Talk me into it, or out of it please! (2003 Cobra)

Discussion in 'SVT Tech Forum' started by drivesideways46, Dec 19, 2005.


  1. drivesideways46

    drivesideways46 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    WV
    So, like everyone else I'm completely in love with the 2003/2004 Cobras and would love to get one...

    Problem is, I'm currently paying on a 2000 GT which I'm also pretty fond of. (does this sound familiar?)

    Anyhow, a friend of mine told me about a guy selling his 2003 Redfire Cobra for 20k, so I decided to check into it. After emailing the guy several times, he has invited me out to take a test drive and to tell him what I think of the car.

    The Cobra in question has the following mods:

    Johnny Lightning CAI (cold air intake),
    MAC 2.5” catback exhaust with Magnaflow tips,
    2.8” Reichard Racing upper supercharger pulley,
    Diablo Sports chip (custom tuned),
    Steeda anti-wheelhop rear suspension kit,
    Custom welded sub-frame connectors,
    Steeda Tri-Ax short-throw shifter,
    SPEC Stage-III clutch,
    C&P pistons

    The car has 43k miles on it, but the engine was rebuilt 15k miles ago because the body shop drained the radiator wrong when they were replacing the hood and bumper. The car was in the body shop because the owner apparently fell asleep at the wheel, and plowed into a speed limit sign. :nonono:

    EDIT: The motor was rebuilt by a local performance machinist. The heads used in the rebuild were the updated heads Ford uses in the "head tick" fix. While the motor was apart, the owner wanted the C&P pistons installed. He said this is also when he decided to spring for the new SPEC clutch. The owner said having the motor rebuilt by this machinist turned out to be cheaper than having Ford replace the motor.

    The owner had the mods installed at a shop I use and trust, and they have nothing but good things to say about the car. (In fact, they offered to check it out for me if I can bring the car by there on the test drive.)

    Realistically, I can afford the car. (I'm 21 if that makes a difference to you guys) But I will have to make some sacrifices, sell the GT, and work some more hours to get it. (I'm willing to do this to have my dream car.)

    What I'm worried about, is the motor or tranny going out. If I bought the Cobra and the motor went out on the way home, I would be SOL. The Cobra would not be my daily driver, but it won't be a garage queen either. I need to rely on the Cobra when my beater Omni takes a dump on me.

    To sum it up, I want to know if the Cobra can be as reliable as the GT can be. If you 03-04 Cobra guys can chime in here with anything I might be overlooking, I'd appreciate it.
    #1
  2. Uncle Meat

    Uncle Meat Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2002
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Prattville, Alabama
    Too much $$ for a wrecked, rebuilt, chipped, pullied, 43K miles Cobra. :notnice:

    My 2 cents...

    U.M.
    #2
  3. drivesideways46

    drivesideways46 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    WV
    What do you think would be a fair amount to offer the guy? :shrug:

    From the pics he's sent, everything looks really good. The only thing left to fix on it is a scratched rear bumper and cleaning one of the rear wheels. (Apparently a brake line blew, but he said he fixed both sides while it was getting done)

    I'd still like to go and drive it, just to see how it runs.

    I'm not trying to be ****y or anything, I haven't been scouting out the Cobra marketplace recently to see what's normal and what isn't.

    Maybe this isn't the great deal I thought it was. :Damnit:
    #3
  4. Dr. Wu 2000

    Dr. Wu 2000 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern, Pa.
    This is a tuff one. It does sound like the guy has invested some money into it. I like the idea of a rebuilt motor with the new heads. If you trust the shop who did the work on it that is something to consider. I actually think the price is not that bad. Have you searched http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=192, you may find something there that may be more to your likeing. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.:nice:
    #4
  5. drivesideways46

    drivesideways46 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    WV
    Thanks for the kind words, I was starting to think I was the only person who thought the car was a good deal.

    I'll probably go test drive the car anyway, if nothing else just to get a feel for the 03-04 Cobra. I'll probably offer him less than 20k, but it still seems like a decent buy to me.

    Then I'm still left to unload teh GT. :-(
    #5
  6. Uncle Meat

    Uncle Meat Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2002
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Prattville, Alabama
    Speaking of the "New Heads"... you might want to get the part numbers from those "New Heads" because they might not be the "Newest - New Heads". There were actually two different sets of heads made AFTER the 03 was released. The first set of replacement heads addressed the "Ticking" problem many early Cobra's had. The last and final set of heads which were release a few months back have 9 threads in each spark plug hole vs 4 for all the other heads (plus the revised cooling passage around cyl 7&8).


    You want these...

    Left head = 2C5Z-6049-GA
    Right head = 2C5Z-6049-FA

    U.M.
    #6
  7. drivesideways46

    drivesideways46 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    WV
    Awesome, I'll be sure to ask about this. He probably can't answer it, but he's got the name and number of the guy who built the motor ready for me.

    Looking forward to the test drive...:)
    #7
  8. Miklowcic

    Miklowcic Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2001
    Messages:
    2,431
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    47
    Location:
    Hillsborough, NJ
    hmmm

    I would offer the guy $15,000 for it....but if it might be a daily driver for me I wouldnt even spend that much on a car that is questionable. Regardless of what the shop says. ..unless you best friend works at the shop.

