428 R-Code: 1969 Ford Cobra Sportsroof

Occasionally a classic car will come along that is set to knock your socks off, and this 1969 Ford Cobra probably qualifies on that front. It has received a repaint at some point in time, but every square inch of steel in this car is original, and it is said to be 100% rust-free. It packs some serious iron under the hood, and the owner has now reluctantly decided to part with this classic that he really appears to love. It is located in Coopersville, Michigan, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Ford has reached $32,301, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The owner of the Cobra admits that it has received a repaint in its original Candy Apple Red at some point in its life, but does stress the fact that the car still retains all of its original steel. It has spent the majority of its life in California, and he also states that the car has never seen rain. As a result of this, the underside of the car is said to be in close to as-new condition. The exterior trim pieces and chrome are all original, and once again, these appear to be faultless. Likewise, the original tinted glass is close to perfect, with no signs of any chips or other issues. There are some people who refer to a car like this as either a Torino Cobra or a Fairlane Cobra. In fact, Ford themselves only ever referred to it as a Cobra, and the model never wore either a Torino or Fairlane badge anywhere on the car.

Unfortunately, this is as close as we are allowed to get to the engine of this Cobra, which is a real shame. What occupies the engine bay is the 428 Cobra Jet Ram-Air V8, pumping out 335hp. The vehicle also features a C6 automatic transmission, a 3.00 Traction-Lok rear end, power steering, and power front disc brakes. The description provided in the listing is a bit convoluted, but it appears that this is a numbers-matching car. The previous owner of the Cobra was actually a Ford Dealership mechanic, and he retained the car for in excess of 40-years. With that in mind, you could be fairly sure that the car was maintained by someone who knew their way around a Cobra. The owner says that the Ford runs and drives like new and that he would have no hesitation in driving it right across the country. Included in the sale are the original Build Sheets, a deluxe Marti Report, and a collection of 40-years worth of documentation, including receipts for all work that has been performed on the vehicle.

The theme of originality continues inside the Cobra because apart from a replacement carpet set, the remaining interior trim is said to be original. The carpet was replaced due to fading, but undertaking this task allowed the owner to confirm that the upper surfaces of the floors were just as clean and original as the vehicle’s underside. The original AM radio has made way for an aftermarket radio/cassette player, but it doesn’t appear as though the dash has been cut to fit this. Further good news comes in the form of the owner believing that he still has the original radio, so performing a swap should not be particularly difficult. Unfortunately, the rear package tray has been cut to fit a set of speakers, so if complete originality is key in this car, then a replacement tray will need to be sourced. A quick search of the internet revealed that these are readily available for around the $50 mark. The rest of the interior presents very well, with no evidence of any rips or tears in any of the upholstered surfaces. Apart from the radio, the Ford rolled off the production line fitted with a console, deluxe belts, and an electric clock. The Marti Report also reveals that the Cobra was originally fitted with a rim-blow wheel, but this appears to have been replaced at some point. A quick search found that replacements are available, and generally sell for around the $900 mark.

This really is one pretty special and potent vehicle, and the current owner describes it as being close to museum quality. If this is the case, then it is a vehicle that any prospective buyer would be proud to own. Values on these eased quite noticeably in the second half of 2019, but they have now rebounded to their historically highest levels ever. I suspect that the bidding may have a little way to go on this car, so it will be interesting to see just how high it finally does go.

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Comments

  1. Stangalang

    Drrrooooolllll..omg 335hp lol yeah right..man this is one of my dream cars. Talk about meticulous care of a car!

    Like 3
    • Richard Gaskill

      Yeah, the insurance rater pleasing 335 hp. It was pretty common in ’60s big block muscle cars.

      Like 2
      • Chris M.

        True, but not by much in most cases. Assembly line variances dictated actual build results as compared to the factory blue print specs. Common myth is that motors like this and big blocks of other brands were putting out far more power than factory ratings. With exception of the top teir choices such as the 426 Hemi, dynoed stock many times in the 475-500 h.p. range or the L88 427 which was dynoed at 550+. The garden variety 428 and or 440 were most all slightly under the factory rating. Memory builds a better truth than reality. This is an outstanding looking Ford!

  2. Steve Bush Member

    Nice! Wish I could afford it. Looks to be well worth the $30k plus price as you could drive it home without spending another $10-50k to make it perfect; unlike several others recently on this site.

