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Barn Find Pony Car: 1973 Ford Mustang

By 1973, the Ford Mustang had been in production for nearly 10 years. It created a market niche for so-called “pony cars” that every mainstream automaker got into by the end of the 1960s. This ‘73 edition is one of the last first-generation Mustangs built before the car was “reinvented” the following year. Given the dirt and grime we see here, this Ford has been off the road for a long time and doesn’t run. Awaiting someone to save it, this vehicle is in Osage Beach, Missouri, and available here on eBay where the reserve is unmet at bids reaching just $2,550.

Bigger is not necessarily better, a lesson that Ford learned with the 1971-73 Mustangs. The cars were longer, lower, and wider than their 1965 counterparts – but also 800 lbs. heavier. Add to that the level of competition that followed Ford into this market space, Mustang sales in ’73 were down to fewer than 135,000 cars compared to a peak of 607,000 in 1966. So, the Mustang II would be the answer in 1974, switching from the Falcon compact platform to one shared with the Pinto sub-compact. Four-cylinder engines would become standard fare, which didn’t sit well with purists. But the timing was perfect given the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the resulting higher fuel prices. Somewhat by accident, Ford again had the right car at the right time.

It’s hard to gauge the condition of this ’73 Mustang because the seller chose to take outdoors photos at the time of day that dark approaches. We’re told it’s a survivor, but that’s s stretch because it’s not a running automobile that needs little attention. It hasn’t been a daily driver in some time. We’re told there is “almost” no rust anywhere, but the where part is not mentioned. No patches or Bondo have apparently been applied to the body and the chassis still has paint underneath (?). No attempt has been made to clean it up, so what you see is what you get.

At 85,000 miles, it looks as though a small V8 is under the hood, perhaps a 302, although the seller refers to it as a V6 (those didn’t come along until the Mustang II). It’s paired with an automatic transmission, and we don’t know what attention either of them might require. The fluids are said to all look good so maybe the Achilles heel is that the wiring is the reason it won’t run. From storage in a barn or some other structure, the wiring has been chewed on by furry denizens of the night. So, if a new wiring harness is needed, that’s not a small undertaking. Would you attempt to restore this car or use it as a donor for another project?


  1. Terrry

    “Almost no rust anywhere” means a little rust everywhere at least.

    Like 7
    • Steveo

      Nah, just a little rust around the holes…

      Like 9
  2. Shawn

    I’m curious as to what model of flip phone they used to take some of those pics? Thankfully the price isn’t nuts, so I guess you can’t expect studio quality photos.

    Like 4
  3. Greg

    Wash it, then take a magnet wrapped in a rag then find the Bondo, definitely going to find the rusted out places once it’s been scrubbed down.

    Like 2
  4. Troy

    Throw some tires on it a new battery change the fluids and drive it home. What is the worst that could happen?

    • Howie Mueler

      You could end up owning it.

      Like 4
  5. Greg

    What Troy says, it might fire up and run just fine.

  6. Hot Rod Lincoln

    Last week a Yellow ’73 Mustang sold on Auto Hunter that was listed with no reserve, oops, for $1600. It was a running and drivable car with 150k miles. It had a 302 automatic drive train and some rust over the rear wheels and the passenger rocker, very fixable. It was a better value than this car that has been bid higher and reserve not met.

    Like 3
  7. trav66

    This one looks like it would wash up nicely (for less than $3k so far). Like Troy said, new tires, fluids, battery and repair the chewed wiring. I agree with Greg, too. It shows 85,000 miles on the 302 so it could be on the road quickly. Easy weekend classic car project for less than $5k. I’m tempted to bid! Dang you, Barn Finds!

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