It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a solid decade and a half since the first 2003 Mustang Cobra rolled off of the Dearborn assembly line. Packing new features, updated styling and most importantly, an entirely new drivetrain, the Terminator as it’s known is a thing of legends.
Under the hood, was an iron block version of the 4V 4.6L Mod Motor, with a Roots blower strapped to the top. It cranked out 390 hp and 390 lb-ft of twist to the flywheel, but those in the know understand full well that those advertised numbers were conservative. In fact, many owners typically laid down nearly as much to the rear wheels fresh out of the factory, and would see well into the mid-400s with just a couple of bolt-ons.
The 2003 Cobra was made famous for these attributes, as well as being the lone contender in the pony car field after the hiatus of the Camaro and ultimate cancellation of the Firebird. However, it would have new rivals in the form of the Cadillac CTS-V and GTO for 2004, with more on the way as the horsepower wars were about to heat up for the next several years.
Motorweek tested a 2003 Cobra back in the day, and dang its praise for its increased performance, improved handling, update interior and exterior and it sheer fun.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of AutoCentric Media, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.