Sharp Survivor: 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra

For sure, the Mustang II has a smaller fan base than other eras of the classic Mustang. But as we’ve discussed before, it’s not nearly as bad it’s often made out to be when equipped with the right options. In this case, a King Cobra equipped with the 302 V8 and four-speed manual gearbox should make for a fine fair-weather companion that will at least still make the right noises and certainly ensure you’re in one of the rarer Mustangs offered. While rarity doesn’t always translate into value, it’s certainly not every day you see a Mustang II King Cobra, and certainly not one as clean as this. Find it here on eBay with bids to $7,600 and no reserve.

The King Cobra represented the swan song for the Mustang II, and was effectively a one year only model offered with a variety of visual upgrades. These included the mesh wheels, rear spoiler, front air dam, fender well spoilers, and gigantic snake on the hood. A unique decal kit was also offered to help set the King Cobra apart from the rest of the Mustang II lineup. The end result was a car that certainly looked the part of a muscle car, but still had plenty of convincing to do among the Mustang faithful that this was a suitable replacement for the Mustangs they still pined for (spoiler alert: it didn’t work.) Eventually, cars like this would just be gutted for their drivetrains and suspension components, but fortunately, this one never was – although it apparently comes with an aftermarket exhaust.

That said, I don’t mind the slight deviation from stock, as the freer flowing exhaust likely sounds pretty good with the 302 under the hood. Plus, it has the added benefit of being a four-speed car which means it will sound even better when you downshift into third. The interior is in fair shape, but I have to say, no matter what that seat cover is hiding, the cover itself is far worse than seeing some tattered upholstery. Get rid of that thing! The passenger seat looks decent and door panels present well, along with the dash. The seller mentions that center console isn’t bolted down but doesn’t explain why. The seller reports that mileage is indicated as being just over 79,000 but can’t validate it 100 percent.

The engine bay looks to be very well detailed, and quite a bit better than the rest of the car. The paintwork does look good and dark navy is a color we don’t often see on the King Cobra, but the engine bay is what gets my attention the most. The seller notes the King Cobra received a new steering rack in the past year and that there are no leaks at present, but doesn’t go into deep detail about other repair work he’s done. The tires are old and should be replaced, and the seller notes he only does short drives with the Mustang II due to the tires. The carburetor has also been rebuilt in the past and is said to still run great. Overall, the King Cobra isn’t for everyone, but I think clean examples like this deserve our consideration. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Larry D. for the find.


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  1. Bruce

    While King might have been a rare find the Cobra II shared the air dam, hood scoop (non functional), and rear spoiler plus a different decal package, not sure about the wheels but I think I remember the mesh wheels being on a ’76 Cobra II with the 302 and automatic that was leased by a Ford Exec

  2. Mitch

    Is this a decent car? I see that the back bumper is cracked, but if all it needs is interior work, and the back bumper… it should be worth it. Can anyone help me?

    Like 1
  3. CCFisher

    That seat cover is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve been to a clothing-optional resort recently.

    Like 11
    • Bruce

      Yeah, looks like whoever has been working on / under cars wallered all over that seat. And as far as the “clothing optional”, at least there is no hiding of much

  4. man ' war
    • man ' war

      Guess it sold. It’s been deleted by author.

  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Given when the Mustang II was produced, I consider it incredible that it was even sold. Compared to previous Mustangs, it looks like nothing to write home about. But with the right equipment and powertrain, it could’ve been an awesome car! Something to share the market with the likes of the Toyota Celica and Celica Supra.

    Like 1
  6. Joe

    Passenger seat is ripped, dent on left front fender and bumper is not aligned correctly, looks worse the more you look.

    Like 1
  7. David Bailey

    I wondered if someone could recreate this car with 306HP upgrade to original engine? Perhaps rebuild the 4 speed to muscle car standards? Suspension? Perhaps the all time sleeper??

    Like 2
    • Bruce

      It could be boosted, my brother was working on one several years ago and it snapped the rear axles. He changed the rear end to one with 5 lugs (even the V8s only came with the 4 lug hubs) and no more snapped axles

      Like 1
  8. Araknid78

    Item location:
    Walnut Cove, North Carolina

  9. Leslie Martin Member

    Back in the day when these cars were new, I worked at Super Shops and our assistant manager bought a King Cobra when they first went on sale. He was so excited about it until he raced me and I blew his doors off with my nearly stock ’71 340 Duster. After that, we used to tease him that he had the fastest Pinto in town.

    Like 2
  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $7,901.

  11. T-bone BOB

    Jul 25, 2021
    Winning bid:
    US $7,901.00
    [ 5 bids ]

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