Field Find: 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra

Imagine finding an old Torino in a field. Upon investigation, you discover it has an “X0-429” data plate and stickers that show it to be a prototype and it has Boss 429 shock towers. This is one of two prototypes of a car designed to compete with Mopar’s sloped-nose cars built like theDodge Charger Daytona. The King Cobra looked very promising, but when Lee Iacocca was hired to run Ford, it doomed the project. NASCAR car owner, Bud Moore, was able to purchase the cars from Ford. One eventually ended up in a museum. The other had a damaged nose and was repaired with a stock Torino nose and sold. It took lots of work and money, but this Cobra was restored to its original glory. It’s listed for sale on eBay for $459,900 where you can read the complete story.

With the headlight covers removed, the King Cobra looks a little like a Datsun 240Z. It might not have been the most appealing styling, but it was designed to compete with the Mopar slope-nosed cars like the Dodge Charger Daytona in NASCAR racing.

These King Cobras were designed to be production cars so the interior was identical to a stock Torino. It has been restored to like new condition, but is that a rip in the edge of the seat back?

It’s looking nice under here as well. It appears no expense was spared during the restoration.

Here’s the high performance 429. The original engine was a 700hp variant of the Boss 429. Ford used this car as a test mule after the racing program was canceled so several engines Ford installed to testing. With power steering and power brakes, it could be a comfortable daily driver, a very expensive driver.

From the rear, it’s all Torino. This King Cobra is one of only two prototypes so it’s rare but not that expensive for what it is. A Boss 429 Mustang would sell for similar money. This car is an interesting part of Ford racing history. It might even sell at the asking price.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. ShaunD

    Wow! Just wow!

    Like 2
    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Took the words right out of my mouth. I love it, slant nose and all!

      Like 2
    • Fran

      My response exactly, no further comments needed!

      Like 2
  2. JW

    Cool but in my budget not $459K cool.

    Like 1
  3. Gunner

    Man, and I thought I knew everything…..lol. I have mixed emotions about this one. I look at that front end, and see the 280Z as stated. There is nothing wrong with Z cars. My money would be on a early 240Z given the choice. To see it on an apex detroit musclecar, just doesn’t work for me. I think that the headlights should be in the front area, as most cars with the cone front ends were. Even Max’s Interceptor had the lights in the front. With the gaping duct underneath the bumper, and the lights to the sides, it reminds me of a Catfish, IMHO and no offense. I still respect it for what it is. However, if I was going to drop this kind of money, there are many other aesthetic pleasing cars that I would select from. This car is for a specific individual who finds great appeal in it, and is willing to pay a great deal of money for it. Very unique.

    Like 1
    • John Maguire

      The car was actually a field find. It was restored back in the late 80s early 90s in Connecticut. I had the pleasure of knowing the the guy who restored it. The whole article was published in Super Ford back in the day, At Bud Moore’s Shop in NC.

  4. Steven

    That’s not stock on a Torino front, mixed bout it being a field find as more like in someone’s garage and someone notice it there at a yard sale with garage door open.. I’ve seen those kinds of deals at Yard and Garage sales with Classic cars parked in them.. Elderly woman comes out and says that belong to my dear husband who passed away and she says what would you give me for it.. Those kinds of deals are around if person hit garden sales as a house has a flower garden with goodies..

    • David Frank David F Member

      “not stock on a Torino front” indeed. “it has an “X0-429” data plate and stickers that show it to be a prototype and it has Boss 429 shock towers.”
      There were only 2 of these prototypes built. You might enjoy reading about this King Cobra in the eBay posting to understand why it really is a field find and a very important car.

      Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey

      Yep, my dad went to a yard sale in 1975, the lady with the sale saw the Packard logo on Dad’s hat, and she asked if it was for Packard cars. Dad had a 1940 Packard limo at the time, and when she heard that, she insisted on showing dad what was in the garage;

      1937 Packard Eight Deluxe [a 120CD] touring sedan, with 42,000 miles. Had 1960 license plates on it. All original except for a hand applied repaint using a brush and house paint, in the original black fenders and green body combination. He bought the Packard for $800 and we flat-towed it back home. I now own the car, dad having passed away in 2005.

