (claimed 390HP/390TQ). This made it the most powerful Mustang available for purchase at that time.
Terminating the Pony Car Wars
The Mustang Terminator was the car that put the proverbial nail in GM’s coffin, signaling to many that the Pony car wars were over. The 390 horsepower car, combined with a six speed transmission and massive 13” front brakes (11.65” on the rear) had all the underpinnings necessary to squash the competition. Big power, stiff suspension, and the ability to stop on a dime.
Unfortunately, no Mustang SVT Cobra Terminator was ever able to complete a quarter mile run as the rear tires would always go up in a cloud of smoke. Aside from the epic Saleen, Roush, and Steeda Mustangs, the SVT Cobra Terminator was the biggest, baddest Mustang you could buy. Not even the legendary Mach 1, which produced roughly 320 horsepower, could live up to the wake created by the “big daddy” of Mustangs. After all, its adoring fan base had nicknamed the 2003/20004 SVT Cobra the “Terminator” for a reason.