Owning a piece of Mustang history is something most of us dream about. Over the Pony car's 45-year lifespan, there have been many rare and wild factory Mustangs that any Ford fanatic would love to have in his or her garage. Lately, the rarer Mustangs show off innovation, changes, and improvements that have altered the way we look at the hobby. One of the most significant transformations in recent years has been the introduction of the modular engine platform.
The '96 Mustang paved the way for a new era in Ford performance with an all-new engine design that changed the Mustang forever. Though the '95 Mustang was the last production Pony equipped with a 5.0L pushrod powerplant, we found a '95 Cobra that had us scratching our heads.
The rear bumper and taillights...
The rear bumper and taillights are the first sign that Mark's '95 is a little different. The '95 Cobra pieces were replaced with the newer '96 units while on the assembly line.
Imagine owning a car right from Ford that never existed-at least in production form. For Mark Young of Weddington, North Carolina, this is just the case. Mark's SN-95 may look like your run-of-the-mill '95 Cobra, but when you dig a little deeper, you see this Snake is far from ordinary. His Cobra may initially fool you into thinking its an R model, but you would only be half right. It's what's under the hood that makes this Snake truly special. Inside lies a '96 four-valve drivetrain, which Ford installed.
Mark Young takes his prototype...
Mark Young takes his prototype Cobra around the turns at Virginia International Raceway.
Mark Young has been an avid Mustang enthusiast his entire life. Growing up around cars has forged a love that most of us easily understand. With a slew of Mustangs in his stable, including a few SN-95s, Mark set out to find a '95 Cobra R as his next toy. While searching the Internet, he came across an ad for an unusual Cobra, which grabbed his interest. "It read '1995/1996 Cobra Prototype for sale,' and continued to give various details about the car," Mark tells us. "The most unique detail was the engine. It had the 4.6L Four-Valve modular motor as installed by Ford, not the old 5.0L."
After some investigating, Mark came to the conclusion that this has a D-code VIN, verifying it is in fact a '95 Cobra. The car was built as a prototype on the assembly line in the development phases of the '96 Cobra, and the documentation was there to prove it. The 1PP (or 1st Production Prove-out) run utilizes as many production parts as possible, but still contains some parts in development that are "not sellable." So technically, a 1PP car, or its parts, cannot be for sale, and in most cases are destroyed by Ford.
As Mark's research continued, some interesting information about his Cobra's past came to light. Not only was this Snake a prototype for the '96 Cobra program, its life started as an engineering car for the '95 R-model Cobra the year before.