Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once had a fantastic dream. The dream of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe MLKC - Mustang Liftback King Cobra - seller is far less ambitious: to find a new home for it at his asking price. Let’s see if that dream should become a reality.
As we’ve noted before, there are two rules for success in life: (1) be attractive, and (2) don’t be unattractive. Unfortunately for the dealer trying to move it off the lot, last Friday’s 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet failed on both of those measures.
The aesthetics, along with an expectation of handling offering more flex than Cirque du Soleil and a thrill sapping CVT, led to that odd bodkin of a crossover convertible walking off the stage with a 70% Crack Pipe loss for its eighteen grand price.
Give it a few more years though, and I’ll bet it will be seen as a quirky and desirable classic, coveted for its uniqueness and eclecticism. Or, maybe not.
There are in fact a number concepts that many of us embrace today that were once seemingly out of the mainstream. One of those is civl rights, which we reflect upon today in celebration of Dr MLK Jr’s birthday. Another is the potential desirability of the second generation of Ford’s Mustang, a model often derided as the PintoStang.
Dr. King worked tirelessly and gave his life for the cause of equality. The Mustang II on the other hand has simply seen enough time pass that present generations care less about the origins of its underpinnings and more about the inherent horsiness of its style.
This 1978 King Cobra represents possibly the ultimate expression of the Mustang II, and rocks all the right features for the era. That’s a 302 V8, a four-speed stick, flashy and borderline fetishistic snake graphics, spoilers front and rear, and louvers - god love ‘em, side window louvers. Those last bits are not factory additions, by the way
The seller claims that it’s one of 2,017 of the models built, and ’78 was the only year for the “King” Cobra.
The seller also says that this is a numbers-matching car, however that doesn’t include the original intake manifold and 2bbl carb that once helped quell power output to the level of a sleepy kitten. Instead, this Cobra better attempts to live up to its King status by rocking a 4bbl mixer and an aftermarket intake.
Dual exhausts help the breathing on the other side, and of course you could always drop a set of big valve heads on there to really open that Windsor up, if you were of a mind to do so.
Hopefully even now it makes more than the pitiful 139-bhp with which it was imbued from the factory. A four-speed Borge-Warner RAD transmission adds to the fun factor.
The rest of the car is equally a mix of old and… well less old. There’s newish paint over an earlier respray which itself is thrown over the factory coat. That looks a little tired in a couple of the pics, but I’d reserve judgement until seeing the car in the metal.
Speaking of that metal, it’s all said to be intact, with no rust and everything where it’s supposed to be. The body kit; airdam, spats and spoiler, all look like they need to be painted too. A demerit on this one is that it lacks the invariably leaky but still desirable for the kitsch factor T-tops.
Inside, it’s like a vinyl bomb went off, which is good because that’s how Ford built them back in the day. The seats look like they’ve had some fat asses in them but there’s a new carpet and headliner to take your mind off the soul-crushing flatness and apparent lack of support those thrones embody.
The odo reads 55,000 miles, but that could have gone around the horn at least once as there’s only five barrels and I guess the DMV in Ohio doesn’t keep track of such things.
That’s where this car is presently located, offered on the Dayton Craigslist. In the ad it’s shown wearing what look like Centerline Bullet wheels - which aren’t half bad - but the original alloys are also pictured so maybe it comes with those as well. The seller also includes a pic of what might be a Cobra head Schrader valve stem head, which would be cool if in fact.
The asking price is $6,000, and while it seemingly needs some work, it’s far from the worst out there, and looks like a good base to get your Mustang II on. This cars are gaining a following - don’t you judge - and will likely become more coveted as attrition culls their numbers over time.
What’s your take on this MLKC on MLK’s observed birthday? Is $6,000 a fair deal? Or, is that price for this ‘Stang just not right?
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