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Shaker Hood: 1978 Ford Mustang II

By 1973, the Ford Mustang was no longer the darling of the pony car segment. It had grown to some rather large proportions from its debut in 1965 when Ford couldn’t build enough of them to satisfy buyers. And the market had shifted, where economy was starting to look more attractive than speed. So, enter the Mustang II in 1974, now based on the subcompact Pinto platform. This iteration would run for five years, including the seller’s 1978 model. It needs some work to be a runner once again, and some modifications have been made along the way. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this Ford is available here on craigslist for $6,000.

The Mustang II was 500 lbs. lighter and 20 inches shorter than its most recent predecessor. Besides being nimbler from a size standpoint, the car gained rack-and-pinion steering as part of the changes. The timing of the car’s introduction in the Fall of 1973 was fortuitous given the OPEC oil embargo that year. That would help Ford find buyers for more than one million Mustang II’s through 1978. The automotive community responded favorably to the “new car” and Motor Trend named it “Car of the Year” in its first reinvented outing.

This 1978 Mustang II looks to have departed some from the way it left the factory. For example, it’s the 2-door notchback sedan, yet it wears a shaker hood that may have been better suited on a Cobra or King Cobra fastback. There’s a V8 under the hood, of which a 134 hp 302 was offered that year, but this one wears a shaker breather, chrome trim, and a non-stock radiator. So, at 90,000 miles, this may be a more potent V8 than Ford put in those cars and the seller says it has been “restored” (rebuilt?).

The body looks good and the original blue paint is decent for the age of the automobile. The interior is okay and looks to the luxury edition, not necessarily in line with the performance changes this car may have had. The floorboards have been redone, so maybe the carpeting is new, too. There is a list of things the seller says needs doing before the car will be a driver again. It’s going to need new rear tires, suspension work on the passenger side, tinkering with the cooling system, and the dashboard needs to be “reconnected,” whatever that means.

This Mustang likely had a 4-speed manual transmission when new because the seller says the original was replaced with an automatic. Three of the wheels look to have come off a 1968 Mustang and the fourth is a Cragar mag. Apparently, the front tires are also bad, and the seller has a pair to replace them. If you were to buy this Mustang, would you simply turn it into a driver or make it into some sort of restomod which is where it may have been headed?


  1. Avatar photo Ramone Member

    Didn’t these cars come with 4-bolt wheels? Seems like some other upgrades may have been done. Can’t see 6K here, though.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo Driveinstile Member

      Thats what I thought. These had Pinto underpinnings. Unless the V8 models had 5 lugs?

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      Mustang ll’s never had 5 lug wheels, even when they went to the Fox platform. These are Torino wheels, except the one mag, which is clearly 5 bolt, and more than likely, an adapter that can be bought is what was used. Switching to 5 lug axles and front end is a big job if it could even be done with stock components.

      Like 5
  2. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Thanks Russ.

    For almost every Mustang II write-up, we see the phrase “based on the Pinto platform.” I wonder how accurate that statement really is. John Clor, who I consider ‘the’ expert on Mustang II’s, claims it is an exaggeration and isn’t very accurate. A Barn Finds poster from a few months ago made the same observation. He had started a Mustang II restoration assuming there would be lots of platform commonality with a Pinto donor, and found that almost nothing interchanged. Powertrains, switchgear, etc., sure– they interchange. But not much else? So is this statement more urban legend, or perhaps just shorthand for the fact that it was a small car?

    As for this example, for me the mods as they stand don’t play well. It would be better to make it more of a fully modified car, or perhaps even returning it back closer to stock. Plenty of work here either way.

    Like 22
    • Avatar photo Alec

      Last I heard (I’m the one who had the white Petersen car), it’s just the rear floorpan. The drivetrain was shared in places, but technically the Pinto got M2 parts for 74. Then again, the Pinto is a brilliant little race car…

      Like 4
  3. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    For when you want a ’69 Mach 1 & a California Special,
    but can only afford a Mustang II.

    Like 11
  4. Avatar photo Terrry

    Give ’em credit. This car from the “malaise” era has had some of the malaise removed. I don’t see a lot of smog garbage on that engine, which is a good thing. Is this the engine it came with?

