1968 Cobra Jet Mustang Was Ford’s Saving Grace: eBay Find

Ford had a problem in 1968 − the company had done well with its “Total Performance” racing program, but the performance of its cars on the street left a lot to be desired. Sure, the Mustang was the first out of the gate, but the 390 Mustang was easy prey for 396 Camaros. The Torino GT was meeting a similar fate, and even though Ford advertised the 427 as being available, none were ever built. That all was about to change thanks to Tasca Ford.

The Providence, RI Ford dealership had an active racing regimen on the drag strip and had also dabbled in branding its own modified cars for the public. A lot of it was specially trimmed cars, but in 1968 the dealership developed what it called the KR-8 (“King of the Road 1968”), a 1967 Mustang with a 428 Police Interceptor put in place of the original 390. With 406 heads, higher flow fuel pump, 427 Fairlane headers, Police Interceptor intake with Holley 4bbl., and hi-po 390 hydraulic camshaft, all easily found in Ford’s parts catalog, the KR-8 was the car that Ford needed to build. Luckily for Ford, Tasca had a deep relationship with the company on all levels, so they were aware of this concoction. It all came to a head when Hot Rod‘s Eric Dahlquist wrote an article about this Tasca terror; enclosed in the magazine was a tear-off postcard to be sent to Ford urging them to build the car.

A few months later, Ford debuted the 428 Cobra Jet motor and promptly swept the 1968 Winternationals in Pomona, California. The motor was available on just about every Mustang and Fairlane/Torino (plus their respective Mercurys), but most of them were installed in Shelby GT-500KRs. That makes Mustangs like this 1968 GT on eBay much more interesting than you’d initially think − since when does a Shelby outsell a Mustang? All but the first 50 Cobra Jet Mustangs had the GT package, but after regular production began, they received the usual GT items plus a functional ram air hood with black stripe. This one is one of 1,099 fastbacks built with the CJ (plus an additional 221 coupes and 34 convertibles), but if you look at the Marti Report, you’ll see this one was ordered for business:

  • GT equipment group
  • 4-speed tranny
  • Traction-Lok differential
  • F70 x 14 belted traction Goodyears
  • Power disc brakes
  • 4.30 gears

Just about everything about this Mustang screams performance, including the lack of radio, but it stands to reason − cars like this Mustang were Ford’s saving grace.

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