Australian Muscle Car - - Modern Muscle -


was a tough call choos­ing be­tween the FPV BA GT and the BFII GT Co­bra for in­clu­sion in our top six most sought-af­ter and sig­nif­i­cant mod­ern mus­cle cars list. The for­mer rep­re­sents the birth of Ford Per­for­mance Ve­hi­cles and the re­turn of the GT badge, and made a mas­sive im­pact when it ar­rived in 2002. The lat­ter stands as the last and, ar­guably, most de­sir­able of the FPV mod­els based on the six­th­gen­er­a­tion Ford Fal­con. That de­sir­abil­ity stems from its link to the XC Fal­con Co­bras of 1978.

We had to have one of them, be­cause the BA-BFII se­ries rep­re­sented a re­turn to form for Ford via FPV. Its huge pop­u­lar­ity saw the BA GT eclipse the iconic XW GT and GT-HO with a sales tally of more than 3000 by the end of 2005.

But that big sales suc­cess also trans­lates into re­duced rar­ity for the BA GT and we felt the limited-edi­tion Co­bra is a bit more spe­cial, a no­tion that’s been re­flected in high val­ues since it was new.

It wasn’t un­usual for the $65K Co­bras to be resold at around $100K af­ter the model sold out in show­rooms. That’s not a bad re­turn for spend­ing the ex­tra $2900 on top of a stan­dard FPV GT.

FPV re­leased a se­ries of spe­cials in the run to the end of the BFII se­ries, in­clud­ing the F6 R-Spec Typhoon and GT 40th An­niver­sary, which has the mak­ings of a clas­sic, too.

The sec­ond com­ing of Co­bra was pre­viewed with a pre-race pa­rade lap at Bathurst in 2007, 30 years af­ter the fa­mous Bond/Mof­fat 1-2 photo fin­ish, be­fore it went on sale at the Syd­ney mo­tor show. It helped that there was a Co­bra-liv­er­ied, fac­tory-backed en­try in

Mur­ray Ward

Mthat year’s 1000, driven by Ford Per­for­mance Rac­ing spear­head Mark Win­ter­bot­tom.

Like the orig­i­nal, road-go­ing 1978 XC Co­bra, just 400 BFII Co­bra sedans were built. A fur­ther 100 of­fered as utes might be the canny col­lec­tor’s pick given greater rar­ity, and a twodoor lay­out and leaf-sprung rear sus­pen­sion shared with the late-’70s hard­top in­spi­ra­tion.

The Co­bra in­tro­duced a ‘302’ ver­sion of the Boss V8, which re­ferred to the kilo­watt count. The ex­tra venom com­pared with the reg­u­lar, 290kW Mod­u­lar 5.4-litre came via an in­creased com­pres­sion ra­tio, dif­fer­ent cam pro­files and valves, up­graded en­gine man­age­ment and a free-breath­ing ex­haust.

The ‘R-Spec’ sus­pen­sion from mod­els of the era also found its way be­neath the Co­bra as did their arch-fill­ing 19-inch wheels and tyres. Six-pis­ton Brembo front brake calipers were a pricey ($4500) op­tion.

A choice of six-speed man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions was of­fered – at launch Ford fig­ured on 70 per­cent of Co­bras be­ing sold as man­u­als, de­spite the ex­cel­lent ZF auto adopted from BF on­wards – and a limited-slip dif­fer­en­tial was stan­dard.

In­side, there were Co­bra-lo­goed leather seats to tie into the Co­bra badges on the front guards.

The FPV Co­bra stands out not for bring­ing a huge in­crease in speed or abil­ity com­pared with FPV’s main­stream BFII line-up, though the 302kW V8 and R-Spec un­der­pin­nings do make it a sub­tly bet­ter steer than its con­tem­po­raries. The Co­bra is a sig­nif­i­cant model be­cause of what it stands for, and with its col­lec­tor ap­peal es­tab­lished from the out­set, the only way is up for this fit­ting BFII fi­nale. Mur­ray spec­tated track­side at the 2007 Bathurst 1000 when the BF Co­bra was pre­viewed pre-race via a pa­rade lap and Frosty Win­ter­bot­tom started off pole in the looka­like ver­sion. The next day, back in Syd­ney, he placed his or­der. “It was the fact this car had a di­rect link to the orig­i­nal that was the rea­sons I bought this model. The XC Co­bra was so iconic when I was younger, so this was the next best thing, with a few mod cons thrown in. If I’d waited a few more days I’d have had to pay much more for it.”

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