Documented 1969 Ford Torino Cobra Jet Ram Air!

Now here’s a find! A 1969 Ford Torino Cobra Jet Ram Air, one of only 2,588 made that year. This low mileage, an authentic example is located in Santa Ana, California and for sale here on eBay, the current bid of $13,100, reserve not yet met.

Arguably, 1969 was the pinnacle year of the muscle car movement and all of the Detroit players were heavily invested. One of the most prominent and popular models was the Chevelle SS396, many made, very collectible and great value appreciation. Chevrolet’s number one competitor was Ford and this Torino Cobra Jet was the direct competition for the SS396. I can find an SS396 Chevelle at the drop of a hat, not so with one of these significant Ford Torino’s.

What’s so special about this Cobra Jet, is the engine, it’s a 428 CI Cobra Jet, introduced the preceding year, and good for 335 HP. And that’s where some of the controversies begin. The Cobra Jet engine replaced the 360 HP “Police Interceptor” engine but it replaced it with an advertised 25 fewer HP. What gives? The conventional wisdom is that the Cobra Jet was underrated to not arouse the suspicions of those pesky insurance companies that wanted to surcharge premiums on high-performance cars. It is frequently stated that these Cobra Jet engines were really closer to 400 HP. I’ll leave it up to our informed reader base but it seems that most test performance runs that I have seen featuring a Cobra Jet engine yield results pretty much in keeping with how you would expect a 335 HP, big torque engine to run. Nevertheless, this is the Ford engine that you want. Now, this Torino has the “Ram Air” version of the Cobra Jet engine that has a compression ratio of 10.6 instead of the non-Ram Air version which measures in at 10.5 but curiously, the HP rating is the same for both versions. Power to the rear wheels comes via a three-speed automatic transmission.

The black interior in this Cobra Jet looks quite clean – a bit aged but in reality, original nice shape. I was surprised to find bucket seats but no center console so the gear select lever is column-mounted, a bit unusual. The dash has a factory-installed tachometer but the listing is silent regarding other features.

The seller indicates that the 30,953 miles shown on the odometer are original and the car has been stored indoors for years. As a result, the body, floors, and frame are solid save for some minor, typical surface rust. Based on the images provided, I’d agree. While the original Jade Black finish is faded the body panels and underside, in particular, appear to be very sound.

To further authenticate this Cobra Jet, the seller has provided a Marti report which details what this car really is and how it was equipped when assembled at Ford’s San Jose, CA  plant. This is great documentation to have and should make a prospective buyer feel more confident about their potential acquisition.

Between the Ford Fairlane and Torino models, there was a multitude of body styles available in 1969. One of the more prominent body styles was the “sports roof” version which was a fastback arrangement designed to homologate that body style for high-bank NASCAR racing. While it is the “sportier” version of the Torino, I like this Cobra Jet’s two-door hardtop design better, I think it makes the car look more balanced.

It’s always nice to find the “real deal” of a valuable car, especially in light of all of the fakes that regularly surface and purport themselves to be something other than what they really are. It will be interesting to watch the bidding action on this one and see where it goes. I would think it would do well and I guess I am surprised that the bids aren’t currently higher. What are your thoughts on value, considering this Ford’s documentation, how high will it go?


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  1. slickb

    I know a guy with one of these sitting in a goat pen… he says he will never restore it and wants nobody else to either :(

    Like 5
    • stanley kwiecinski

      spiteful sack!

      Like 6
      • PatrickM

        Ummm… Yeah. But, those aren’t the words I would use. And I haven’t used profanity in a long time.

        Like 1
  2. JohnfromSC

    Jim, nice write up but just a minor point: a Marti report only tells what was on the car when it was ordered and to where it was delivered. Nothing about how it sits today.

    And unlike Mopars of those years, there is no foolproof way on FoMos to ascertain “numbers matching” on engine of that time period. You can only approximate by manufacturing date codes, which are far less precise. That’s why a complete ownership history is particularly valuable on these. Don’t ask me how I know….

    Like 13
    • Gyrhead

      There is a partial VIN stamped on the block and transmission, so the comment that you can’t authenticate the originality of Fords is bunk.

      Like 4
    • Roy

      That’s completely wrong.Starting in 68 it became federal law that all manufacturers stamp the vin number into the engines and transmissions.Ford did it on all high performance cars since 65.

  3. Classic Steel

    A nice beast of a car. I always felt the 1972 Torino was the beauty queen of the years.
    I like the engine and ram air but not the body style.

    1972 had the 351 Cleveland as an option that out performanced the 429 in my book.

    “The 1972 Torino styling emphasized the “long hood short deck” look and had strong elements of coke bottle styling. The Torino line-up was revamped with three models “Torino,” “Gran Torino” and “Gran Torino Sport.” The most radical change was a large eggcrate grille in an oval opening on Gran Torinos. Tom McCahill stated, “the gaping grille looks a little like it was patterned after Namu, the killer whale,” but also stated that the Torino had “kind of pleasing, no-nonsense styling.”[16] Gran Torinos had chrome bezels surrounding the headlamps on each side of the large oval grille. Base Torinos had a full width argent eggcrate grille that surrounded the headlights. Base Torinos also used a unique hood and front bumper differentiating it from the Gran Torino models. The Torino’s front fenders were flared around the wheel opening and the rear quarter panel had strong character line extending to the rear bumper. The windshield rake was increased to a faster 60-degree angle, while the A-pillars and roof were thinner. Despite these changes, structural integrity remained the same as 1971 models. A full width rear bumper had inset rectangular tail lights with pointed ends. “DirectAire” ventilation was standard equipment for all Torino models, resulting in vent windows vanishing. The Torino incorporated new safety features for 1972, including new flush mount door handles and side door guard rails.

