Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cars in Yards: 1977 Cobra II Mustang

Grill front bumper of white and red 1977 Mustang II Cobra II

Snakes on a Pinto. This was not the sequel to a popular movie destined for B grade fame, this was the “new” Mustang with an all-new body for 1974. So new, in fact, they called it the “Mustang II.” I do seem to remember these overlooked cars from the extreme graphic era to be met with some degree of resistance from the automotive crowd of Philistines. 
  “A Pinto with snakes on it” was a phrase used by a friend of mine to describe the car that had just out ran me. My deep rooted GM ego hopes that car was a bit more than that under the hood.

Gauges of white and red 1977 Mustang II Cobra II
25,466 showing on the odometer of the 1977 Cobra II. Guessing it rolled over once?

Long-term parking

  We found a leftover from this love/hate era and had to photograph it. Presenting in Polar White with Bright Red stripes. Ta dah! A real 1977 Cobra II Mustang! This example was recently rescued from a long slumber and further proof that time is no match for the harsh Alabama elements. Time waits for no Mustang. By now the Cobra II, was mainly an appearance package with no indigenous go fast parts. It could be had with a 4-speed, but this example was equipped with an automatic. 

Engine bay packed with a V8 in the 1977 Mustang II Cobra II
A 130hp 302-V8 powers the Mustang II Cobra.

Eight is better than four
  Under the hood was not much fun. It was a V8 though. The dependable rolling 5.0 they offered in some form or another for years before and years to come. Ford didn’t even give you a 4-barrel carburetor, but hold your fire... it was a terrible performance era with souring fuel prices. They did (or didn’t do) what they had to do to keep everyone happy. Mine would have gotten heads, cam, intake and carb almost immediately. This example was pretty complete sans the air condition compressor. 

A plaid interior complement the white and red exterior.

Owner details
  This Cobra II was purchased in 1984 when the current owner returned from service in the Army to find his driveway empty. His father sold his precious Pontiac that he thought was waiting for him in the garage. The Cobra II was a affordable and it served him well for many years. He recalls commuting from Birmingham to Atlanta. He said it was comfortable and it handled well. He liked it enough to hang on to it for all these years but he is currently in a conflict about what to do with it. We vote that the owner should keep it and fix it. That is usually how we vote, never ask Junkyard Life if you should keep a car. If he decides not to keep it, we here at Junkyard Life hope it finds a good home.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust

(Editor’s Note: After the “Time waits for no Mustang” line, Junkyard Life staffer Ron Kidd is now assigned to write “I will not turn quotes into bad puns” 500 times on the Junkyard Life chalkboard. He was warned.)

Parked since 1984, the weather hasn't been kind.
Ford built more than 1.1 million Mustang IIs during their 1974-1978 production run.

Ron’s Mustang II Fun Facts

  • Farrah Fawcett helped sell a few ponies when she drove a blue/white Cobra II on the hit 1970’s Charlie’s Angels. It was a 1976 model and I found some speculation that an identical 1977 model may have been used as well. 
  • Ford hopped on the hood graphics bandwagon. It took on a new meaning to the phrase, “look at me!” The King Cobra model utilized a cool spider image on the hood, joining the ranks of the Golden Eagle Jeep, The Pontiac Trans Am and the GMC Sprint.
  • The fate of the Mustang II was to provide front ends to many classic street rods. Why? Because they had disc brakes and rack and pinion power steering that easily transferred to 30’s and 40’s hot rods for an easy update of comfort and safety. 
  • The Mustang II has been regarded as the least favorite of Mustang enthusiasts. As time goes by, they are beginning to come into their own in collector circles. You know the rule – whatever the world didn’t like then becomes the thing we want the most now.
  • The Mustang II was offered in a hatchback and notchback sedan.
  • Despite what critics said in the day, the Mustang II shared very little with the Ford Pinto. 
  • A highly intoxicated woman called me in 1995 and accused me of disabling her 1978 Mustang II and said she had a warrant for my arrest. It really was a wrong number. I’m glad someone disabled it because this woman should not have been driving anything.
  • The Cobra II package was really an appearance package that gave you a cool hood scoop, spoilers and bold graphics. I couldn’t help but notice this Cobra II had a tachometer. 

Got a classic car in your driveway? Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at and Ron Kidd at

Friday, September 13, 2019

Road Trip 2019: PART 1 - Three guys, four junkyards, seven racetracks and Power Tour

Shotgun! Junkyard Life set off on the mother-of-all round-trip, road trips during this year's 25th Hot Rod Power Tour. We crammed our gear into the much-too small for eight days on the road, heavily-modified, 1966 Chevrolet Impala. It's an LS-powered, All-Wheel-Drive beast. We planned to beat on the high-mile junkyard engine during high-speed blast at race tracks and on the backroads to junkyards. while trying to avoid speeding tickets between our destinations. Odds were good that we could at least get lost in the pack with thousands of fellow Hot Rod Power Tour participants should we get caught with our foot acting stupid.

Georgia on my mind
  Our first stop was H.L. Hodges Auto Parts in Monroe, Georgia. The yard is run by three sisters who are planning to close the business by the end of 2019. The sisters, Harreitte Hodges, Terri Hodges and Holly Couch, took over the business when their brother, Hugh Lamar Hodges, passed away 10 years ago. 
  Family-owned for many decades but the strain of maintaining a salvage yard and other careers has taken a toll. Many of the cars have been sold off or scrapped. Before the year is out the rest will be scrapped as well. We found plenty of cars and trucks worth saving. We plan to go back, before it's too late!

Lots of old iron at H.L Hodges in Monroe, Georgia.

Load'em up
  We hit the road again with Concord, North Carolina as the next destination. The weather forecast was great for ducks. We hit rain right off the bat but that didn't deter us. The 25th anniversary of the Hot Rod Power Tour awaited us at Lowes Motor Speedway. 
  Check-in, goodie bags then we grabbed dinner after a 700 mile day of driving. 13 hours spent riding and climbing in-and-out of the 1966 Impala that would be our home for many more hours during the next week.

Part 2: We head to Martinsville, Virginia.

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust