Skyrocketing Values: 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra

The seller of this rare 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra claims “values are skyrocketing” for these heavily flared and sticker’d faux muscle cars, indicative of an era when fuel economy was more of a priority for consumers than roasting the rear tires off of a Mustang. The Cobra II was a lightly spiced version of the commuter car special Mustang II, but the King Cobra took it a step further and made the V8 standard along with adding some decent suspension and aero enhancements. They are hard to find, but I’m not sure its values will ever pierce the upper reaches of muscle car glory. Find the King Cobra here on eBay with bidding just under $10K and the reserve unmet.

The King Cobra package came in at under $1,300, and got the proud owner a number of upgrades, though mostly of the decorative sort. While the King Cobra did get the V8 standard (you could spec the standard Cobra II with both the four- and six-cylinder engines, in addition to the V8), it only made 133 b.h.p., so speed was still an afterthought. The King Cobra has 76,848 miles, and presents surprisingly well despite not being a time capsule-grade car. In fact, the seller doesn’t make any claims to it being restored, which makes the nicely preserved cabin all the more impressive, especially with colors that are extremely prone to looking quite filthy with regular use.

The seller notes that this is not the numbers matching 302, calling it a “fresh” engine still under the factory warranty. Honestly, while I sometimes get worked up over non-matching engines, it’s not that big of a deal in this application. Yes, it was marketed as a performance car, but most everyone knows by now that it wasn’t. Loads of Mustang IIs were pillaged for their 302s, and plenty more had V8s swapped in to replace the anemic four cylinders. So, while it is a strike against its authenticity, I don’t think it should hurt the values of an unloved “muscle” car like this. The seller also notes the radiator has been refurbished, along with all hoses.

The colors are great, by the way, and the King Cobra still proudly sports its graphics kit, stripes, and stickers. The King Cobra always looked good in orange to me with the black accents, so this combo gets my stamp of approval. The King Cobra package included a non-functional hood scoop, front air dam, and a rear spoiler, and the air dam actually did feed cool air to the front brakes. Shocks were adjustable and the King Cobra also got a rear sway bar, sport steering wheel, and 13-inch wheels sporting a tasty cross-lace pattern. If the paint is original, than this typically unloved specimen starts to look quite appealing as a cheap collector car you can drive everyway while still making all the right noises.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    So, is this the latest “flash in the pan” of what nobody wanted then, suddenly worth 5 figures now? Broncos and squarebodies come to mind. I always liked the “Pinto on Steroids” Mustang ll, even though, it suffered many of the same problems the V8 Monza did, it was still closer to the original Mustang, especially that Fox junk( for me) that replaced these. For years, these were the “forgotten” Mustang, purists wanted nothing to do with them, and they were stripped of the motor and thrown away, or rusted away. Some smart individual kept one, and a nice one too,,,who’s stupid now, eh?

    Like 19
    • AMCFAN

      Who’s stupid now? The original owner for not driving it and enjoying it when it was still in style.

      Like 10
    • JCA Member

      Who’s stupid now? Well, we know that this owner was and still is stupid. That was just confirmed by “reserve not met” auction ending. I guess they aren’t skyrocketing in value. How much did he spend putting in the new motor and all the other repairs? You don’t think he’s got at least $10k in parts and labor in this? At this point the market has spoken, and it still believes this car isn’t very collectable or desirable. It’s just a remnant from the malaise and sporty sticker car era. As for Fox bodies, they continue to climb and rightfully so. They represented a turning point back to the American pony car era of the 80’s. I’ll take a Fox or this any day.

      Like 5
  2. Moparman Member

    I ALWAYS liked the Mustang II, in spite of its perceived shortcomings years later. I have fond memories of a friends 4 spd notchback, although my preference is for the hatchback. I never warmed to or cared for the graphics of the King Cobra, and every time a Mach I came up for sale (or any V-8, 4 Spd) it’s always been too far away/in poor condition/etc! This one looks good, GLTWA!! :-)

    Like 5
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I’ve also always liked the Mustang II’s. I was a poor high school / college kid when they were new, and to me they represented a sporty yet relatively inexpensive car to aspire to– compared to what I was actually driving (a wearing-out early 70’s economy car.) This one looks to have been well-kept and is an eye-catcher with the loud orange paint. I don’t know that prices are “skyrocketing” but I suspect they are increasing, specifically for nice examples.

    Like 8
  4. Cadmanls Member

    The fox body is getting more attention nowadays with good reason. Have to say though this color is a good look for these. Don’t remember seeing one, black and blue, white ones yep. Probably warmed up that 302, emissions and fuel economy hurt this small block back then. Lest we not forget this had a new front suspension that migrated to many other cars and that design is still popular today.

    Like 3
    • William J Kolacek

      I have a 1978 ford granada 302 factory 4 speed only 1443 made with a V8 4 speed , only 33 had DARK Jade paint with Bench seat according to Marti Auto works It has a “Handeling Package” Any idea of what this included ???

      • K. R. V. Member

        Yes I remember when my Dad bought a sister a new Granada for her graduation present, I helped him find the lowest price 4 dr around. That was a decent car at the time. But a three on the tree, 190 straight six, with AM/FM, that’s was in, but looked good in silver out, dark red with buckets inside. But at the dealership I remember going through the options list. I remember the handling package had caught my eye, so I looked at the description. That said, 14” by 7” sport wheels, instead of 13” by 6”, plus dual remote side mirrors, HD shocks, that was all, but there were some required other options needed, I can’t recall exactly.