    Like 1
  3. Paolo

    “Never seen rain.” Please don’t insult our collective intelligence trite and meaningless cliches. Never seen rain? Have you seen how cars are manufactured, stored, transported and delivered onward to various sales facilities? Although there appears to be some modern day improvements moving cars from factory to new owners subjects them to continuous exposure to damage, general filth and natural elements. They don’t arrive at the dealer ready to deliver. Having worked in the business I saw them as they came off the trucks filthy and sometimes really feeelltheee! And scratched and damaged or not put together quite right.
    This is a 69 Ford and it is from the time that didn’t expend a lot of effort on gentle loving handling. Especially FORD!
    So yeah, I get a little twitch whenever I encounter word-droppings like “Never seen rain. I mean, how could you verify such a claim anyway? Of course it’s a lie, even the owner or owners can’t verify it. And where you find one lie you will usually more.
    That’s not to say this isn’t an interesting or desirable or rare or fun car. It is and most of that has to do with the 428 and overall condition of the car. A great car? The 428 CJ is a beast and that’s the only way to make one of these perform because they are fairly heavy for what used to be considered a “mid-sized” car. I had one in a Mercury Monterey, one of the old CHP cruisers. A heavy car but there seemed to be not limit at the top end and massive torque production the whole way. I took it on a high speed run down highway 5, Bay Area to Los Angeles. Memorable an fun. I also owned a 69 Fairlane (with a 302). There wasn’t anything particularly exceptionable about it except that it was totally reliable and cheap to run and maintain. That 428 isn’t cheap to run, that’s for sure.

    Like 10
    • Steve R

      I’m always leery of the quality of a repaint when new rubber bumpers aren’t installed on the engine compartments inner fender. It’s a small thing, but it keeps the hood centered and away from the fenders where it’s likely to rub or scratch off the new paint. It suggests a general lack of attention. The car is nice, but there are a few things that point to things being done to drive the resale price higher, such as the magnum 500’s and inexpensive steering wheel, add to that the dubious claim about the car never seeing rain, though it sat outside enough that the carpets faded to the point of needing to be replaced.

      Steve R

      Like 6
      • Doug F

        Some of you guys are really something. I rather enjoyed the gentleman’s description of this car and his representation of it also.
        I don’t take every word he says literally. I was an auto body technician and painter at a local Ford dealer in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and of course the owners of the cars never knew the damage that was caused by the carriers. They were dropping chains on hoods constantly. And the Lincolns were the first to get repaired!
        So when he says it never saw rain I take him to mean that the car was only driven on sunny days. It does have 14,000 miles on it and sitting in the Ca. sun all day while the guy was working would surely fade the carpeting. The car seems to me by description and pictures to be what he says it is, a true survivor that was thankfully driven only on nice days and everything kept in working moving order.
        It’s truly refreshing to see a car in this condition with these miles on it, not a 17 mile dolly queen that got pushed around all it’s life, and I hope it goes on to a similar owner who also enjoys this true piece of American History!!!

        Like 7
    • Gaspumpchas

      Yea Pablo- never been wet wink wink. The other one is “this car has zero Bondo in it” Any car that has had any damage has some mud in it. Its standard autobody repair methodology. The difference is how much is used. That said, nice car. I’d prefer a 4 speed but so would many others. Just this ol grey hairs’ opinion! Good luck to the new owner!!
      Cheers
      GPC

      Like 3
      • Kman

        The marti report says it has a c4 not a c6

      • Chuck

        Reply to Kman: The C-4 was a smaller 3 speed auto, that was used behind the 6 cylinders & the 302 V-8. The FMX 3 speed auto was used behind the 351 V-8s, and the C-6 was used with all the other big block V-8s. The C-4 came out in ’64, and replaced the Ford-O-Matic 2 speed auto. The C-6 came out in ’66, and replaced the old cast iron Cruise-O-Matic transmission. The C-4 could never handle the torque or the HP of the FE block engines! Either the Marti report is wrong, (typo error) or someone has put a big block in this car. Before I’d leap on this one, I’d want to see the original VIN plate, or the VIN on the title and decode it to make sure that everything was right!

    • OGK

      You may be taking the “never seen rain” comment a little to literal. However, someone saying never seen rain in California isn’t horribly far fetched. The original owner may have had other means for daily transportation. It’s similar to statements by us in the Midwest or Northeast saying “never seen snow” (meaning salt) when having secondary transportation. It’s meant to imply how clean a vehicle is, in my opinion.

      Like 8
  4. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    It rains 30 odd days a year in California also?
    Nice car though and get the drift of what the seller is saying.

