Sweet Tangerine: Ford Mustang II King Cobra

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Holy cow – I love this car. The Mustang II King Cobra has been on my list of “Cars to Own Before I Die” list for quite some time, and finding one in Tangerine Orange is the ultimate bucket list achievement. I wish I were in a place to snatch up this 1978 example here on eBay, which aside from some rough cosmetics and an incorrect interior, appears to be a great starting point for a distinctive muscle car project. Of course, first on the list of To-Do’s should be an appropriate cobra snake decal on the hood. 

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Although it is commonly derided for being an impostor of a real-deal Mustang, the King Cobra at least made the most valiant attempt of the Mustang II family to be a contender. Sold only with a V8, it also featured one of my favorite factory body kits with a deep air dam, sweet rear spoiler and mesh wheels that were of a style typically only found on European imports (fun fact: I adore mesh-look basketweave wheels, especially painted to match like these are). To me, the best part about this example is that all of the original kit remains in place, especially those sexy rear quarter flares. You will likely need to find new bumpers front and rear, however.

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The interior is a bit of a bummer. Personally, I hate dealing with interior work, but at least the swapped-in seats are from another Mustang. The original King Cobra interior would have likely featured some killer plaid-style fabrics or vinyl buckets, either of which are better looking than this combination. However, the hard-to-find bits are here, which is what matters most. You can even see on the passenger floor area that the car will come with its desirable hub trim rings complete with cobra emblems. Speaking of the floor, the seller mentions that the carpet is torn and may need replacement. I suspect it’s best just to factor in interior replacement into the final sale price.

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The seller notes the sunroof is aftermarket, which is a bummer – those have a tendency for leaks. The only rust trouble spots appear to be contained to the bottom of the passenger-side door. Although I’m tempted to call this Mustang II King Cobra a survivor, it’s a little closer to project status in my mind with the interior work needed. But if the paint can be restored with some minor touch-up work and the OEM-correct striping and hood decor sourced, it wouldn’t be difficult to bring this Mustang to driver quality and enjoy as-is while making other corrections as needed. The price is $3K OBO – what do you think is a fair offer?

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’m with you, Jeff. Dad bought a ’78 fastback for Mom new and I tried to persuade him to go for the black King Cobra…I lost. Great looking cars!

    Like 1
  2. piper62j

    Meh!! Doesn’t impress me.. Not my favorite Mustang body style.. Looks like a tricked out Pinto.. JMHO

    Good find.. Nice car..

  3. That Guy

    I’ll never warm up to the Mustang II, but Ford sold a ton of them so I can’t fault their market strategy. It would be fun to see this car all restored, as a reminder of how far we’ve come if nothing else.

    Like 1
  4. Vegas Vic

    Late 70s! Great body N graphics
    Still the Trans Am is superior
    For looks and performance
    Give ford credit: they sold a ton!

    Like 1
  5. Howard A Member

    Hmm, never heard of this particular model. My ex-wife had a ’77 Monza V-8, and a friend’s gf had a Mustang Cobra ll ( blue and white, V-8, automatic) so I was kind of into these types of cars. These are extremely rare, one site sez 4,313 units produced. Looking at other images, this car appears to be missing some stuff, like the louvered window covers, which I suppose someone would remove, they create a terrible blind spot, and the T-top. Maybe this is a clone. My friend’s Cobra ll was a cool car, I liked it much more than the V-8 Monza, but still had some of the same problems, front-heavy, so-so brakes, handled poorly, hard to work on, but boy howdy, those cars had power to pass. This era is always referred to in Mustang lore as “The Forgotten Years”, and it’s true, they are, despite, like others said, they sold millions. I like it, especially compared to what a Mustang is today. Nothing wrong with a new Mustang, it’s just this is much more my style. Very cool find.

    • Cayden

      of the little over 4,000 king cobras they made less than half were t-top so not all of them were t-toped and if you ever have a t-top king cobra keep them on because if you don’t you could bend the body if you take a turn to hard or hut a huge pot hole so be careful if you do take them off (i have done it) and i have a king cobra a cobra 2 both great cars i love them.

  6. Van

    Mustang II
    If it doesn’t have a V8 use it for parts.
    There’s a reason why Mustangs from 64 1/2 through 1970 are easy to find, and II are all but extinct.
    I’ve never understood why hotroders used the front suspension from a II, It’s easy.
    Use a rear suspension from a Jaguar to mach “wha”.
    You can still buy custom Mustang II front ends? To match your LS7?
    The front of a C4 Vett would make more sense, at least.
    I digress, this car could be cool if well restored, just don’t spend to much.

    • Bruce

      I agree. In 1976 we bought a used 1974 Mustang II coupe for my wife from a co-worker. It had the 4 cyl automatic. It seemed slow, but was inexpensive and in great shape. I figured that my cousin, a career Ford mechanic, would be able to “speed” it up a bit. He took it for a drive and said “it’s just like all the others”. It was definitely the slowest vehicle I have ever owned. It was scary pulling into traffic. In addition, it averaged about 16 mpg. I swear that I could have beaten it on foot in a 30 yard dash. I had no regrets selling it a few years later.

  7. Danno

    Pal had an orange one with a 2.3l 4-spd. It didn’t last long LOL. The Cobra II package always looked pretty sharp to me.

  8. Woodie Man

    Each to his own………….but a Mustang II?

  9. Doug Towsley

    Not a big fan of Fords, and never thought much of the Mustang 2s, However the air dam, flares and other bits make this kinda cool.

    Im a huge fan of 1970s style road race cars, IMSA, And TransAm racing. The period Euro race car styling. So, for that reason i give this find a thumbs up.

    Just IMHO, However *IF* I were to take it on, Id update the suspension, brakes, and drive train while retaining the outer period styling and even go more a bit, Just look at period race cars and go from there. I also LOVE the old gold honey comb wheels as well. Have several sets. The best i found were the lightweight Enkei wheels.

    Perhaps a late model donor car might be a good choice.

  10. HeadMaster1

    Nice find, for me I’d rather have a Pinto Cruising wagon, and install a turbo SVO motor, or a 302 like this if I had too

    Like 1
  11. Chris In Australia

    Muscle car and Mustang II in the same article?

    • BILL GRAHAM

      I agree with this guy. These cars were a slap in the face to real Mustang owners. I wouldn’t have walked across the street to see it when new. I’m sorry, but if you lived the muscle car years, these attempts to keep it alive were insulting.
      It looks like the Australians weren’t fooled.

  12. Kent Pearson

    It’s a tupperware nightmare and sticking more random bits on just makes it look worse – by far. I thought you were joking when you said dreamt about having one.

    They were all a piece of sh*t. Sales just confirm PT Barnum was right.

  13. John Behrens

    I have a 1976 mustang cobra 2 and trying to find parts for it is a nightmare they don’t make aftermarket catalogs for them because there’s not a very big market out there for them another thing is that the cobra 2’s were notorious for a dying battery and over heating

  14. jaymes

    the only mustang the kids could afford

  15. piper62j

    Bill Graham…. Here!! Here!!

  16. Mike_B_SVT

    Personally, I love it. Great color combination.
    If I were a serious buyer I would spend $20 and order a Marti Report to see exactly what interior it was originally equipped with.
    Too bad it is an automatic car though, and a rusty one at that :-/

  17. David meichelbock

    I’d offer 1000 cash if there interested

    Like 1
  18. David meichelbock77

    I’m looking for one to restore I will pay 1000.00 for the orange one

    Like 1
  19. Jayme Ratekin

    That’s my car!

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