Rare Combination? 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II

This 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II’s owner claims that it features a rare paint and trim combination. While I won’t argue that it is slightly unusual, I have been unable to confirm how rare it is. However, one of our knowledgeable readers might be able to fill in the blanks on that one once they’ve checked the details. It seems that the seller is passionate about the Mustang II because he has an incredible seven other projects on the go at present. This car would’ve been number eight, but that seems to be more than he can handle. Therefore, he has listed this car for sale here on eBay. It is located in North Platte, Nebraska, and the bidding has surpassed the reserve. It currently sits at $2,888, which could make this an extremely affordable project car.

Finished in Polar White, this Ford shows the ravage of years spent exposed to harsh UV rays. However, that isn’t bad news. The owner found this car hidden away in California, and it had spent its entire life in that location. That makes it no surprise that it remains virtually rust-free, which is never a bad thing for anyone embarking on a restoration project. The owner identifies some small spots in the hatch and the hood’s underside, but that appears to be about it. The paint is baked, and most of the original stripes have faded or disappeared entirely. The same UV that destroyed the paint has taken a toll on the exterior plastic, so the buyer will need to source a few replacement parts. They could spend their money on new components, although good secondhand items appear for sale regularly online. Following that path could shave significant amounts off the cost of this restoration. The glass looks to be in good order, and while the original alloy wheels might respond well to a polish cloth, the center caps are missing.

This photo tells an essential part of this Ford’s story. By 1977, Ford had begun to take rust prevention very seriously. Imported cars were not as prone to significant corrosion issues as domestic offerings. American manufacturers were aware that drastic action was needed if they wished to avoid being buried by makes from Europe and Japan. This Cobra II demonstrates the benefits of this attitude change, along with those of spending years in a drier climate. The occasional light spot of surface corrosion is visible on the vehicle’s underside, but I see no evidence of penetrating rust. That should give the buyer confidence to plow on with this build, knowing that they can leave the welder and grinder in the cupboard.

When a buyer wandered into a Ford showroom in 1977, intent on driving away in a Mustang, this Cobra II was nearly as good as it got. The engine bay houses a 302ci V8, with its 132hp finding its way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission. This car rolled off the line at the height of The Malaise Era, so its 17.9-second ¼-mile ET was about what buyers had come to expect at that time. Apart from the impact of tightening emission regulations, the Mustang II was hampered by a surprisingly high weight figure. The 1973 Mustang Mach 1 has consistently been recognized as a big and heavy beast, and one with the same mechanical configuration as our feature car tipped the scales at 3,090lbs. The Mustang II was a physically smaller vehicle, with Ford shaving an incredible 19″ off its overall length. However, the Cobra II was lighter by a mere 15lbs. Excessive vehicle weight was an issue that Ford would grapple with for years to come. It seems that this classic might be numbers-matching, and the owner claims that it has a genuine 65,000 miles on the clock. He doesn’t indicate whether he holds verifying evidence, but as it seems that he is pretty approachable, that might be a good question for potential buyers to ask. The Cobra II doesn’t currently run, although the 302 does turn freely. It seems that it last roared into life around a year ago, so it might not take much work to return it to that state.

We’ve now reached that point in the story where we need to examine the owner’s rarity claims with this classic. He states that it is unusual to find a Polar White Cobra II with White interior trim. He says that most were built with either Black or Blue and that it is this that makes our feature car a rarity. I tend to agree with his statement about how common Black or Blue is, but I haven’t been able to locate any documentary evidence that offers concrete figures on this. That is where our knowledgeable readers can ride to our rescue. I am merely one person, so I admit that I can’t know every detail about every make and model of classic car that we feature here at Barn Finds. However, we have a vast pool of readers who have developed an intimate knowledge about specific vehicles, so I hope that one of you might be able to shed some light on the claim. The interior is a mixed bag that looks tired and crisp. The dash pad is badly cracked, while the headliner is ripped and sagging. Someone has fitted an aftermarket stereo, and they’ve cut the door trims and rear trims to install speakers. However, the dash looks pretty promising, as does the console. It is the seats that spring a surprise. White vinyl can become dirty, and that fact is borne out in the supplied photos. The surprise is that there is none of the “yellowing” that can also be a problem, and there are no obvious signs of splits or other physical damage. I believe that a deep clean would return the seats to somewhere close to a factory-fresh appearance. Once again, new parts are available to address all of this interior’s shortcomings, but searching online might produce positive results at a fraction of the cost.

