Ah, I really thought you were the guy down the road from me, he even had the Bullitt rims till recently lol.
Well you have to look at it this way...
Pros of the Cobra:
-Comes with a rock solid motor
-T-56 is solid
-IRS (if that is a plus to you)
-Few bolt ons and you're at 450whp, port the blower and you're at 550.
Pros of your 97
-You own it outright (I am assuming)
-You know the history of it or at least since you've had it
-Cheap to insure
-Just as easy to modify as the Terminator, you just have to spend the coin to shore up the motor
It really boils down to whether you want to take the time to pull the motor out of your 97 and build it (or build another one on the side) and have a car just as fast as the Cobra for less money or if you just want to get the Cobra and finance it and have it ready to go right off the bat.
Another option that is less money are the 99/01 Cobras or the 03/04 Mach 1s. Little known plus to the Mach 1 is that IF you can find an automatic, especially an 04, you have the best drag Mustang Ford ever made prior to 2005. The 04s came with the 4R75w and the Mach 1 computer shifts substantially faster than the other SN95/New Edge computers. They also get a better stall converter. Bolt ons/tune/j-mod and gears to an automatic Mach= consistent 11 second daily driver.
I am seriously thinking of looking for an 04 automatic Mach 1 myself in the next year or two and I'd pay a premium to get one. And this boils down to me wanting to just get a car that is ready to run 11s and not worry so much about pulling motors/swapping stuff etc... Also my left knee has been giving me issues for a good 5 or 6 years now so there is that too lol.
2000 Mustang GT Steeda #0048 34k miles. 99 Cobra 4V swapped, FTBR IRS swapped, exhaust, tuned by James Gordon.
Just because I give you advice, doesn't mean I know more than you. Its just means I've done more stupid ****.