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Old Gray Mare: Can This Cobra II Be Brought Back To Life? Should It Be Brought Back To Life?

Old Gray Mare: Can This Cobra II Be Brought Back To Life? Should It Be Brought Back To Life?

It’s a funny thing, that whole circularity deal. Earlier tonight, I woke up the Great Pumpkin Mustang’s wheezing 4.2L V8 and drove it into town for it’s quarterly fuel-up and wash-off, as is the pattern as I gather parts for the next stage of that car’s progress. While I cruised into Bowling Green, I was preparing myself for the latest panic: a gasoline shortage. With the Colonial Pipeline hobbled by some bored keyboard gremlins, the feeling is probably the closest thing I’ve experienced in my lifetime to either of the OPEC crises of the 1970s…and that’s saying something, considering I willfully paid $4.39 per gallon to fill up my Dodge Mirada back in the early summer of 2012. Fuel prices aren’t radically out of hand. Gasoline was still plentiful, regardless of the idiot who was filling up a boat gas tank in the back of his 4Runner. I topped off with 100% gasoline and headed along my merry way, but that got me thinking about the past…and one of my more unaccepted automotive kinks.

I am an unabashed Mustang II fan. What I mean by that: I dig any M2 that is powered by either the European-sourced 2.8L V6 or the 302ci V8…or anything rowdier than those offerings. My first burnout was in a Mustang II. I considered one for a first car. Many family members had one growing up, including my aunt and my father. My aunt’s car was the one I did the burnout in. My dad’s car backfired so sharply one day that I openly dropped the F-bomb loudly…at the age of six. No, Irish Spring does not taste good.

The thing about the Deuce is that Ford timed the car right. The final iteration of the first generation, the 1971-73 years, was a big old thing, wasn’t it? That’s how bad Ford’s diet plan for all of their cars was…they got bigger every year, it seemed, and buyers were sick of it. The Mustang II was, size wise, close to the 1965 car. That didn’t stop Lee Iacocca from doing his best to tart up the interior…one common complaint of the Mustang II was that Iacocca was trying not to scale down the Mustang, but instead scale down the Lincoln Continental Mark cars to a fuel-sipping size. Yes, the four-cylinder Ghias with the diaper roofs suck out loud. Yes, 13-inch wheels belong on ATVs  and yard trailers. But this is the gap between the original and the Fox Mustang, and if nothing else, you have to appreciate it for that alone.

You can also dump in a ton of power into a 302, put some real wheels and tires on there, and have a very angry thing, too. Aunt Jenny knew all about that after her nephew peeled off quite a bit of the back tire.

Dylan McCool’s latest fascination is this sun-scorched Cobra. Without the stripes, it is very difficult to tell exactly what’s going on here…but a 2-barrel 302 is underhood, it’s got three pedals, and outside of the spare tire well that’s made of cheese cracker, it seems complete enough. Will he restore this thing fully? We don’t know yet, though I’m hoping a bit. But the first step is to see if this thing will wake up.

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7 thoughts on “Old Gray Mare: Can This Cobra II Be Brought Back To Life? Should It Be Brought Back To Life?

  1. Hoffman

    Dylan, that POS is trashed! I would not spend one dime on it. That being said, to each his own. I’ve put a ton of time, effort and cash into cars I love, and maybe nobody else on the planet would. Resale value? Ummmmm.

    If you like it, go for it!

  2. ColinV

    As a unabashed fan of cars that collect nothing but disdain at shows. I say go for it if it makes sense, as in maybe not to crusty too have any kind of resale. I’m in no way suggesting that the resale be the primary concern as these cars, and my own M-Body Chryslers, just don’t bring the money that a restoration will command. If he wishes to keep it then do whatever makes you happy, or in his case gets views, as I know that I’ve spent more on my car than it’s worth, but it makes me happy.

  3. Loren

    My one ride in a M-II, I was hitch-hiking (it was the ’70s) in a rainstorm and a guy took pity and let my sopping-wet ass in his car for twenty minutes. Kept warm in part by his chain-smoking the whole time, I’ve liked the cars ever since and tolerate smoking.

    But riding high on tiny 13s doesn’t work, never did. I’d so wanna wrap a fast-back body shell around a decent fabricated chassis and sitting low and flared on a nice tire-wheel combo.

    That and the other fifty cars I’d like to build in my spare time…

  4. anoldsguy

    I never really liked these at first. If anyone remembers the movie “Starman” from the eighties, seeing the cobra she drove in that movie made me look at them again in a different way. Now I’d love to find one like that.


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