|1982-1993 Mustang GT Registry - www.mustanggt.org - Dedicated to the documentation and preservation of 1982-1993 Mustang GT's since 1994!!
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Intro - Export Mustangs
Over the years, Mustangs manufactured in the United States but destined for sale in other countries have typically had a number of minor differences from their U.S. counterparts for various reasons (usually stemming from differing governmental regulations from country to country or occasionally even trademark issues). These differences can involve anything from metric vs. standard instrumentation, decals and literature in a foreign language, safety and lighting changes, emissions systems differences, radio differences, additional standard and optional equipment not available in the U.S. and even model name variations.
Third generation Mustangs were exported to a variety of different countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Our GT Registry database contains a number of examples of these cars originally exported for sale in Germany, Sweden, England, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Our records show that most of the exported cars in our registry were cars ordered through U.S. military car sales by U.S. military personnel stationed in these countries. Exported Mustangs such as these can be identified by the “90” or “91” DSO (district sales office) code on the car’s certification label (door tag).
One country we have not mentioned yet that almost certainly accounts for the largest volume of third generation exported Mustangs is, of course, Canada (primarily due to Canada’s close proximity and demographic similarities to the U.S.). As shown on our statistics page, Mustangs in Canada account for the vast majority of non-USA GT’s in our registry. Because of the large number of Canadian GT’s in the registry, we have been able to gather a sizable amount of information on the differences between the Canadian and U.S. versions of 1982-1993 GT’s. Over the years, Canadian GT owners have been very helpful, sending us documentation such as window stickers, build sheets, detailed photos of their cars, Canadian Mustang sales brochures, etc.
Through all of this documentation, we have been learning (and, in fact, are still learning) about the various differences between Canadian and U.S. Mustang GT’s. While there are numerous minor differences between the two, the most confusing and most commonly discussed topic that comes up is the use of the name “Cobra” on Canadian GT’s. This topic seems to come up a LOT not only in questions to us, but all over the internet on Mustang-related web sites and message boards. Because of this, we have decided to write this article, which will hopefully clear up many of the questions and confusion about all the unique features on 1982-1993 Mustangs exported to Canada.
1982-1993 Canadian Mustangs in General
Mustangs exported to Canada can be identified by unique DSO (district sales office) codes on the car’s certification label (door tag). The DSO code can be found on the lower right-hand side of the tag. All Mustangs destined for sale in Canada were assigned one of the following 2 digit DSO codes starting with the letter “B” and ending in a number:
(Note: B5 was apparently not used.)
An important point to note is that there were no VIN (vehicle identification number) differences between U.S. Mustangs and Mustangs exported to Canada. Therefore, the most reliable way to identify a Mustang exported to Canada is through the DSO code on the certification label (the DSO code can also be found on the car's build sheet and 1982-mid 1991 owner's warranty card).
As we already mentioned, all 1982-1993 Mustangs exported to Canada received certain equipment that differed slightly from their U.S. counterparts. These were, however, primarily superficial differences and for the most part, the cars were structurally identical to each other.
All 1982-1993 Mustangs sold in Canada received:
Other commonly seen differences between Canadian and US Mustangs:
(See table below for build sheet differences that illustrate this.)
1982 – 1983 Mustang Canadian GT’s
In addition to the differences listed above relating to all Canadian-export Mustangs, 1982 Mustang GT’s that originally sold in Canada had another difference from the 1982 Mustang GT’s sold in the U.S. – more engine choices. There has always been some uncertainty regarding engines available in U.S.-sold 1982 Mustang GT’s. Engines listed as available for Mustangs in general in the U.S. 1982 Ford Mustang sales brochures were the 2.3L 4 cylinder (non-turbo), 3.3L 6 cylinder, 4.2L V-8 and 5.0L HO V-8. The August 1981 and January 1982 U.S. Ford Mustang sales brochures are both ambiguous and contradictory about which engines are available in the Mustang GT - the August 1981 brochure says that the 2.3L engine is standard in the GT yet the January 1982 brochure states that the 2.3L is not available at all in the GT. However, we have seen other U.S. Ford dealer ordering literature and window stickers that indicate that the U.S. 1982 Mustang GT was only available with two engines – the 5.0L HO as standard equipment with the 4.2L V-8 optional (for a $57 credit on the window sticker). One thing we are certain of is that most U.S. 1982 GT’s did come equipped with the 5.0L engine.
