1997 Mustang Specs

1997 Mustang Specs

Last Updated September 12, 2019 | Meghan Drummond

1997 Mustangs were nearly identical to the 1996 Mustangs. ‘96 was a huge year for internal changes, and ‘99 brought the mid-cycle refresh facelift, so it makes sense that the years in between were primarily about perfecting rather than reinventing.

Though there were few changes made to the Mustang between 1996 and 1997, there were new colors offered this year, as well as a few unique special editions.

Dark blue Mustang parked beside building

1997 Ford Mustang Specs
Performance
Engine HP Torque
3.8L V6 145 hp 215 lb-ft
4.6L V8 215 hp 285 lb-ft
4.6L V8 (SVT Cobra) 305 hp 300 lb-ft
Retail Prices
Model Price Adj. 2019 Inflation
Base Coupe $15,355 $24,112
Base Convertible $20,755 $32,592
GT Coupe $18,000 $28,265
GT Convertible $23,985 $37,664
Cobra Coupe $25,335 $39,784
Cobra Convertible $28,135 $44,181
Production Numbers and Curb Weight
Model Quantity Curb Weight
Base Coupe 56,812 3,077 lbs
Base Convertible 11,606 3,257 lbs
GT Coupe 18,464 3,277 lbs
GT Convertible 11,413 3,457 lbs
Cobra Coupe 6,961 3,354 lbs
Cobra Convertible 3,088 3,524 lbs
Production Numbers by Color
Color Code Quantity
Aztec Gold AZ 1,135
Autumn Orange BG 1,519
Rio Red E8 14,519
Laser Red E9 17,417
Deep Violet JS 2,462
Moonlight Blue KM 4,424
Deep Forest Green NA 9,116
Pacific Green PS 10,443
Black UA 20,944
Crystal White ZR 18,275
Interior Trim Colors
Color-Material Base Code GT Code
Black-Cloth ZJ 72
Saddle-Cloth ZS 7J
Medium Graphite-Cloth Z2 42
Black-Leather N/A 4J
Saddle-Leather N/A 4S
Medium Graphite-Leather 12 42
Dimensions
Length (in) 181.5
Width 71.8"
Height 53.2"
Wheelbase 101.3"
Front Headroom 38.2"
Front Legroom 42.5"
Rear Headroom 35.9"
Rear Legroom 30.3"

1997 Mustang Performance

Engines

Though it may at first glance seem like the Cobra and GT had the same engine because of its identical displacement, don’t let that fool you. Despite their identical displacements, the Cobra puts out an extra 90 horsepower by being a dual overhead cam configuration while the GT was a single cam. This obviously makes a huge difference in terms of overall performance, though obviously, the Cobra had additional upgrades that helped give it a little extra kick in the pants.

The V6 Mustang for 1997 was still using an overhead valve configuration. There are substantial differences between overhead valve and overhead cam engines, though you’ll find people who will make an argument for both. Thanks to the innovations in engine design during this time period, this was one of the years where the Mustang came in an overhead-valve, single overhead cam, and dual overhead cam configuration.

Transmissions

The GT and the Cobra both were equipped with a T-45 transmission. There are only a couple of practical differences between the two transmissions. The first is that the Cobra has a seven-tooth speedometer gear while the GT has an eight tooth. Also, the cross member is located further towards the rear of the car in the Cobra, which necessitated moderately different tail housing.

Those are really the only differences between the two transmissions. Subsequently, if you have a 1997 GT and are considering purchasing the Cobra’s T-45 as an upgrade, it really isn’t worth it. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a cheap replacement, it will bolt in with only a few modifications.

An easy way to upgrade your existing T-45 transmission is simply to change the input shaft to a 26 spline version which will improve the transmission’s performance.

Regardless of which T-45 you have, neither will work with a pushrod or overhead valve engine.

The V6 Mustang came with a T-5 transmission.

1997 Transmission Specifications
TransmissionFirst GearSecond GearThird GearFourth Gear Fifth GearReverseTorque Capacity
4R70W 2.84 1.55 1.00 .70 N/A 2.23 700 lb-ft
T-5 3.35 1.93 1.29 1.00 .68 3.15 260 lb-ft
T-45 3.37 1.99 1.33 1.00 .67 3.22 375 lb-ft

1997 Mustang Colors and Exterior Changes

There weren’t any exterior changes for the 1997 or 1998 Mustangs, but this year did see a few really interesting paint options.

1997 Mustang GTs had the option of two one year only paint options: Aztec Gold and Autumn Orange. Considering how few cars are made with warm toned ultra-saturated color choices (other than red of course) both of these were a breath of fresh air, unfortunately, they were both retired after a very short run and neither color was offered on non-GT Mustangs.

