1970 Ford Mustang SVT Terminator Cobra (Restomod)View vehicle description
The Mustang’s secret might seem obvious now but the combination of a beautiful, sporting bodyshell - originally available in 1964 as a notchback coupe or a convertible with the achingly pretty Fastback 2+2 arriving a year later - allied to commonplace mechanical components was something of a revelation at the time.
And, with a choice of five different engine options ranging from 101bhp through to the full-fat 390bhp, six different transmissions, three suspension packages, three braking systems and a whole host of performance, colour and cosmetic choices, there was a Mustang to suit everyone.
Just as importantly, it was cheap. The Mustang’s launch price of under $2,500 enabled blue-collar workers across America to indulge themselves in something other than the workaday drudge; if Bruce Springsteen made heroes of the working-class man and woman, Ford lent their heroism wings.
This means the Mustang was a stunning vindication of Lee Iacocca’s vision; while the original projection was that Ford might sell 100,000 in the first full year of production, it actually went on to shift that many in just three months – and sales went on to top a million cars in just eighteen.
The 2003/4 Ford Mustang SVT ‘Terminator’ Cobra, which was developed at Ford by John Coletti and the SVT development crew, is an awesome piece of kit being faster and better handling than any Mustang that had gone before.
The trouble is, it’s as ugly as hell.
But, imagine if you were able to hide the 2003 Terminator’s mechanical components under a classic 1970’s Mustang body; you’d have a helluva thing, wouldn’t you? Especially if you tweaked the engine with a few mods to bring it up to a very satisfactory 688bhp instead of the 390bhp it left the factory with…
The guys at AK Rods & Customs clearly felt the same because they finished off this incredible car, a car whose 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine is now force fed by a Kenne Bell 2.6-litre supercharger. The result, presumably after a lot of fettling and tweaking, is an estimated top speed of over 180mph with complete reliability - and around 20+mpg on the road.
That epic V8 engine is mated to the standard SVT six-speed T-56 manual gearbox, a well-proven solution that fires the power to the rear 3.55:1 ratio differential that’s fitted in the bulletproof 8.8 rear end.
Plus, let’s not forget the Terminator’s factory engineered independent rear suspension, which has been grafted onto the classic bodyshell as part of a wholescale floorpan transplant. In fact, the entire 21st century Terminator Cobra engine, chassis and drivetrain is still intact, just as Camilo Pardo, the chief architect of the Ford GT Supercar designed it to be.
It’s a neat trick and because it’s all 100% Ford the factory anti-lock brakes, traction control, airbags, and anti-theft all work and are still monitored through the factory OBDII port, so you can plug this classic muscle supercar in at any Ford Dealer or modern garage.
This means you get to enjoy the classic 1970 Mustang look without having to suffer the usual wheel hop, creaking leaf springs, or solid rear axle performance that comes with vintage engineering. That this car is capable of generating significant lateral-G forces and has proven itself on autocross tracks across America is the icing on an already unfeasibly well-concocted cake.
Now UK-registered it has a V5 registration document and is tax exempt. Health checked and tested while in the vendor’s care, it’s a proven show winner, is in genuine turn-key condition and available for worldwide export if necessary.
On the Outside
The bodywork has been fettled to AK Rods & Customs’ usual high standards; the car was red when they got their hands on it and they discovered that the mechanical conversion had been done so well that they felt they had no choice but to wrangle the panel alignment to their satisfaction before spraying it in a Subaru dark metallic grey.
The result is the car you see before you. It’s been beautifully done and exudes the sort of air of subdued menace that sends a shiver down your spine and aside from mis-matched colour temperatures on the front lights, we can’t see anything that jars, which is quite an achievement.
Lovely little details abound like the chin spoiler, front driving lamps, twin bonnet air scoops, and the huge rear spoiler. They’d be remarkable enough on their own but then you notice the 18x9J Mogul Racing MR-7 alloy wheels. Finished in a dark graphite and hosting a matching set of 285/35ZR18 Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tyres, a set of Cobra brake calipers peek out from behind the spokes.
As we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.
Problems? Don‘t be silly; aside from the inevitable occasional stonechip, it’s utterly gorgeous and needs nothing other than its own Instagram account.
On the Inside
The interior is pure 2003 Mustang, which is no bad thing because while the exterior might have the sort of looks only a mother could love there’s nothing wrong with the interior at all. It’s been recovered too, so there’s nothing to criticise with either its architecture or condition.
This means you’ll find a pair of heavily bolstered Recaro leather seats in the front, individual rear seats behind them, a neatly installed vinyl headlining complete with a pair of reading lights, stock door cards with manual window winders, and one of the most legible dashboards in the business.
There’s an additional fuel pressure gauge too, and it’s all in great shape and works as it should – and that an interior of this quality and condition is the least interesting aspect of the car tells you everything you need to know about the rest of it.
The Mustang benefits from the entire drivetrain and suspension from a 2003 Ford Mustang SVT ‘Terminator’ Cobra, a car so fugly that a transplant like this is the only possible course of action.
It’s been beautifully done, but don’t take our word for it; the car’s in Harrogate, which is just a hop, skip and a jump up/down the A1.
The vendor tells us that he’s put it through his own workshops for a health check, something it passed with flying colours. He also assures us that it drives every bit as well as you imagine but then you’d already guessed that, hadn’t you?
The engine bay is very clean and neatly presented, as is the underside. Both bear witness to many new, high-end parts and the overall fit ‘n’ finish is very good.
The Mustang’s MOT certificate, which is valid until January 2021, was gained without a single advisory point. That this, a car that has no need of one, was put through an independent test by an impartial third-party expert shows you how confident the vendor is in his car.
It also has a thick sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it over the years plus some of its ‘stateside paperwork and the odd manual and set of fitting instructions.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been built to a very good standard.
If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.
What We Think
Look, we know our guide price of somewhere between £79,000 and £100,000 is a hefty chunk of money in anyone’s books but we think it actually represents outstanding value.
A standard Mustang of this vintage and condition would be worth half that sum every day of the week and if you were to buy one then you’d be the proud owner of a very fine motorcar indeed.
Albeit one that only goes only half as well as it looks because time has moved on and a standard Mustang isn’t necessarily the fastest or most rewarding way of getting from A-to-B; if vintage motoring is your bag then you’ll adore it but for everyone else a restomod like this makes a lot of sense.
Because now you have something that looks period correct but plays host to a modern Mustang drivetrain and chassis, enabling you to exploit every one of its nigh-on 700bhp.
And, it really does offer the best of all worlds – and that six-figure value is an even bigger bargain when you consider how much it would cost you to have one built to the same high standard.
As anyone who has ever restored a car knows you end up spending twice as much as you budgeted and the work takes twice as long - and commissioning a car that mates the 20th and 21st century so seamlessly isn’t going to be any cheaper or faster than restoring something more traditional, is it?
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the vendor in Harrogate, North Yorkshire; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
This vehicle is not with us at The Market’s HQ, which means we have had to rely on the owner’s description of it, in conjunction with the photographs you see here, to compile the listing.
With this in mind, we would encourage potential bidders to contact the owner themselves and arrange to view the car in person, or to arrange a dedicated video call in which they can view the car virtually and ask questions.
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
Want to know how The Market auctions work? Take a look at our FAQ'sView FAQ's