Information available regarding the engine choices for the 1982 Canadian Mustang GT is even less clear. One thing we do know, however, is that 1982 Canadian Mustangs received one more engine choice that was not available on any U.S. Mustangs in 1982 – a 2.3L turbocharged 4 cylinder (engine code “T” - eighth digit in VIN). The August 1981-dated Canadian Mustang sales brochure does not specifically state all of the engines that were available in the ’82 GT, however it implies that the 2.3L non-turbo engine is standard and specifically lists the 5.0L HO V-8 and the 2.3L turbocharged 4 cylinder as optional engines. It is known that Canadian ’82 GT’s were also sold with the 4.2L V-8, but is unknown whether any were actually equipped with the 3.3L 6 cylinder or the 2.3L non-turbocharged 4 cylinder. It appears that most Canadian 1982 GT’s came with the 5.0L V-8 (as in the United States), but it also appears that a much higher percentage of Canadian 1982 GT’s than U.S.-sold GT’s came with an alternative engine. We have numerous Canadian 1982 GT’s in the registry database equipped with either the 2.3L turbocharged 4 cylinder or the 4.2L V-8. The Canadian '82 GT window stickers we have seen do not list any engine as standard equipment with the GT and instead list the engine as a separate cost option (i.e. the 5.0L HO engine lists as a $627.90 option).
One thing we would like to point out is that it is technically not correct to refer to the Canadian 1982 Mustang GT equipped with the turbo 2.3L by the name “Turbo GT” (like the ’83 and ’84 Mustang Turbo GT’s). While the ’83 and ’84 Turbo GT’s were marketed as a separate model from the regular V-8 Mustang GT’s in Ford literature, the turbo 2.3L engine was simply another engine choice for the Canadian ’82 Mustang GT (it was not marketed as a separate model).
To our knowledge, there were no differences between Canadian-exported and U.S. 1983 GT’s other than the ones listed above that apply to all 1983 Canadian Mustangs.
One other thing we are still checking out is the possible availability of some unique "GT" tape stripes that we have seen on two Canadian Mustang GT's (on a late 1982 GT and a 1983 GT). We still do not know much about this kit or its availability (i.e. whether it was only available on Canadian Mustang GT's or on both U.S. and Canadian GT's or whether it was a Ford dealer-installed option). Since we have only seen it on Canadian GT's, it seemed worth mentioning here in case anyone has any further information on it.
1984 – 1992 Mustang Cobra GT’s
While all 1982-1993 Canadian-export Mustangs did have slight differences from their U.S. counterparts, the biggest source of confusion for most people always seems to be regarding the 1984-1992 Canadian Mustang GT’s due to the addition of the word “Cobra” to their name by Ford of Canada.
First of all, let’s get the proper terminology straight, because this is the key to generating the least amount of confusion about these cars… all 1984–1992 Mustang GT’s sold in Canada were marketed as “Mustang Cobra GT’s” by Ford. Hopefully by using ”Canadian Mustang Cobra GT” or “Cobra GT” for short, people will not be confused by other “Cobras” produced by Ford including the 1979-1981 Mustangs equipped with the Cobra package and the 1993-up SVT Cobras (more on these models later in the article).
The term “Cobra GT” is found in 1984-1992 Canadian Ford sales brochures and other Ford-produced literature in place of the term “GT” used in U.S. Mustang literature. In addition, the words “Mustang Cobra GT” were also used on the window stickers of all 1984-1992 GT’s sold in Canada. The term “Cobra GT” was a direct replacement for the word “GT” in Ford of Canada Mustang literature during this time period. Interestingly, no other Mustang models such as the L, GL, GLX, LX, LX 5.0L Sport or Turbo GT received a different name in Canada. Canadians report that this “Mustang Cobra GT” terminology is also used when registering and insuring these cars in Canada. Canadian owners have also told us that even though Ford did not call the 1982-1983 and 1993 Mustang GT's "Cobra GT's", this terminology mistakenly shows up for 1982-1983 and 1993 Mustang GT's in insurance databases.
The addition of the “Cobra” name leads many people to believe that these cars have additional performance equipment or special features over a regular U.S. GT, but that is NOT the case. The bottom line is 1984-1992 Canadian Cobra GT’s are simply the Canadian version of the U.S.-sold 1984–1992 Mustang GT. The difference is in NAME only; there are NO fundamental differences between the Canadian and U.S. GT models. Performance-wise, the 1984-1992 Canadian Cobra GT’s were absolutely no different than their American GT counterparts (including horsepower figures, available engines, transmissions and suspensions). This fact has been verified through a number of sources including the comparison of Canadian vs. U.S. Ford sales brochures and individual car’s build sheets and window stickers.
To illustrate this, we have compiled a table with some selected examples of similarities and differences between the buildsheet from a 1986 Canadian Cobra GT vs. the buildsheet from a U.S. Mustang GT:
Since these cars were identically equipped with options, this is a great way to illustrate any differences between Canadian and U.S. GT's. From this, we can see that while the engine, transmission, suspension, axle and emissions system all have identical codes, there are a number of differences in other items (as we talked about above).
