1976 Ford Mustang II Mach I with Cobra II package

docph34docph34 Member Posts: 1
Hey all,
Would like to talk to someone who is smart on '76 Mustangs, Am looking at a Cobra II in decent condition for $2600. Sound Fair or keep looking?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Here's Gold Book pricing, which looks a bit high, but fair enough to use as a guide, I think:

    2D FASTBACK 1976-78
    fair 2,500
    good 4,200
    excellent 6,500
    show quality 7,800
    loan value 3,700

    Add: V8 $200, T Top $200
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Not that I know about these things but only $200 extra for the V8? To me anything but a V8 in that car would be a deal breaker. But then I'm not one of the people buying Mustang II Cobras.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well, you're talking about a car that's worth very little to begin with, and that not too many people care about. So the $200 premium for a V8 is about as good as you're going to get. If nobody wants the car, nobody wants the car, it doesn't matter what engine is in it. The marketplace only works on supply and demand, it doesn't recognize practical details sometimes. There are lots of cars with even bigger engines that nobody will pay good money for.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I guess it's just a sign that performance, even smog V8 performance, isn't what drives demand for that car. Could have probably guessed that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well, actually, performance DOES make a car more interesting to buyers in the collectible car arena, but it has to be SERIOUS performance, not 134 HP V-8.
  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    134 HP V-8...*sigh*
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    You remember the silent monument to '70s automotive mediocrity I suggested a while back? Something like that row of Cadillacs a guy half buried head first at 45 degree angles, but with '70s cars instead?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    a place of mourning, or where you can shoot paintballs at a map of Detroit. I realize that the government put pressure on automakers with emissions, but you know, Detroit resisted all suggestions that they do something about smog and safety, and they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to better engineering for modern times. Sometimes I think they made the worst cars possible in the late 70s just so they could say "See, TOLD YOU SO...your regulations make crappy cars". Of course, the Japanese just went about their work and made some pretty decent, if boring, cars in the late 70s/early 80s. They ran clean and they were reliable.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    This was the white car that Jill then Chris drove on 'Charlie's Angels', right? Yikes, those were lousy cars even when new.

    In my neighborhood, there's a factory orange with orange interior, V8 (not Cobra) Mustang II hatch with t-tops. A frightening car for sure, but an interesting period piece.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    How does it feel to be some kind of hero?

    Score: Mustang II boredom ZERO.

    I was soooooo embarrassed to like Fords back then.

    The PI 429 in our '71 LTD made me forget my woes!!!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    When I was but a pup, in my sr. year of high school, I managed to take Auto Mechanics at the local vocational school. I might not have been the star student, but I was one of the few that didn't have a criminal record, so when the local KY State Trooper brought his cruiser in to have the alternator changed out, the instructor picked me. I swapped the alt in nothing flat, put on a new belt and the whole 9 yards. Then the instructor tossed me the keys and with a grin said, don't you think we ought to road test it? Wow! Was I in horsepower heaven. It was a '73, I think and if I remember correctly that was the last year for the 429 as the PI engine, the next year they went to the 460 and went down in horsepower! What a ride!

    But back to the topic at hand.....I hate to say it, but nobody's "smart on '76 Mustangs"! Their greatest contribution to the automotive world is that half the street rods built have Mustang II front ends under them--the rest of the car is a throw away!

    I wouldn't invest $2600 in any Mustang built from '74 to '79! (Just so you won't think I'm an uneducated KY hillbilly--I've owned 3 Mustangs: a 64 1/2 289 4-V coupe, a 1972 Convertible with the 351C-4V, and a 1991 LX 5.0 5 speed.)

    Good luck!

  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,341
    Sorry...but those represented Mustang's darkest days.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    but as you know the Mustang has always been a glorified something, first a Falcon, then a Pinto and now a Fairmont.

    There's no doubt the funky styling and castrated engines make this the Mustang's low point. On the other hand, it was a high point for decal packages ;-).
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    weren't the '74-78 Mustang II's actually pretty popular when new? I know those bloated '71-73 'Stangs were rocks on the market, and I think the Fox-based ones had some dark years, back when the Camaro/Firebird were stronger sellers.

    But then that's how it was with the T-birds, too. The '77-79 models are probably among the least-loved today, but were the strongest sellers of all time!
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I remember when those things came out with their puny Pinto engine, they seemed to me to be more of a gelded Mustang.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    I think Ford had a good *idea* in downsizing the Mustang, it certainly needed it compared to the 71-73 models. I think they just went a bit overboard (they were too small and had wimpy engines across the board).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,341
    The Mustang II's were so ugly!

