Return To Home Page
Facebook
Features
Contact/Guestbook
Reading Room
The X-Files Ford Drag Team A/FX Mustangs Stock Cars
The X-Files - King Cobra - Dearborn Flashback.com


1970 TORINO & CYCLONE KING COBRA


Photos from Torinocobra.com & John Craft

When Ford changed to a all-new bodies for the Torino and Cyclone in 1970, the '69 Talladega and Spoiler became last years race car. Ford wanted the car you could buy off the new car showroom winning races, not last years car. So, the Talladegas and Spoilers were to be shelved and replaced by the new 1970 Torino "King Cobra" and possibly a matching Cyclone. Ford built two or possibly three Torino King Cobra prototypes, one of which was featured in the October 1969 issue of Motor Trend magazine. These featured a love-it or hate-it extended nose. Apparently the new nose worked, but testing showed the new Torino's rear window and deck area produced lift and was unstable at speed. The King Cobra program was very short-lived, it was killed when Ford slashed its racing budget in late-1969. Most Nascar teams returned to the old '69 cars, which were legal for Nascar through 1971. There at least three King Cobras in existence today, a restored prototype orange Boss 429 powered KC, a solid yellow prototype KC featured in a 1988 issue of Super Ford magazine, and the yellow & black H&M-built 429 SCJ KC which was featured on the My Classic Car TV program in 2004. This car was reportedly found in Holman & Moody's garage many years ago. Apparently only a clay styling KC Cyclone was built, and not a actual running car. The stillborn Cyclone version never officially got a name, internal Ford documents referred to it as the "Mercury King Cobra." A orange "Cyclone Spoiler II" has turned up however, probably built from left over parts. A couple of great sites with more info and photos can be found at Torinocobra.com, Fordtorino.com, and Aerowarriors.com.

TRUE or FALSE??....TRUE!


YELLOW KC IN 1969
SUPER FORD/JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

BUD MOORE KC 1988
SUPER FORD/JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

WHITE KC JULY 1969
JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

ORANGE KC
TORINOCOBRA.COM PHOTO

BUD MOORE KC 1988
SUPER FORD/JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

KING COBRA @ FAIRLANE
CLUB NATIONALS 2004
2004 DEARBORNFLASHBACK.COM PHOTO

KC & SPOILER @
FAIRLANE CLUB NATIONALS 2004
2004 DEARBORNFLASHBACK.COM PHOTO

SPOILER @ FAIRLANE
CLUB NATIONALS 2004
DEARBORNFLASHBACK.COM PHOTO

KING COBRA REUNION @
BUD MOORE ENG.
JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

KING COBRA REUNION @
BUD MOORE ENG.
JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

KING COBRA REUNION @
BUD MOORE ENG.
JOHN CRAFT PHOTO

STUART WEEMAN KING COBRA

STUART WEEMAN KING COBRA

STUART WEEMAN KING COBRA

STUART WEEMAN KING COBRA

STUART WEEMAN KING COBRA

BILL HOLBROOK W/ KING COBRA


KING COBRA REUNION @ BUD MOORE ENG. - JOHN CRAFT PHOTO


UPDATE... We have new KC info from long-time Ford Racing Historian John Craft. Ford built at least two, possibly three prototype King Cobras according to John. Holman & Moody also built one Nascar-spec KC, which was tested by Cale Yarborough at Daytona in October, 1969. The whereabouts of the Nascar KC is not presently known, most likely the KC nose was removed after tested was completed, and it may have saw Nascar duty with a standard front end. H&M also built one 429-SCJ powered street going KC, using one of their spare fiberglass noses, it is now owned by a Tennesee car collector. This KC has a hand-stamped vin with a "HM" prefix.

Of the two or three street KC prototypes built, Bud Moore ended up with two of them in 1971. The first Moore KC, the yellow 429-CJ one shown here, was the closest to a production Torino. This KC still exists, and carries a regular production vin. The second KC Bud purchased from Ford had some unique features. It was an early prototype with prototype Carlite etched in the glass. This KC also came a modified 460 wedge engine, and 1971 Mustang style shock towers, intended for a Boss 429. John has Ford internal documents that show at least one Torino had a Boss engine installed in late 1969, this could be that Torino. The second KC also had a convex rear window, a hand stamped VIN, and a '69 style door data plate, marked "X0-429". The second KC came from Ford with a damaged nose, so Bud replaced the front clip with standard Torino sheetmetal. He then sold the car to a South Carolina cop. The KC was found in a junkyard several years later by Steve Daniele, who restored it. He managed to find the original damaged nose, repaired it, and used it to produce a new nose for his ex-Moore KC. The orange KC has changed hands several times now, it was sold at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in 2001 for $97,200. John believes Ford only built two KC's, since the white prototype and Daniele's orange car both have the odd convex rear window. When the orange KC was restored, several different colors were found, orange was not the original color. The white and orange KC's are likely one and the same.

The mold used to produce a nose for the orange KC has since been used to produce three or four new noses, one of which is likely now bolted on the "Chicken Coop" Cyclone Spoiler that recently popped up. The Chicken Coop car was "found" by the owner of the yellow H&M-KC, supposedly complete with KC-style nose and Boss 429 power, languishing in a chicken coop. John Craft reports, the only Super Spoiler Ford built was the clay styling prototype, not a running-driving vehicle. This clay car was most likely destroyed by Ford after the program was canceled. John interviewed all of the key players at Ford, Jacque Passino, Ralph Moody, Larry Shinoda, Bill Holbrook, and Bud Moore, and none of them ever saw a completed Super Spoiler. John also has Ford documents that show Ford hadn't finalized a name for the Mercury version of the KC, simply calling it the Mercury King Cobra. They also hadn't yet decided on the nose design by the time Ford pulled the plug on the Nascar program. All of this means, unless documentation comes forward, the Chicken Coop Cyclone is most an likely owner built car, and wasn't built by Ford.


