37k Original Miles: 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II

UPDATE – This Cobra II has popped back up here on eBay! It’s now in Trenton, New Jersey with an opening price of $9,000. This seller has provided better photos this go around, so be sure to take another look.

FROM 9/5/2020 – There is no doubt that the march of time can be kinder to some classics than to others. From a distance, this 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II looks quite reasonable. When you get closer, you begin to realize that time and circumstances have conspired to exact a toll in this vehicle. That being said, it does have a genuine 37,000 miles showing on its odometer. Given the robust nature of the Mustang’s drivetrain, that should mean that there is plenty of life left in this car if someone is prepared to treat it to a bit of cosmetic TLC. The Ford is located in Columbus, North Carolina, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $8,900, and the reserve has been met.

From a distance, the Mustang looks pretty reasonable. However, as you get closer, you begin to realize that this Bright Blue classic has more than a few issues. The white graphics and stripes are badly crazed and will need replacing. The paint looks to be in reasonable order, although I can see evidence of some repaint work. How extensive this has been isn’t clear, but it does make me wonder whether the current rust issues are the first that this car has experienced. This has impacted the body’s lower extremities, although the driver’s side seems to have been afflicted with the worst of it. On what we can see, I don’t think that it will necessitate the wholesale replacement of panels. However, I am nervous about what we can’t see. When I see a classic like this with rust in the lower reaches, I begin to wonder how the underside of the vehicle looks. The panels wear several marks and dings. Some of these were inflicted when a tree limb fell on the car. However, the worst damage that this did was to crack the windshield. The bumpers are showing numerous cracks that will need to be addressed. A quick search revealed that fiberglass reproduction bumpers sell for about $250 each, so it might be worth investigating whether repairs would be a viable option. Apart from the cracked windshield, the remaining glass seems to be in good condition.

Looking around inside the Mustang reveals an interior that I would class as being tired, but serviceable. The carpet is badly worn and faded and does need to be replaced. There is a seam separation on the driver’s seat, but this appears to be about the only apparent upholstery flaw. Even this looks like it could be repaired. The dash has survived well, but there is a cover over the pad. That means that its condition is unknown. Given how some of the remaining plastic has faded and discolored, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pad has suffered the same fate. There is a different radio fitted to the vehicle, but it looks like the original is included in the sale. You aren’t exactly spoiled with luxury items inside this car, but cruise control is a nice inclusion.

Given how tired the rest of the car looks, lifting the hood on the Cobra II is a bit of a revelation. Here we find a 302ci V8, while we also get a 4-speed manual transmission, power steering, and power brakes. From a mechanical perspective, this was about as good as it got in 1976. This engine brought 134hp to the party, meaning that the ¼ mile journey took 17.4 seconds. That figure isn’t that impressive, but it was about the sorts of numbers that you came to expect during the Malaise Era. Cosmetically, the Mustang’s engine bay presents extremely well for a car of this age. Once again, I need to sound a note of caution. I can see evidence of overspray on some of the ancillary components, which would suggest that someone has been busy on the engine with a rattle-can or two. The owner claims that the vehicle has a genuine 37,000 miles showing on its odometer, and given the fact that he appears to have a lot of information about the car’s history, this would seem to be possible. He also says that the Cobra II runs and drives well and that he does use it for weekend outings.

The Ford Mustang II has become a much-maligned vehicle over the years, but the simple fact is that it did bring some notable improvements over its predecessor. It was also a car that sold in respectable numbers, even in its declining years. Ford managed to sell a total of 188,567 examples of the Mustang II across its entire range in 1976. Of these, 25,259 were the Cobra II. Those numbers are nowhere near the stratospheric figures that the 1st Generation Mustang achieved at its peak, but they are still more than reasonable. This one is going to need some work, and the rust issues tend to worry me. When you combine those with what appears to be some possible repaint work, that makes me feel that a personal inspection is probably warranted. The bidding is now pushing into the sort of territory that I would consider to be at the upper end for a car in this condition. So, what do you think? Would you bid on this one, or has it reached its limit?

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good job Adam.

    For someone looking for a Mustang II to work on, this is a pretty good example, as long as there is not too much hidden rust. Certainly there aren’t many out there in a reasonable starting condition. The market apparently agrees as evidenced by the solid bidding. With some work this would be a nice representation of its era in Mustang history.

    I don’t remember cruise control being available until the 1979 Fox Body. Are those switches on the turn signal stalk simply the controls for the windshield wiper and washer?

    Like 4
  2. Steve Bush Member

    Could a decent deal pending in person inspection if the price doesn’t go much higher. But 37k original miles my azz! It has way too much wear and tear.

    Like 29
  3. Superdessucke

    I don’t think these are particularly good but I think they’re better than the Bloatstangs from 1971-73 honestly. A few mods would make this thing pretty quick. A Coyote engine swap would make it really fast.

