302 V8 Survivor: 1976 Ford Mustang II

The auto that started the so-called “pony car” revolution would get reinvented a decade after its debut. The original Ford Mustang came out in 1964 as a 1965 model, but by 1973 had somehow lost its focus with gains in both size and weight. Instead of being based on the compact Falcon as the original Mustang had been, the ‘74 Mustang II was based on the subcompact Pinto and the base engine was an I-4 rather than an I-6. This ’76 edition is a bone stock, original car with a reported 18,000 miles on the odometer. Located in West Plains, Missouri, it’s available here on craigslist for $19,000. Our thanks to Pat L. for another interesting find.

With the shift in direction, the Mustang went on a diet in 1974 and the timing couldn’t have been better. The new cars were released about the same time as the OPEC oil embargo, so the sales of economy cars went through the roof. Ford built 386,000 Mustang II’s in ‘74 and – while not the barn-burner the ’65s had been – they were way up in production over the 135,000 sold in ’73. For its five-year run, 1.1 million copies of the Mustang II would roll off the assembly line. The ’74 model year would be the only time a V8 engine wasn’t available in a Mustang, but it came back for ’75.

This ’76 edition hasn’t seen much road time over the years, amassing just 18,000 clicks which equals only 400 miles per year in 45 years. While the body and paint aren’t perfect, they present well with a few little scratches and dings the seller provides ample photos of. This makes it a car you wouldn’t worry about having a parking lot run-in with a shopping cart. This Mustang has the earmarks of being a one-owner who only used it to go to church on Sundays, though this isn’t revealed.

Although it takes up most of the engine compartment, this Ford’s 302 cubic inch V8 – even detuned a bit in the ’70s – should provide ample acceleration even with an automatic transmission. The seller doesn’t indicate the Mustang’s running condition, but the asking price suggests that it must be in top shape and not in need of any repairs. The red interior matches the paint job and there are no tears or rips in the upholstery. It comes across as a turn-key car that will come with paperwork from Day 1 and a Chilton repair manual in case anything comes up.

Hagerty says that one of these Pinto-based Mustangs is a $19,000 proposition in Concours condition. While this one is nice, perhaps the seller is assuming the low mileage might double its value. In Mustang circles, these Fords are seen less often than the first-generation ponies, but since it has a V8 it should fit right in at Cars & Coffee.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Something just doesn’t look right about this –
    it looks like it should have a 4 cylinder/automatic.

    Like 9
    • Kirk

      The wheels look so tiny ..I’ve never owned 1 of these so I dont know the rim and tire size but every time I see one that’s the 1st thing I see and laugh at how under sized they appear. Definitely doesn’t look like a v8 muscle car . More like economy 4 cyl. With smallest tires possible to save on $

      Like 1
      • JoeNYWF64

        The rim & tire size is 13 inches. Actually, a bunch of cars this size(compact car class) got 13 in wheels back in the day, such as the early falcons, comets, mavericks, valiants, darts, novas, & early 1965 Mustangs(even the 1st v8s with an ultra rare 5 lug 13″ wheel!!).
        Of course all the subcompacts got 13″ wheels, except oddly, the VW bug.
        Even 14″ wheels & tires look small on the mid & even full!
        size ’60s cars – if they had optional shorter(but wider)70 series perf tires, such as on the ’68-70 charger! On other cars with very high profile 75 or even 78! series 14″ tires, the tire/wheel combo did not look small.

      • djkenny

        Common style, then. I knew someone with the exact car in brown back in the early 80’s.
        Also my cousin’s furst car was a brown 4 cylinder that looked identical.
        I have no clue why this is not under $10,000.

  2. SOREL

    i’ll admit, even though this was probably one of the worst years for mustangs i still like it

    Like 9
    • Gary

      I like it too. My Dad bought a leftover green glow ’74 V6 with a 4 speed new. It was actually a fun little car. Until he gave it me after graduation. I loaned to a friend. He got drunk, flipped the car in 4 times in a corn field. My Dad was furious! There is a red ’74 auto.(V6) on Facebook Marketplace here in Roanoke Va. has 114k. Looks good for $4000.

      Like 2
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        Hey,I’m in Roanoke too.

