FPV BF Cobra sedan & ute - buyer & value guide

By: Cliff Chambers, Unique Cars magazine

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fpv bf cobra ute These Cobra tributes certainly stand out. fpv bf cobra ute
fpv bf cobra ute engine FPV BF Cobra engine. fpv bf cobra ute engine

These special Ford Falcon variants cost a big premium at launch and now represent value.

Commemorative editions can be a worry, especially when they commemorate a vehicle produced to commemorate an event that occurred 30 years previously.

The original vehicle was the Falcon XC Cobra Hardtop, the event the controversial 1977 Moffat/Bond 1-2 finish at the Bathurst 1000.

When devising a 30th Anniversary Cobra to be launched in 2007, Ford no doubt fervently hoped that people with the means to spend $65,000 on a car would also be of an age that remembered the glories of 1977.

The first XC Cobra Hardtops were produced in a run of just 400 units and on that basis, FPV determined there would be 400 car-based BF Cobras accompanied by 100 utilities based on the Super Pursuit ute.

FPV’s BF GT provided the underpinnings for the Cobra, however, the engineers worked a little magic on the Boss 290 V8. Power was up by 12kW, ensuring that the resultant 302kW matched (quite intentionally) the engine capacity of the XC 4.9-litre Cobra from 1978.

‘R Spec’ in the official description referred to the handling package installed on all BF Cobras which was said to control roll and pitch better than the spring/damper pairing used by the basic GT. Combined with 19-inch wheels and semi-slick tyres it delivered a noticeable difference in lap times during comparative track testing.

Externally the BF Cobra was fairly conservative. Perhaps Ford was wary of accusations that it was creating a parody of the original Cobra but then wound up doing just that.

Inside was restrained as well with charcoal leather, ‘Cobra’ seat motifs and a pretty basic GT dash. The door trims could have incorporated some kind of contrast striping to help define the car but they were basic grey as well.

Given the pace at which BF Cobra stock fled its showrooms, Ford wasn’t especially interested in providing them to people who evaluate new cars for a living. The designated press-test Cobra perhaps hadn’t been run in as would be expected and its 0-100km/h was a disappointing 6.4 seconds. Cars that have done some track days and been bounced off the rev limiter a few times might feel a little more responsive.

MARKET REVIEW

The Cobra sedan when new cost $65,110, a utility $61,200.

Even before the cars had been delivered to their original owners some were being offered to the used market at $40,000 above list.

Some did sell at those levels but then came the GFC and owners who to this day scowl with regret every time they lift the dust cover off their ‘investment’. Just how many were consigned to long-term storage awaiting a price rebound is unknown, but we are yet to see one sell recently in the six-digit price range.

Cars that have done 80-100,000 kilometres and are priced accordingly are worth a look, even as just a ‘hobby’ car. They cost a lot less than the original XCs and do everything way better.

As found with those XCs, values do eventually climb to very acceptable levels. The question now in a political environment where petrol-engined cars are under threat, does the BF version have enough time left to deliver the same good fortune?

CHECKLISTS

BODY & CHASSIS

Look closely at the front bumper/air-dam for cracks or ‘kerbing’. FPV charges big money for fibreglass replacement parts and insurance companies would rather repair a crack than replace the entire bar. A repair, unless the remainder of the car is pristine, won’t have a huge influence on value but it’s worth mentioning if you’ re negotiating a price. Check that ‘Cobra’ accent striping is in perfect condition with no fading, cracking or colour inconsistencies visible. A car with non-matching stripes has probably been crashed.

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

Engine noises include rattling from the valve train at start up and noise from the accessory drive belt. Some rattles may be due to the exhaust heat shield vibrating. The majority of mechanical issues with these cars stem from under-use rather than being worn out. Engine oil should be changed every 12 months regardless of distance travelled and the coolant should be replaced periodically too. When checking the coolant be aware it can turn milky if the seals to the transmission heat exchanger fail. GT Falcons suffer clutch issues if abused so be wary of any Cobra with clutch slip or noise when the pedal is depressed. 

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

The vast majority of BFs offered for sale have travelled such minimal distances that worn suspension or brake components would be most uncommon. Should you find a car that has clocked up 100,000km or thereabouts, be prepared for parts to need replacement and pay accordingly. Look hard at the tyres and rims, looking at wear patterns and the inner edges of rims for dents. Brake rotors that are scored, warped or squeal will need to be replaced.

INTERIOR & ELECTRICS

Leather and Australian summers aren’t fond of one another and even cars that have been shedded for their entire lives may be suffering dry and cracking upholstery. The dash should be perfect and a car showing damage to the plastics really has experienced a hard life. Instruments, cruise control and the windows should all work as new, however age could be afflicting the air- conditioning with seals deteriorating and loss of refrigerant. Make sure that air exiting the vents is cold not just cool.

VITAL STATS - FPV BF COBRA

NUMBER MADE: 400 (sedan) 100 (utility)

BODY STYLES: steel integrated body/chassis four-door sedan or two-door utility

ENGINE: 5408cc V8 with overhead camshafts and fuel injection

POWER & TORQUE: 302kW @ 6000rpm, 540Nm @ 4750rpm

PERFORMANCE: 0-100km/h 6.4 seconds, 0-400 metres 15.0 seconds

TRANSMISSION: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic

SUSPENSION: Independent with struts, & anti-roll bar (f) independent with springs and telescopic shock absorbers (r)

BRAKES: disc (f) disc (r) power assisted

TYRES: 255/35ZR19 radial

 

VALUE RANGE - FPV BF COBRA

FAIR $30,000

GOOD $52,000

EXCELLENT $65,000

(Note: concours & special cars may demand more.)

Numbers from our 2017-18 Muscle Cars Value Guide.

Muscle Car Value Guide home page 

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