    Like 2
  5. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Always wanted one of the sportsroofs but never quite got there. A ’68 Torino 4-door sedan, a ’68 Torino 2-door hardtop and a ’69 Torino GT convertible was as close as I ever got. I liked them all, they were good-looking dependable cars. I passed on a Cobra once that was a nice car but it was a hardtop and as it was missing the carb, I couldn’t hear it run. Couldn’t afford a sportsroof then and definitely can’t afford one now.

    I like this one a lot and while a 4-speed is preferred by most, I like the C6. I had one in a ’69 Ford Custom with a 428 PI and while it wasn’t great out of the hole, you never missed a shift and broke something. The only thing I’d change are the wheels; I like the argent wheels with the GT hubcaps. A beautiful car here but you’ll have to dig deep to own it.

    Like 5
  6. Richard Gaskill

    It is rare to see this model correctly identified as a Cobra and not a Torino. It was a one year only model in ’69, becoming a Torino option package in 1970.
    The Cobra was direct competition with the Road Runner, with a Spartan interior and few luxury options. Although this article states the rim blow steering wheel has been replaced, that was an option and not all Cobras had them.

    Like 3
    • whmracer99

      Looks like a manual steering and no a/c car. Had a 70 Torino Cobra and really prefer this body style. You don’t see many of these, especially in this condition with this level of documentation. As mentioned above, think the ultimate buyer is going to have to dig deep to own it but I don’t think you’re going to find one nicer. Would love to see some underneath pics but don’t see anything that contradicts the sellers description. Currently at $32k+.

      Like 1
      • Richard Gaskill

        The Cobra was built as a muscle car to compete with the Road Runner with a big block engine and handling suspension. It had minimal standard equipment and few options. In the following years all manufacturers got away from the true basic muscle car models and added more standard equipment.

        Like 1
    • CATHOUSE

      The Marti report lists the rim blow on the option list for this car. In the one photo showing the exposed floor it shows what looks like the original rim blow steering wheel so perhaps the seller still has that as well as the original radio.

      The Marti report also lists that the car left the factory with power steering.

  7. Somer

    I wish someone would point out that yu get better pictures with the sun to your back, Shadow pix :-(.

    Like 5
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Still one of the few cars new or old that looks like it’s moving while sitting still. Great looker.

  9. markp

    The car has definitely been lowered. So front coils were probably chopped. It looks good this way though.

    Like 1
  10. Dave

    Front end almost looks like a Talladega, and with those 3.00 rear gears this car is better suited for NASCAR vintage duty than the drag strip.

  11. Angrymike

    I have really taken a liking to these over the years, and this is almost perfect. If it had a 4 speed it would have been perfect. Very nice car, even without a 4 gear.

    Like 1
  12. Dennis6605

    Just want to point out that the seller only states that the car has not seen rain in the last 40 years. That would only go back to 1980 and I’m sure he is only taking the word of the previous owner. So I wouldn’t think it is necessary to call the seller a liar. Maybe taking some liberties, but a liar?

    Like 1
  13. Chuck

    In 1975, I put a 428 Police Interceptor engine in a Ford F-250 4X4, with a 4 speed transmission, and posi-traction 4.10 axles. The Interceptor & the Cobra Jet were the same block, if I remember right! That truck would pass everything but a gas station! It would do 70 MPH in when the 4X4 transfer case was in low range, about 140 MPH in high range. I had a slide in camper and pulled snowmobile / motorcycle trailer with it, also. I never ran out of throttle, unlike the anemic 360 that it replaced. The 360 was a 2V, and the 428 was a Holley 780 4V. Surprising, the 728 got a little better mileage. The only real problem was it had an 18 gallon in cab gas tank, so fuel stops were quite frequent.

    Like 2
    • CATHOUSE

      You are correct, the 428 PI and the 428 CJ use the same block. The big difference are the heads and exhaust manifolds.

  14. Morley Member

    Automatic—–no thanks Morley

  15. Richard Gaskill

    There is a 4 speed consigned to Mecum Kissimmee Saturday.

  16. mark houseman

    In 1980 I could’ve bought a 1970 Cobra 428 ram air 4-speed with 385 actual miles. The 70ish year old owner wanted what he paid for it new. I believe it was 2300.00. Of course I couldn’t buy it as I was being paid $2.75 and hour. I told my father and he said it was “nothing but junk.” I begged him to buy it and told him it was a great investment. But he was only in to antique cars and would never venture in to the muscle car world. What a shame. 20 years ago he admitted that he should’ve listened to me…….

