Rough 1968 Ford Mustang Flexes Cobra Jet Vibes, Small-Block Surprise Under the Hood -208

Classic Ford Mustangs are great platforms for restorations but things can get expensive if you want good results. But this doesn't mean that a derelict first-gen Mustang should remain in storage in the absence of restoration funds. This 1968 Cobra Jet tribute is proof that rough classics can make awesome nostalgia dragsters.

This 1968 Mustang started life as a C-code car, which means it left the factory with a 289-small-block (4.7-liter) V8 rated at 195 horsepower. Unfortunately, the pony car had a rough life and not only lost its original drivetrain, but also ended up with a Bondo-filled body.

The current owner purchased the Mustang about 20 years ago (as of 2022) and took it apart to prepare it for restoration. But the refresh didn't happen and, after a couple of years, he decided to put it back together and make it road-worthy again. One thing led to another and the Mustang morphed into a drag-ready tribute to the iconic Cobra Jet.

The latter was introduced in 1968 as a road-legal racer powered by a 428-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 good for 335 horsepower. The engine remained in production, in various forms, through 1971.

While still rough and battling surface rust, the Mustang does look a lot like a Cobra Jet thanks to its beefy rear tires, louvered quarter windows, and bulged hood. However, it doesn't have an authentic Cobra Jet V8 under the hood.

The owner couldn't afford one when he rebuilt the Mustang as a dragster, so he went with a more affordable small block of the 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) variety. There's no info on whether it's a period-correct mill or not, but the F-code Mustang had a 302 V8 rated at 210 horsepower in 1968. Likewise, the J-code version came with a four-barrel variant, rated at 230 horsepower, of the same engine.

But it doesn't really matter because the mill has been altered for drag strip duty. So not only is it more powerful than stock, but it also sounds a lot more aggressive than the average 302. In fact, based on the sound sample we get at the beginning of the video, I'd say it sounds meaner than a full-fledged Cobra Jet too.

So how quick is this nostalgia dragster? Well, the owner says he only raced it on the 1/8-mile, covering the distance in about eight seconds. He estimates the Mustang would run the quarter-mile in about 12.5 clicks, which is notably quicker than any factory-stock pony produced in the late 1960s. And that's pretty awesome. On top of that, it also has hand-painted graphics like in the good ol' days.

All told, as much as I'd like to see a Cobra Jet V8 find its way into this Mustang, it remains a really cool budget build as is. And a fine example of how to have fun at the drag strip without breaking the bank

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