People love to hate on the Mustang II, but to be fair, that hostility is more the fault of the era and not of the car. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice ‘Stang has had most of what the ’70s sapped from the model restored via a newer 302 and other updates. Could that, plus its price, redeem it?
It seems that for many of you, buying an old Alfa with more than 200K on the clock is something akin to being offered someone else’s used hankie with which to wipe your nose. However, that was just the ask with last Friday’s 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio, which quite amazingly has 229,000 miles in the rearview. The vote over its $6,500 price was a nail-biter in the early going, with a number of you noting in the comments that it was the miles that swayed your choice. In the end, the allure of the Alfa mystique overcame that aversion, letting the Spider trundle off with a solid 57 percent Nice Price win.
So, if it was almost as popular as the original, which itself almost single-handedly created the car fan club pastiche, why did the Mustang II get so vilified over time? After all, it was with the II that Ford returned the Mustang to its original size like it was Alice through the looking glass. For the first time, Ford also imbued the model with both rack and pinion steering and a handsome and practical hatchback body. To top it off, the model’s development was driven by the same executive who led the push on the original car, Lee Iacocca, ensuring that its vision remained true.
Ok, so we know why its popularity waned. And it really has nothing to do with the Mustang II at all. It’s because of the era in which it was birthed. The 1970s proved to be a terrible time for the auto industry as a whole, and cars in general with manufacturers valiently trying to keep up with ever-tightening emissions and safety standards. Add to that oil-producing countries’ on-and-off game of “just kidding” when it came to global fuel supply throughout the decade. That made consumers all the more focused on fuel economy and efficiency, which led to greater pressure on dommestic auto companies from foreign makes that already offered better gas mileage.
The fact is, when the Mustang was introduced in 1964, its top motor was a 271 horsepower 280 CID V8 with a four-barrel carb. When the Mustang II arrived a decade later, it initially didn’t even offer a V8, maxing out instead with a 2.8-liter Cologne V6 with just 106 horses. A 302 CID V8 would re-enter the picture in the 1975 model year, but that low-compression, two-barrel equipped motor could only muster a weak-kneed 122 horses. None of that was the Mustang’s fault.
That’s why people tend to hate the Mustang II. It’s not because of the car but because of the era in which it was called into service.
I’m happy to report that this 1978 Ford Mustang II seems to have had all of those ghosts from the past exorcised. According to the ad, this handsome hatchback has been restomodded with a newer (non-roller block) 302 that’s fuel-injected and working through a four-speed manual. Other updates include new paint and upholstery, a refreshed exhaust, and a fuel cell in the boot that apparently needs to be filled through the open hatch. A bass box and amp for a custom stereo install share the space back there.
Stripes and random Cobra decals give the car a bit of additional retro flair, as do the Hurst-style shifter handle and American Racing mags. Missing from the car are the bumper inserts and seemingly the louver for the passenger-side side window. According to the description in the ad, the present owner received the car as part of a package deal off of Facebook Marketplace. It wasn’t running at the time and has required some work to get back in the saddle. Now, they seem less enamored with the car and are offering it on Craigslist. It comes with a clean title and a reported (but probably inaccurate) 100K on the clock. The asking price is $9,500.
What’s your take on this Mustang and that $9,500 asking? Does that seem like a fair price for a II that’s been spiffed up and had its shortcomings eliminated? Or, does the curse of the sophomore ‘Stang still sting too painfully to pay so much?
H/T to Whatsupdohc for the hookup!
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