Only Original Once: 1977 Mustang Cobra II

There are some cars – and sellers – that just make you feel good about possibly buying from them. I don’t know if the owner of this very clean Mustang Cobra II is the world’s best seller or not, but I do like the fact that he doesn’t appear to be a flipper and sounds as if he’s taken lots of good road trips in his survivor-grade ‘Stang. You’ll find this white-on-red Cobra II here on eBay where bidding is active but the reserve remains unmet. 

While plenty of our readers have strong opinions on whether this Mustang should wear the Cobra badge or not, I can’t help but love the packaging. The ground effects, color-coded mesh wheels, loud graphics – it’s just so fitting for the time in which the car was made. Though performance was a let-down from previous generations, the Cobra II did its best to offer a competent handling package with more attitude than the standard Mustang II.

The seller says despite being in excellent condition, the Cobra is regularly used and driven to shows. The mileage isn’t exceptionally low, either, so it’s even more impressive that it’s remained as cosmetically pristine as it has. The interior surfaces are untorn and factory correct, and while the automatic isn’t going to please everyone, it’s not as if the manual made this Cobra appreciably faster. It would be more fun to drive, however.

The engine bay is also quite tidy, and the seller has performed a nice assortment of recent maintenance: new plug wires, shocks, motor mounts and fresh fluids round out the list. Although it’s hard to tell if this Cobra II is a good deal without knowing the reserve price, it does look like a super straight specimen worth taking a closer look at if you’re in the market for one of these unloved ‘Stangs. The seller contends prices are on the rise as these cars grow scarce; do you agree?

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Comments

  1. Blyndgesser

    Wondering what “Malaise Era” means? Wonder no more.

    • jaygryph

      It means people bought into Jalopnik, and by extension Gawker, crafting their own buzzword to describe an entire era that didn’t fit their narrative or personal tastes.

      There’s interesting stuff in every era, regardless of an uncreative clickbaity car site dismissing it.

  2. newport pagnell

    Yep!

    • CapNemo

      Awesome bumpers!

      • Marc D

        That Mustang II Cobra has the rarest option, the “Angel” hood ornament.

  3. Joe

    Lucky fender.

  4. Ck

    These mustangs get a bad rap.But it is what it is with these cars.They are a victim of the times.But hey when you come rite down to it these Cobras are not bad looking cars.The color combos were kool,the graphics were flashy and the interiors were pretty nice. Ok they’re definitely not fast by any means. But that doesnt mean you can’t make them fast.I say upgrade everything .Find a late 80’s early 90’s Mustang GT donor car and transplant the whole drivetrain ,they are all over craigs list.Or if money is no object go with a new crate motor .What I’m saying is that this would make a nice Hot Rod .Its all there and it looks like a nice solid car .

    • Stephen

      Visuals were good on the first versions of the Cobra IIs and “King Cobras.” The in-between version – with the large “COBRA” on the sides – looked cartoony to me. Also, a basic hot rodding tweak – headers – were not possible with a 4-speed. Had a 77 Mustang II with the 302 and remember this being a thing at the time when I was trying to get more oomph out of it.

    • Don Kraycik

      Why bother. These cars were built on the Pinto chassis. You may be able to make them go fast, but they handled like a pregnant water buffalo on ice. I hated their profile, which was definitely front heavy, with that HUGE front overhang. No thanks.

      • Mike_B_SVT

        So your argument is that they handle comparable to every Mustang that came before them (minus Shelby cars)?

      • Arthur

        Then you may be interested in the fact that someone built a pro-touring Mustang that deals with all those issues.

        You can learn about it here:
        https://www.fordmuscle.com/news/mustang-evolution-the-ultimate-mustang-ii/

    • Mitch Member

      There are plenty of faded paint seized engine V6 Mustang IIs to make into hot rods. Why would anyone want to rip apart a perfect, original car? Seems to be a theme here though.

      Like 1
    • Michael A Glenn

      These cars are making a come back and getting harder to find in original condition, so why butcher one like this up? Find one that some back yard mechanic has already screwed up and modify it. I’m restoring this exact model, only 115 were built like mine and thankfully it’s not been messed with.

  5. Michael Rogers

    I feel that cars are mostly a basic component that I can optimize to my desires, Here in California 1977 means that I have to dance around he SMOG laws. This doesn’t mean that the car can’t gain more cajones and a 351C looks very similar!
    All this comes down to IF a guy likes the car, it’s what he wants!

  6. Mike

    I have no issue with the Mustang 2 cars. I would rather have one of these than any 64.5 to 67 Mustangs. My favorite nustangs were the 71 to 73 years. My friend had a black Cobra 2 with gold stripes(1976 I think). Not super fast until altered a little. Worked at a Ford dealer after graduation in 1973. Worse thing about these was the hatchback that rattled on rough roads. Not bad cars though despite the opinion of those who didn’t grow up with them. Nice looking Mustang.