    Remember the Ghia model? They were silver with a silver padded vinyl roof. They had a cranberry colored interior.

    Still...people bought them I suppose.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Maybe engines were the main problem.

    The 2300 I4 is a real shaker. I suffered with this engine every time I drove my wife's T-Bird Turbo Coupe and it ruined what could have been a pleasant car. Kind of a shame since the previous four, the 2000, was a smooth lively engine.

    The 2800 V6 was a decent engine as a 2600 in the Capri and in the early '70s there was a very hot version called the RS 2600 available in the German Capri. Later Ford of England used another hi-perf version of this engine in the second generation Capri body that did the quarter at 89 mph. But the version we got was detuned, didn't make much torque and kept losing power to smog controls. (BTW I believe this engine is still around as the Explorer 4.0, with or without OHC heads.)

    The 302 is a great engine but not with 129 hp.

    A pretty typical '70s engine line-up.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    Yeah, they were the 'fancy' Mustang models; they were actually available in colors other than silver; remember Kelly's (Jaclyn Smith's) car? That was a Ghia, yellowish with lovely brown vinyl top and interior. Ick.

    Speedshift, my brother's girlfriend used to have a T-bird turbo (84?) with a 5 speed. That car wasn't exactly fast, but I liked the way it handled and looked (I still like the way it looks). The interior was also very stylish for its time. This thing still had the overassisted steering, and was REALLY bad in snow.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    No, the Turbo Coupes had a lot going for them when they were new. Styling that still looks good, great interior (especially the '87-8) and very supportive sport seats.

    My only real complaint is that the 2300 was too small to make any low-end torque (it took a while for the turbo to spool up) and as the car aged the engine seemed to get really rough. Of course, when it was totaled this year it had only 54k miles so maybe it was me who was aging. And cars have come a long way in refinement and power since 1987. But even the '87 Thunderbird V8 we drove before we bought the Turbo was much smoother, but not as sporty.

    The Turbo steering was fairly quick but numb and in fact, the whole car felt numb--that Fox platform is pretty humble.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Thinking back on our Turbo Coupe, I realize I rarely drove the car at its optimal suspension setting in the 14 years we owned it. The suspension was adjustable and felt much more responsive in the "sport" setting, and the ride was very decent. Unfortunately my wife has a bad back and 99.9% of the time we kept the suspension set on "Buick", so it drove like it had bad shocks (and actually rode worse, at least to me).

    Is the Fox platform based on the Pinto/Mustang II? The Fox platform has some limitations but the pre-'93 Mustang 5.0 built on it was a blast. I drove several and my wife tells me they put a big grin on my face. The '93 Mustangs lost a few horses and they didn't do nearly as much for me, so obviously tire-frying torque makes up for a weak chassis--for some of us.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    I'm pretty sure the Fox platform is different from the Pinto/Mustang II chassis, although they might share some common stuff like wheel bolt patterns, rear-ends, etc.

    I heard that another Fox-bodied model that was supposed to be fun was the 84-85 LTD LX sedan. It had a 302 with something like 165 hp. I think in cars like the T-bird and Crown Vic, it only put out about 140 hp at the time. Come to think of it, even though the Fox-Mustang is bigger than the Mustang II, I think it actually weighs a bit less.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Member Posts: 518
    I'm surprised so many people think the Mustang II is an ugly car. While it was clearly the low end performace-wise compared to other generations of Mustang, I think it was a nice-looking car. My favorite Mustang in terms of appearance is everybody's favorite, the original 1965 model. However, I would venture to say that the Mustang II comes in second. I like the hardtop models better than the hatchbacks. Here's a nice pic I found:


    I would guess my brother's 1977 Toyota Celica ST was prime competition for the Mustang II in its day. I wonder which one is faster? :-)

    -Andrew L

  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    I don't think it was so much the body design that people dislike; rather, I think most Mustang enthusiasts (or auto enthusiasts in general) object to the drastic downsizing and the weak engines. Also, what Ford (and everyone in the 70s) did to those body designs was objectionable. The landau roofs, funky color schemes, wire wheel covers, etc. haven't aged well in retrospect.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    I used to have a co-worker with some sort of greenish Mustang II complete with 302 and (I seem to remember) some kind of cobra-ish emblem. He was pretty stoked having the same kind of car (Mustang) and engine size (302) as mine had, so we were kind of Mustang buddies I guess.

