What Is the Mustang Cobra II?

In a way, perhaps no one variant illustrates the perceived missteps of the second generation “Mustang II” than the Cobra II. Produced for three years between 1976 and 1978, the Cobra II offered little of substance over the stock pony cars. That being said, the Cobra II sports a classic look reminiscent of the Shelbys of the ‘60s and early ‘70s, and it has benefited greatly from the current resurgence of interest in this often-neglected period of Mustang history.

Cobra II MustangThe Mustang in the ‘70s

In order to properly appreciate the Mustang Cobra II, a little perspective is necessary. When the first generation pony cars where phased out in 1973, the brand had been declining in popularity in recent years due to the emerging oil crisis. The Mustang II was an attempt to scale back the ambitions of the car, offering something for budget-conscious consumers who wanted a sporty car that wouldn’t guzzle gas like the big block V8s of old. One thing that is often forgotten in revisionist histories of the pony car is that the Mustang II was initially a success, selling almost 300,000 units and being named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.

However, consumer tastes quickly changed again with the end of the oil crisis, and Ford found itself without a true contender to the muscle car throne. 1975 saw a V8 return to the lineup and the following year, the Cobra II package was introduced.

About the Cobra II

Available on the four-cylinder and V6 models in addition to the V8, the Cobra II offered front and rear spoilers, a blackout grille, a non-functional hood scoop and racing stripes. Available colors included white with blue stripes, blue with white stripes and black with gold stripes. The Cobra II package was only available for fastback models.

A $325 option (plus an additional $287 required for a “Cobra Modification”), the Cobra II package was produced and installed by Motortown, a company owned by legendary auto exec Jim Wangers. The Cobra II even managed to earn some racing credentials when an unauthorized, heavily modded version was run in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GT class.