For $6,900, the King is Dead, Long Live the King... Cobra

Illustration for article titled For $6,900, the King is Dead, Long Live the King... Cobra

For many, the score was Mustang II, muscle car fans zero. But time wounds all heels, and for today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe we're seeing if it's really that bad, and if this one's price is even worse.


It turns out you all like your NSX's like your men, strong and black unadorned and original, as yesterday's heavily modded 1996 NSX T proved with its 74.1% (yes, point one!) Crack Pipe loss. That car's dress up and performance bona fides couldn't overcome the derision over their excess, nor the dressed up price.

The say that J Edgar Hoover liked to play dress up too, and would read secret FBI files while wearing high heels and a lithe young boy as a stole. Of course no matter how much make up you trowelled on old J Edgar, it still didn't mask his inherent five o-clock shadowiness, or his tuck-under. Today's contender is much like thate secretive FBI head in that it wears a costume that can't successfully hide its basic nature.

The Mustang II debuted in 1974 as a response to the first gas crisis and the need to clean-sheet designs in order to meet the increasingly stringent safety regulations. Its Pinto underpinnings, much like the first generation's Falcon base, provided the company with economies of scale that outweighed the littlest pony's lackluster pony car creds. However, by 1978, when today's V8-powered King Cobra edition hit the streets, things had changed. Okay, they hadn't changed, and the King Cobra was nothing more than a tape treatment intended to entice aficionados of the garish and profane.

This King Cobra, like all of them, rocks Ford's cleanup hitter of the lineup, the stoic 302 V8. Sadly, as the ‘70s clipped the cojones off of pretty much everybody's cars, this performance motor makes but a pitiful 139 horsepower. That's drinking through a 2BBl, and pushing the power through a 4-speed that also did time in a Pinto and had all the precision of a fourteen year old's first sexual experience. But maybe that's your thing, and if so, this root beer float-colored hatchback looks like it just rolled onto the dealer lot. With 82,000 miles on the clock, it's a little far from that dealer these days, and has required the replacement of the exhaust, shocks, front brakes and clutch cable. Inside, it benefits from a new headliner, although lacks the über-desirable T-tops in said headliner.

The seller says the A/C is still cold and the 8-track player still plays some smokin' hot Steely Dan, and the whole car, while not show-car quality, is in excellent original condition, and is throwing in a spare set of bumpers because you can never have too many. He's also asking $6,900 for the honor of parking this ‘Stang and its basket weaves in your driveway. What do you think, is that a King Cobra's Ransom? Or, is that a price that you would find charming?


You decide!


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Yes. This is instant Nice Price. No reading required. King Cobra Mustangs are just the epitome of cheesy 70s awesome.

For all the hate held for the Mustang II, it really was not all that bad of a little car. Interior fit and finish may have sucked, but under the skin there was some tough hardware. That IFS, for instance, is nothing short of legendary.

The Mustang II was a car that had a great deal of potential, but needed a level of refinement that Ford never bothered to invest in. It's actually very interesting that the few hot rodders who have been able to look past stereotypes and stigmas have found the Mustang II a very easy car to polish up and iron out. It could even be made into an attractive little car.

The engine and the transmission may suck, but if you can't think of at least three legitimate potential replacements for them, then you are no car guy.

All told, the Mustang II, in stock form, was a flawed little car. But those flaws weren't beyond the ability of a little love and genuine hot-rod ingenuity to fix.