    Like 10
    • AMCFAN

      The only Bloatstangs that come to mind is one. The yellow and true Elinore of Gone in 60 fame. Lets hear it for HB! Given the choice I would gladly take one over the II any day. In defense of the bloats they are certainly more roomy as compared to the Mustang/Pinto arrangement of the Mustang II. You could always have a Boss 351 in 71 and any arrangement of bigger motors. 76/78 you only had the (choke) 302

      The 302 2V puts out what? 145 HP? Between the two the Hornet hatchback V8 was a better all around car but there are more people that bleed blue oval and would never believe that. I dated a girl with a King Cobra and spent plenty of time like it was my own. My 304 Hornet AMX would smoke it. Both were stock with her driving the AMX. True story.

      So you can change this Cobra Mustang to make more power add a Coyote. What’s the point? It is still the least liked Mustangs ever made. Why spend the extra money to make it run and drive. I am to assume it already does.

      Get an EFI Fox (I prefer one in GT trim) and you are done. Most mods (H pipe,underdrives injectors) were done years ago. Or pony up (sorry) and buy a newer one and you are gold.

      This Cobra looks rusty in the wrong places. The mileage advertised looks to have a number missing in front of the 37,000. Carpet looks tired and seats are split. Would like to get a look under the steering wheel cover. Despite the claimed low miles it still needs a full restoration. Paint and all.

      Good luck to the buyer and seller.

      Like 9
      • Steve R

        Exactly.

        This isn’t the type of car you spend a lot of money on based on its condition. If you like the Mustang II and have to have one for something like a Coyote engine swap, start with the best body you can find.

        This generation of Mustang, while not common, aren’t impossible to find and don’t typically sell for much money. There is nothing wrong with throwing some low dollar modifications at it, then drive it. That’s how things were done for decades, unfortunately that mindset is losing out to those that just want to drive it to a show, park under a tree and complain about how the hobby is becoming too expensive.

        Steve R

        Like 9
      • Superdessucke

        Yes, ok, the original Eleanore is a classic, I’ll give you that. Though note for the 2000 remake, they ditched the Bloatstang for a heavily modded 1967 which, IMO, just tried way too hard to be cool.

        It’s true these were weaker than light tea from the factory, whereas you could get a few hot editions during the prior generation. But if you want performance, you’re not leaving this stock.

        Like 4
      • Duwane McKnight

        Was there a mustang of this body gen that came stock with a 351 I remember it was some sort of a special edition and stripes the one I’m picturing was black with gold stripes and a big king cobra on the hood

      • Superdessucke

        No Mustang II was ever offered with the 351. There was a King Cobra trim package for 1978 that it sounds like you are referring to, but it was just a tape and stripe job with a few suspension goodies. It had the same 302 that this does.

        For what it’s worth, you could get this Cobra II with any Mustang II engine, including the Pinto 4-cylinder. All the 1978 King Cobras had the 302.

        Like 5
  4. R. BATTISTA

    I must be getting old… I dont see close to 9k. I guess someone needs to educate me.. I see 5k max

    Like 20
  5. Bob

    I always look at the rubber clutch & brake pedal pads for a ballpark guess-timate on mileage, usually at the bottom outer corners. The carpet on this one tells me a whole ‘nuther story . The odometer on this one rolled over .

    Like 18
  6. Robert Davis

    yeah i am thinking more like 135k on this one

    Like 7
  7. irocrobb

    By the time you are done painting it, new stripes,carpet,seat covers and who knows what else, I think you will have way too much into it. Maybe I am out of touch on these,like many other cars at this time. 5 years ago I would think 5 grand would of bought it easily.

    Like 5
  8. Desert Rat

    Bloatstangs, never heard that term and I don’t like it. Sure the 71/73 mustangs were bigger than the early models but so was every other car. The factories always thought bigger was better and each new model reflected that thinking. But to call the 71/73 boats is going to far. Take the Boss 351 great handling and 13 sec. 1/4 mile times or how about a Mach 1 with the 429 cobra jet also 13 sec. times. These were great looking cars and I can’t imagine any gearhead wanting a Pintostang over one of these true Mustangs!

    Like 6
    • Steve R

      Even though the 71-73 Mustangs were physically the largest of the pre-sky era cars, they weigh less than the current Mustangs. A 1971 Boss 351 Mustang had a curb weight of 3560 while a 2020 Mustang GT tips the scales at over 3700 pounds.

      Steve R

      Like 7
  9. Karl

    I have always been a fan of the 302 had two 69 mustangs with that engine with a few well selected bolt on options that made very respectful HP, needless to say at least double what this pathetic specimen is producing. This one is going to need a whole lot more than just bolt on pieces to ever be anything!

    Like 2
  10. Maestro1 Member

    I’m not a Ford guy but I think the car is overpriced. I do like the idea of having a Ghia Mustang II Coupe (you can tell I’m Old) with a V-6 and well equipped (Automatic, A/C, and so on. I think it’s a great driver and a good idea if you live in a congested place like I’m not far from.

