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In mid-1995, Ford started promoting the 1996 Mystic Cobra, a limited run of 2000 cars to be painted a special one-year-only color. Each car costs an extra $815 for this paint. Shortly after the final 1996 production numbers were released, an exciting discrepancy haunted the Mystic Cobras. However, shortly after Ford’s official numbers were released, they said that only 1999 were produced. This has been an argument among Mustang fans for more than 20 years.

Where is the missing Mystic Mustang Cobra?

A Mystichrome Ford Mustang Cobra driving down the road
Mystic Cobra | Levi O’Dell via 96 Mystic Cobra Registry

In 2019, while searching for Mystics and owners to invite to join, Ed Dougherty found a Facebook post of a nursing home in Ohio that had just held a car show. Its First Place car was a 1996 Mystic Cobra, the last produced. One photo showed a partial license plate missing one digit. Using the trick of trial and error, Dougherty got a VIN for this supposed last Mystic. At the time, Ford would only give out the Mystic number if you bought the package. The Mystic community quickly donated funds to buy the paperwork. A few weeks later, that car was confirmed as #2000.

Armed with the proof that #1 and #2000 existed, Dougherty went to Kevin Marti, the man selling “Officially Licensed Ford Merchandise” with 1999 instead of 2000. Kevin confirmed that #1 was in the system and then confirmed #2000. He said that meant a car between them didn’t exist. Using the info from the registry, they worked together and narrowed it down to a vehicle between #1927-#1937.

How did owners find the black Mystic Cobra?

Over the past few years, Dougherty was able to fill in some of those blanks. Recently, Kevin and the author started working on it again. Ford has changed its policy in the last few years and has been confirming mustangs with Mystic numbers for free.

One of the VINs Dougherty spoke with Ford about comes back to #1928. Kevin said that, on his end, it shows as black and not Mystic. However, he also sees that there is a $701 refund issued to the dealer from Ford when the car was sold (that’s supposedly the dealer cost for Mystics; remember, it was an $815 retail option).

Is the black Mystic Cobra stolen?

A Yellow Ford Mustang Cobra parked at a car show
Yellow Cobra Mustang | Harold Hoch via Getty Images
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The next step was to confirm that #1928 was real. The car does exist and has had the same owner for the last 27 years! However, it was reported stolen on January 1, 2004, and never recovered. Of course, there is no way to find photo evidence of the door sticker now. So, Dougherty called the NCIB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) the DNA database for stolen cars.

Dougherty wanted to verify that it was never recovered and see if they could access the police report. However, the NCIB didn’t have any other info and seemed suspicious of the author calling about an active stolen car from 19 years ago. While the Mustang Cobra’s are rare, and the Mystic painted versions even more so, the accidental black paint car is the rarest of them all.

Is the black Mystic Cobra still missing?

The missing Mystic Cobra is most likely #1928, accidentally painted black by Ford. It may have been a canceled order or a car that met its demise between being built and delivered to its dealership. The car is still missing, but Dougherty hopes to find it someday. This intriguing story shows how the love of a car can drive enthusiasts to research and uncover mysteries.