    The only real differences were that mine was a 1970 and said 'Boss' on the side.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    ...the Mustang II was a return to the original roots of the car. It was originally supposed to be an inexpensive compact car with a sporty flair...a car that school teachers and secretaries could drive and still have some fun! In fact, wasn't the biggest engine iitally available only a 260 V-8?

    But over the years, the Mustangs became faster and more powerful, and added pounds and inches as well. They almost became more "muscle" car than "pony" car. Suddenly along came 1974, and the Mustang II must have looked laughable compared to the Barracuda, Challenger, Camaro, Firebird, and Javelin (I think the Jav was still around in 1974)

    Still, the Mustang II was a trend-setter. The Challenger/Barracuda were cancelled after '74, and if the Jav was still around in '74, I'm sure it was gone by '75. Only the Camaro/Firebird remained. GM responded to the Mustang II with cars like the Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk, and Chrysler kind of half-heartedly came out with a Mistubishi-bodied Challenger/Sapporo in the late 70's, just in time to see the Mustang go back to a more appropriate platform.

    As for attractiveness of the style, I do think the '74-78 notchback coupe is pretty attractive. Never cared too much for the hatchbacks, though. Compared to the '71-73 models, I think the Mustang II is "cuter", but just lacks that certain muscular ugliness of the earlier models, and definitely pales in comparison to the original.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    You're right, the first Mustang was really more about perception than reality. The 289 2v and base 4v felt very quick in the early Mustangs but the numbers weren't that great. I don't remember the 0-60 times but I think they were around ten seconds, with the quarter mile in the 17s(?)--I may be wrong but that's the general idea.

    The optional 289/271-hp K motor was a good performer but expensive and very few were sold, although the halo effect was strong. I think the '68 428 CJ was the first Mustang with a clear-cut advantage over its competition.

    I remember the word was that the Boss 302 put out a little more horsepower and a little less torque than the Z/28 302. Those ports and valves were huge even on the 351.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    I'm sure I've prattled about this before.....

    Having owned two of each, I definitely give the nod to the Mustang for build quality, handling, and just general 'feel'. They definitely feel less 'peaky' and have more off the line torque than the Camaros.

    I've always liked how both cars look, but to be fair they don't feel super strong (too heavy mostly). To get the car going, you have to beat the beejeepers out of the engine in both cases, and even so they aren't 'scarey' fast in either case.

    In both cases, what I would like to own now would be to start with an engineless, cheap hull and put together a modern 400+ cubic inch, aluminum head small block with a 5 or 6 speed (Richmond, maybe) plus improved handling and braking stuff. Some of those 'pro-touring' cars a really cool, but like I've said before (somewhere, I'm sure), all you end up with is a 30 to 40 thousand dollar car that can keep up with a new Mustang Cobra or Z/28 (for 25k or under). Oh well.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    and I recant tales of yore from my gearhead days, my sons (and other Scouts around the fire) generally shake their heads at the sad state of the automotive world I refer to as "the dark ages"--about 1974--1982 or so. When I was "serious" about Mustangs and attended a few shows a year, I always felt sorry for the Mustang II owners--excluded from the shows, or tucked away in the corner somewhere like illegitimate offspring. But, if I recall my history correct, they still outsold the Camaro/Firebirds, even in those days.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    I remember as a youth, working at my fathers gas station, we had a special oil filter wrench just for Mustang II V8s. It was a regular band type wrench with the band cut down to half the thickness. It was so ridiculously tight in the engine bay - meant for a four cylinder.

    I was changing oil on one one day and commented (very sarcastically) that the oil filter placement was one of "Ford's better ideas", as their ad campaign with that phrase was at it's height.

    The owner looked at me and said, "There are plenty of reasons why they put that in the spot they did! I work for Ford!"

    OOPS ;-)
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    Probably the guy who designed the stripe kit.

    His next job was going to AMC to work on that Hornet based AMX.

    THAT would be a funny idea (sorry, this is West Coast specific). Do a parody of the In 'n Out Burger T-shirts with a flock of disco era muscle cars. Some guy pulling into the lot with one of those Ventura based GTOs (with envious looks from the crowd, of course), Ford Cobra and AMX/Hornet naturlich, Dodge Magnum XE, maybe a 403 powered Trans Am.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    The Volare Roadrunner. What a sad package that was, but LOTS of nice stripes.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    I don't know, it was pretty tacky, but it at least had a pretty strong 360-4bbl to back it up! I do remember there was an extra-tacky version though, with body cladding galore that made it look like it belonged on a NASCAR track!

    Still, pretty tame compared to the old '68-70 Roadrunner!
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    Oh yeah! The Volare Runner, I forgot about those. Sweeeet.