    Like 4
    • MorganW Morgan Winter Member

      Speaking of the ’72 Torino, one of the biggest changes was the switch to full frame construction.

      Like 6
      • Mike

        The full frame, under my 73 Gran Torino Sport, saved my life. It was some wreck.

        Like 3
  4. Tucker Callan

    I`m not sure that I understand this? I had a Cougar GT, and a Boss 302 Cougar, both had the last Six numbers stamped on the rear of the cylinder head located by the master cylinder…

    Like 4
    • Classic Steel

      I think he is referring to ford date codes on say a 428 would be created within 90 days
      of car creation in marri report.
      The Ford engines use their letter and numbers to id create date. They don’t use
      vin number tied to car .

      Read this and see more 😮

      Like 2
    • Harry Hodson

      Only the Boss motors carry sequence nimbers.

  5. Dan

    My 1968 Fairlane formal roof coupe with original small block Windsor has the matching serial numbers on the rear of the block behind the intake and by the firewall. Not sure if Ford placed it there on the FE blocks or not.

    Like 3
  6. Dan

    The serial number I referred to in my previous post IS the last six numbers of the VIN code. They also cast a date code on blocks,heads,manifolds,etc.which can be referenced.

    Like 3
  7. lc

    Love the Black Jade!

    Like 3
  8. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I’m still kicking myself for passing up a similar Torino CJ years ago. It was a coupe like this one, pale yellow with a black bucket interior and packing a 428 with an auto trans. Pretty sure it didn’t have ram air. The car had been stolen and when found, the carb was missing. I preferred the sportsroof model but it was a nice looking car in very good shape. Obviously, I couldn’t hear it run and as such, I had no idea if the motor or trans had been damaged by the joy-riding thieves so I passed on it. Should have taken a chance and given the seller the $800 he was asking. Shoulda, woulda, coulda……………. but definitely shoulda!

    This was just about the top of the heap for Ford performance in ’69 and it seems this one is a solid car. Sure it needs paint and some other work but it’s a desirable car that should bring a lot more than the current bid.

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      For me the Meadowlark Yellow with the black interior is the perfect color combination.

      Like 3
  9. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I like this Torino with the formal roof and the Black Jade paint (one of my favorite Ford colors). Kind of gives it a “gentleman” muscle car look. I’m with FordGuy1972, it needs general restoration work including new paint, but looks like a solid car.

    Like 3
  10. cold340t

    Every day I went to school on the bus (80-83). I would pass a White Torino with a little Cobra on it’s fender. Parked near Holy Names Highschool. It was there until @4/5 years later.
    Then around that time I read about what the Cobra meant on that particular rare car. Ahhh, too late, just like the 427 GTE Cougar that also used to drive by my house daily around the same time. It was gone. Same scenario with both. Magazine article highlighted rarity of car…
    If only to be in the know back then. Cool car!

    Like 5
  11. Miguel

    Does anybody know why Ford didn’t put this engine in the Sports roof model?

    Like 1
  12. Boatman Member

    What year did Ford build the Cobra? Not Torino or Fairlane, just Cobra.

    Like 1
    • Boatman Member

      But there was a Torino Cobra in ’70 and ’71.

      • Mike

        Cobras were all base model Fairlanes…It was more about the power, not the finish…

  13. Larry McGaw

    The 1969-1971 Cobra was a Fairlane based model that was marketed solely as a “Cobra”. Technically there was never a Torino Cobra, and there certainly was never a vehicle called a Torino Cobra Jet. Cobra Jet is an engine name. Note the vehicle name on the Marti report … Cobra.

    Like 4
  14. Del Gray

    Super Rare but not very good looking.

    All the right resto work done but he does not comment on how it runs out.

    Should be getting better bids. Doubt he will get reserve

    Like 1
  15. stillrunners stillrunners Member


  16. TimM

    Great car with a really great motor!! A 4 speed would have pushed it over the edge!! At least for me!! Body looks really solid!! Definitely a car I would love to have in my garage!!!

  17. Troy s

    Thee Fearsome Ford! Man, I’m basically looking at the car I wanted years and years ago, although I actually never saw one in person. The fastback Torino’s were cool but I really thought this style Was what Ford was all about. Plain and simple with a bit of an attitude. 428 inches worth.
    The discussion of advertised horsepower, especially with Ford, is really a waste of time. The big deal with the Cobra Jet was the fact Ford had rated the 390 at 335 horsepower in ’66 in the Fairlane GT, so what gives? Best way to tell is which mill pins you to the seat the hardest. And the 425 horse rating on the 427 seems to be the max any manufacturer would dare rate an engine back then on a passenger car. All bogus.
    Ford’s have never had the same value it seems amongst similar type cars, outside of the Mustang. That’s what I’ve noticed anyways, for years really.

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