    Like 1
  11. Popawfox

    I had a 76 Cobra II back in 84. 302 auto. Looked just like this one. Blue with white stripes. Would spin the tire anytime, anywhere but would only go 95 mph widey ass open DOWN hill. In the “curves”, the steering felt like it would “pulse”. I didn’t like that much. Wouldn’t go anywhere when on a slight incline with a tiny bit of snow. Just sit and spin. May have been the tires? Ha! The C-4 tranny was too weak for “gearing down” when coming to a stop.On a weekend trip home, a guy I met in the Army, and I, ended up backing down the side of the interstate for about 80 miles before the engine ran too hot to continue further. We lost all forward gears. When we stopped at a rest area for it to cool down people asked us if we had trans trouble or was it a bet to see how far we could go backwards!!
    Good times, good times.

    Like 2
  12. Scott

    337,000 !!

    Like 1
  13. Miguel

    I don’t see how anybody can pay $8900 for a car that needs literally everything.

    There is no way this is a low mile car.

    Like 7
  14. Jennifer Mccraw

    My husband is the owner of this car and i have some better pics of this car if you would like to see them ,the dash is in perfect shape the little carpet piece that you see on it is a cover that came from mustang with its logo on it that can be taken on or off , the car exactly has the mileage as stated when we bought the car it had 34,000 miles on it and old man in canada had it and sat in a building because he collected transams , it is factory undercoated so no rust under it all we hardly ever drive it because my husband didnt want to put miles on it we have had people already come to look at it the reason we never painted it is because its only original one time and my husband didnt want to strip it of it being original and yes the paint is cracked but its all original and we still get huge compliments on it you dont have to soup up a car and make it look shiny and new for it to look good !!

    Like 10
    • bowmade

      Sarcasm – Here’s your sign.

      Like 2
  15. Arthur

    It’s almost too bad this isn’t a rustbucket. If it was, and if enough parts could be obtained, it could serve as the basis for a pro-touring project like the Mustang Evolution II built by A-Team Restoration in Oregon.

  16. Tommy Milton

    I bought one of these new when they put the 302 in it. It was a 5spd(?) really don’t remember. I bought it for my wife (every one called her Farrah after that) I owned a ’66 Shelby GT 350 (second owner) The Mustang II would out handle the GT350. Mine GT350 was serial # 6S427, it was one of the early models with the lowered suspension for road racing. I believe after SN 500 the used the stock suspension mtng points. My GT350 was also white and they looked good sitting together (hard to believe they were only 10 years apart. Almost forgot the Mustang II was delivered with the handling package, it had Big Gabriel adjustable E shocks set on Firm, a bigger diff, springs and rear sway bar. I wish I had both of them back. I belong to the local and national Shelby club, I had my GT350 listed for $4900. and no interest, sold it to a local kid for $4800. I cry when I see what they are worth now. I could have gotten 4800 for the vin plate today :-)

  17. Jake8687 Member

    It’s Flipper

    Like 2
  18. Terrry

    If that thing has “only 37k miles” then I’m still 21 years old. And it’s a Rustang, no matter if it does have a white snake painted on it.

    Like 1
  19. Qld to win the Shield Final

    The Mustang ll doesn’t get a lot of love. And there’s many a good reason for that.

    Like 1
    • wayne wright

      You should have been trying to make a living selling them as I did. Tough couple of years. I started selling FORDS in 1960. Completed my Ford education in 1992. It was a great life and I would do it again. I do bleed FORD blue. Wayne Wright from the great state of TEXAS.

  20. Troy s

    Its the era it came from, the worst in performance and quality was…….
    Nothing but a standard engine all choked down with a bunch of stripes and decals. Like everything else from that time period that resembled a “fast” car, all show and no go.
    The II will always have a love it or hate it following, kinda like the ’71-73 Mustangs.

    • bowmade

      the worst in performance and quality was…….
      Nothing but a standard engine all choked down with a bunch of stripes and decals. Like everything else from that time period that resembled a “fast” car, all show and no go.

      I wonder what cars will look like, let along run on in the “next time period.”

      • Troy s

        Yes, bowmade, thats an interesting question. I always think that 1970 will repeat, an ending or beginning of the end really, of the first generation of serious muscle cars. The new highly strung “tech” performance cars of today Will end, its just a matter of time. I’m not looking forward to it.

  21. Duwane McKnight

    Terry I give you props or a know (what ever the lingo is these days) on the mustang comment a car don’t get on the label of a can of Bondo for being known to fight off the elements of nature even my uncle a die hard mustang enthusist had to agree with me on that one

  22. Steve Clinton

    How did they get Picasso to do that mural on the hood?

  23. Super Glide

    I’m all in at $25.

  24. Luke

    Glory?

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