UPDATE 7/4/08... Dr. John Craft reports that he has recently been in contact with yet another Ford employee, who was supposedly the first owner of the so-called Chicken Coop Cyclone. Apparently, the story that has been circulated is that Mose Nowland was a Ford Engineer who was given the 1970 Super Spoiler II at his retirement. Mr. Nowland, who is still employed at Ford Motor Co., indicated that he did NOT receive any such car, and was quite amused at the tall tale. Thanks again to John Craft!


UPDATE 2/6/11... More photos and information from Dr. John Craft...

The first two photos are undated, but they likely are from April of 1969. The show two full clay models of the proposed King Cobra body style. There are clay forms over wooden bucks--not real cars. Hence, no window glass. You will note that this is the Ford design. Note the two different stripe styles that were then being considered for the car.


The next two photos from May of 1969 show an evolution of the clay mock up--with glass. This appears to at least part of a fully rolling unit body with a clay nose.


A week or so later, the half clay was rolled out for real light photos and visual comparisons. Note the early stock Torino styling exercise in the back ground.


Here is the shot of Larry Shinoda in the styling studio that I was familiar with before the new MT shot showed up. For reference, this is the work area in the back ground of the first two shots.

Here is a shot of me with Larry in the 80s (Hey! No gray hair!). I talked with Larry on a number of occasions over the years. He never indicated any knowledge of a Mercury version of the KC ever having been built.

Here are some shots of Bud Moore's KC taken during the reunion I arranged of his car, the vermillion car and the supposedly H&M built KC (BTW, Ralph Moody never heard anything about a KC being built for street work at H&M and sold to the public.) Bud can be seen in the bottom picture at the rear of the car in a plaid shirt.

The three shots below are taken under the hood of Bud's KC. Incredibly the car had just 700 miles on the odometer when the pictures were taken in the late 80s. The bottom shot is relevant to the discussion of the replica Mercury. Note the fine quality of the fiberglas on the hood in Bud's KC. Corvette like in smoothness. Note the complete ram air plenum on that hood. And finally, note that the hood stays up with stock factory springs. The Hood on the replica Mercury looks NOTHING like this. It is lumpy and show an obvious boat style resin and cloth construction (Bud's is chopper gun). Funny thing, the nose and hood I got from the vermillion car owner (and the beak that the replicas owner also got are identical--and not at all similar to the nose in Bud's car). The hood in the supposed Spoiler II is also so heavy that springs will not hold it up--he uses a broom handle to prop it open. Obvious conclusion: the replica car was built from the nose he got from the Steve Danieli (vermillion car restorer) and not Ford.

Here are some styling studio shots of the Mercury "half clay"


These shots were taken in July of 1969. They show a half clay Mercury. Look closely at the hood shots--there is only one hood line on the driver's side. Also note how low the nose sits over the front tires. Obviously a clay nose. Also note the dual--rather than triple tail lights. This is obviously NOT the replica car--though that story was originally floated about the car. The replica car is very nicely done. Just not a real car. I've got Ford documents that indicate the whole KC program dies before the final nose design on the Merc was settled. These shots of different air inlets taken in July--just before the program was killed support those documents.



1970 TORINO & CYCLONE KING COBRA PRODUCTION

. PHOTO TAKEN COLOR ENGINE BUILT BY HISTORY

1988 YELLOW 429-CJ FORD #1 KING COBRA PROTOTYPE THAT BUD MOORE BOUGHT FROM FORD IN 1971
1969 WHITE UNKNOWN FORD KC PROTOTYPE, HAD CONVEX REAR GLASS, SUSPECTED TO BE THE #2 EX-BUD MOORE KC THAT IS NOW PAINTED ORANGE

2000's ORANGE BOSS 429 FORD?? #2 EX-MOORE KC, THIS IS THOUGHT TO POSSIBLY BE THE WHITE PROTOTYPE KC, HAS CONVEX REAR GLASS

2003 YELLOW 429-SCJ H&M HOLMAN & MOODY BUILT KC, YEAR UNKNOWN

N/A BLUE UNKNOWN H&M HOLMAN & MOODY BUILT NASCAR-SPEC KC, TESTED BY CALE YARBOROUGH AT DAYTONA IN 1969, PHOTO IS A SCALE MODEL

1969 ORANGE UNKNOWN FORD ORANGE CLAY STYLING SPOILER, MOST LIKELY CRUSHED BY FORD


1970 TORINO & CYCLONE KING COBRA REPLICAS

. PHOTO TAKEN COLOR ENGINE BUILT BY HISTORY

2003 ORANGE BOSS 429 OWNER-BUILT THE "CHICKEN COOP CYCLONE"
THIS SPOILER WAS LIKELY BUILT BY THE OWNER IN 2003

N/A ORANGE UNKNOWN OWNER-BUILT RANCHERO KC, NO OTHER INFO ON THIS CAR

2012 MAROON UNKNOWN OWNER-BUILT KC CLONE OFFERED ON EBAY IN DEC. 2012


Many thanks to John Craft for
his contributions to this page!

Updated: 3/24/13

Purchase John Crafts books here:

Dearborn Flashback


2005-2013 DearbornFlashback.com - All rights reserved
Dearbornflashback.com is an independant Ford Racing Enthusiast
Website not affiliated with or supported by Ford Motor Co.

Page views since 11/18/07
Free Web Counter
Free Web Counter