Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Detroit Big 3 were engaged in a motorsports war, with various NASCAR tracks representing the battle field. Each was working overtime to build a faster stock car in an era that produced the Dodge Daytona and the Plymouth Superbird, both famous, more aerodynamic versions of their road-going brethren that led to a handful of homologated production vehicles. However, some may not be aware that The Blue Oval was also working on its own aero car – the 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra, which never quite made it to the track, nor the fact that one production version exists, and now it’s going up for grabs at Mecum’s upcoming Indianapolis auction next month.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a couple of 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra prototypes pop up for sale, which is notable because only three were ever built. In the same vein as its competition, Ford took a regular old Torino and added some more aerodynamic body parts and either a Boss 429, 429 Cobra Jet, or 429 Super Cobra Jet to it, with the goal of cracking the 200 mile-per-hour mark on the track, which the car achieved, but not without some rear-end lift in high-speed turns.
That problem, coupled with the fact that NASCAR changed its homologation requirements from 500 production cars to 3,000 ultimately led to Ford’s cancelation of the project. However, this 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra managed to survive all these years as the only production version of that racer. Owned by Bud Moore, Jacky Jones, and Brett Torino over the years, the car amazingly has only 837 original miles and is in excellent, unrestored condition.
The only production Torino King Cobra is equipped with Ford’s 429 Cobra Jet V8, which was originally rated to produce 370 horsepower and is mated to an automatic transmission. This piece of Blue Oval history comes with a load of documentation as well, including the original invoice from Ford to Bud Moore Engineering, the bill of sale, the original MSO, a Marti report, and the original manufacturer door sticker. It’s difficult to imagine what something like this might ultimately sell for, however, which makes us keen to tune in and see what happens when it crosses the auction block in May.