Yes, the newest vehicle on Ford's stand at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show is the 2013 Shelby GT500 Convertible -- but the highlight may actually be this: a 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R.
At the 1992 Chicago Auto Show, the SVT division launched the 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra, a high-performance version of the Fox-body Mustang. The special-edition car received a number of performance tweaks, but the engine was perhaps the most important item. The 5.0-liter V-8 received a new intake manifold derived from Ford Racing parts, a larger throttle body, enlarged valves, aluminum rocker arms, unique camshafts, and larger fuel injectors. Ford rated the SVT-tuned engine at 235 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, although some claim the horsepower rating was conservative, to say the least.
Neat, but SVT had something else up its sleeve: a purpose-built, track-tuned model it dubbed the Ford Mustang Cobra R. R models shared their powertrain with standard Ford Mustang SVT Cobras, but the cars were put on a strict diet: gutting things like air conditioning, radio, carpet padding, the rear seat, sound deadening, and body sealer allowed the curb weight to fall from 3214 lbs to 3089.
From there, SVT added larger brakes (13.5-inch rotors in front; 11-inch rotors in back), adjustable Koni dampeners, thicker roll bars (31-mm in front; 21-mm in back), and a front strut tower brace. SVT also added an oil cooler, power steering cooler, and an enlarged aluminum radiator. Ford Mustang Cobra R models also gained unique 5-lug, three-spoke wheels that would later be used on the 1994 Ford Mustang range.
All that equipment came at a bit of a price. While SVT Cobras carried a MSRP of $21,578, the Cobra R cost about $4100 more. Since these cars were intended solely for track use, Ford did not provide a warranty, and also required customers to provide proof of a valid license issued by a sanctioned racing body.
The R may have stood for racing, but it could also stand for rare. Although Ford built 4993 examples of the SVT Cobra in 1993, Cobra R production was limited to 107 cars –- including the example you see here. This particular car has just over 4000 miles on the odometer, and is about as clean and unmolested as it can be.
For more on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our Chicago Show homepage.