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Hesitant Seller: 1978 Ford Mustang Cobra II

The second generation of the Ford Mustang brought the car back to reasonable proportions, losing both size and weight in 1974. That helped sales of the car rebound, though the timing was perfect as the OPEC oil embargo also hit the car industry. But for many, it was considered an economy car with a 4-cylinder engine. So, the Cobra II was rolled out in 1976 in an attempt to give the car some cosmetic pizzazz. This 1978 edition of the Cobra II has a middle-of-the-road V6 engine that currently has a potential fuel pump issue. Located in East Hartford, Connecticut, this Mustang II is available here on eBay where a single bid of $6,000 has started the ball running.

Buyers of the 1978 Cobra II paid an extra $612 to get a Mustang II fastback that was modified in appearance by Motortown, a Ford subcontractor. Powered by otherwise stock Ford engines, the Cobra II was treated to spoilers fore and aft, a hood scoop that wasn’t functional, and special striping. The cars came in only three colors: white, blue, and black, with the color of the striping adjusted accordingly.

The seller’s listing is a bit puzzling. He/she sings the car’s praise as it doesn’t sound like a sale is what’s wanted. And almost no effort was made to provide any good photographs. None under the hood and only one in the passenger compartment. The Ford seems to have developed a fuel delivery issue that could be related to the fuel filter or pump, but the seller has no time to deal with it.

We’re told there are some cosmetic issues needing repair, without any reference to what they may be. And the T-Tops, a nice feature, are said to leak in heavy rain. The seller has only added 2,000 miles since buying it and says the odometer reading is only 16,000 (more like 116,000?). Since the seller cannot give it the attention or space it deserves, he/she hopes you’ll love it equally as much.


  1. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Russ, you are right, the ad sounds more like a love letter to the car and a lament over having to sell it. Not much detail and few pictures, but from what we can see it doesn’t look bad. Though the cosmetics likely need attention (e.g. the surface rust on the steering wheel), along with the fuel issue. Do all t-tops leak? Manual transmission is a plus to me. This should appeal to the Mustang II enthusiasts.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Jim

      His wife probably told him it had to go.

      Like 6
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      Not all T-Tops leaked, but a majority of them did, and the problem wasn’t confined to Fords, the Firebird Trans Ams that got T-Tops also had issues. Part of the problem was the installation. The early T-Top installations were made by Hurst, and the installation was subcontracted out to American Sunroof Corporation, because the volume was so low. As T-Tops became more popular as time went on, the Big Three brought the installation in-house to the factory assembly lines, and the quality improved.

      T-Tops were developed as a replacement for the convertible, since convertible sales were declining as air conditioning became more popular, and Detroit feared that the Government was about to impose roll over protection standards that would have legislated convertibles out of existence. T-Tops were developed to meet the proposed standards while retaining a modicum of the open-air motoring experience. It was better than nothing, but not a true open air motoring experience like a convertible. The removable top inserts were often stolen, and a pain to install, remove and store. When Lee Iacocca brought back the convertible in the 1981 Chrysler LeBaron, convertible sales made a comeback, and the T-Tops have all but disappeared.

      IMHO, the pecking order for open air motoring goes as follows: Solid roof; sunroof; moonroof; T-Tops; Targa Roof; Cloth Convertible, Power Retractible Hard Top (PRHT).

      Like 3
  2. Avatar photo Rustytech Member

    Approach with caution. I see lots of bubbling under the paint, and you know the saying “it’s what you can’t see that bite ya”. These cars can be fun with some performance mods, just be careful on this one.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Bo

      You’re right, it has major major rust. I think it’s pretty safe to say the hinge pillars are wasted too

      Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Rw

    Would never known it was a Cobra with out the JC Whitney dress up kit.

    Like 9
  4. Avatar photo Buffstang

    🚨CLONE ALERT!!!🚨This is actually NOT a Cobra II, it is actually a Rallye Appearance Package car that someone put (1976-77) Cobra II stickers, spoilers, and louvers on.

    Like 18
    • Avatar photo chevelle guy

      hard NO

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Chief

      You are absolutely correct. The late 77 and 78 Cobras had big COBRA script running down the sides, not the rocker panels. I bought a late 77 Cobra in August 1977. Ford was putting the 78 decals on the last of the 77’s.

      Like 5
  5. Avatar photo Steven Mulvaney

    As far as I know the Cobra II came with a 302 V8, 5 speed or automatic. The 4 cylinder and the 6 cylinder were available but not in the Cobra II. The 302 in the Mach 1 was a 2 bbl the Cobra was a 4 bbl

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    Once the rust and paint issues are sorted out, I see either a 302/5.0L engine swap, or a 347 Crate Motor from the Ford Performance parts catalog replacing that 2.8L V6 in the engine bay. This is the last year for the Mustang II before the Fox body Mustang made its debut in the 1979 Model Year, along with its corporate sibling, the Mercury Capri in MY1979 (September, 1978). The Mustang and Capri were now both Fox body cars in MY79, as the second generation European Capri disappeared along with the Mustang II in September, 1978.

    BTW, was the V6 from Ford’s Cologne, Germany plant, or Essex, England?

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Dave

    It only has the “Cobra II” script on the right side. I’m with Buffstang and the others, nope.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Dakota Always

      Auction ended. Someone already lost their shirt on this one.

      Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Harry

    I’d like to let the seller know that his hesitancy is also shared by many in the buyers market. These things were turds.

    Like 6
  9. Avatar photo Bakes

    Lots of warning flags on this one. The gap between the front headlight trim and the body, the bubbling at the bottom of the doors and fenders, mismatched stickers and trim on either side…

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Big C

    He says it leaks in the rain, has the slug V-6, and graphics applied by a 10th grade auto body class. I wonder what the floors look like.

    Like 4
  11. Avatar photo piston poney

    This is not a real cobra 2, wrong stripe package for a 78 cobra 2, it has the 76-77 decals. the targa band was a king cobra and mach 1 only option. and the pinstripe and cobra 2 script and the snake under the quarter windows is not factory on any cobra 2, 78 cobras had the hood scoop backwards, targa band cars did not get quarter window louvers, the ones on this car were cut down and made, the cobra badges on the fenders were added on, the grill has a horse, cobra 2’s and king cobras had a snake and the grill was black, the grill and blinker housings should be black not grey or silver, so most likely it is a 1978 mach 1 that someone added spoilers, hood scoop, and cobra 2 decals on.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo BOLIVAR SHAGNASTY

      You are wrong about the targa band. My 78 Rallye had them as well as my KC. It was an option.

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Buffstang

      It’s a Rallye Appearance Package car that someone added parts to.

      Like 4
  12. Avatar photo BOLIVAR SHAGNASTY

    A joke kind of like your grammar teacher?

    Like 4
  13. Avatar photo piston poney

    I said king cobras and mach ones had then, my KC has a targa band with t-tops, the cobra 2s never did no mater the year tho. i forget about the ralleys, ive never seen one in person, the pin striping is ralley pinstriping.

    Like 3
  14. Avatar photo John

    You either love ‘‘em or hate them no in between. My brother had a white one with blue stripes, cobra 2. There is a dealer selling a 78 with a 351w. Going for 13k. Unfortunately out of my state. I like the car memories.

    Like 1

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