  5. AMCFAN

    My guess is the only people paying the money for them are people in their 50’s and up that for some reason or another had one/remember them. I cannot see these as market changers.

    Something from the 1970’s billed as a “sporty” car (nothing about performance) If I remember correctly 130 horsepower with the 302 do not see the popularity unless one was really a Charlies Angles fan.

    I would rather have a bloatstang from 71-73 or a Fox. The 2005 and up Stangs are also getting cheap. Performance handling and safety in place. Wasn’t a Pinto enthusiast which is what this is more or less.

    Like 9
    • Desert Rat

      I agree with you, AMCFAN, I would take the 71/73 mustang any day of the week and twice on Sunday over any Mustang II. I remember being just out of high school and seeing pics of the new mustang Mach 1 in magazines and I could not believe what Ford did to one of my favorite cars.

      Like 6
  6. Steve R

    Ford should have named it the Mustang Halloween edition rather than sully the name “King Cobra”.

    It’s always reassuring when the seller informs potential buyers that “prices are shy rocketing” so they will be enticed to spend more money.

    There are better and more interesting cars for the money.

    Steve R

    Like 4
  7. The Crusty Autoworker

    While I was never that impressed by the graphics package on these King Cobras, I always thought these Mustang lls were unfairly under loved by pony car fans. As others have mentioned these cars went back to the Mustangs roots compared to it’s predecessor. My buddy’s dad had a ’77 hatch in dark green with tan leather/vinyl and a 302 4spd with rally/mag wheels, it seemed pretty sweet to us 17 year old car crazy guys.

    Like 9
  8. chevelle guy

    hard “no” .

    Like 3
  9. KEVIN

    gorgeous, I’d love to be able to afford it

    Like 4
  10. John

    I find it interesting that if this is supposed to be a king Cobra there are no cobra badging in the center of the grill or the front fenders. Also the Cobra motors were a high performance version of Ford’s stock 302 ( I know I had a 77 ) I would have to question this one.

    Like 1
    • Stad

      King Cobra’s came from the factory without Cobra’s in the grill nor on the fenders. They also did not have V8 on the fenders. I own a t-top King Cobra and a 74 Ghia

      Like 1
  11. txchief

    I’d Gen 3 hemi swap it!

    Like 1
    • Arthur

      Better yet, give this one a Hellcat engine.

  12. chevelle guy

    hard “no” .

    Like 3
  13. Rex Kahrs Member

    Best to send this back to the Land of The Misfit Toys. The only thing good to come out of Ford in 1978 was the F-150, and I’d love to find one of those under the tree on Friday!.

    Like 2
  14. JoeNYWF64

    What were they thinking putting 195-70-THIRTEEN in wheels on these!! Or any
    Mustang for that matter!
    Notice the window sticker doesn’t mention that they are 13’s!
    Even the lowly falcon eventually graduated to 14 inch wheels!
    This car perfectly illustrates how dumb it was(see the peeling?) to paint over(improperly?) not only the window frames but the side drip moldings!! with (cheap?) black paint.
    Late ’70s F-bodies did the same front & back but if you got the optional side drip moldings, they remained chrome! Even more stupid. lol
    Yet, i’ve seen 52 yr old chromed side drip moldings still shiny & not peeling on GM cars that have ALWAYS been outside!!!
    I wonder if you requested to leave off the std “King” Cobra” hood decal, would they?

  15. JoeNYWF64

    Interior & steering wheel look great, tho no redline on the tach?!

  16. ADM

    I’d drive a regular V8 Mustang II, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in a King Cobra, back then, or now.

    Like 3
  17. Comet

    “Skyrocketing value?” Looks like I better bust out my platform shoes, those gotta be worth a fortune!

    Like 3
  18. david r

    These cars are a cruel joke.

    Like 4
  19. Frank

    My Opinion, Almost as collectible as the Hurst Olds. My memories of them are bringing one back from an auction at mount arie to Ohio with a friend and it was very cramped for anyone over 5′ tall.
    That great 302 2 barrel (no 4 barrels) engine did have more power than the olds 307.
    That’s what you had for performance cars at the time and they need to be left “Back in the Day” Not with ridiculois asking prices.

    Like 2
  20. Frank

    Value is “skyrocketing”? Haha!

    Like 2
  21. scott ensley

    to be called a muscle car is a little over the top for me !!

    Like 1
  22. Gary

    My Dad bought a left over ’74 notchback with the V6 4 speed. It was a nice little car. Until I loaned it to a friend. Who got drunk and flipped the car 3 and 1/2 times. (in a soybean field) My Dad was furious with me. It was totaled. He bought a black ’69 LTD 4 door. No a/c with black cloth interior. He said “drive this until you can afford to buy something better”. Looking back, I deserved that.

    Like 3
  23. K. R. V. Member

    King Cobra? More like the kings jester! I remember back in the day I had a new 78 Scout II TERRA truck, 4×4, 345/4brl V8, 3speed torque flight trans. A cousin very close to me had a king Cobra”, V8, 4 speed, all the decals an stripes in black an gold! I remember we actually had a “race”, where I left the line and was gone! That mustang was a must not!

    Like 2
  24. Troy s

    Lots of laughs remembering the dud King Cobra. It’s just too ridiculous to take seriously,, especially the idea of skyrocketing value……maybe wait another thirty or forty years.
    Or just build it up, get some better shoes on it and drive the crap out of it.

    Like 1
  25. ADM

    A ’78 King Cobra vs. a ’78 Formula W72, WS6, with a four speed. 133 net hp, vs. 260 real, net hp. If you wanted style, and performance, the choice was more than obvious.

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