    The thing to consider though...is that if you buy a used cobra that has not been rebuilt...its been beat on a like crazy and might go anyway... Its almost better to buy a cobra with a rebuilt engine...but not for $20 with that many miles. I doubt he will get that much... offer 15 and wait...if he tries to trade it in he will be lucky to get 10k for it at a dealer.

    Whats the title say? Is it clean or considered a salvaged car?
    #8
  9. BensBACobra

    BensBACobra New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Mobile, Alabama

    i agree... the reason i bought mine was b/c it had 0 mods. i love mustangs, but when one has been raped, they get real bad, real fast. the thing to remember is you are going to be making payments on it for at least 4-5 years. if your gt runs like a champ, and your not one of those horsepower freaks whos sole mission in life is to destroy perfectly good street cars, i say keep your gt...
    #9
  10. Dr. Wu 2000

    Dr. Wu 2000 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern, Pa.
    Hmm, seems like I am in the minority on this one. :(
    #10
  11. LUCAFU1

    LUCAFU1 Founding Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2001
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Tucson
    seems like a good deal to me. you wont get it for 15k no way.And if it was built right and has CP pistons you shoiuld be good to go. 4 thread or 9 thread heads, it dont matter. Ive had both and both did fine. Look at the over condition of the car, this will let you know how he takes care of it. im sure it was driven hard, i mean its a cobra. i beat on mine like it owes me money but you could never tell. take it for a spin, if it runs good and looks good i would take it. if you hit the gas and have a huge smile on your face that wont go away then you know what to do.

    good luck
    #11
  12. Lord Warlock

    Lord Warlock New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Jacksonville FL
    I just got a 2004 cobra. In fact, I traded in my 2000 GT for it. very similar to your situation. The 03/04 cobra is a major difference in driving compared to the GT. It feels very similar to the gt, since you sit in basically the same position and height, but the ride is slightly different. From what i've noticed in the last few days of driving the new car is that the independent rear causes the car to ride differently, but not exceedingly so.

    If it was just a choice between gt and cobra, I'd say go cobra, hands down. BUT, the car you are talking about is a modded (and therefore likely abused) and rebuilt example, with pretty high miles for a 03, plus it has suffered body damage and repairs. There is no excuse to have to replace a motor in the first 40k miles, unless it has been treated harshly. Personally, I'd recommend passing on the deal, unless you plan on more repairs in the future. You probably won't get it for 15k, the book value on these, as well as demand are 20-24, and the motor rebuild probably cost enough for the seller to demand at least minimum book value.

    My GT was fun to drive, but lacked the power that its predecessor, a 91 stealth twin turbo had (ran mid 12s modded) the cobra feels like an equal to the TT stealth, and still has a warranty. Good luck, keep looking for an original 03 cobra, you'll find an unmolested one eventually that doesn't sound as risky as this one.

    Lord Warlock
    04 Cobra (black hardtop)
    #12
  13. PHAQ

    PHAQ New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Drive one ..........................that's all it takes
    #13
  14. Uncle Meat

    Uncle Meat Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2002
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Prattville, Alabama
    The car has 43k miles on it, but the engine was rebuilt 15k miles ago because the body shop drained the radiator wrong when they were replacing the hood and bumper.

    So what does draining the radiator improperly have to do with rebuilding an engine?

    This car as too many WTF's!? I say pass...

    U.M.
    #14
  15. LUCAFU1

    LUCAFU1 Founding Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2001
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Tucson
    they could have put a air bubble in the engine causing it to overheat. then that would require a rebuild. i had a resivior cap that failed causing the resivior and radiator to crack which overheated the engine and warped the heads. im not sure what else is wrong with it.

    i think its 10x better then PIXERS cobra that someone mentioned on svtp, that car probly has a busted piston skirt and he doesnt even mention it in his sale thread. atleast this guys says whats wrong with the car. jmo
    #15
  16. Dan_Soprano

    Dan_Soprano Mustang Master

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Messages:
    7,508
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    79
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    i say take a look. Can't hurt. Make you decision after the test drive, and after what the Mech tells you. Remember, you don't NEED the car. the guy selling NEEDS to sell it.
    #16
  17. Uncle Meat

    Uncle Meat Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2002
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Prattville, Alabama
    I realize there are a couple different scenarios in which damage could have occurred, I just wanted to hear what the seller was telling potential buyers. Like was it the body shop who drove the car around enough to overheat it and cause damage? Or did the owner take the car out and drive it until it over heated? I'm just saying this car doesn't appear to have been very well taken care of is all....

    U.M.
    #17
  18. LUCAFU1

    LUCAFU1 Founding Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2001
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Tucson

    I agree:nice:
    #18
  19. Voodoo Snake

    Voodoo Snake New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    IL
    I'd seriously try to find another 03-04 that is stock and low miles preferrably garage kept, that one sound beat.
    #19
  20. harrisonfiveo

    harrisonfiveo Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    336
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    03 COBRA

    I AGREE W/ UNCLE MEAT...HAVE U CHECKED INSURANCE COSTS ON THOSE COBRAS....IM 24 AND GOOD RECORD AND ITS STILL LIKE $350.00 A MONTH!!
    #20

Share This Page