The Ford Mustang Cobra II was a stylish car for its time, but in its day Ford needed a way to boost sales so they turned to Hollywood and used product placement on the hit show "Charlie's Angels".
Recently the SST Car Show crew was at the Cruisin' Hines car show in Detroit. We ran into a good friend of ours, Mel Guthrie. For those who don't know Mel, he is a big movie car collector. Mel has a wide range of authentic and tribute movie and TV Star Cars in his collection. including a spot-on replica Batmobile, Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am and even the Scooby Doo Mystery Van. His most recent acquisition is a Charlie's Angels Mustang Cobra II. Mel went to great lengths to get all the pieces and parts to make the Mustang Cobra II exactly like it looked on the Charlie's Angels television series.
"The blue and white paint job, the special wheels and the louvers on the side and back are key attributes" mentioned Mel, when describing what makes it accurate to the Charlie's Angels Mustang.
In the first season of the Charlie's Angels television series, the Ford Mustang Cobra II was driven by Farrah Fawcett who was the biggest star of the show. After the first season Farrah left and Cheryl Ladd took over in a new role and behind the wheel of the Mustang Cobra II.
Back in the 1970's there was a gas crunch. That led to the government making more regulations for car companies. Ford ended up downsizing their Mustang leading it to build the Mustang II on the chassis of a Ford Pinto compact car. The result was lackluster performance, although the cars did look good.
As mentioned, in order to inject some sizzle into the Mustang brand, the automotive company used the hit show "Charlie's Angels". Product placement was used very effectively on the show to promote the Mustang Cobra II. It drove sales because the show appealed to both men and women.
When it came to performance the Ford Mustang Cobra II didn't really have it where it counts. Even with the 302 V8, it went from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. It took the quarter mile in 17.4 seconds. The power was adequate and the V8 provided good low end torque and reliability, but it was not quite a muscle car, because emissions controls resulted in lower horsepower ratings. The Mustang II did have rack-and-pinion steering though and the cars handled reasonably well for the era, and that is what Ford really used as selling points for the cars.
Although the Mustang Cobra II may not have been the most popular of the old classic Mustangs, they sure looked good. According to Mel Guthrie there was a reason for that.
"The guy who did the conceptual drawing of the Monkeemobile was the same person who did the conceptual drawings of the Mustang Cobra 2," stated Mel Guthrie. In Mel's man cave, which a giant converted warehouse, he also has a Monkeemobile from the Monkees TV Show, along with the other TV and Movie cars he has in his collection. He has a huge retro TV and Movie memorabilia collection to to with his real life-size car collection.
So the they weren't the fastest, and the Mustang II was built on a Pinto chassis but they looked cool.
Plus having Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Ladd from Charlie's Angels behind the wheel made the vehicle even cooler. In the late 70's and early 80's the North American auto industry needed a boost, and "Charlies Angels" provided that for Ford. It worked, and for those who remember the show, the car ranks among the most popular of all TV and Movie cars. Today Mustang II's can be purchased at bargain basement prices, but they are slowly gaining in value and the Cobra II versions stand the best chance of becoming true collectibles, especially those that have the "Charlies Angels" trim packages.
Look for Mel Guthrie and his friends at car shows in the Detroit area. This summer he'll be out cruising in his Mustang Cobra II, showing it off with pride, sharing the car, and sharing some warm memories along with his passion for retro pop culture.