Unearthed | Ultra Rare Prototype 2000 Cobra R Intake Manifolds Discovered
Ever run across a unique piece of history and just have to hold it in your hands? That’s the situation I just found myself in. Recently, a good friend with a long history with SVT and Ford Performance stumbled upon something truly special. This man had two prototype 2000 SVT Cobra R Intake manifolds collecting dust in some forgotten boxes in his basement. Talk about finding forgotten treasure.
You see, back in the late 90’s computational fluid dynamics based design programs were just becoming common place, and 3D rapid prototyping was still a decade or so away. So if you wanted to test an intake design, you had to produce an actual physical prototype. That means you had to call up the foundry and have them cast some molten aluminum. That’s exactly why these beauties exist.
This is not an angle you get to see everyday. The straight shot runners are a classic design that work well in a performance application.
SVT went through several designs before settling on the well known cap that sits upon the 2000 R’s 5.4L V8. Most long time SVT enthusiasts have seen the lid with the cast in stylized runners and lettering along the perimeter. I’ve seen a few of these pop up on eBay over the years. However, between testing that manifold lid and settling on the final design it appears the a few SVT Engineers decided to custom metal work.
It's pretty obvious that there's been some custom work going on here.
According to the paint pen marking on the lower manifold, it appears that its runners have been extrude honed. For those of you unfamiliar, that is a process that involves a machine forcing a viscous (almost paste-like) media that contains certain abrasives through a passage. This results in a passage, an intake runner in this case, that is very much like one with a custom port and polish job. Extrude honing a was a familiar process to SVT after the 1999 Cobra Horsepower controversy, so it’s not all that surprising to see it being used on a 2000 R lower manifold.
Looks like the SVT Engineers did more than just raise the roof. There's some unique shaping of the roof in order to increase airflow.
However, the real story seems to be in the upper manifold section. It’s commonly known as “the hat”. It appears that the engineers cut out the top center section of and welded in a sheet of aluminum. The goal seems to have been to increase plenum volume. In fact, it looks like this prototype version may actually have a greater volume than the final production piece. Whatever the reason, these preproduction pieces are a part of SVT history and would make a proud addition to anyone’s collection.
The wide open maw of the 2000 SVT Cobra R intake became something of a hallmark for SVT Mustangs going forward.
I always like seeing these engineering marks on pre-production parts.
Here you can see the back of the lid received some modification as well.
The 2000 R lower intake design is simple, but effective.
Just look at that side profile.
This definitely isn't a production piece.