Based on a humble compact sedan, the original Mustang created and perfected the pony car genre single-handedly. To this day, no other nameplate screams America more than the Mustang. Six generations down the line, the four-wheeled feral horse is still going strong regarding sales and fascination. But then again, some Mustangs were rather awful.
A straightforward and bulletproof notion such as the pony car can go sour as easy as 1-2-3. Take this as a case in point: some don’t know how to cook scrambled eggs. Hell, don’t get me started with nutjobs that microwave Twinkies only to find out that they explode. On the other hand, you have people who actually know how to cook scrambled eggs. You know, the soft and extra creamy variety, the type of scrambled eggs that earns you genuine kudos. The thing is, one can’t make a tasty dish of scrambled eggs without cracking a few... eggs.
FoMoCo abides by this rule of thumb, particularly the Mustang. Lee Iacocca was the mastermind, Ford designer John Najjar is credited to have suggested the name, Joe Oros styled the bewitching body shell of the 1964 1/2 model year Mustang, and the rest, as they say, is history. But what we call history has a way of repeating itself, for better or for worse.
I won’t beat around the bush anymore because talk is cheap and times are wasting, so here is a list of some of the worst and some of the best Mustangs ever made. If you feel like adding a bit more to the pile, the comments section is all yours. And now, let’s get going.
Shelby Cobra GT 500-KR (1968)
During the 1968 model year, Shelby American prepped no less than 4,451 units of the GT 350, GT 500, and the GT 500-KR. Of the latter species, Shelby American built only 933 fastbacks and 318 convertibles. Back then, the one called King of the Road was a desirable muscle car. Now, though, it is more than just desirable. It’s a legend.
Collectors will pay absurd amounts of money to enjoy the burble of the 428 cubic inch (7.0 L) Cobra Jet V8 engine. Yes, I know that the Boss 429 is more powerful, and yes, I know it’s marginally rarer than the GT 500-KR. But you know what? Ford revived the GT 500-KR moniker four decades later on the fifth-gen Mustang, not the Boss 429.
The peeps at Mecum Auctions have recently sold two fastback-bodied GT 500-KR for $130,000 and $145,000, respectively. If you consider that a 1971 HEMI Cuda convertible is worth millions of bucks these days, the GT 500-KR is a bona fide steal.
SVT Mustang Cobra (Fox Body)
The 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra wasn’t just the last model year of the Fox Body, but a roundhouse kick in the plums of those who mocked the Fox-based Mustang for being a simpleton. You see, the Fox-body Mustang was a perfect car for the Malaise Era of American automotive history. After the 1983 model year, the Fox Body lost its shine.
After the 1987 model year had caught the Five-Oh turn it up a notch to 225 HP, FoMoCo bid farewell to the Fox Body with 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra and its 235 horsepower motor. It doesn’t sound like much compared to what Ford squeezes from 5.0 liters these days, but the SVR Mustang Cobra could get to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in 5.7 seconds.
For comparison’s sake, that’s faster than the Mercedes-Benz 600 SL V12 (R129), Porsche 944 Turbo, Porsche Cayman 2.7, Seat Leon ST Cupra 280, Honda S2000, De Tomaso Pantera 5.7-liter, and MazdaSpeed3. How about that for a bragging right?
Read more: The Greatest and the Most Dreadful Ford Mustang Models of All Time