      Like 4
  5. rdc

    Wow. Piece of history, but ugly IMO. Nice to know about. I had heard about it but not seen one fully restored like this.

  6. Vince Habel

    Kind of odd that it has a 120 speedometer.

    • racer99

      ……. and does not have the in-dash tach like the Cobra Jet Torinos. Wonder if it was born that way or the dash got robbed somewhere along the line.

      Like 1
      • olddavid

        Isn’t that a ribbon tach showing to the left?

      • racer99

        Yes, that’s a dash out of a Cobra Jet Torino. The tach is not in the dash on this car. One of the other King Cobra cars has the ribbon tach in it.

    • Mike Williams

      Especially since the 66 Mustangs all had a 140 speedo, even the sixes.

    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      The yellow one sold at Mecum also had only 120 on the speedo
      https://www.mecum.com/lots/FL0116-229792/1970-ford-torino-king-cobra/#&gid=1&pid=4

      • racer99

        But the one you show does have the ribbon tach in it.

  7. John K

    My garage is only 24 feet deep so I don’t think it would fit.

    • glen

      If you can afford the car, you can afford a garage extension!

      Like 2
  8. gbvette62

    Somewhere in my collection of old magazines, I have a 1970 issue of either Motor Trend or Car & Driver, with the Torino King Cobra on the cover, and an article all about it inside. The one in the article was yellow I think. Larry Shinoda, who designed the 63 Corvette, was the chief designer on the King Cobra.

    There where at least three King Cobras built, and maybe as many as 5, plus two Mercury versions. Three King Cobras still exist, this one, and two yellow ones. The orange one and a yellow one without stripes, are the two Bud Moore got, and a yellow one with stripes, that Holman-Moody had.

    This one has been for sale at $459,000, for at least 3 years now, It was a no sale at Mecum Indy a few years ago. The yellow one without stripes, was at Mecum Kissimmee in 2016, but I don’t know if it sold.

    Like 1
    • Rspcharger Rspcharger
      • Steven

        See if those people who pay this for those cars can sale them for that, No Torino are worth that kind of money! Auctions get carried away with prices as long someone in the crowd is bidding up the price.

        Like 1
    • bog

      Thanks for the kudos to the late, great designer of this, and other wonderful cars, Larry Shinoda. He really did some beautiful design work “back in the day”. His sketches and paintings, unfortunately, did not always translate well to the actual car/s. Fitting those designs to existing models, such as this Torino, sometimes left a bit to be desired. I believe this car (or one of those built) made the cover of ALL the popular car mags. I may still have one in my collection. Probably “Car and Driver” or “Road & Track”. As I recall, it was never meant to have those headlight covers off…it was built as a NASCAR racer first and foremost, so they’d be “on” and painted to look like the headlights were there. When NASCAR killed the BOSS 429 and MoPar Hemi’s this car had no reason to exist…except for those few “crazies” that love and can afford HiPo street vehicles. I’d have bought a BOSS 429 Mustang, but was serving our country then. When I got out I traded in my Fairlane GTA for a new BOSS 351. Yes, I count myself as a “crazy”….

      Like 2
  9. Larry K

    Torinos are my favorite but, I can’t deal with that nose job.

    • Big Mike

      Kind of reminds you of the nose on a Studebaker Avanti which I always thought was ugly. If you see the picture of the yellow one of these without stripes, it is ugly!!!!!!
      IMO

  10. Mike Williams

    Fiberfab offered one of these front ends for the ’66 Mustangs.

  11. RoselandPete

    The front reminds me of a Datsun with Chevy turn signal lights.

  12. Car Guy

    @Larry K, I have to agree.

    Of the early Aero cars, the Superbird is my favorite followed by the Daytona, the Charger 500, Torino Taladega, with the King Cobra being at the bottom of the list.

    The standard 70 Torino GT or Cobra (especially when equipped with the shaker hoods) were much better looking looking cars. Yes, its rare, expensive, and a beautiful restoration. That being said, to me it’s not a car I would want, even it I could afford it………..

  13. Dairymen

    It has been for sale for at least 4 years that I know of.

  14. Jack

    I thought I remembered seeing this car for sale from a few years ago.
    http://bringatrailer.com/2013/05/07/1-of-3-1970-ford-torino-king-cobra-nascar-prototype/

    • Steven

      I do recall now seeing this Torino some 3 or 4 years ago? That stage room does look like at Classic Cars online , or Vogel Cars showroom!