A gold Mustang, and a bright orange Mustang
Aztec Gold and Autumn Orange

Deep Violet, Moonlight Blue, and Deep Forest Green were also retired after this year. Deep Violet and Moonlight Blue were only available for 1996 and 1997.

three mustangs, one purple, one blue, and one deep green
Deep Violet, Moonlight Blue, and Deep Forest Green

1997 Special Edition Mustangs

Cobra

The only real difference between the 1996 and 1997 Cobra was that the 1996 Cobra had a honeycomb grille, which was removed to allow for greater airflow. They also improved the air conditioning condenser. The Cobra was still available in four colors, but true to their word, Ford only kept the Mystic paint option for the 1996 year. For 1997 you could select Rio Red, Pacific Green, Black, or Crystal White. Black and Saddle interior trim colors were available in either cloth or leather.

Because of how many options there were, each individual option combination has become exceedingly rare. For example, only one Crystal White Cobra Convertible with a black cloth interior was produced in 1997. A Black Cobra Coupe with Black leather seats, however, is the most common combination, with roughly 1,641 having been produced.

SVO Woodward Dream Cruise

In 1995, a small group formed together to create a special one-day Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, a trip from Detroit to Pontiac. They decided to make it a yearly event. In order to commemorate the Dream Cruise, Ford decided to make a very, very limited edition Mustang. Fifty-eight of the SVO Woodward Dream Cruise Mustangs were produced. All of them are white, with blue Shelby-style stripes, each is individually numbered, and they all have a placard on the dash and special side badging.

These are some of the rarest production Ford’s ever made even though it is primarily an aesthetic package.

Blue ad depicting a white and blue Mustang
Ford Dreamers Ad

White Mustang with Blue hood stripes
SVO Woodward Dream Cruise Mustang

Saleen Extreme Rainbow Mustang

If fifty-eight produced isn’t quite rare enough for you, here’s a pony that’s one of a kind. Saleen’s 281-Cs are already rare. Only around twenty were produced in an average year, but even fewer than that received the Extreme Rainbow Paint option. Rarer than Mystic Cobras, or Mystichrome Cobras, this paint works off of a similar concept. Tiny aluminum flakes catch and reflect the light, creating a color shifting effect that makes the Saleen Extreme Rainbow stunning, with a color shift that varies wildly in hue.

Out of the very few Saleen-281-C’s that received the Extreme Rainbow treatment, exactly one of them was a 1997 Cobra. This makes the Extreme Rainbow Cobra an exceptionally rare Mustang.

A purple, gold, pink, green Mustang
Extreme Rainbow Saleen

Common Modifications for 1997 Mustangs

1997 Mustangs are great candidates for a Coyote Swap, but smaller modifications also serve them well. Before beginning any major modifications, it’s important to think about the torque capacity of your transmission and update that accordingly. By altering the input shaft to a 26-spline or by simply replacing the transmission with one of the ones readily available today, you can increase the torque capacity of your transmission.

Tremec began producing high-grade T-5 transmissions that can withstand an impressive amount of torque for pretty much exactly this purpose, and even though it’s not a straight bolt-on, it’s a great upgrade that will give you plenty of room to increase the power output of your engine without worrying about giving your transmission way too much torque.

Headlights are another common modification that upgrades not only the overall appearance of your Mustang but also improves your safety when you’re driving at night or inclement weather.

The style of these Mustangs lends itself to a variety of body modifications as well, including some incredibly attractive spoilers.

One area that people tend to forget about is the interior of their Mustang, but if you’re purchasing a used Mustang, buying a new steering wheel is just a smart move. In the two decades that your Mustang has been on the earth, it has undoubtedly encountered some less than clean hands and could use a shifter and steering wheel swap out for your health.

1997 Mustang Overview

The 1997 Mustang was largely a continuation of the 1996 year. Very little changed in terms of either external details or internal components. This is great because with several years all very close together the aftermarket scene for these cars is fantastic, with plenty of part upgrades and performance modifications available.

The discontinuation of some of the brighter colors following this year was a disappointment, and there’s little doubt that this year had some of the most interesting and diverse color palettes available. Though there weren’t many special editions, Saleen, Roush, and Shinoda Performance all continued to offer performance and appearance upgrades for Mustangs, allowing for a high degree of personalization. For more personalization today, check out CJ's selection of 1997 Mustang parts.

Want to compare these specs to another SN95 Mustang? Check out our pages for the 1995 Mustang Specs, 1996 Mustang Specs, 1998 Mustang Specs, 1999 Mustang Specs, 2000 Mustang Specs, 2001 Mustang Specs, and 2002 Mustang Specs

Image Credit: Mustang Attitude, Automanager, The Mustang Source

1997 Mustang Specs

Though 1997 was a carryover year with few changes made to the V6, GT, or Cobra Mustangs, there were still minor cosmetic differences as well as a few special editions and limited edition color choices.