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Original 428 CJ: 1969 Ford Fairlane Cobra Hardtop

Parked in this shed is a car that would have been the most potent offering in the 1969 Ford Fairlane range. It is the Cobra variant, and this one featured the mighty 428 Cobra Jet V8 under the hood. It will require a lot of work to return it to its best, but it does come with a parts car to assist in this process. Located in East Dubuque, Illinois, you will find the Cobra listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached a mere $610, and it is no surprise that the reserve hasn’t been met. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting this Ford for us.

When the Cobra rolled off the production line in Kansas City, its panels wore the attractive Presidential Blue paint. It appears that this is a project that has stalled reasonably early in the piece. Judging by the amount of surface corrosion emerging from under the primer, I’d be willing to bet that it happened a long time ago. When you look beyond that corrosion, the news is mainly good. Some minor rust is present in both lower rear quarter panels and the driver’s side front fender, but the rest of the panels looks pretty clean. The owner supplies photos of the underside, and there’s a heavy coating of surface corrosion there as well. There is some rust in the floors, and the buyer will need to replace these if the car is to be returned to its best. With the vehicle dismantled to its current level, I would be tempted to perform a rotisserie restoration with this one. I think that it would be worth the effort because that would maximize the chances of the car finishing up rust-free and finished to a high standard. Most of the glass and trim appear to be present, but the owner offers a solution to address any missing pieces.

Included in the sale is this Fairlane parts car. It seems to be close to complete, which means that it could be a good source for any missing pieces from the project vehicle. I can never understate how valuable these cars can be, especially when they are as intact as this one is. When you tackle a project car like this Cobra, it is common to find that many small pieces like brackets, clips, and screws have been misplaced along the way. An intact parts car is a veritable treasure trove of components like that, so this is an excellent score in this deal. It also can serve as a 3D template for when the buyer is reassembling the project car. If they aren’t sure about how some parts fit together, they can refer to the parts car as a guide in this process.

As you can see, most of the Cobra’s interior trim is missing. The Marti report indicates that the car was originally equipped with a bench seat upholstered in blue cloth and vinyl. A few dash components and other parts are visible, but I suspect that the buyer will be delving into the parts car if they are to whip this interior into shape. That’s okay because the interior appears to be complete, which means that the buyer should have a sound foundation to work with. The Marti Report also indicates that the original owner ordered the Cobra with an AM radio and a tachometer, but I’m unsure whether either of these items is amongst the pile of parts included in the sale. This photo allows us to see that someone has undertaken some repairs on the floors in the past. The quality of this work is pretty ordinary, so the buyer will need to address this.

So far, the news with the Cobra has been reasonably positive. However, this trend is about to come to an end. The original owner ordered this car with a very tasty drivetrain. This included the R-Code 428 Cobra Jet V8, a 4-speed close-ratio transmission, and a 3.50 Traction-Lok rear end. With 335hp at his disposal, the owner would have been able to launch the Cobra through the ¼ mile in 14.8 seconds. If he kept his boot welded to the floor, this Ford would have eventually found its way to 131mph. Okay, that’s all well and good, but the only component left from the drivetrain of this car appears to be the rear end. It isn’t clear where the R-Code and the transmission went, but the buyer will need to source replacements if they are going to attempt a faithful refurbishment. They might also choose to treat this as a restomod project, but that will be a matter of personal preference.

It is a crying shame that the original motor and transmission are missing from this 1969 Cobra Hardtop because restoring the rest of the car would appear to be a straightforward proposition. Its rust problems seem to be minor, and the inclusion of a parts car is a bonus. Recent sales results show that a pristine, numbers-matching vehicle can sell for more than $60,000, while a faithfully refurbished car that isn’t numbers-matching can still top $50,000 on a good day. That lower figure is probably about where this one should land if restored to a high standard. So, would you take on this one?


  1. Ralph

    This looks like an example that will take a ton of time, money, and dedication to complete. Even with a parts car it will be a lot of work.
    I hope someone has the desire to see it through to completion.

    Like 3
  2. R.Lee

    What a shame

    Like 4
  3. Steve R

    These were really rare, even in the sports roof (fastback) configuration. I think the market is heading in this cars direction. They were basically sleepers, with few visible call outs other than the cobra emblems on the front fenders. Not many have survived, in either the sports roof or hardtop, even less have the original drivetrain. I remember reading one of the major performance magazines in the mid-1980’s that suggested buying these cars and stripping the drivetrain to install in Mustangs.

