4th GENERATION – 1995-2004

by Jeff Burgy

The fourth generation of the Mustang was introduced in 1994. It was known internally as the SN-95. It had what was called a Fox Four platform, not all that different from the third generation Fox body Mustang. It included major sheet metal changes with a more rounded shape.

The car was beautiful and featured a different body style. In 1994 they no longer offered a hatchback like the previous Fox body Mustang. They now had a fastback roof with a trunk and a convertible, so just two models. Hatchbacks got very popular for a while and then they just faded away. Typically, the glass, taillights and all open up with a hatchback.

Again, Ford was asked to pace the Indy 500 with the Mustang. Three special Mustang convertibles, called Cobra models – with unique front fascias – and souped-up engines, paced the Indy 500. Ford made Pace Car convertible Parade Cars that looked like Pace cars without the souped-up engines, and offered them to the public after the race.

In 1995 Ford introduced a Cobra model, and these had the same fascia, deck and spoilers as the ’94 Pace car, with a souped-up 5-liter engine. They also re-introduced the Cobra R model, this time with a 351 cubic-inch engine with 300 horsepower. Painted white, they had no rear seat, no air conditioning, no radio, and no power windows. Designed mainly for track use, 250 were built – but you had to have a competition license in order to buy one.

In 1996 the 4.6-liter engine was introduced – the modular motor, which is basically used today. Several iterations have come out. At the time, people were concerned that the 5.0-liter was going away, because everyone was saying, “what are we going to do with a 4.6-liter engine that’s smaller than a 5.0-liter?” But Ford had done their homework and this overhead cam engine really worked well.

In 1999 they added the new edge styling which crisped up the edges of the fenders and quarter panels. In 2000 the Cobra R model came with a 5.4-liter double-overhead cam engine rated at 385 horsepower, which didn’t work out so well. They didn’t perform quite the way they were supposed to and had to be recalled and re-tuned. All were painted in “Performance Red” and 300 were built.

In 2001, they introduced a Bullitt version of the Mustang, taking advantage of Mustang enthusiasts’ love for the car Steve McQueen drove in the 1968 movie. He had a Highland Green ’68 Mustang that was devoid of trim. So for 2001, Ford stripped down the exterior ornamentation of the Mustang, painted it Highland Green (Black or “True Blue” were also available), souped-up the engine a little bit (265 horsepower), and added 5-spoke wheels to make it look like Frank Bullitt’s Mustang. It was pretty popular.

Then, in 2003, they developed a Mach 1 package that had more horsepower even than the new Bullitt. It had a new 4.6 4-valve engine. A “Terminator” Mustang featured a supercharged 4.6 double-overhead cam engine that produced 390 horsepower.

This was a good way to finish up the production run of the fourth generation Mustang.




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