The classic car scene can be an unpredictable beast. For years, most variants of the Mustang II have been ignored or forgotten. However, the tide is turning for these vehicles. The owner of this 1977 Cobra II claims that values have begun to climb, and evidence from the market appears to confirm this. While these increases have generally been modest, the Cobra II has come into its own over the past year. Where buyers could’ve secured themselves a pristine example for as little as $16,000 four-years-ago, those same cars can now fetch $25,000. Whether this trend will continue is one of those great unknowns. However, if it does, buying an affordable and solid project car in today’s market could prove to be a shrewd move. Would you be willing to speculate by submitting a bid on this one?

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Comments

  1. Raymond

    Rare paint….needs painted?…..huh….

    Like 2
  2. Bruce

    Rare paint ??? I think the more rare color would have been the blue with white stickers as the white with blue, or red were more common with (IIRC) the black with gold being the rarer of them all

    My parent bought a ’76 blue with white version and we didn’t see many more like it

    Like 3
  3. Dan August

    Just because a car is from California doesn’t mean it won’t rust…

    Like 4
  4. Boatman Member

    NLA.

  5. 19sixty5 Member

    A bit of body/paint work and some serious surgery on the bumpers to tuck them way back could make this a pretty cool appearing car!

    Like 1
  6. Dave Suton

    I think the author has it backwards. Every Japanese brand vehicle that came off the boat was already riddled with rot from the factory. Domestic cars fared far better than the tin can deathtraps being dumped on US shores by Japan.

    Like 6
    • Gerard Frederick

      ¨Tin can death traps¨, I have NEVER heard anyone disparage Japanese cars thusly. I worked in the business for over 30 years, a lot of them dealing with Toyota and Nissan and NEVER encountered ANYONE who had experienced these problems. In my experience, some of the most reliable cars were the Celica models and the 240-300 ZX´s. Between ´85 and ´89 my company car was a Nissan Maxima and I have never driven a more trouble-rust free car in my life.

      Like 4
      • Tom

        My girlfriend still owns a 2008 Nissan Altima that is taking up space in the driveway because this thing isn’t even safe to put on a tow truck as it will probably rip in half from the rust through immediately aft of the front sub frame (both left and right side). It has been parked since the car was ten years old! It’s a problem that Nissan is well aware of but refuses to own up to. Last Nissan she (or I) will ever own. We’ve warned everyone we know to avoid the brand!

  7. Raymond

    I liked them, I think the early fox body’s are just as slow, think they coulda kept innovating the platform and power of these and they’re nicer looking into, respect the fox body’s but these looked like a mustang not Fairmont Junior….

    Like 1
  8. Chris Webster

    19 inches shorter, and 15 pounds lighter? How the hell do you manage that?
    “Road Hugging weight” indeed!

    Like 2
  9. Shawn

    Oh look a pinto with ground effects !

    Like 2
    • Gerard Frederick

      Precisely. The 1964-65, ´67,´68 and ´69 models were MUSTANGS. after that, not so much.

      • Mark gordon Connett

        actully they where falcons

        Like 2
  10. Fred

    I owned a 77 Mustang Cobra II. It was polar white with green stripes and the white interior. Don’t ever sweat because that white interior is a real pain in the butt to keep clean, especially the door arm rests. A toothbrush was mandatory to get into every little crevice there was.

  11. JCA

    Hmmm… buyers were willing to pay $2900 but won’t come up to $3500. Relisting because buyers changed their mind and don’t complete the sale. Doesn’t sound like a hot market for Cobra Mustang II’s to me…

    Problem is you can still find later model 5.0 fox body projects for this price or less. You still have a Mustang that I think is better looking, is rarely seen, performs better and you’ll appreciate the reliability of a fuel injected 5.0.