        Like 1
      • Gary Rhodes

        Never loan your car/motorcycle to anyone. The ending is rarely good. A guy I knew had a Monza Spyder and the exact same thing happened to him.

  3. Kevin

    The young man that was selling the 4cyl earlier this year had a nice car for half the price.

    Like 3
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Has some nicks and marks, but overall is in excellent condition. Love the plaid upholstery, not routinely seen on the upmarket Ghia? By 1976 oil prices had moderated and the V8 was again common. Nice to see one which has survived. I’d add period-correct whitewalls (if available) to finish the look.

    Like 9
  5. Big_Fun Member

    …if you squint, it looks like a Granada in a Fun House mirror.

    Like 17

    I have to chuckle at the asking price. Blame it on Covid. Yeah it’s clean with low miles but look what you would be getting for your money. A front heavy car with as much interior and trunk room of a Pinto.

    Saying it has a V8 is no bonus. This is a smog choked 2V engine that makes less than 120 HP. 18 Large is a lot of coin. I could think of many other cars that would be fun and unique for lot less. But if it is your thing go for it.

    Like 13
  7. Terrry

    This car has three things going for it..the seller actually took the time to advertise the car with good pictures, it really looks like it may actually have a genuine 18k miles, and it has the V8. Would I pay 19k for it? No, but 15k, perhaps.

    Like 4
  8. Mike

    I always wondered what type of person uses all caps in their descriptions? Do they think it’s to get people to notice more? As some people say it’s like shouting. Go to the ad and read it as if the seller is shouting. Sound ridiculous.

    Like 5
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      When I see that,I want to reply like this –

      FOR IT?

      Like 7
  9. Arby

    Somebody is missing their Kilt…

    Like 6
  10. Chris

    Thou an orphan car I like it & would drive this thing all day long ,,, Its a unique drive . Love that interior

    Like 4
  11. rustylink

    I’m thinking of all the different types of Mustangs I could own for 18 large…this isn’t one of them.

    Like 12
  12. Daniel Soukup

    They share almost no parts with a Pinto (other than 4 and V6 engines ) but are more based on the Maverick platform.

    Like 2
    • bone

      It was originally going to be based on the Maverick , but they ended up using the Pinto platform , which had the rack and pinion set up, as opposed to the Mavericks Falcon based platform

      Like 3
      • piston poney

        still not a pinto

        Like 1
  13. bone

    It was originally going to be based on the Maverick , but they ended up using the Pinto platform , which had the rack and pinion set up, as opposed to the Mavericks Falcon based platform. Pinto and Mustangs had the 4 cyl engines while the Mavericks were 6 cyl based

    Like 1
  14. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. Although I was too young to drive at the time the Mustang II was on the market, I thought it was the best looking car sold by Ford.

    Like 2
  15. Troy

    I think the owner of this thing as spent to much time watching Barrett Jackson and Mecum auction reruns on motor trend. Who knows they might get it. Good luck to them

    Like 2
  16. Jackie Hollingsworth

    Not for me.

  17. Lance Platt

    I like the red color and the sporty Mustang interior touches. The emasculated V8 won’t win any drag races but it should provide more than adequate acceleration for a safe driver in a Pinto based car. At the time, I thought the 1976 car was too small until I realized it was closer to the original 1964 1/2 dimensions having gained weight during the ensuing model changes. Having said I like it, I have two concerns. One is the documentation for the low miles. The other issue is the price is high for a vehicle that is not loved by collectors.

    Like 2
  18. Frank

    Ford should have fired the guy that designed this. Insult to the name Mustang. Ford has a better idea!

    Like 2
    • DON

      It was the right idea for the time, and they sold thousands more of these in 1974 than they did with the 1973 models. It may not be what people want today , but these were everywhere in the 70s

      Like 3
  19. DON

    It was the right idea for the time, and they sold thousands more of these in 1974 than they did with the 1973 models. It may not be what people want today , but these were everywhere in the 70s

    Like 1
  20. JoeNYWF64

    I would think a red on red Mustang II with a RED vinyl roof was not very common.
    120 mph speedo in ’76 is surprising here, since a ’76 firebird’s only went up to 100 mph even with 455 v8.

