We've all heard and read the mournful tales of how hard it is to restore the II. We've also heard how little respect the II gets in the Mustang hobby. But look at this thing! Shiny Black paint with gold Le Mans-esque stripes, the bold Cobra II side stripes that have just a hint of the GTs of yore, and that big, bad snake that sits there ready to strike. The car is a visual sucker punch that delivers all the wow! you could ever hope for in a Mustang.
When we saw Bob and Vicki McLaughlin's II, we were impressed. Here was a second-generation car that exhibited all the quality and workmanship of the '65-'73 Mustangs we see. To add to the cool factor, Bob--a Mustang fan since day one--is the original owner. That's right; he laid down the $5,500 for 1 of--according to a Motor Trend article of the era--the 5,000 units built for 1977. The paint and bodywork, both applied by Jon Donner and the crew at Wholesale Automotive, were glass-smooth; no mean trick on a car that's 90 percent Black. The interior is also very nice in its black vinyl and brushed aluminum appliques ala the '67 interior Decor option. It also has the four-speed gearbox and power steering and power disc brakes that were part of the Sports Performance Package. When Bob picked up the II in October 1976, the Cobra was pretty much dressed out as you see it here--at least on the outside.
The only recent addition inside is a center console and a factory AM/FM radio. Under the hood, the II--even when packing the 302 2V--was never heralded for its blistering power and speed. So like any red-blooded American boy with some bucks in his pocket, Bob saw fit to add some performance upgrades to the Cobra's venom. He slid an Edelbrock Performer intake and a Carter carburetor in place of the 2100 2V carb and intake. He also helped matters by dumping the factory-anemic single exhaust system in favor of a set of Blackjack headers and a true dual exhaust system--something Ford should have done from the start.
These changes have boosted the weekend warrior's performance from mild-mannered to something closer to what we all wish Ford had done in the dark days of the mid-to-late '70s. Even with all of these changes, the little II still manages to pull off that innocent stock look. Other than the previously mentioned add-ons, the car still bears the stock (and original) valve covers and other components that have seen no real pilfering outside of the necessary.
Speaking of necessary, the McLaughlins keep the Cobra from getting down in the mouth by keeping it under wraps for the shows and the occasional weekend cruises. We can't say as we blame them; if you get this car out too much, there'll be no paint left from the constant dusting black paint demands. Even so, we're glad we ran across this II. Regardless of what you might think of the II in general, this Cobra II and its owners are, in our opinion, just II cool.