    Kind of along the same line, I got to drive, ahem, a Laguna S3 mit 454 and 4-speed once (with about 180 horsepower I think). Man oh man what a pig (it's those 'pork'upine heads, don't you know).

    Along the same lines, there's the Pontiac Can Am (circa 1977 or so, I think). That car just oozes McClaren M8B or Porsche 917.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    I kinda like these...even though they still scream 70's, they do it in a cool way, kinda like comparing Deep Purple or Meat Loaf to Captain & Tenille! But I guess with the emasculated engines of the time, even though the car looked tough, it was probably the automotive equivalent of a rottweiler that's just come back from getting neutered at the vet clinic! The ones I've seen had 400's in 'em, but I'm not sure of the horsepower. I have a book that lists two numbers for the 400 that year, 180 hp and 200 hp.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    I haven't seen one for years! I used to laugh at them back then!

    Found a picture. OOOOOOOO a hood scoop! (Non functional)


    As far as 400s go, everyone made them and they all were pathetic, performance wise. It is truly amazing to look at the HP ratings of some of the mid 70s cars. It must have taken quite a bit of effort to take a big block and get the HP down so low.

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    thanks for that link. The only problem is that now that ad has got me wanting one!
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    I know that "Trans Am type 'Shaker' hood scoop - THAT REALLY SHAKES" really gets me too. To bad it didn't really scoop air.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I had a 1979 Arrow 2.6 GT back in the early eighties. In addition to the big four banger it had a stiff suspension and four wheel disc brakes. Oh yeah, and T/A style hood and rocker decals. It even had fake "engine turned" interior trim as did the T/A. It was quick for the era and I had a lot of fun blowing off Mustang IIs and Monza "Spyders". There was also a Fire Arrow with even more outrageous graphics.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    was the same 403 built by Olds and used in the Custom Cruiser.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    I'm guessing that the 403 was a cleaner-running engine than the 400, so that's why it was used in California. I've heard that Pontiac engines usually ran kinda cool, so that made them harder to conform to stricter emissions standards.

    What about the high-altitude though? Did the Olds 403 also have better breathing characteristics or something? What would happen if someone bought a '77 Can Am in Florida, with a 400, and then took it on a vacation to the Rockies?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    No, the Pontiac 400 was a better performer than the 403. The 403 was used in high altitude markets for the same reason it was used in California--smog. My recollection is that before FI and computer controls the altitude made cars pollute more (at one time Denver had a bad smog problem) and that small bore engines are easier to control for NOX.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,327
    That makes sense. Could it be that because the air is thinner at higher altitudes, that the fuel-air mixture ends up becoming richer, so you pass more pollutants?

    I also remember reading somewhere that once engines got to have a bore greater than 4.00", that it became really hard to make them conform. I think this is one reason that Chrysler and Ford came out with V-10's...more displacement, but still a fairly small bore.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yes, there's fewer oxygen molecules at higher altitude so more "unburned hydrocarbons" (fuel molecules) go out the tailpipe.

    If I remember right they saved the 400 for the '79 Anniversary TAs while ordinary TAs got the 403. That may have been the last year for the 400.

    About Pontiacs running cool: One of the great things about the '67-up Pontiac cylinder head is that it has a generous "quench area", kind of a dead area in the combustion chamber that keeps the compressed air/fuel mixture from getting too hot and combusting spontaneously ("knocking"). This lets you have a higher compression ratio with lower octane gas, and the Pontiacs I had tolerated 91 octane fairly well even with 10.75:1 CR. However, quench also raises NOX emissions.

    Engineers were in a real catch 22 back then. If they leaned out the engine enough to pass HC (hydrocarbon) requirements, they raised NOX (oxides of nitrogen) emissions. So to lower NOX they used EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to dump exhaust gases into the combustion chamber to cool down combustion.

    It's also my recollection that that's why the typical smog cam has lots of duration on the exhaust side, like a performance cam, so exhaust gases in the exhaust manifold can be sucked back into the combustion chamber through the open exhaust valve to dilute the air/fuel mixture. That hurts low end power, an okay trade-off with a performance cam that makes good power at higher rpm, but smog cams didn't make good power at any rpm.

    Combine all this with low compression ratios and retarded ignition and it's no wonder '70s V8s were gutless gas hogs.
  • northstartnorthstart Member Posts: 41
    I was reading a British Magazine today (Classic American) and they had a photograph of a Ford prototype built in the early 70's called the Mack 2.

    It looks to be mid engined however there are some obvious Mustang parts on the car. Does anyone have any info on this model, or know of a website I could visit.
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