Nick Carl, the man who owns the perfect manual transmission Ford Super Duty pickup, now owns the perfect 2003 Ford Mustang Cobra. And I do mean “perfect,” because the independent rear suspension-equipped, first-ever supercharged Mustang only has 534 miles on the odometer. Plus, it still has the factory plastic wrap on the convertible top, seats, and steering wheel. Just look at this incredible “New Edge” SN-95-generation Mustang.
Carl messaged me on Facebook a few weeks back. “Hey David! Picked up something you may like to see.” Then he dropped the images you see in this article. “A non dealer prepped 03 termi cobra with 534 miles on it.”
If that line didn’t cause your jaw to hit the floor, allow me to translate: This 534 mile example of a Ford Mustang is the “Terminator.” This was the code name for the 2003 to 2004 SVT Cobra model, which was special because it not only got the independent rear suspension that all 1999 to 2004 Mustang Cobras got (this was the first time a Mustang came with anything but a solid rear axle), but it also got a supercharger.
That blower stood atop a modified version of the 4.6-liter modular V8 found in the Mustang and darn near every other Ford vehicle back in the 1990s and early 2000s. While the modular V8 was never the most exciting engine of all time, the hand-built one in 2003 and 2004 Mustang Cobras cranked out 390 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Those are ridiculous figures for 2003; at the time, the Ferrari 360 Modena made just 10 horsepower more but over 100 lb-ft fewer!
Carl, a 26-year-old welder (and shown in the image above on the left), has been a Mustang fan for a long time, having owned a 1996 Mustang Cobra, a 1997 Mustang V6, a 2003 Mustang GT, a 2011 Mustang GT, a 2015 Mustang GT, and a 2019 Mustang GT. (He’s also had a BMW M3, Ford Raptor, the aforementioned stick shift F-250, and some race cars).
His holy grail, though, has always been the Terminator. So earlier this year, when he spotted this 534-mile example on CarGurus, he went for it.
“Just a lot of searching, I got lucky,” Carl told me, saying he’d sold his 2019 Mustang and saved up for a year so he could get a low-mileage Terminator Cobra. He couldn’t believe he found one that hadn’t even been prepared by the dealer and that still donned its plastic protective wraps.
Carl bought the car a few weeks back from the Concord, North Carolina-based Morrison Motor Company, which also maintains a museum dedicated to classic cars.
“They had it listed on their website for their car sales, but when I had to pick it up, I had to pick it up at the museum,” Carl said.
I spoke with representatives from Morrison Motor Company to learn more about the vehicle. “[The Mustang looks] just like it was made yesterday,” they told me. “It’s still got the plastic on the top. It’s pretty unique...it’s just like going to buy a brand new 2003 Mustang off the back of the truck...the car has never been dealer prepped or anything.”
Morrison bought the car from a collector, who, obviously, drove the vehicle sparingly. “I bought it out of a collection and probably would have kept the car...just run out of room to keep the stuff,” the rep said. “The car is perfect. Never been dealer prepped. Just kinda started up and driven down the road.”
Carl says that, per the Carfax report, the vehicle began life in Alabama, with the original owner holding onto the machine for 15 years before selling it to someone in New Hampshire who had it for four years prior to selling the Cobra to Morrison (this must have happened quite recently).
Carl says his is one of 154 convertible terminator Cobras in Mineral Gray, and possibly one of just a handful that came with the spoiler delete option. Carl plans to unwrap his well-reserved sports car at Ford’s Michigan headquarters along with some employees who actually worked on the Terminator project — folks Carl was able to get in touch with after learning their names in the book Iron Fist, Lead Foot: John Coletti and Ford’s Terminator.
“After that I’m going to drive it,” the young car enthusiast told me. That was refreshing to hear, as a super low mileage machine like this one tends to be relegated to garages instead of streets, where the driver can enjoy it (see Matt Farah driving a Terminator in the video below) and where the cars can inspire others.
Carl would prefer not to disclose what he paid for the car, but he did tell me, and I’ll just say that it was a substantial sum. Still, I think it was worth every penny, not just because I bet this machine will appreciate in the coming years, but also because personally, I think this generation Cobra is one of the coolest 1990s American muscle cars ever built.
There was a time when I thought the design looked a bit dated, but now I’m a big fan of this generation of Mustang, the king of which was, without question, the mighty Terminator.