  15. mike d

    love the car, but, waaaaayyyyyyy out of my budget

    Like 1
  16. Jeffro

    Field find? Maybe in a field of dreams!

  17. mario

    this has been for sale for a long time at RK Motors in Charlotte NC
    http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active/1970%20Ford%20Torino%20King%20Cobra/134426

    • cudaman

      Went to RK Motors a few years ago and took this picture of the car……

  18. Kevin

    that makes me wet

  19. Three Pedal Steve

    Does anyone else see an Opal GT nose here?

  20. Coventrycat

    Never saw one of these – very cool – but not very good looking.

  21. SubGothius

    If these had ever wound up getting green-lit for a homologation production run, I’d like to think the headlight covers would rotate longitudinally to expose the headlights, rather like a Panther Solo 2.

  22. stillrunners lawrence Member

    gbvette62 – you are correct – pretty sure it was Motor Tread…..

    Like 1
  23. Tyler

    I know this car, for many years it was less than 25 miles from my house, & all I have to say is any potential buyer better go over it with a fine tooth comb, & then some.

    Now to be clear, I’m not saying the car is not what its purported to be, but over the past 20 plus years, Steve has told multiple stories about how it came into his possession, from being found in a barn in Indiana covered in chicken poop to gathering dust behind a race shop in Virginia, but this is the first time I have heard of it being a field find.

    Even if it is the real deal, for a half mil, I’ll take 2 shares of Bershire Hathaway stock please…

    • Steven

      You say covered by chicken crap, well how much body sheet metal was replaced cause nothing worse than Bird doo on a car.

    • Vintageracer

      I believe the second car Steve has is a Mercury version of the Super Snake and not a Ford Torino Super Snake like his Yellow Ford Torino Super Snake that he has had for years. Steve always told me his Mercury version came from a barn in Indiana.

      I believe this Super Snake being discussed here and Steve’s Mercury version are 2 distinctly different cars with the only common denominator being the color!

      • Vintageracer

        I should have said “King Cobra” in both my posts which is the proper name for these cars however “I” always called these cars “Super Snakes” for some reason.

        My Bad!

        The first time I saw Steve’s yellow “King Cobra” was at the Ford dealership car show in Nashville in 1978.

        Damn I’m Old!

  24. Vintageracer

    In the early to mid 1990’s (time sure does get away) I actually looked at this very car sitting on a fence row in South Carolina where it was for sale. No front end, no engine a real mess! I asked the seller what the car was and he also said he did not know however the car did have modified front shock towers, a rear glass that bowed out instead of in, “Prototype” etched in all the glass, “Prototype” ink stamped on the rear of the speedometer laying in the rear floor board and more. Most people would have called the car a $50.00 crusher at the time. I asked the seller what he wanted and he said he would sell the car to me for $10K. I asked the seller how he came up with that number and he said a buddy had another guy from the Northeast interested in the car for $13K.

    At this time I had always heard and knew there were 2 known and confirmed Super Snakes. The White one owned by Bud Moore and the yellow car owned by Steve Honnell. Because of that knowledge I nor anyone else I called for help had no idea that maybe just maybe this was a 3rd Supersnake or maybe a NASCAR deal of some sorts. The thought of the car being a 3rd Super Snake never entered my mind. I was rather surprised 4-5 years later when I saw an article in a magazine about how the car went to Bud Moore who swapped out the front end and sold the car to some who used it for transportation and how the car had sat on a fence row as a junk car in South Carolina for years! The fence row story is TRUE!

    Oh well at the time as I was not willing to roll $10K on a bet that the car really was something special when to most folks it truly was a $50.00 crusher.

    Hindsight sure is 20/20!

    Like 1
    • glen

      What an interesting story! The one that got away,I hate that!

  25. Joe Machado

    Two of these should up, as usual, every five years at our Aero Warrior reunions. Also showing up at Wellborns museum.
    While we were doing the infield event for the Talladega race October, 13th, 2019, they left as it started raining after the races first stage.
    Rutledge Wood was doing a live broadcast showing all our cars. You can see that piece by searching the race on the internet.

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