Fox Find! Rare, 1992 Mustang Cobra R Prototype

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When Brandon Clontz first purchased his red Cobra, he wasn’t exactly sure what he was getting. He went to look at it as a 1993 Cobra R roller. When he bought it, Brandon was still not exactly sure what he had. However, once the Marti Report came in the mail, the story came together revealing that he had something special on his hands.

The Mustang was ordered and sent to Ford in Michigan labeled a “Test Vehicle.” The options ordered were basically that of a 1993 Cobra, only ordered on the sheet in GT form and on a 1992 chassis, of course. Except unlike the GT or Cobra, the car came with plain, black LX seats instead of GT sport seats.

The buck tag on the radiator support simply shows the color and reads “IPP Functional Unit.” We assume this has something to do with the car being a test vehicle.

Upon further research, Brandon discovered that this car was ordered to be one of the original “prototype” Cobras and this car was actually used as the media car for magazine stories and pre-production photos. The plain, black LX interior is visible in many of the original promotional photos and early magazine articles.

When we asked Brandon how many miles were on the car, he replied "8,000 very hard miles!" The photos don't lie!

Another unique item in the photos was a pre-production Cobra intake, which had some minor differences that didn’t appear on the production unit. With the original engine long gone, Brandon was forced to go back with a production Cobra intake. Recently however, he was contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to have his car’s original intake. Upon looking at a few photos, it was confirmed it was the missing intake. With purchase arranged, Brandon will reinstall the original intake manifold soon.

On the left is the production Cobra intake that is currently on the car, on the right is the pre-production unit. See the small differences?

So at this point, your probably asking yourself, if this was supposed to be a 1993 Cobra prototype, then why does it look like a 1993 Cobra R? You see, that is where the story gets interesting. Once Ford was done showing the car to the media and actual 1993 Cobras were being produced and available, this car was sent to Kar Kraft as a development mule for the 1993 Cobra R.

Kar Kraft installed a cage for testing safety purposes, along with the trademark Cobra R wheels, radio delete, foglight delete, and other Cobra R-only items and features. When Brandon first bought the car, it had a Kar Kraft decal on the front windshield, but he removed it before he realized just what he had!

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Now this is where the story gets fuzzy. According to Brandon’s research, Kar Kraft was instructed to destroy the car once they were finished with it. In fact, the vehicle identification number tag was destroyed, but the rest of the car is obviously still here. Brandon isn’t sure if they sold the car to someone as a real Cobra R or what exactly happened, but any remotely involved with Kar Kraft denies all existence or knowledge of the car, as you would expect.

However, as you can see, the car does exist and is in great hands as part of Brandon’s impressive collection. Over the next year or so he plans on correcting a few things on the car like the intake manifold to get it back to its original form.

Plans are in the works to return the original pre-production intake manifold to its home in the engine bay.

The early photos the car is shown with rear deck lid Cobra emblems on the fenders as well, so he plans to return those to the car as well. While final story isn’t written on this car just yet, we are thankful for whomever pushed it out the back door on destruction day and saved this piece of Ford Special Vehicle Team history!

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About the author

Jeff Southard

Growing up with a dad who loved Corvettes, I was destined to be a gearhead from day one. Beyond that, my dad owned an auto parts business for over 25 years. There, I learned the automotive basics as a child, then began my professional career working there after high school. From Corvettes and Superbirds to Hemis and Cobra Jets, my dad has owned a little of everything over the years, so I've had my chance to get some quality seat time behind the wheel of some rare, unique, and sometimes, just odd automobiles. I have owned my share of toys, including over 20 Mustangs. I guess to make a long story short, if you look up "car crazy" you will probably find my photo listed pretty close to it!
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