Ford Torino King Cobra

Discussion in 'The Champagne Room' started by SRT-Tom, Jan 11, 2022.

  1. SRT-Tom

    SRT-Tom Well-Known Member Super Moderator Article Writer

    Posts:
    4,953
    Likes Received:
    1,283
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    Location:
    southern New Jersey
    I found an interesting article on Street Muscle magazine about a rare car- the Ford Torino King Cobra. It was Ford’s answer to the Dodge Daytona and the Plymouth Superbird.

    upload_2022-1-11_19-11-8.png


    Here is an excerpt from the article.

    “Ford’s brass saw the writing on the wall and was not about to let the Daytona and the forthcoming Plymouth version, the Superbird, dominate the 1970 and ’71 series unchallenged. Ford president Bunkie Knudsen handed down a brief to legendary designer, Larry Shinoda, who had recently penned the Boss 302 Mustang, in which the objectives were simple: break 200 mph; beat Mopar.

    Shinoda set to work, enlisting the services of 1968-’70 Dodge Charger sheet metal designer, Harvey Winn, and designers Jacques Passino, Bill Shannon, Dick Petit, and Kar Kraft’s Ed Hall. They opted to use the new sheet metal of the not-yet-released 1970 model, as it offered aerodynamic advantages, and spent three months honing and modifying it to work at triple-digit speeds.

    A wild-looking shark nose was affixed to the car, which, combined with a radically-sloped hood, cheated the wind to create front-end downforce. For maximum engine cooling without disturbing the airflow, the grille opening was placed low, beneath a boomerang-like front bumper. Likewise, the headlights were set back into scoop-shaped tunnels topped with covers for maximum aero efficiency. They kept the rear SportsRoof sheet metal basically stock, and unlike the racing gang at Mopar, decided not to fit a rear airfoil.

    Three prototypes were constructed, and a different big block was dumped into each – a Boss 429, a 429 Cobra Jet, and a 429 Super Cobra Jet.

    upload_2022-1-11_19-11-33.png

    Track testing of the newly-christened Ford King Cobras at Daytona was initially promising as all three cars easily slipped past the 200 mph barrier, but further testing revealed problems.

    For starters, the front end of the car actually produced too much downforce, and the lack of a rear wing created rear-end instability in high-speed banked turns. What’s more, all that work to the placement of the grille proved fruitless, as the big blocks under the hood were overheating. Further work would clearly need to be done to the King Cobra.

    Before more development could be done and the cars homologated in streetcar form (which was a NASCAR rule for all entrants), several events would occur that would send the Ford King Cobra the way of the Dodo.

    NASCAR founder and president, Bill France, had been at the Daytona test and was nonplussed by the speeds he had witnessed. Fearing that the aerodynamic war between Ford and Chrysler would lead to carnage, he instituted an engine handicap to slow the aero cars down and increased the homologation requirements from 500 to 3,000 streetcars. This essentially negated the aero cars’ performance advantage and production viability.

    Also, Bunkie Knudsen was replaced by the new Ford president, Lee Iacocca, who wasn’t as avid a racing fan as his predecessor. He ended Ford’s factory racing efforts, and thus all 1970 Ford racing programs would be run by private teams.

    The King Cobra was stillborn.

    The three prototypes produced were initially stored at the Ford factory in Dearborn, until NASCAR team owner, Bud Moore, purchased two of them for $1200 in 1971. The third car was sold off to a private collector.

    Today, all three cars are accounted for and fully restored, with one having been sold at auction for the princely sum of $525,000."

    Rare Rides: The 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra - Street Muscle Rare Rides (streetmusclemag.com)

     
  2. SRT-Tom

    SRT-Tom Well-Known Member Super Moderator Article Writer

    Posts:
    4,953
    Likes Received:
    1,283
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    Location:
    southern New Jersey
    The car's front end is ugly but functional.

    Check out the You Tube video where the Boss 429 is started up. It has a wicked idle. But, that's to be expected from a NASCAR engine.

    For comparison, here is the exhaust of a 1970 426 Plymouth Superbird.

     
  3. NC20RT

    NC20RT Full Access Member

    Posts:
    699
    Likes Received:
    435
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2021
    Location:
    Mountains of western NC
    i sure enjoyed this era of Nascar. I liked the Talladega Torino coupe and still do.

    th.jpg
     
    Chuckv likes this.