Join Newsday's car culture discussion.
In the Garage: 1969 Ford Fairlane Cobra
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1969 Ford Fairlane Cobra owned by John Dox
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
U.S. automakers had been stuffing big V-8 engines into modest mid-size cars since 1963 and Ford came roaring into the market with the 1969 Fairlane Cobra. As Dox notes, the Cobra was Ford's answer to the highly successful Plymouth Road Runner of 1968. "Ford used the mid-size Fairlane body in two styles: the fastback and my two-door hardtop version," he says.
"Into this mid-size body went Ford's biggest engine, the 428 (cubic-inch) 'Cobra Jet.' My car has the 428 'Super Cobra Jet,' which has a beefed-up bottom end for added strength, the drag pack with external oil cooler and 3.91 'Traction Lok' rear end, a four-speed close-ratio transmission and ram air induction. The engine was rated at 335 horsepower to keep insurance costs down, but actual horsepower was closer to 400. With 444 pound-feet of torque, the Cobra became a drag strip and stoplight drag favorite for Ford guys."
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
"After searching car ads and only finding a few Cobras in states far away," Dox says, "I saw an ad in Hemmings (classic car magazine) for this car and it was exactly what I wanted. When I scanned down to the phone number, I realized that this car was in my home town. I called and the car was less then a mile away from my home."
"The car has 43,000 miles with a professional repaint in the original 'Candy Apple Red,' with original black interior," he says. "The interior has bucket seats and console. The car is nicely optioned, with power steering, power front disc brakes and tachometer with full gauge pack. On the outside, it has a single driver-side mirror and plain steel wheels with hubcaps. The original owner put all the money under the hood, just the way I would have done in 1969."
TIPS FOR OWNERS
"I drive the Cobra year-round," Dox says. "It is never stored or put away in the winter. As long as there is no snow or salt on the road, I'm out there."
Dox estimates the value between $40,000 and $50,000. "There weren't a lot of Cobras made, and not many have survived," he says. "It's a fairly rare car today."
"This car is still a head-turning street monster that puts a smile on my face whenever I drive it," he says. "The Cobra came with all the original paperwork and was originally sold on my birthday in 1969. When I saw the Fairlane Cobra in 1969, I wanted one and 27 years later, I got mine. I'm a few years older than the Cobra, but we share a birthday. It was just meant to be."