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Forest Find: 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II

A quirk of fate may be what saved the Ford Mustang. By 1973, the original pony car has gotten bloated and heavy and had run out of steam in the sales department. The 1974 model year ushered in the new Mustang II, based on a Pinto making it something of a sporty econobox. People weren’t impressed until the OPEC oil embargo hit a few weeks later, and it then looked like Ford had just the right car at the just the right time. What soon followed was the Cobra II, largely an appearance package that harkened back to the Shelby Mustang days. Located in the woods in Kalispell, Montana is this 1977 Cobra II which may only have logged 39,000 miles. But it hasn’t been on the road in 42 years, so a lot of work will be needed. Available here on Facebook Marketplace, the asking price is $4,800. Thanks for the tip on this one, Simon P!

As America was getting used to higher gas prices, Ford needed to inject some more interest in the Mustang II by 1976. That came in the form of the Cobra II which would be available only on fastback models. It was a $325 option but paired with another $287 option called the “Cobra II modification package. ” Visually different from other fastbacks, the Cobra II had louvered covers on the rear-quarter windows, a front air dam, a rear spoiler, and a simulated hood air scoop. And the list of Cobra-specific goodies went on and on. All of this looked quite fast, but it wasn’t as the stock engine for the car was still an inline-4.

What may have saved the car for purists was that a 302 cubic-inch V8 soon followed and that’s what’s in the seller’s car (with a 4-barrel carburetor). As the story goes, this Ford only saw less than 40,000 miles of use before the owner quit registering the car after 1979. Reasons for that are unknown, nor do we know if its last 42 years have been spent out in the woods with some other forgotten old cars. While the engine itself looks quite clean, the compartment is full of pine straw, further emphasizing its exile.

It’s hard to tell about the condition of the body, but you’d have to expect to find rust and the seller says that’s the reason for a tarp over the back window because the decklid has cancer. With any luck, the interior may be passable after a thorough cleaning, but the photos provided there don’t help a lot. Hagerty says that just under 12,000 Cobra II’s were built for 1977 out of 153,000 total Mustangs. The top dollar for one of these cars is $27,000 and the seller’s Ford is a long way from that. Not a true muscle car, would you take out a loan to bring this Mustang back to its former glory?


  1. Avatar photo Terrry

    Leave it where it is. The plants need fertilizer.

    Like 22
  2. Avatar photo Chris Rohman

    My ex wife had a 76 Mustang Ghia a
    6 cylinder car with aftermarket air conditioning. I loved that car, it was fun to drive, so I have a real soft spot when it comes to the 74-78 Mustang ll’s. Besides had they not existed at all the Mustang legend would be dead! Remember the Ford Probe? That was another almost nail in the coffin for the Mustang.

    Like 16
  3. Avatar photo JudoJohn

    i say- run, Forrest, run!

    Like 8
  4. Avatar photo hooligan68

    One of these with a modern turbo 4 and some chassis work would be a hoot. Not this one though….

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo JOEY V

    anyone can tell this car has not been sitting since ’79. This is way more than 2 years of abuse/neglect. This poor ‘Stang has been ridden and put away wet, and that odometer has been rolled around at least once. However, I’d be interested in buying, if I were in a position to buy at this time (in the processes of moving) Always liked the Blue & White Cobras from ’76.

    Like 4
  6. Avatar photo david R

    If I read the phrase “former glory” once more I’m going to scream.

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo Howie Mueler

    $4,800? Good one!! It was listed 23 weeks ago.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Gary

      $480.00 would be high

      Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Big Al

    I like the backwoods ram air option !

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo John W.

    By and large, I am no fan of aftermarket modifications when it comes to collectible cars. They seldom add value, and they can complicate the go/no-go decision when determining whether a particular car is a suitable candidate for restoration. After carefully examining the photos provided, however, I see one non-stock item that actually simplifies that decision while suggesting what should happen to this Mustang going forward.

    Note the rag stuffed into the filler neck. All that’s needed is a match.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Howie Mueler

      Maybe that rag is factory?

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo MarkO

    I’d put Mustang II suspension into it!!

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Greg Williams

    A lot of the Mustang 2’s are right where they belong. Parted out

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Rick

    We’re not out of the woods yet.

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo David Bell

    Cannot believe ya’ll are so down on this car. Had a friend who had one with a 390 stuffed in it. TOTAL BLAST TO DRIVE!!!! And with small fender flares, a 5 lug conversion and a set of narrow and wide 14 inch cragars,,,,,looks pretty sweet

    Like 4
  14. Avatar photo Bo

    This would be a good car for one of those Youtube guys to get running. It’s hard to tell it’s condition from the photos but it looks promising.
    Anyone who came of age when these cars were a few years old was pretty disappointed by them. Ford tried to rekindle the 1960’s excitement but it was hard to hide that it was really just a pinto. Younger guys seem to like them though and there is a market for them. I’d love to see what it looks like when it gets pulled out of the woods and cleaned up.
    I’m curious what other interesting cars are on this property…

    Like 3
  15. Avatar photo Philip Lepel

    True sleeper. With so many haters around a few upgrades , crate engine, 6speed and brakes bigger wheels and tires and smile ear to ear when you’re smokin people at stop lights. Ive seen it happen.

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Joe H

    The Mustang II might be a good choice for Eco-Boost 2.7 out of the F150. I think that motor would be a good upgrade for alot of old iron that cannot be original again

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo CenturyTurboCoupe

    “Pine straw”…that’s a new one.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo PAPERBKWRITER

    My father did a long commute every day and bought one of these turkeys (6 cyl.) hoping to get good gas mileage. I took a ride with him when he brought it home and noticed the tac clocked around 3600 RPM @ 60 MPH. He never got more that 12 or 13 MPG as long as he owned it.

    Like 1
  19. Avatar photo Denny Tuttle

    Had a set of them 74/77 both 302’s one auto other 4 speed junked them both.

    Like 1
  20. Avatar photo Tyler

    I have no idea where the myth originated that the Mustang II was based on a Pinto, it had less in common with the Pinto than the original Mustang had in common with the Falcon. These were the right car at the right time. Until the retro body style was introduced in 2005, the Mustang II held 4 of the 5 years of production were in the top 10 of sales of Mustangs.

    In my younger days, I turned wrenches at the local Ford dealership. The parts manager had a black & gold 78 King Cobra that he had stuffed a 302 Boss engine into along with some other upgrades. It was a scary fast car.

    Like 0

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