Ford's styling department built two concept cars on Cobra chassis in the mid-1960s. Both were designed by the head of Ford Styling at that time, Eugene Bordinat. One was a roadster which came to be called the 'Bordinat Cobra.' The other one, a coupe, was called the 'Cougar II.' Despite the nominal publicity, not much was known about either car beyond the fact that they were concept cars, never intended for actual production.
The Bordinat Cobra, alternatively called the XP Cobra was the first coil-spring chassis Cobra. Power was from a 289 High-Performance engine mated to a C4 automatic transmission. To mount the engine in the bay, it was set back in the frame to clear the low hood line.
The cars disappeared for several years. After a number of internet searches over a period of years, both cars were found in a warehouse in Detroit. Both cars were basically intact. Many mysteries developed regarding the history of these vehicles and numerous trips to the warehouse were made to inspect the vehicles to verify they were the original cars.
The body of the Bordinat Cobra was vacuum-formed out of a new plastic material called Royalex, developed by U.S. Royal. Rumor had it that three bodies had been molded; one used for this car and the other two disappeared.
The Cougar II has been shown at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles as part of a Concept Car display in 1998. The Cougar II had a fiberglass body, a 260 High-Performance engine and a four-speed transmission. It was a GT two-passenger sports car that appeared to be a suitable contender for the Chevrolet Corvette String Ray. The car had a fastback roof, concealed 'pop-up' headlights, and full instrument interior.
The high-performance 260 cubic-inch V8 engine was capable of carrying the Cougar II to an estimated top speed of 170 miles per hour. When interior air pressure exceeded 15 pounds per square inch, a relief panel across the rear of the passenger compartment would automatically open. The purpose of this panel was to relieve the extreme pressure that would be caused at high speeds, which may have resulted in the rear window being blown out. Another feature to the car was a spring-loaded window-lift mechanism to the curved side windows.
The Cougar II was named after the Cougar I which had been introduced 18 months prior. The car had an AC-Cobra tube frame and rode on wire wheels.