  7. Adam T45 Staff

    Ford were going through an era of naming cars “Cobra”. At about this time Edsel Ford II had been dispatched to Australia to oversee the running of the Ford operation here. Ford were preparing to introduce a radically restyled Falcon as its market leader. There was no scope for a two-door hardtop in the range, and Ford had a heap of old body-shells. Edsel authorised a limited run of 400 Ford Falcon Cobras for the Australian market in 1978. All were V8’s (either 302ci or 351ci). Each was individually numbered. Initial sales were slow, and for years they languished as the unwanted cars of the Ford range. They are now a very popular car, and are much sought after.

    Like 1
    • dan

      Has the MAD MAX stance but I think that was a AMX Javelin.nice car😊

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Great pick-up there dan. You know your Australian cars. The yellow MFP cars in the original Mad Max movie were the 4-door sedan version of the Falcon from which the Cobra was developed. Max’s black Interceptor was a 2-door Falcon hardtop, which was the same body-shell as the Cobra. Nice job my friend.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      This model Cobra was also used to homologate some improvements for the Ford product in our domestic Touring Car formula, which was our premier motor-sport category at the time. The factory supported team ran their cars in this paint scheme. Here is a photo of one of the cars.

  8. Trent Poole

    We had a 1978 Mustang II V8 with T-Tops in the driveway back in ’78. A ground pounding, 139 hp box of leak and squeak. Wasn’t much of a car (not that many of that generation were) but at least it kept Mom happy.

  9. JW

    Wife had a new 78 Cobra and it was a fun car, not fast but peppy compared to the other junk being offered by the big 3. The only issue I had with it was the corny big COBRA decals on the sides, I begged her to let me take them off but the answer was no, I ended up taking my nephew for a night ride on a curvy road to show how the rack & pinion steering worked and over compensated for one curve and put it in the ditch while bending a trans line and it wouldn’t shift right. Rather than fix it I traded it for a 80 Bronco since she kept taking my 4×4 truck when the weather got bad so she had her own 4×4. If it wasn’t for the Mustang II Ford might not have developed rack & pinion steering until later and the Mustang wouldn’t be the longest running musclecar in production today.

  10. Vin in NJ

    While the Pinto based Mustang may not have been the best of the breed in some people’s eyes, you can’t deny it was the lifeline the model needed to carry it into the fox bodied platform of the 80’s. Just like the late 70’s Corvettes needed scoops and spoilers to carry it into the 80’s

  11. Todd

    This is not unrestored. Engine has been repainted, interior changed, the white plastic panels have red showing through, the seats were reupholstered. Underneath the engine and chassis were painted.

    Like 1
    • Michael A Glenn

      You can also see over spray on the cowl that’s covering the stripes. The air cleaner intake tube has been repainteddoing and I don’t believe the distributor is original as well.

  12. Jeff

    Years ago I had a beautifully restored Candy Apple Red ’67 Mustang and I joined The National Capitol Area Mustang Club, and they wouldn’t even acknowledge that the Mustang II was ever built! Seriously, I don’t think they even let Mustang II owners in the club. Then when I sold the ’67 and bought a ’91 LX, some club members treated me like I had leprosy. The club president even told me when I bought the ’91, “You do understand the club focus is on the ’64-’73 Mustangs, don’t you?”

    • Keith

      Back in the mid 90’s I had a 72 Convertible ‘Stang. Went to my local Mustang Club who stuck their noses in the air and said they only focus on “first generation Mustangs”. Can’t imagine what they’d have said if I rolled up in a Mustang II.

  13. Rustytech Member

    I think the 1974 to 1978 Mustangs were the closest thing to the original concept since 1968. I understand they aren’t yet popular with collectors, But somebody liked them, they sold like hot cakes. I don’t particularly like the coupes, but thought these fastbacks looked bad $&@ even if they weren’t particularly fast. It’s still a small block Ford, and lots of power upgrades are available. I like this car, and I think this is a fair price. P/S Mustang club is a bunch of stuck up boy racers.

  14. HeadMaster1

    The Mustang II was a warmed up Pinto, but anyone that has a problem with that has no business claiming to be a “Car Guy”.

    The “Pinto” has the very best steering, brakes, and front suspension set=up of any car of its era. Don’t believe me, then why do so many companies make “Mustang II” conversion kits into older cars.

    There also have been more pinto’s raced on tracks in this country than an Mustang. “Pony Stock” racing was huge, only started fading away as all the Pintos have been used up…….

    So if Vented front Disk Brakes, Rack and Pinion Steering, and upper and lower control arm suspensions aren’t your thing, go back to early mustangs with their falcon based “handling”

  15. Larry

    Ain’t a Javelin here! 1977 Australian XC Cobra based on the Australian Ford Falcon GT. The XC Cobra was only available in White with blue stripes.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      I did reply to dan on this one Larry and point this out. Another interesting point about the Australian Cobra is that they all actually started life painted blue (Bold Blue), and the white (Sno White) was actually applied over the top, leaving only the striping, which was the finished with an adhesive joining stripe (Olympic Blue) between the two painted colours. Sounds like the hard way to paint a car, doesn’t it?

  16. Larry

    Adam T45, yes indeed, very labor intensive!

  17. Mike_B_SVT

    The beloved Fox body and SN197’s share a chassis with the Fairmont, and the classic Mustangs were built from the Falcon. Any disparagement of the Mustang II because of the Pinto chassis is laughable.

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