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Cheap Wheels or More? 1977 Ford Mustang II

Ford reinvented the once-popular Mustang in 1974, but this time as a subcompact (which was closer in relative size than the top-heavy 1973 Mustang). Now called the Mustang II, it turned out to be the right car at the right time when fuel prices skyrocketed after the 1973 OPEC oil embargo. This ’77 Mustang II has had a lot of costly mechanical work done, but the body and interior need attention. Located in Clarksville, Tennessee, the seller is undecided whether the asking price is $4,500 or $54,500 here on craigslist. Thanks for the interesting tip, Rocco B.!

The Mustang II had a production run (1974-78) of about half that of the first-generation pony (1965-73). It was 500 lbs. lighter and 19 inches shorter than its most recent predecessor. It used a unibody platform that was derived from the Pinto subcompact and a 4-cylinder engine was standard fare. More than 1.1 million of the little cars were built in total, which compares to the 1.3 million that saw the light of day in 1964-66. But unlike the original Mustang, most of these reborn ponies have long since disappeared from the landscape.

A potentially hefty investment has been made in this car, but does all that make it worthy of being the most expensive Mustang II left? The new stuff includes a rebuilt engine (still an I-4 residing in a dirty compartment), a new exhaust, a replacement transmission (automatic), new brakes, a new gas tank, and a whole lot more. This may be more than $4,500 might warrant. Plus, the car wears some cool aftermarket wheels.

Some of the body pieces may be good and the brown paint fair, but the interior is a bit rough under close scrutiny. And if you pull out the spare tire, you’ll find a big gaping rust hole. So, while some work has been done, a lot more remains if you wanted to show the car. The seller is willing to do a trade for a VW bus from the 1950s or 1960s era. Given the $50,000 spread in asking price (which is no doubt an error on the seller’s part), what would you be willing to spend?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo CCFisher

    Yes, those are very cheap wheels, and I hope the next owner wastes no time in replacing them.

    Like 9
  2. Avatar photo Sam

    If he wants to give me $4500.00 I’ll take it off his hands

    Like 7
  3. Avatar photo Kurt Member

    Could you put the 289 in this car?

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Tony Primo

      Ford offered a 302 cubic inch engine as an option. A 289 should fit okay.

      Like 10
    • Avatar photo Mr. Ship

      I dropped a 289 into a ’74 Mustang II fastback. Needed to get motor mounts for a ’75 since the ’74 was I4/V6 only, but other than that it was a simple swap. Now, keeping it from boiling over due to a too-small radiator was a whole ‘nother fiasco (note that the ’75 onwards moved the radiator a few inches forwards to accommodate the bigger unit).

      Like 6
  4. Avatar photo John D

    With the damaged front fender and rotted trunk floor the rest needing a lot of cleanup I don’t see $4500 these don’t drive very well spongy suspension no power 2.3 auto. Maybe $1000-$1500 maybe

    Like 9
  5. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    I am laughing because of the seller’s pricing typo.

    They must have invested in the engine replacement before finding the trunk rust out and decided to dump this project now.

    Like 12
  6. Avatar photo steve

    Sorry, but I have no love for this body style. Good luck to both the seller and buyer.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo John H.

      Totally understand the hate, steve, but frankly, this generation saved the Mustang from disappearing altogether. It had gotten bloated and emissions choked by 73. I had a 75 Ghia that was slow, and slowed down when I tried to pass other cars. It wasn’t my favorite car by any stretch. My buddy’s 78 Mach One hatchback with a built 302 was scary fun, though.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo steve

        I hear you John. I’ve always loved Mustangs, had 2 1966’s and 2 1969 fastbacks. The 69’s were my favorites and I’d love to have either one back today!

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Christopher Gentry

      I know I’m in the minority , but I’ve always liked these. Not my favorite of course. But thier not a bad looking car. This one however is overpriced and is a sterling example of what most folks hate about em. Brown , underpowered 4 cylinder auto , brown. Did I mention brown

      Like 7
  7. Avatar photo Nelson C

    Mom would have said you’re trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

    Like 6
  8. Avatar photo C Force

    It’s a typo,it’s $450 or $540.someone added on a extra zero by mistake right?$4500,that’s funny…..the joke of the day.

    Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Big C

    With that rust out in the trunk? I’d go overvthe underside in this ‘Stang with a fine toothed comb. And a magnet. Before I gave him the $2000 that I’d pay.

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    I’m glad that these are finally coming into their own. This car did save the Mustang from the glue factory, Afterall. They were every where growing up. Charlies angels helped the Mustang ll cause a lot. I guarantee if you ask someone in the 50-70 year old range they will know someone that had one of these or rode in one. More than likely, they owned one. Color me weird, but I’ve always lusted after a 78 Ghia hardtop with the black/chamois color combo. I agree that it’s kind of sad that a opera windowed landau top looked so good on these Mustangs, but gosh darned, it just did!

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo The Other Chris

      Who said these are “finally coming into their own”? I doubt anyone likes these more now than they did last year, or the year before, or…

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

      Blake, this also is my favorite Mustang II model.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Big C

        Back in the early 2010’s, I balked at paying a nice lady $5000 for her absolutely mint Cobra II V-8 4-speed. Check out the prices now!

        Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    My high school Freshman science teacher had one of these, but I think she traded it in for a Fiat X1/9 after only two (2) years. Hers was a Ghia Notchback with the half vinyl roof. Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire, LOL!

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Update: there were about 45 Mustang II’s at their annual reunion event this weekend at Indianapolis, this time in conjunction with a Mustang Club of America national show. Well-preserved originals, modified cars, restorations, even rusty drivers. Of course they will never be high-dollar collectibles and people will feel obliged to throw stones at them, but I do sense more appreciation that they indeed were “the right car at the right time” and that they are a vital part of Mustang history.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      I used to look down my nose at these, but as I’ve gotten older, I tend to agree that they’ve been unfairly maligned. Clean examples are hard to find, though, because Ford’s rust protection was pretty much non-existent through the 1970’s, and most of them, like this example, were eaten by the dreaded tin worm and crushed long before the calendar said 1990. I could see one of these as a restomodded example, with a 300 hp EcoBoost 2.3L mill replacing the original 90 hp motor!

      Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Christopher Gentry

    Agreed. Always thought a modern engine swap while maintaining a totally stock body and interiour would be very cool. Didn’t weight much, wouldn’t need too much power 5o be a lot of fun

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      I’m partial to the EcoBoost simply because it’s lighter, so less understeer because there’s less weight on the front end. The 5.0L, a.k.a. the 302 will fit, because it was a factory option starting in 1975. It will likely be cheaper, because a later, fuel-injected 302 could be sourced from the local junkyard, but even from the factory, it was a tight fit. The EcoBoost would cost more, and might require more fabrication to make it work, but would be easier to fit. The original 2.3L was a “slant” engine, but the EcoBoost stands up straighter, so a custom hood might be in the cards if you use an EcoBoost mill. You pays your money and you takes your chances, LOL!

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo mark nathenson

    Back in 1977 for a high school graduation present, the wealthy dad of my buddy’s girlfriend gave her a ’53 or ’54 polo white corvette that he had been saving for the occasion. She turned it down and opted for a brown Mustang II
    identical to this one. While I didn’t fully appreciate the Corvette back then, I questioned her judgement…and 46 years later I still do.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Christopher Gentry

    While I do like the Mustang , I agree , the 53 , 54 Vette beats it hands down

    Like 0

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