    Like 4
    • Chuck

      I purchased a 1970 Torino GT brand new and it cost $3300 with a 351 4V, auto, power steering, power disc brakes, radio, and some other options. That price was dealer cost, because I was working there. I would imagine the actual cost of the Cobra Jet to the public was closer to $4300.

      Like 1
      • Richard Gaskill

        Motor Trend tested a Ford Cobra with the optional 428 CJ Ram Air engine, the standard four-speed, and a 3.50-geared extra-cost Traction-Lok rear-end and the price as equipped was $3,945.

    • CATHOUSE

      A 1970 Torino Cobra did not have the 428 as an option, they did have the 429 though.

      Like 3
  17. Troy s

    Looks kinda mean all hunkered down low with those wheels on it. A little more gear and this would really get it on. Solid ride!

  18. Stevieg Member

    Were these available as a Cobra in the formal roof style?
    In the mid 1980’s, I worked my first job at a full service gas station. The station mechanic had a formal roof Torino that had Cobra badges on it. He built the snot out of that engine, details are long gone from my memory, but it was raced at Union Grove frequently, and he seemed to always bring back a trophy from the races. Just wondering if his could have been a factory Cobra or if it was “engineered”.

    • Troy s

      Yes, these were available with the formal roof although rare. With a built 428 I don’t doubt the trophies one bit.

    • Richard Gaskill

      Yes, the formal roof style was and option. Average auction sales of formal roofs have been about $700 less than that of fastbacks. Google 1969 Ford Cobra ads and the majority will have formal roofs.

  19. Chuck

    I think that everyone of us on this forum has a “wished I woulda, wished I coulda, if I had only known then what I know now” story to tell! In 1972, I was working at a Ford dealership in the Detroit area. One day a 1968 Shelby GT500KR was brought in on a wrecker with a blown engine. The owner didn’t want to repair it, and he still owed $1650 on it. The bank repossessed it, and I could have bought it for the amount owed. I was 24 at the time, living in a trailer park with no place to store it, and, back then, the insurance was unaffordable. I could have put an short block in it for $650. Sadly, it went to the junk yard! (:-( Thinking of that brings tears to my eyes today!!!

    Like 3
  20. bog

    These were “okay” to me, as I was a Ford guy then..but they were too big for my taste. I still had my ’67 (purchased new) Fairlane GTA with the 390 HP engine rated at about the same HP as these and a numerically better rear gear set. So, slightly smaller & lighter car, AND was still in the Army when these Cobras came out. Was in just long enough to miss out on ordering a BOSS 302 in ’70, so had to wait and order a BOSS 351. The biggest mistake I made on the option list was that darn “rim-blow” steering wheel. Looked nice, but anything more than a slight squeeze honked the horn…no safe hand position, which is likely why no one to my knowledge has brought that idea back. I happen to like the looks of the replacement wheel on this one.

    • Richard Gaskill

      Most people realize that 335 hp was a standard joke used by all manufacturers to avoid high insurance premiums for buyers of muscle cars with big block engines. Actual hp was closer to 400. Although the GTA was lighter – 3,500 lbs vs 3,688 for the Cobra the Cobra was faster 0-60 and 1/4 mile. GTA ran 0–60 mph: 6.8 seconds Quarter mile: 15.2 seconds. Cobra ran 0- 60 mph 6.3 s; 1/4 mile drag time 14.8 s. My brother had a ’67 GTA. It was a very nice car and comparing it to a Cobra is apples and oranges. The GTA had far more standard equipment . The Cobra was more of a true muscle car with very basic standard equipment and a handling suspension.

      Like 1
      • bog

        Richard – (great name) I was actually talking about “my” GTA, versus this particular Cobra. If this listing and write-up are correct, throw your quoted stats out the window. The car for sale has a 3.00 Traction-loc rearend, which is nice for top-end and highway cruising, but mine had a numerically “better” than stock gear and I’d beat this guy every time out in the Quarter. I had front disc brakes and better handling stuff too. I put a lower (3.15 gear) in when I got stationed in Germany for better top speed on the Autobahn. Probably should have gone down to the 3.00. Only two cars passed me against “my will” on the A’bahn & Autostrada. Both Italian. A new Lambo Miura near their factory, and an Alfa Romeo sports racer on the way “home” from Nurburgring. I learned that many cars with purportedly higher top speeds actually can’t do it, or their drivers don’t have the “stones”. I also happened to be a crazy, single Army Officer at the time….

  21. TimM

    A 4 speed would make this car from outstanding to incredibly!! Very well cared for and in perfect driver quality!!!

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