Runs and Drives: 1978 Ford Mustang Cobra II

This 1978 Ford Cobra II is described as an old barn find that still runs and drives but will obviously need some love to make it road-worthy. The Cobra II is a unloved specimen among most muscle car fans, but it’s also a car that was not nearly as bad as it was made out to be. The Cobra II could be had with a variety of engines, and this one sports the 2.8l V6 paired to a four-speed manual, which isn’t a terrible set up if you’re not dead-set on owning a V8 car. The seller doesn’t mention any rust, but it doesn’t look terrible in photos. Find the Cobra II here on Facebook Marketplace in Crawfordsville, IN for $5,500.

The Indiana location could mean rust-free or rust-bucket, depending on how it was stored, but in this instance the car in question looks reasonably solid from above. The original Cobra graphics are in good shape, and the period-correct rear window louvers are a must-have. The paint is flaking off the bumpers, which may indicate a sub-par prior respray, but it’s hard to be sure of the paint quality given it’s still wearing barn dust in places. The Cobra-specific spoilers and front air dam remain in place, but the original wheels appear to have gone missing.

Original details are what sells cars like these, as the graphics kit, aero add-ons, and color-matched wheels all add up to an appearance package that’s hard to ignore. The suspension tuning that came standard on the Mustang II was also fairly robust and those components are still desirable for hot-rod builds today, which is why so many V8-equipped Mustang IIs were stripped of their drivetrains and suspensions and left for dead. This one has escaped that fate as it remains in surprisingly complete condition, and even the interior is in great shape – that upholstery really doesn’t show any major flaws.

The V8 / four-speed combo is the way to fly if you’re hungry for a Cobra II, but the V6 wasn’t a total dog, and certainly better than the entry level 2.3L four-cylinder (but that engine could be woken up with turbocharging, if you were so inclined.) The engine bay looks to be complete with no major components missing, and whatever this car’s story is, it doesn’t appear to be an abandoned project or swap victim that stopped halfway through the job. If the underside isn’t compromised by rust, this Cobra II looks like a quick and easy project for the Mustang enthusiast, but the asking price still seems a touch high to me.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I think Jeff is right, price seems aggressive. It doesn’t look terrible and may not be rusty, but it still needs work just about everywhere. For the Mustang II fan this might be a good specimen to restore or restomod.

    Like 8
  2. Steve

    This article sounds like the classic case of trying to put perfume on a pig. The Mustang II was a total embarrassment to the Mustang name, the only thing worse than using the Mustang nameplate on an electric golf cart sounding vehicle, the new Mach E. If I never saw another Mustang II in my life, I would be happy, they are awful. A Pinto underneath, and no matter how you try to glamorize it, just really a total piece of garbage.

    Like 7
    • bone

      Well at least it look like a Mustang , the new 1979 was equally underpowered , and looked nothing like a Mustang.

      Like 7
    • ER

      Think what you want about the Mustang 2 but it bridged the gap and kept Ford building the mustang. With new government regulations they thought about stopping the mustang.The mustang 2 really wasnt all that bad . If it was people would not use the front suspensions. As long as you didnt purchase the 4 cyl.

      Like 5
    • Jan Byrd

      I have owned most all model Mustangs and fast Fords from early Shelby’s, Ford GT, Boss 429 etc etc. I have also owned two Mustang II’s. These cars are misunderstood and not built on a Pinto tub as many think. Actually doing ground up on a 78 Cobra II right now with a 422HP 347 stroker. Every sold built cars much better than not think. Mustang II came along at the right time in history during the oil crisis, possible saving the Mustang name. Not to worry I know Fords and speak from experience not hearsay.

      Like 15
      • Jan Byrd

        Meant to type very solid.

        Like 1
  3. Jim

    Runs and drives? Perfect! It can be driven to the scrap yard instead of having to pay a guy to haul it away.

    Like 3
  4. Buni Crivisin Member

    Jeff can you contact me please on my email
    Mrdinorcio@yahoo.com

  5. Steve R

    Nothing screams reliable more than a battery charger prominently displayed in an ad for a used car.

    This is way overpriced for what is just an appearance package on a car that has trouble getting respect on its own merits.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  6. Dan

    With that engine, I don’t know if it could pass a f@rt.

    Like 2
  7. Steve Clinton

    Ad states “Driven 4,000 miles” which might be true concerning those seats, but that car has driven much more than 4000 miles!

  8. Bunky

    Pass- and I like Mustang IIs. Early Cologne V6s were arguably the worst Ford engine ever. A few more horses than a 2.3, but not particularly fuel efficient, and prone to cylinder head/valve train failure. And to do a V8 swap you need the core support and radiator- and if memory serves, tranny and rear end as well.

    Like 1
  9. David Bailey

    Hey! Someone: Is there any true difference between the King Cobra, and the Cobra II? THANKS!

    • Sftlwray

      I’ve had both, new in consecutive years. Differences were purely cosmetic, stripe graphics, wheels and front air dam.

      Like 3
  10. Edselbill

    For all the II haters out there, I suggest you google these once hallowed muscle and pony car models for 1978..

    1978…..
    442
    Grand Am
    AMX
    Javelin
    Barracuda / ‘Cuda
    Challenger
    Charger
    Duster
    Daytona
    Chevelle SS
    Buick GS / Skylark
    GTX / Dart

    As well as the HP Ratings for 1978 Camaros, Firebirds & even Corvette.
    Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    The Mustang II doesn’t look so bad, and actually holds up pretty well once you put in the right context.

    (Besides, people forget that if they WANTED the continuation of the original 1964-1967 Mustang, you could pretty much order the same car / platform as it was built from the Falcon and the platform continued on as the Maverick through the 70’s.)

    Like 8
  11. Howard Kerr

    If someone is thing of buying a Mustang II get the best example you can find. In my experience, there are few (if any) suppliers of restoration parts for the II. This one has the very rare t-top, carefully inspect the underside of the car if possible to avoid any surprizes.
    This could be a decent little car to drive as you restore, but it will never sell for more than what you put into it, so you better like it.

    Like 4

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