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Ford never offered a “shaker” hood scoop, or any hood scoop on a Mustang ll, so someone cobbled this in. I thought that was the dumbest option, “oh boy, you can see the motor vibrate and SHAKE”, and without extra gas, a hood scoop is practically worthless, but boy howdy, it sold cars. Long forgotten for years, the Mustang ll was ignored by Mustang freaks, cry babies, mostly, couldn’t accept this was what was coming, and if it wasn’t for the Mustang ll, Ford may have dropped it altogether. The V8 was too much for a car like this, but I thought the Mustang ll was a great car and had nothing to do with Charlies Angels,,,okay, maybe a little,,

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Dave

      A hood scoop in a street application is simply there to allow the motor to ingest cool air instead of the hot underhood air. Cooler air is denser air meaning more O2 goes into the motor, along with the appropriate ratio of fuel does indeed amount to more power. A very small amount of power, but more never the less. Most “car people” know this.

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo piston poney

      the cobra 2’s and king cobras had hood scoops, nonfunctional but they had em…

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo joenywf64

      Unless the motor has a wild cam, a shaker can let you monitor the
      motor, to see if it needs a tuneup – missing, slightly rougher than normal idle, etc.
      Making the shaker open ALL THE ITME is a good thing for part throttle going up a steep hill – much cooler air to the carb can reduce or eliminate ping.
      What’s really ridiculous IMO was FORD putting a shaker on aome 21st century modern fuel injected mustangs. Not to mention using “compact” macpherson struts whose rubber bushings not only can make very annoying noise when older, but have strut towers that take up 40% of the space under the hood!! This Mustang is a dream to work on under the hood with all that enpty space because of inexpensive conventional shocks used.

      On II’s you may be able to change the backup lights to red lenses & sequential blinkers for that almost shelby tailite look.

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo mark r westphal

    Why does this immediately make me think of a granada?

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo mark

    135 HP with a “shaker hood”. LOL. There are 1.5 liter 3 cylinder vehicles now with 180 HP. The Mustand II was a dog ( like most vehicles from this time frame)

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo MikeB

      Mark, I agree with you 100% !!

      Like 1
  8. Avatar photo CCFisher

    I just perused the ’78 Mustang II brochure. Say what you will about the Mustang II, but it sure would be nice to have so many different upholstery choices in so many colors today.

    Like 20
  9. Avatar photo Tommy T-Tops

    call me crazy I like the added on shaker…fun car to drop a coyote in.

    Like 9
  10. Avatar photo Ike Onick

    Based on my recollection of late 1970’s build quality, I’m guessing the entire car shook while the hood scoop remained stationary.

    Like 20
    • Avatar photo mark r westphal

      Bet your right lol

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Bolivar

      I installed a shaker on my 78. A nice little mod and I noticed a small increase in power. I had to install a chain from the drivers side head to the frame because even after new motor mounts .. the engine torqued enough to make the scoop hit the hood. I could have cut the hole larger but then the seal would have been too small. My 347 dynoed at 425hp w/ 450ft lbs torque. The stock 4 SP lasted a little while as did the stock rear end. I installed a top loader and an 8″ Versaille rear end. The disc brake and 5 lugs were better all around.

      Like 12
      • Avatar photo DavidC

        Hi Bolivar,
        I purchased a shaker from PCE and adding it to my MII with a 5.0. Any advice dealing with the offset motor and air cleaner base riding high on the carb? How did you creatively overcome the challenges before you made your cut in the hood?

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      Ha! Good one,,,

      Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Howie Mueler

    This looks and sounds like a beater, wheels do not match on the right side, and the back right looks like it could use some air.

    Like 3
  12. Avatar photo david R

    Mustang 2.s have always seemed like a joke to me.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    I love my floors restored and not replaced just like I like my engines restored and not rebuilt.

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo John W Sugden

    This car is far from stock. I built this car, the engine was originally from a Mustang II but not this one. This was a V6 automatic plain jane car. My wife wanted it so I bought it and rebuilt it the way she wanted it. I spent 7 years building this car, it has a 306 With Comp cams 268H cam in it with edelbrock changed from shelby intake when I had it. Has a Holley 600, or did when I had it. It did have MSD ignition system in it, The trans was rebuilt, the rear was rebuilt, 3.25 limited slip. Heads will fool you

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Stevieg

      Happy wife, happy life!

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Stevieg

    I actually like the look of the 1960’s era wheels on this, along with the shaker scoop on it. I don’t know that I would have actually done all of that myself, but the look is pretty sharp.

    Like 1

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