1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra – Today’s Tempter

By: James Robinson, Unique Cars magazine

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1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra
1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 1978 Ford Falcon XC Cobra

One venomous Cobra you wouldn’t mind owning

As with most cars as desirable as the Ford Falcon XC Cobra, it’s not simply the car itself that denotes its value, but the anecdotes attached to it.

In 1978, Ford Australia revealed the XC Falcon replacement, the XD, would only be available as a four-door sedan or wagon, killing off the much-loved two-door coupe.

When production of the XC coupe ceased at the Broadmeadows assembly plant in March 1978, Ford was left with 400 unsold shells and had to figure out a way to sell them, or scrap them.

Several ideas were bandied about, with some being better, or much worse, than others. One Ford exec even thought it would be a great idea to make a ‘Playboy’ special edition, complete with a black and gold livery and even ‘bunny’ decals.

Cue Edsel Ford II, the bloke with his family name on the grille, Ford Australia’s Managing Director at the time, who wanted to celebrate Ford’s one-two finish by Allan Moffat, Jacky Ickx, Colin Bond and Alan Hamilton at the 1977 Bathurst 1,000.

Ford wanted a road car that utilised the 400 shells, shared the looks of the Shelby Mustang, could be homologated for racing and be bought and enjoyed by enthusiasts. The result, the XC Falcon Cobra.

Strangely, the Cobras were all painted Bold Blue, then overlayed in Sno White with two Olympic Blue accent stripes which ran the length of the vehicle. The two-door body also sported Cobra decals on the front guards.

The 400 Cobras featured individual plaques located on the dash and all were sequentially numbered from 1—400. The first 200 Cobras made were bestowed with the 5.8L 351 Cleveland V8, while the second 200 received the 4.9L 302 Cleveland V8. However, there are two exceptions to this engine formula, build number 001 came with the 4.9L 302 Cleveland V8 and build number 351 came with a 5.8L 351 Cleveland V8.

There were two levels of specification for the XC Cobra, known as option 96 and option 97. 370 of the Cobras were the option 96 spec, deemed as regular road-going versions.

30 XC Cobras were option 97 spec, sometimes referred to as ‘Bathurst Spec’, and these had extra bite; with a host of special homologated parts for racing. These included; twin radiator fans controlled by a switch on the dash, a gearbox oil cooler, suspension bracing and a reworked rear wheel body housing. The option 97s were easily identifiable thanks to a large and functional rear-opening bonnet bulge.

This particular Cobra is build number 086, and has been modelled extensively on the XC Cobra race cars of 1978. As a result, it has a number of modifications that include; Allan Moffat/ Jacky Ickx 1978 Bathurst livery, 5-speed Tremec gearbox, twin Davies Craig thermo fans, stainless steel exhaust with side pipes, option 97 shock tower brace, option 97 bonnet cowling, option 97 Scheel interior, 6-point Bond alloy roll-cage, 15x8inch and 15x10-inch Simmons V5 wheels, lowering springs with Bilstein shocks, a 200-litre alloy drop tank and a heavy duty battery which has been relocated to the boot.

The vehicle is a three-owner car from new and the radiator cover has been signed by Allan Moffat himself.

This is a seriously cool piece of Aussie muscle history, and as a result it commands a serious price tag of $189,000. Anyone interested in the Cobra can view the full listing here

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