    Like 2
  12. joe

    A 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 would weigh in at about 3400 pounds.

    Like 1
  13. Gary Rhodes

    White with blue or red was very common, blue with white was not. There were probably ten of these in our area along with about the same number of King Cobras. We had a couple that had built engines and ran very well but they were, well, a re skinned Pinto to me.

  14. Michael A Groves

    Something tells me this car is hidding rust that can’t be seen. Might be worth saving, but I’d look hard, and long at it. Quarter pannels, inside trunk. Engine well.

  15. Matthew Jarrett

    The Mustang was on an econobox platform from day one, or are you unfamiliar with the Falcon? No, Mustang IIs were never performance leaders, but how many former pony cars were during that era? Even the HP leader of the group, the “mighty” Trans-Am (and I LOVE me a T/A!) carried a high HP of 185 from its 400ci V8, and it was also a pig at over 3500 lbs!
    As the ’64-’73 cars disappear and values make them totally unapproachable for most buyers, the IIs will continue to creep up the market. Me? I want another one! I miss my ’75 Mach I (304 a/t) from high school, and if I ever get another, I’ll probably go with a modern turbo 4cyl to help trim the heft!

    Like 2
    • SirRaoulDuke

      You think the correct way. Unless someone is buying a pristine all original example, there is no reason to accept stock power figures from the malaise era.

      I actually like the Mustang II, and feel there is nothing wrong there that a 300 HP 302 won’t fix, along with upgraded suspension and brakes.

      And I dream of building a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with an EcoBoost 2.3

      Like 2
      • Brian

        I have the bird,1983 original owner 70,000 something mi.Would make a good barn find story ,I gots the dust and all,no rust,ill give you first dibs., Brian

  16. MDW66

    As someone who lives in Canada where roads are salted, all cars then and now rust! Especially when there is little care given to the vehicle. Today’s thin sheet metal is rusting as we speak!

    Like 1
  17. John Bellmore

    Sale ended by seller again. Could be a fair project car if it stays for sale lokg enough to buy it.

  18. Steve B.

    In 1986, I bought my first 1977 Ford Mustang Cobra II. 302 with Auto and AC. All original with guess what….. Paint was white with blue stripes, white interior with black dash, carpet and center console. 409 cleaner was my friend for cleaning it. Did not come with the V8 style front sway bar and came with no rear sway bar. 3.00 gears non-locker. So this was rare huh? And yes the hatchbacks were a little porky for being so small looking. Mine weighed nearly 3100 lbs.

  19. James427

    I just drove by two of these today while I was our car hunting. Didn’t even bother to stop and leave a note. Nobody really wants them and parts are hard to get.

  20. James427

    I just drove by two of these today while I was our car hunting. Didn’t even bother to stop and leave a note. Nobody really wants them and parts are hard to get.

  21. Kevin

    I also will have to take issue with Adam,and other “ranters”about how great the Japanese cars were,yes they typically would run forever, especially the famed Toyota 22re big 4,but the bodies were thin garbage, and didn’t last in a harsh climate well,American cars also suffered similarly, especially when they started using Japanese steel in the 70s.

    Like 1
  22. Stripnzinc

    What makes this car rare is the white deluxe interior not the polar white paint with blue stripes. Honestly who bought the car will need a marti report breakdown to tell how many was produced this way.

  23. William

    I purchased my 1976 Cobra II new November 1975 .132000 miles on body still in good shape with very little rust .Rebuilt 302 5 years ago with flattop pistons,275 cam ,headers ,600 Holly 4 bbl on Ford factory aluminum intake .Just these upgrades helped it run as fast as GM LS powered cars .Starting restore on polar white blue striped 0ne owner .Love this car paid $5,300 new was offered 6,000 would not take it .Have all original window price sticker and owners manuals.Black interior.

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