1985-1991 Cobra GT Decals
The one and only external cosmetic difference between the Canadian Cobra GT and the U.S. GT was the addition of a “Cobra” decal to the rear of the car affixed either to the spoiler, hatch or trunk lid. These Cobra decals apparently were only affixed to 1985-1991 Cobra GT’s (not to the 1984 or 1992 models).
From 1985 to 1991, Cobra decals on Cobra GT’s came in two different colors and two different sizes. The color of the decal that each car came with was determined primarily by the color of the car and possibly the color of the body molding stripe (’87-’89) and the color of the interior. The decals came in silver or orange/red.
Decal size and placement was as follows:
We have been told that replacement Cobra GT decals are still available from Canadian Ford dealers. Reproduction Cobra GT decals can be also be found for sale from a number of Mustang vendors such as Latemodel Restoration Supply, Texas Mustang Parts, and Mustangs Unlimited. However, there does seem to be an inconsistency with the reproduction decals. While all the vendors list two different types - 1984-1986 and 1987-1991 (in both silver and red), our research indicates that 1984 Cobra GT’s did not come with decals and that the 1985 decal differed in size from the 1986-1991 decals (see the descriptions above).
One thing that people can’t seem to agree on is whether the decals were affixed to the cars at the factory or at the dealerships. A lot people we’ve heard from assume that the decals were put on after the cars arrived at the dealership since some 1985-1991 Cobra GT’s do not have a Cobra decal. However, the lack of a decal could also be explained by other reasons such as not being replaced after repainting or simply being removed by the owner. We are inclined to believe that the decals were affixed at the factory as all the other decals and emblems were on these cars (even the Canadian-specific specifications decals). We are still looking for definitive proof of this one way or the other.
Why was the “Cobra” name used on Canadian GT’s?
The one big question that we still unfortunately have no answer to is “why in the world was the Cobra name added only to 1984-1992 Canadian GT’s?” We've seen a few theories kicked around about this topic, yet we've never seen any "official" explanation. Even contacts at Ford of Canada are unable to give an answer to this question.
The explanation we've frequently seen is that Ford had to release a car using the "Cobra" name every so often or they would lose the rights to use the name on any of their cars. Apparently, there were a number of others waiting in the wings to grab the rights to use the name including Carroll Shelby (who was the first to use the name in the first place) and Tom Solomon (builder of the 1983-1986 Predator Mustangs).
We have also heard unconfirmed reports that the Cobra name could not be used on U.S. models by Ford at the time because there was an on-going dispute with Carroll Shelby about using the Cobra designation (there is information on Shelby's web site about the lawsuit Shelby brought against Ford for using "GT350" on the '84 20th anniversary cars but there was no mention of a lawsuit about the "Cobra" name.)
One other explanation that has been offered is that the Cobra name was added to Canadian GT’s as a marketing ploy to boost sales in Canada. While any of the above theories and rumors may make sense, we cannot say for sure why the Cobra name was used for 1984-1992 Canadian GT’s.
Other Third Generation Mustang Cobras
True Mustang fans know that Ford has used the Cobra name in conjunction with Mustangs many times since the 1960’s. In fact, Ford used the Cobra name a couple of other times on third generation Mustangs besides on the 1984-1992 Canadian Cobra GT’s.
1993 Mustang SVT Cobra - Of course, most people are aware of the 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra, a limited edition Mustang produced by Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT). The 1993 SVT Cobra received special performance equipment (including a GT-40 equipped 5.0L, a handling-oriented suspension and manual-only transmission) as well as some unique visual items (such as unique taillights, spoiler, wheel design and distinctive “Cobra” badging). The 1993 SVT Cobra was only available in hatchback form in three colors (Teal, Red and Black). The GT-40 equipped 5.0L came with a different intake, heads, cam and other assorted items which was good for 235 horsepower, 30 more than the 205 horsepower-rated 1993 GT 5.0L. The 1993 SVT Cobra can be identified by the eighth digit in the VIN - engine code “D” (235 hp 5.0L) vs. the 1993 GT’s engine code “E” (205 hp 5.0L). The 1993 SVT Cobra was not available for sale in Canada (Ford of Canada did not participate in the SVT sales program until 1996).