    • Sam Shive

      The Firebird had a 455 and only 200 ponies ….. I’ld rather have this LITTLE PONY.

      • JoeNYWF64

        I was referring to government regulations on speedos in ’76.
        It is not difficult to modify the pont 455 with 350 heads to raise compress, change to true dual exhuast, etc. Plus even at stock 7.6 to 1 compression, it still put out 330 ft lbs of torque at a low 2000 rpm.
        Plus it also has heavier duty underpinnings than the stang II & higher resale today.
        As for the interiors, i like em on both cars & the styling of the hatchback stang II IMO looks better than later gen stangs before the 2005. It does need, tho, 14 or even 15″ wheels. & for ex., a late ’80s drivetrain for more power & to be able to handle the extra hp.

        Like 1
  21. That Guy

    This is firmly in the “Find another” category. It would be hard to duplicate the great spec and great condition regardless of price. The hard part, I think, is finding the right person to pay the money and drive it home. If I were the seller, I’d advertise it as widely as I could, maybe put it on Ebay or even into a live auction, and hold out for around $15K or more. I’m pretty sure they would get it eventually.

    Like 1
  22. djkenny

    19 grand? I could see maybe $9000.

    Like 3
  23. Stevieg Member

    Odd car! I have never seen a full vinyl top like this on a “Ghia” Mustang. I’ve seen the full top on non-Ghia Mustangs, but not on these. Same with the plaid interior. I’ve seen vinyl & velour, not plaid. Very odd car. I kinda like it, but I am not for a minute buying the miles. A red V-8 Mustang, aftermarket cassette player from the 1980’s. This car has been around the block. It has been well cared for, but the miles are not original.

  24. Cadmanls Member

    Lots of negativity on a car that revolutionized the hot rod world with an amazing front suspension. Mustang II front suspension is still the base for so many hot rods front ends today and look at the aftermarket kits out there. This car was good for something folks.

    Like 1
  25. Miminite

    I’ve had 5 Mustangs from a ’69 Sportsroof to my current late model Coyote GT, but have not had one of these. I like it but agree price is high. I guess everyone is trying to cash in on the Covid car sales boom.

    This car reminds me of a story from my past. I was in the Navy in ’76 in a technical rate. We had pretty good reenlistment bonuses and one program was STAR – which as I recall stood for Selective Training and Reenlistment. Bonus cash was in the $12K range IIRC. We had a saying of “ship Star and buy a car” because everyone that did it seemed to show up with a new car.

    I had a shipmate that shipped Star and next thing you know, he had a new red Mustang II very similar to this one. We teased him mercilessly but if you were planning on a career in the Navy, it was a smart move – the reenlistment, not so much the Mustang II.

    Anyway, that’s my story. If someone does buy it, overpriced or not, at least it looks like they’ll get a nice example of an underloved example of Mustang history.

    PS, I do not know what happened to that shipmate or the Mustang II.

    Like 1
  26. Curtis

    In spite of your opinion on the Must. 2. It was like the 70’s cars all together. At least they had their own appearence. Not like today where most vehicles look similar.

  27. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    The price has been knocked down to a still unbelievable 17K.

    Like 1
  28. Gary Rhodes

    We had several fastbacks that had 400+ hp motors and 4spds in our area, very fast little things. But in the end they were still Pintos. This is a clean example but $20k will get you a decent 65-70 Mustang fastback or convertible that needs some tlc

  29. Mike

    My sister’s first car was a ’77 Mustang V8 hatchback in turquoise! She loved that car and it was pretty peppy with the V8 and fairly reliable as I recall. My Dad had a yellow ’72 Mach 1 and found the ’77 slightly used for her🤓

  30. 70's Blue Oval Guy

    Yeah Bro….I had one of these back in 1981. It was a 1976 25th Silver anniversary Mustang with a 302V8. Small, light car….horrendously ugly body style, and a ton of interior electronics for the time. More than 125 horsepower though, I ate 6 cylinder Mustangs and Mavericks for breakfast. I have to admit….it was mildly fast….not as fast as my 1976 Mercury Comet GT 302V8…..now that car was interesting. Very similar to a Maverick Grabber.

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