FPV BFII GT Cobra
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
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.”