1979-1981 Cobra package - The other third generation Mustang “Cobra” produced by Ford was actually an option package available on 1979-1981 Mustangs. The 1979-1981 Cobra package, offered on base hatchback models (non-Ghia), was primarily a graphics/cosmetic package with a few performance enhancements thrown in for good measure. The Cobra package equipment included: turbocharged 2.3L (with optional 5.0L V-8 (’79) or 4.2L V-8 (’80-’81)); TRX suspension, wheels and tires; sport-tuned exhaust; Cobra graphics (with optional Cobra hood graphics or graphics delete (’81)); dual black remote side view mirrors; color-keyed quarter-window louvers; forward facing hood scoop (’79); Pace Car front spoiler with Marchal foglights; rear spoiler and rear facing hood scoop (’80-’81); external (’79-’81) and interior blackout treatment('80-'81). The 1980-1981 Cobra packages included large “Cobra” lettering in the center of the rear spoiler very similar to the 1985 Canadian Cobra GT. The 1979-1981 Cobra package was offered in both the U.S. and in Canada. The new 1982 Mustang GT replaced the 1981 Cobra in the Mustang model line-up.
Confusion Over Cobra Terminology
Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of confusion related to using the term “Cobra” when talking about the 1984-1992 Canadian Cobra GT’s as most people are only aware of the 1993 SVT Cobra and/or the 1979-1981 Cobra package. We feel that this confusion can be cleared up by using more specific terms for each type of third generation Cobra produced by Ford: 1984-1992 Canadian Mustang “Cobra GT”, 1979-1981 Mustang “Cobra package” and the 1993 Mustang “SVT Cobra”.
We have heard many people argue that the only “real” third generation Mustang Cobra is the 1993 SVT Cobra but that would be an incorrect statement as all three types of third generation Cobras mentioned above were produced and given the Cobra name by Ford. Even though these are all totally different types of third generation “Cobra” Mustangs, each one has the right to be called by its “Cobra” name, regardless of horsepower, etc. People simply need to be educated on the differences (which, of course, is the purpose of this article).
1993 Canadian GT’s
Although 1993 Mustang GT’s were exported for sale in Canada, they did not receive an external “Cobra” decal and were no longer called Cobra GT’s on the window sticker or in Ford Mustang sales brochures. The Cobra designation was no longer used presumably to eliminate confusion between the Canadian GT models and the new 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra (which was not offered for sale in Canada). The 1993 Mustang GT’s sold in Canada still received the unique Canadian-export equipment including the metric speedometer (with the 220 km/h max speed reading), rear window defroster for hatchbacks as standard equipment, day-time running lights, etc.
While doing research for this article, it was quite an eye-opening experience to read the questions and answers relating to Canadian Mustang GT’s (especially the 1984-1992 Cobra GT’s) that have been posted on some of the other big Mustang web site message boards. There has definitely been a LOT of misinformation tossed around and argued about in response to the MANY questions that turn up all over the internet about these cars. In fact, some of the discussions get so heated that some people have made some pretty outrageous comments. In the middle of one of the heated discussions on one of the biggest Mustang message boards was the following statement (we are NOT making this up), “I want to punch every Canadian in the face, that calls their GT, a COBRA GT”. Holy cow! Can you believe that?!?
After reading that comment (along with a bunch of others), it became very clear that it was high time for us to finally write this article to try to clear up some of the confusion people have about these cars. Hopefully, this article will finally put an end to most of the confusion and questions surrounding the 1982-1993 Canadian Mustang GT.
Information Still Needed!
Canadian Mustangs - We are still looking for any additional information on 1982-1993 Canadian Mustang GT's that we can get our hands on - including additional photos (including good detail shots of Canadian-specific items on these cars), additional info on differences on these cars (i.e. emissions differences), documentation that would explain why the Cobra name was used, documentation relating to when the Cobra decals were affixed to the cars (at the dealership or at the factory) AND window stickers and buildsheets!! If you have ANYTHING that would help us out, please let us know!
Other exported Mustangs - We are also interested in doing a similar article on Mustangs exported to other foreign countries... if you have ANY information on other exported Mustangs (including known differences, photos, window stickers, buildsheets and other documentation), PLEASE let us know!
This article would not have been possible without the following contributions:
Mike D'Angelo (1988 & 1990 Cobra GT photos/ info)
AND from all the other Canadian GT owners that have registered their cars!!
THANK YOU!! This article would have been impossible without your help.
1982-1993 Canadian Mustang GT's - Click for a bigger version
Canadian Mustang Certification Labels (Door Tags) - Click for a bigger version
Metric speedometers - Click for a bigger version
Road Abrasion Protection Info - Click for a bigger version
Miscellaneous Canadian Mustang info - Click for a bigger version
1982 Canadian Mustang GT info - Click for a bigger version
1982 Canadian Mustang GT turbo 4 cylinder info - Click for a bigger version
1982-1983 Tape Stripes - Click for a bigger version
1984-1992 Canadian Cobra GT Info - Click for a bigger version
1985-1991 Cobra Decals - Click for a bigger version
Examples of OTHER Third Generation Mustang Cobras (just for reference) - Click for a bigger version
1993 Canadian Mustang GT Info - Click for a bigger version