    This car will be expensive, the air cleaner will cost close to $1,500, exhaust manifolds $1,000, heads $500-700+, carb $300-500, distributor $300-400, core 428CJ block $3,500+, top loader 4spd $1,500-2,000. A friends has been looking for a 69 Cobra for over a year, he said projects with original drivetrains are almost impossible to find, when looking for replacements you have to go up against Mustang restorers who have deeper pockets.

    Steve R

    Like 9
    • James427

      Was going to say much the same. Poor bones have been picked clean and the parts and restoration would still cost way more than it is worth.

      Kind of like the Fiat Dino that was a Fiat with a Ferrari engine. The engine is now worth more than the car and most of them do not get restored either.

      Like 2
    • Mike

      Bought one from the original owner back in 1985. Gulfstream aqua sportsroof with 428 CJ C6 auto. Ram Air, Black buckets column shift. Seats may have been called comfort weave, not sure, but were nice

      Just 21 when I got it, wasn’t perfect but nice and hoped to restore some day. Well job demands, marriage, kids, and father time has made this unlikely.
      I peek at it now and again. But probably depressing to look too close. I think it has 59 or 60000 miles.

      Same is true for the 1970 cyclone spoiler 429 Cj 4 speed I traded for back in 2002

      Like 0
  4. Dave

    I hope it goes for Cheap and the buyer restores it. This car was picked clean. Interesting how they were not valued 30 years ago. It really was a nice street fighter. That 428 had more than 335hp.

    Like 4
  5. Gregicon

    Honestly? Cars from the 60’s that would be valuable because of their drivetrains – that are missing their drivetrains? – are not that interesting.

    They have lost the one unique thing that makes them interesting, unique, valuable, desirable, etc.

    Without the original engine, this car is….at best, a “clone”, and at worst, a fraud waiting to happen….

    Flame away….

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      The VIN says otherwise. It will never be as valuable as a matching number car, but serious buyers know that going in. The higher up the food chain, the less likely the original engine will still be with the car. Ford and Chrysler products included the engine in the BIN, Pontiacs can be documented through PHS, several other manufacturers had specific codes on certain years which designated if a car was a performance model. Those don’t magically revert to base models if the original engine is removed. Those that can be verified are not clones nor are they frauds, unless someone swaps the VIN to another body or re-stamps an engine with the VIN.

      Steve R

      Like 6
  6. CraigR

    I always hold my breath on these listings that note “428 CJ” because invariably it means the motor is long gone.

    Like 5
  7. EMC66

    This has always been a bucket list car for me. I always liked the sports roof version over the fastback. I remember when I was kid in the 80’s you could buy these so cheap! This a big expensive project but worth it for the right person with the skills, parts and cash to see it through.

    Like 2
  8. Troy s

    Both cars look like parts cars here, of course the Cobra is rare and, at least amongst blue oval fans, valuable. Quick ride in its day for sure.
    Never seeked out by the next in line generation of hot rodders like the Chevelles and GTO’s, Road Runners, these mid sized Ford muscle just vanished. Blame it on the Mustang I guess…

    Like 1
  9. Joe Sewell

    A pathetic disaster IMO. Wishing we knew more of the backstory….probably equally pathetic.

    Like 1
  10. James427

    Unfortunately, a complete, correct, dare coded 428CJ and toploader, rebuilt with the correct air cleaner and everything will end up costing north of $25,000 these days. Even if you had such a drivetrain safely stored in your parts collection, it would be more worthy installed in a better candidate. I’ve seen a few of these both formal roof and fastback in R code form missing their engines and very few of them ever make it back to a running CJ.

    Like 2
  11. HC Member

    What a shame that its nothing more than a rolling chassis. Putting it all back together with engine and drivetrain will be very expensive even with a parts donor, that also has no drivetain to offer.

    Like 1
  12. Robt

    Forget about a 428 CJ.
    Somebody should take this thing and drop in some kind of variation on a warmed up 351w. Back it with a 4 or 5 spd and upgraded suspension and brakes making it a road worthy runner.
    Or dare I suggest racing? Road racing? Drag? Rounds rounds?
    As mentioned in earlier comments it isn’t what it was and there is no payback for a restoration.
    Love the year, body style … my wish is for somebody to make something of it!

    Like 2
    • HC Member

      I agree that either a warmed up 351 or a 390 would work just as weel for this car. Still not cheap but fewer headaches and dollars to get her going again

      Like 0
  13. LarryGarcia

    Great car, I bought mine new, took it to a Ford Racing Garage for a little fine touch and no other 69 cars could touch me. I got stationed at Okinawa, 30 mile speed zone and had to sell it.

    Like 0

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